The progressive era began in the late 19th and early 20th century, this was a time for change, for reforms and for regulations. Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were too presidents who were in office during the progressive era, both were very famous progressives. These two men wanted to change how big businesses were run, but they had a different view on what components of big businesses needed reform.
Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency in 1901. In his message to congress he states, “ Old laws and old customs which had almost the binding force for law, were once quite sufficient to regulate the accumulations and distribution of wealth. Since the industrial changes which have so enormously increased the productive power of mankind, they are no longer sufficient” (Shi, Mayer 132). Looking at this quote it seems that Roosevelt knew that there was a need for new policies to be implemented to deal with these new and improved big businesses. Roosevelt believed that big businesses were natural in their course, and that trusts weren’t necessarily evil. He believed in good and bad trusts. “There is a widespread conviction in the minds of the American people that the great corporations known as trusts are in certain of their features and tendencies hurtful to the general welfare.” (Shi, Mayer 133). Roosevelt wanted the public to know that good trusts would a tool to help big businesses grow and benefit the economy. On the other hand bad trusts should be weeded out but heavily Appling antitrust laws. Roosevelt’s course of action in getting rid of bad trusts would first call for publicity. “In the interest of the public the government should have the right to inspect and examin...
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...etition by conquering in the field of intelligence and economy”(Shi, Mayer 136).
Wilson thought that Roosevelt didn’t realize that all trusts even good ones, did nothing to help small businesses compete against monopolies fairly. So long as there were trusts, big businesses would always dominate and saturate the economy and drive out competitors.
Theodore Roosevelt although had good intentions of making the economy more easily assessable to small businesses, and leveling the playing grounds with big businesses, He didn’t accomplish what he set out to do. He saw trusts as a good thing, He wanted to regulate how they were used but not get it of trusts all together. That I believe is where the problem lied. He should have gotten rid of trusts, Like Woodrow Wilson wanted. Trusts Eliminate competition so that Robber Barons can stay in power and saturate the market.
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