The Progressive Period Essay

The Progressive Period Essay

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In 1901, America welcomed the youngest president to ever rule, President Theodore Roosevelt. At forty-two years old, the former New York governor dominated the news unlike any previous president had done. His many exploits, such as boxing and horseback riding, led the press to gain interest in him. Known for being very outgoing and likable, Roosevelt used his personality and popularity to advance in his programs. “His leadership and publicity campaigns helped create the modern presidency, making him a model by which all future presidents would be measured”(524). He felt that the government should take control when states show incompetence in dealing with problems. Roosevelt saw the presidency as a “bully pulpit.” He believed he could use the media to persuade the public, rather than going to congress.
“By 1900, trusts-legal bodies created to hold stock in many companies-controlled about four-fifths of the industries in the United States”(525). Some trusts used unfair business practices. This gave trusts a bad reputation. There were many trusts that lowered their prices to drive competitors out of the market. These trusts then took advantage of the lack of competition and jacked prices up even higher. Even though Congress passed the Sherman Anti Trust Act in 1890, the act’s indistinct language made enforcement difficult. “President Roosevelt did not believe that all trusts were harmful, but he sought to curb the actions of those that hurt the public interest”(525). The president’s main focus was filing suits under the Sherman Antitrust Act. Roosevelt made newspaper headlines in 1902 when he ordered the Justice Department to sue the Northern Securities Company, which established a monopoly over northwestern railroads. The Suprem...


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...air business practices. The FTC issued over 400 cease and desist orders.
Under Taft’s administration, the LaFollette Seamen’s Act was passed in 1915. This law helped improve conditions for sailors in the merchant marine considerably. In 1916 goods manufactured by children were outlawed due to the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act. Child labor was declared unconstitutional in 1918, as was the Chile Labor Act of 1919. Interstate railroads were provided an 8-hour day by the Adamson Act of 1916.
The Smith-Lever Act was passed in 1914 during Taft’s presidency. Under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture, this act granted Federal funds to states for farm extension work. Two years later, the Federal Farm Loan Act was passed in 1916, providing farmers with long-term credit facilities similar to those granted business and industry under the Federal Reserve Act.

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