Theodore Roosevelt and Progressivism Essay

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Theodore Roosevelt, like Jackson and Lincoln, believed that the president had the duty of initiating and leading Congress to implement a policy of social and economic benefit to the people at large. As he himself put it, he found the presidency "a bully pulpit." Roosevelt's policies, designed to secure a greater measure of social justice in the United States, were outlined in his first message to Congress, on December 3, 1901. Roosevelt's address included demands for federal supervision and regulation of all interstate corporations; for amendment of the Interstate Commerce Act to prohibit railroads from giving special rates to shippers; for the conservation of natural resources; for federal appropriations for irrigation of…show more content…
Among the new laws were the Elkins Act (1903), aimed at eliminating the discriminatory practice of secret rebates given by various railroads to certain shippers, and the Hepburn Act (1906), aimed at strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission in its authority over railroads and other public carriers. During his administrations (after completing McKinley's administration, Roosevelt was elected in 1904), the Department of Justice instituted 43 suits against the trusts and won several important judicial decisions, including one ordering the dissolution of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey as a holding company with a monopoly on oil refining. Other domestic reforms in Roosevelt's program, which he called the Square Deal, were his expansion of forest reserves and national parks; the appointment of the National Conservation Commission in 1908 to promote further conservation; and the passage of the Meat Inspection Act. Also passed was the first of the Pure Food and Drug Acts, which followed a federal investigation of packing-house conditions prompted by revelations made in Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle (1906) (see Sinclair, Upton Beall). Roosevelt gained worldwide importance through his dramatic speeches and actions as president, his inauguration of the building of the Panama Canal, and his activities in ending the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Roosevelt declined to run for reelection in 1908 and the
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