From the beginning of the 1912 election, the people could sense the new
ideas of Woodrow Wilson would move them in the right direction. Wilson's idea
of New Freedom would almost guarantee his presidential victory in 1912. In
contrast to Wilson's New Freedom, Roosevelt's New Nationalism called for the
continued consolidation of trusts and labor unions, paralleled by the growth of
powerful regulatory agencies. Roosevelt's ideas were founded in the Herbert
Croly's novel, The Promise Of American Life written in 1910. Although both
Wilson and Roosevelt favored a more active government role in economic and
social affairs, Wilson's favored small enterprise, entrepreneurship, and the
free functioning of unregulated and unmonopolized markets. Obviously, from the
results of the 1912 election, the people favored Wilson's New Freedom.
Wilson entered office with a more clear cut plan of what he wanted to
achieve than any other president before him. The new president called for an
all out assault on what Wilson called "the triple wall of privilege": the tariff,
the banks, and the trusts. In early 1913, Wilson attempted to lower the tariff.
Wilson shattered the precedent set by Jeffer-son to send a messenger to address
Congress when Wilson himself formally addressed Congress. This had a huge
effect on Congress to pass the proposed Underwood Tariff Bill, which provided a
substantial reduction of rates. The new Underwood Tariff substan-tially reduced
import fees. It also was a landmark in tax legislation. Under authority
granted by the Sixteenth Amendment, Congress enacted a graduated income tax. By
1917, revenue from income tax was greatly more than from the tariff and would
continue on this trend for many years.
Next, Woodrow Wilson was determined to conquer the Bankers. The old
banking system had been greatly outgrown by economic expansion. The country's
banking was still under the old Civil War National Banking Act which revealed
many glaring defects. In the Panic of 1907, many flaws of the banking system,
including the inelasticity of the currency, were overwhelmingly obvious. Wilson
was determined to fix these problems. In June of 1913, Wilson made his second
personal appearance to address Congress, this time for a plea to reform the
banking system. And in 1913, a...
... middle of paper ...
... from the Senate. Little did he
know that the Republicans would not sign the treaty because of Wilson's
political blunder. In Paris, Wil-son was extremely disappointed with Britain
and France. They did not agree with his fourteen points and at the end Wilson
had to sacrifice many of his ideas to get the League of Nations in the treaty.
As you know, the United States did not enter the League because of Wilson's
stubborn attitude of all or nothing. Wilson's political blunder in dealing with
foreign relations hurt him as president.
Although Wilson was a master in forming American polices, his scheme on
foreign policies was not as clear cut and precise. In America, Wilson passed
many invaluable laws fighting the tariff and the trusts. He also set up a
brilliant banking system which could fluctuate with the good times and bad times.
But Wilson was stubborn, which was espe-cially seen when his fourteen points
failed. He would not settle for just some of his plan. It was either all or
nothing. And as it turned out, it was nothing. Wilson was a genius at working
with the Americans, but failed at being one of our greater presidents dealing
with foreign policy.
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