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This era's three presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, presided over a federal government beginning to assert its power to regulate - Essay Example

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This era's three presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, presided over a federal government beginning to assert its power to regulate

In 1902 he cajoled Republican conservatives into creating the Bureau of Corporations with the power to investigate businesses engaged in interstate commerce but without regulatory powers. He also resurrected the nearly defunct Sherman Antitrust Act by bringing a successful suit to break up a huge railroad conglomerate, the Northern Securities Company. Roosevelt pursued this policy of "trust-busting" by initiating suits against 43 other major corporations during the next seven years. Also in 1902 Roosevelt intervened in the anthracite coal strike when it threatened to cut off heating fuel for homes, schools, and hospitals. This was the first time that a president had publicly intervened in a labour dispute at least implicitly on the side of workers. Roosevelt characterized his actions as striving toward a "Square Deal" between capital and labour. Roosevelt's boldest actions came in the area of natural resources. At his urging, Congress created the Forest Service (1905) to manage government-owned forest reserves (Encyclopedia Britannica Online).
William Howard Taft became President after Roosevelt. While agreeing with the overall policies of the Roosevelt administration, Taft felt that the power of the Presidency had been extended too far by the previous administration. Taft exerted his power to a much lesser degree. Often that was deemed by the progressive Roosevelt supporters as an abandonment of principles. Thus a major rift developed in the Republican Party. During his long government career, he served as Governor of the Philippines, Secretary of War, President of the United States and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He is the only man in U.S. history to have been both President and Chief Justice. Taft was committed to lowering tariffs, and when elected, he called Congress into a special session to this end. Congress succeeding in reducing the average tariff from 46 to 41 percent. However, special interest groups managed to raise the tariff on several items. Taft was an avid enforcer of the anti-trust policies of the Roosevelt administration. He repeatedly instituted the number of anti-trust suits brought against monopolist corporations. During his term of office, two of the biggest monopolies were broken - Standard Oil Company and the American Tobacco Company. Under Taft, the federal government for the first time began the regulation of the telephone and telegraph industries. The government also obtained the authority to fix interstate commerce rates. Taft maintained an activist approach to foreign policy. On one hand, he was the initiator of what became known as Dollar Diplomacy, in which the United States used its military might to promote American business interests abroad. Taft defended his Dollar Diplomacy as an extension of the Monroe Doctrine. Taft was a major supporter of arbitration as the most viable method of settling international disputes (History Central).
The most visible legacy of Taft's Chief Justiceship is the Supreme Court Building, for which he lobbied. As Chief Justice, Taft's tenure was marked by hard work and by efforts for judicial reform. Taft was concerned about the delay and inefficiency in the federal court system. His first task was to secure the passage of The Judges Act in 1922. The act was the first major reform of the federal judiciary since 1789. It gave the Chief Justice more power over the ...Show more

Summary

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States and writer, naturalist, and soldier. He expanded the powers of the presidency and of the federal government in support of the public interest in conflicts between big business and labour and steered the nation toward an active role in world politics, particularly in Europe and Asia…
Author : terrillwill
This eras three presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, presided over a federal government beginning to assert its power to regulate essay example
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