Wilson vs. Roosevelt: the Better Progressive President? Essay

747 Words Jun 11th, 2002 3 Pages
In the first two decades of the twentieth century the national political scene reflected a growing American belief in the ideas of the Progressive movement. This movement was concerned with fundamental social and economic reforms and gained in popularity under two presidents. Yet Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson espoused two different approaches to progressive reform. And each one was able to prevail upon congress to pass legislation in keeping with his own version of the progressive dream. These two people, although they had different principles in mind, had one goal: to make changes to the nation for the better of the people and the country. Setting out to reach this goal, Roosevelt came to be a president of the common man while …show more content…
He placed millions of acres of land under federal protection, preserving America's natural resources. He regulated interstate commerce and helped laborers to get a fair chance at the negotiating table. In his New Nationalism platform, he called for women's suffrage, an end to child labor, pensions for the elderly, unemployment insurance, and increased regulation of the trusts. However, Wilson was less of a people's man because he was a strong proponent of states' rights and felt that such issues as women's suffrage and child labor laws were issues for the state. Wilson rejected a stronger role of government in human affairs.
Wilson's approach to progressivism was aimed more at commerce rather than with the people. As soon as he became president, he set to tackle the "triple wall of privilege": bank, tariff, and the trusts. He demanded that all trusts must be broken up in order for small businesses to succeed and competition to be restored. When it came to trusts, he showed no mercy, believing that entrepeurship and competition was the key to a healthy economy. Wilson pushed for creation of a Federal Trade Commission, a federal agency which would regulate trade on a continuous basis. He also secured passage of the Federal Reserve Act which created a federal agency to serve as economic watch dog and regulator of the banking industry. He also helped pass the Underwood Tariff Bill, which…