Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson: Progressive Presidents

Pages: 3 (815 words) Published: February 7, 2008
Despite the criticism of their reform efforts, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson's commitment to and success in achieving national reform made them successful progressive presidents. There hasn't yet been a presidency that didn't receive criticism, with or without justification. Roosevelt in particular, received a lot of praise and criticism for his successes and failures. Overall, however, both Roosevelt and Wilson acknowledged and were committed to bringing about changes during their presidencies. They were both good presidents for the Progressive Era.

President Roosevelt was deeply criticized during his presidency. Robert La Follette, the Republican leader of Progressivism before Roosevelt, was one of Roosevelt's biggest critics. In his Autobiography: A personal narrative of political experiences, he talks about Roosevelt's reform policies, particularly his position on the Anti-Trust Law and his trust strategy in general, and how he didn't solve the problems, but only increased the growth of monopolies and the power of business (Doc E). There were also many political cartoons published which criticized Roosevelt's policies. One in particular pictures Roosevelt singing loudly his Progressive fallacies, with La Follette sulking in the background (Doc G). There was justification to criticize Roosevelt. Although he was infamous for his "square deal," taking on trusts, he busted only about half as many trusts in twice as much time as President Taft later did. The cases he did take on were high profile, and he was noisy about them. Also, he may have only fought trusts because he thought it would be riskier to ignore them.

Woodrow Wilson also had policies that were controversial, and the extent of his progressivism can be questioned. Wilson's progressive attitude didn't extent to many areas. For example, he didn't reform the way government corruption occurred. He would even encourage this by giving his friends rewards and punishing his enemies....
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