Theodore The Great: Theodore Roosevelt As A Progressive Party

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Theodore Roosevelt is affectionately referred to by some as “Theodore the Great”, referencing his accomplishments: on the battlefield, trustbusting, and working for the middle class. However, opponents of TR would say that he abused his power and totally disregarded the Constitution. Even though Roosevelt was considered by his own party, and himself, to be a Conservative, TR followed a political philosophy that differed from the Conservative orthodoxy. Actions speak louder than words, and TR’s actions revealed his true intentions. The fact that TR made decisions that blurred the line between Conservatism and Progressivism is the primary reason why Hofstadter called Roosevelt; Conservative as a Progressive.
While Roosevelt distrusted the power
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TR felt that neither the labor unions nor big business should have too much power or have favor in the government. TR follows this principle when dealing with railroad regulation as well. This quote outlines TR’s policy on the railroad industry “He supported… physical evaluation of railroad properties to enforce "honest" capitalization, and government supervision of capitalization of all types of corporations in interstate commerce.” (232) The word “honest” is important in this quote because honest is what TR thought railroads corporations weren’t. This next quote describes the reason why TR went after Northern Securities Company, “Roosevelt did, of course, engage in a few cleverly chosen prosecutions which gave substance to his talk about improving the moral code of the corporations. The prosecution of the Northern Securities Company in 1902, near the beginning of his first term, was his most spectacular effort.” (227) “Cleverly” is important in this quote because TR knew full well that this lawsuit would cause major publicity by going after JP Morgan and Northern Securities. Did this single lawsuit itself bring major change to the railroad industry? Of course not, but the effect the lawsuit had is what was important. TR essentially went up to bully on the playground and punched him square in the face. Even if TR lost the court case, it probably would still have a similar effect. TR made everyone aware that he …show more content…
Here is a quote from TR professing that belief, “I intend to be most conservative, but in the interests of the corporations themselves and above all in the interests of the country, I intend to pursue cautiously, but steadily, the course to which I have been publicly committed . . . and which I am certain is the right course.” (222) The reason this quote was included was to explain how TR intended to be Conservative, but in the end, he was going to do what he saw fit as President. Essentially, if TR wanted to break up monopolistic trusts, he was going to do it; no matter what political label was given to him. Here is a quote describing TR’s political mindset, “Roosevelt was too young to cease to care about his reputation or to abandon political ambitions.” (232) Hofstadter called Theodore Roosevelt a Conservative as Progressive; this description is accurate of TR because Roosevelt was neither a full-fledged progressive or conservative, but rather somewhere in between. What motivated TR was the desire to bring honesty and fairness to the corrupt world of business and strike a “Square deal” for the common

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