1908, "the representatives of predatory wealth” as guilty of, "all forms of iniquity from the oppression of wage workers to unfair and unwholesome methods of crushing competition, and to defrauding the public by stock- jobbing and the manipulation of securities." Trusts and monopolies became the primary target of Square Deal legislation. Trusts increasingly became a central issue, as many feared that large corporations would impose monopolistic prices to defraud consumers and drive small, independent companies out. By 1904, 318 trusts including those in railroads, local transit, and the banking industry controlled two-fifths of the nation's industrial output. Define the Square Deal. Finding balance between the interests of labor and the interests of business was at the center of Roosevelt’ s Square Deal. In May 1902, anthracite coal miners went on strike, threatening a national energy shortage. After threatening the coal operators with intervention by federal troops, Roosevelt won their agreement to an arbitration of the dispute by a commission, which succeeded in stopping the strike and dropping coal prices; the accord with J.P. Morgan resulted in the workers getting more pay for fewer hours, but with no union recognition.
Organized labor celebrated the outcome as a victory for the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and American Federation of Labor unions generally. Membership in other unions soared, as moderates argued that they could produce concrete benefits for workers much sooner than could radical Socialists who planned to overthrow capitalism through revolutionary violence. Furthermore, the outcome of the strike was a success for Roosevelt, who argued that the federal government could successfully intervene in conflicts between labor and capital. Journalist Ray Baker quoted Roosevelt concerning his policy toward capitalists and laborers: "My action on labor should always be considered in connection with my action as regards capital, and both are reducible to my favorite formula — a square deal for every man." The settlement was an important step in the Progressive Era reforms of the decade that followed. vi How were Roosevelt’s actions in the 1902 coal strike different fro m those of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877? Theodore Roosevelt A portrait of Theodore Roosevelt painted by John Singer Sargent. Roosevelt's Square Deal focused on control of corporations, and consumer protection. He explained it in the following way in 1910: When I say that I am for the square deal, I mean not merely that I stand for fair play under the present rules of the game, but that I stand for having those rules changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity and of reward for equally good service. Roosevelt was by no means anti-business.
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- Fall '16
- Ronald Sterling
- Theodore Roosevelt