The Administration of Theodore Roosevelt
- Pages: 5
- Word count: 1058
- Category: Roosevelt
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“…the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic- the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done.” -Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt Association, 2008)
Such is the belief that defined the twenty-sixth president of the United States of America. As a president, Roosevelt was a “man of action” (Barie, 1963, p. 78). He spoke his mind, had strong opinions on almost any topic, from the simples ones like baby carriages to the holy subject of the Ten Commandments (Bailyn et al., 1985, p.612). Roosevelt’s conflicting personality even led people to describe him as having two separate personalities- a brazen spokesman on American nationalism and a grateful student of American history (p.612). He was a man who sought to rule with integrity and thought of himself as “general manager of the United States” (p.614). He was a man who took the moral approach in leading a nation (Filler, 1987, p. 166). This philosophy of Roosevelt was what made him rise to greatness (613). But what is probably best remembered on Roosevelt is how he gave direction to the progressive movement and made USA a progressive nation (May, 1989, p. 544).
When President McKinley was assassinated six months into his second term, Roosevelt was put into the spotlight (May, 1989, p.545). In his first address to the Congress, he introduced his Square Deal (p. 545). He started this approach to distinguish the good trust versus the bad trust (Filler, 1987, p. 162). According to Roosevelt, there should be a square deal among the public, capital or the business sector and the labor (May, 1989, p. 547). This was put to test when Roosevelt had to take actions against the trust (1989, p. 545). The Northern Securities Companies was accused of violating the Sheman Antitrust Act of 1890 (p. 545). The Act was created to regulate business practices of big companies and at that time, Northern Securities Companies was accused of “restraining interstate commerce” (p.545). Roosevelt sought for the company to be dissolved. Northern Securities Companies was a big company hence Roosevelt’s firm stand on the matter made it clear to everyone that he meant business. When he said his Square Deal, he was not just making a bold statement. He was making a bold statement and following that bold statement. Roosevelt truly was a man of action.
Furthermore, he believed that a man should be “treated on his own worth” (1987, p. 162). Furthermore, he deemed that labor organizations should not be given respect just because they represent the working groups (p. 162). This attitude is different from the usual leaders who try to keep a good relationship with the labor unions. But it is wrong to conclude that Roosevelt was against unions. What he was after for was trust and balance among all players involved. In fact, his opinion on labor unions was put to test when the United Mine Workers had a conflict against the coal operators (Bailyn et al., 1985, p.614). Roosevelt acted as the arbitrator, the first time in American history that a president intervened in labor disputes (Barie, 1963, p. 84). His intervention paid off- the clash was settled, miners returned to work with 10 % increase and reduced working hours (1985, p. 615). That cemented his status as the president who defended the battles of the average American (1963, p. 84).
It is also interesting to note how Roosevelt paved the way for the building of the Panama Canal. Panama used to be a territory of Columbia until it declared in independence (Barie, 1963, p. 85). The United States recognized the new government and through an agreement, Panama received monetary assistance from the U.S. government that was originally intended for Columbia (Filler, 1987, p. 164). Because of this, Roosevelt was able to close a deal with the Panama government to grant supplementary rights to the U.S. (p. 164). Roosevelt’s effort made it possible for the building of the Panama Canal years after he died (1963, p. 85).
President Roosevelt was also responsible for increasing the country’s forests to 194 million acres (Barie, 1963, p. 84). He was a nature lover and during his administration, he stressed the importance of using natural resources (p. 84). He wanted to impress the natural heritage of the United States and that he did. Eighty-five million hectares were put aside in Alaska and the Northwest to become public lands (Filler, 1987, p. 165). Large areas were opened to the public to serve as parks. Another tangible contribution of Roosevelt to conservation was the building of the Roosevelt Dam (p. 165).
The president was a natural arbitrator. Aside mediating between Panama and Columbia, Roosevelt also served as arbitrator between Russia and Japan when both countries went to war (Barie, 1963,p. 85). The treaty between Russia and Japan was signed in 1905 and the following year, Roosevelt became the first American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (p. 85).
When Roosevelt began his second administration, the nation was already filled with several reforms. One development was the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act (May, 1989, p.547). Upton Sinclair wrote a novel describing the American meat-packing industry as bad (p. 547). Upon confirming Sinclair’s allegation, Roosevelt announced that the meat-packing business was dangerous and after much deliberation, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed (p. 547).
President Roosevelt was a man of vision, courage and action. Through out his entire political life, he worked for the benefit of the people. His actions have left tangible prints that will forever be indelible in the United States,
Bailyn, B. et al. (1985). The Great Republic A History of the American People
(3rd Ed.). USA: D.C. Heath & Company.
Barie, M. (1963). Famous Presidents of the United States.
New York: Doad, Mead & Company.
Filler, L. (1987). Theodore Roosevelt. In Merit’s Students Encyclopedia
(Vol. 16). USA: MacMillan Educational Company.
May, E. R. (1989). A Proud Nation. USA: McDougal, Littell & Company.
Theodore Roosevelt Association. (2008). In His Own Words. Retrieved
March 31, 2008, from http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org