November 14, 2012
Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Spoken by the first modern president, Theodore Roosevelt was a man of his word. Even though he was reluctant to become vice-president during his early years in politics, he ‘took the helm’ when it came time to lead the country after President William McKinley’s assassination in 1901. Lovingly dubbed “Teddy” by the American citizens, Roosevelt became a beloved icon who proved just how much one man could change a country after a time of declining stability. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt should be included on the TIME magazine prestigious list because of his ability to impact the world that came before his presidency, his actions during his time in office the changed the course of history, and how his indelible actions are still impacting the world today. To start off with, Theodore Roosevelt should be included on the TIME magazine prestigious list because of his ability to impact the world that came before his presidency during his time in office. The time period before Roosevelt was different politically, socially, and economically. Before Roosevelt’s time in the Presidential office, William McKinley was President of the United States. When McKinley became President, the depression of 1893 had almost run its course and with it the extreme distress over silver. Postponing action on the money question, he called Congress into special session to pass the highest tariff in history. (Beschloss) Foreign policy, dominated McKinley's Administration. Unable to restrain Congress or the American people on the topic of war for Cuba, McKinley delivered his message of neutral intervention in April 1898. Congress thereupon voted three resolutions equal to a declaration of war for the liberation and independence of Cuba. In this 100-day war, the United States destroyed the Spanish fleet outside Santiago harbor in Cuba, seized Manila in the Philippines, and occupied Puerto Rico. Afterwards, the United States annexed the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. (Beschloss) Social life under McKinley was the precursor to the major civil rights movement in the early 1900s. This was a time period after the civil war in which many African Americans started to advocate for their rights and they felt that the President should help support those rights. During this time African Americans were able to gain ranks higher than lieutenant. There was little to be done to ease racial tensions by McKinley but he still did more than other presidents. (Gould) Economic aspects of the United States while under McKinley proved to be memorable ones. Two of the big issues of the day, tariff reform and free silver, became connected in 1897. A new tariff bill was introduced to revise the Wilson–Gorman Tariff Act of 1894; McKinley supported this, which increased tariffs on wool, sugar, and luxury goods. (Gould) Because of this, the coinage went from silver to gold, meaning the silver problem was no longer an issue; the gold standard had taken over. (Gould) Before Theodore Roosevelt’s time in office, the United States had fought Spain for Cuban independence, gone through civil rights troubles, and dealt with tariff reforms and free silver. Next, Theodore Roosevelt should be included on the TIME magazine prestigious list because of the actions he took to change the world. Roosevelt believed that a country’s power lay with naval power so he rebuilt America’s fleet. (Garraty) This navy was now second to Great Britain’s, the most powerful navy in the world. Teddy Roosevelt’s decision to send the entire battle fleet on a worldwide tour was an aim to impress all nations, but in particular to intimidate Japan. Roosevelt did this without the consent of Congress; the manner in which Roosevelt carried out this exhibition was perhaps as significant as the act itself. Congress objected, threatening to not fund the worldwide tour. Roosevelt saw...