Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt

By | April 2013
Page 1 of 2
Prior to Theodore Roosevelt’s term in office, the federal government had a very passive hand in the American way life. This is very prevalent when it comes to business and corporations. The previous presidents and congress followed the Laissez-Faire philosophy and kept out of business trying to create a true free-market. Teddy Roosevelt was one of the first presidents in a while to actually increase the power of the president and the federal government. Teddy, after being elected in 1901, set out to change the direction of America as seen in his attitude towards trusts and helping labor for the first time. Government always sided with management before Teddy took office. The Pullman strike of 1894 was a strike because the employees felt they were not being paid enough after some wages were slashed. Under President Cleveland’s control, the federal government sided with the Pullman Company and used an injunction through a loophole in the Sherman anti-trust act and later using the army. Many companies, after witnessing what happened to the Pullman strike, now felt confident that the federal government would back them up if there were a strike in their company. However, with the election of Teddy Roosevelt, this all came to a screeching halt. The Anthracite Coal Strike is one of the first examples of Teddy’s philosophy put to work. Over 100,000 miners went on strike demanding higher wages and less working hours. At a White House meeting, Teddy threatened to use federal troops to take over the mines pushing this case for the first time into arbitration. The court decided in favor of the workers giving them higher wages and a 9-hour working day along with a new philosophy of the federal government’s influence on business. An example of Teddy’s economic plan, otherwise known as the Square Deal, was his willingness to attack bad trusts. Contrary to many presidents before him, Teddy believed that trusts caused monopolistic catastrophes that threatened the free market...