The Social And Economic Problems Of Theodore Roosevelt And Woodrow Wilson

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During the first two decades of the twentieth century America’s experienced growing sentiment toward the progressivism. In essence, this movement looked to answer the social and economic problems that America was facing. The two main presidents during the time period were Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. They both knew that America was facing a crisis. They each had their own vision for progressivism, but they were to be achieved through different means. Whereas Theodore Roosevelt attempted to solve the problems of the lack of industrial democracy, economic security and consumer protection through direct government intervention or threat of, Woodrow Wilson usually shied away from executive governmental involvement as he insisted that …show more content…
Roosevelt distinguished between good and bad corporations, whereas Wilson instead thought of all big business to be evil. Wilson did not want to involve the federal government, so he instead pushed reforms to change the way big business operated so as to eliminate unregulated capitalism. Theodore Roosevelt was a very robust politician and later president who thought that a robust federal government was crucial to solve the problem of industrial democracy. However, like Wilson he did push legislation first in order to get results, but unlike Wilson, he used governmental intervention as a fallback if the legislation were to fail. The Square Deal, which was proposed by Roosevelt, built upon his ideology that the interests of the individual and the interests of business could coincide with one another. The square deal sought to provide “substantial equality of opportunity” for the worker, while also still satisfying the reasonable needs for big business (Roosevelt). Unlike those before him, he did not immediately side with the big business as he believed that he should be an “honest broker” in the matters. (Foner 706). Roosevelt stated in his New Nationalism speech that “every special interest is entitled to justice”, to further prove that he did …show more content…
Unregulated capitalism had made it so quality of products had become secondary to the need to outcompete the other company. Many companies such as meat factories were putting poisonous and deleterious ingredients into their products both accidentally and on purpose. This was happening because of the need to produce more of product instead a better quality product. Upton Sinclair wrote about the horrors of the meatpacking industry from his perspective in his book The Jungle. Roosevelt read his book and immediately established a federal agency to “police the quality and labeling of food and drugs,” because he thought that people should have a right to know what they are consuming (Foner 707). This federal agency was part of the Pure Food and Drug Act that exposed the corrupt industries and to bring justice to the consumers. Similarly, Wilson cared deeply about consumer rights, and he took the Rooseveltian method of enforcing his legislature. Wilson and Congress created the FTC to “investigate and prohibit ‘unfair’ business activities such as price-fixing and monopolistic practices.” Price fixing was a very large problem because it allowed companies to make deals with each other companies to simultaneously raise price of a product to force consumers to pay more for said

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