final paper - Part I Question 1 TAKE HOME FINAL Ben Gammon...

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Part I TAKE HOME FINAL Ben Gammon Question 1 12/12/06 History 124A Roosevelt’s New Nationalism and Wilson’s New Freedom were political platforms that reflected the needs of the era and were implemented in the legislature and decisions under each president. On August 31, 1910 at Osawatomie, Kansas Theodore Roosevelt spoke of a New Nationalism, which became the platform of his 1912 Presidency Campaign under the Bull Moose Party. This New Nationalism was the culmination of Roosevelt’s analysis of the role of government and the structure of American society that he had developed during his seven years as a progressive president. The twenty sixth president chose his rhetoric carefully, the words were meant to show that he stood for change in public policy from what he considered old nationalism practiced by his opponents incumbent Republican Howard Taft and Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Although he did not go on to win the presidency the political and intellectual message within his New Nationalism became the seedling for America as a welfare state. Roosevelt’s enthusiasm, vitality and charisma allowed him to take a new stance on domestic politics while expanding the power of the executive branch. Taking the presidency into his own hands after the assassination of McKinley he made many economic reforms. Under the Sherman Antitrust Act he began an attack on trusts with forty suits altogether. During the coal strike of 1902 he threatened to intervene and hold both sides accountable, an expansion of executive power. In his first term Roosevelt pushed for progressive legislation such as the Reclamation Act of 1902, which made possible federal irrigation projects, the founding of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor and the Elkins Act of 1903 that ended railroad freight rebates. Roosevelt caught the American imagination and was seen as a vigorous champion of rights for the little man. Being reaffirmed by voters he pushed for more reform in his second administration. The 1906 Hepburn Act gave more power to the Interstate Commerce Commission in opposition to the railroad trusts. In the same year he backed the Meat and 1
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Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act partly in response to unsanitary conditions portrayed in Sinclair’s The Jungle . He also established the National Park system to conserve natural resources, controversial at the time because it conflicted with the free market. Roosevelt’s activist government brought big business under federal regulation in order to bring about a more even playing field. Wilson’s New Freedom positioned him as a moderate between Taft, the backer of big business, and Roosevelt, the antagonist of big business in the 1912 presidency. Wilson’s platform pushed for a decentralized government, antitrust modification, tariff revision as well as a new approach to banking and currency. Wilson criticized Roosevelt’s platform as collectivism and presented his own as a way to continue progressive reform while allowing economic liberty and free enterprise. Finding a legislative branch controlled by the Republicans and a society hooked to
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final paper - Part I Question 1 TAKE HOME FINAL Ben Gammon...

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