Segments descriptions
      American Presidents Series
      Progressive Era
, Part 1    

              Description: T

Progressive Era, Part 1
             sampler  2’41”    (85’ lecture).

After winning “that splendid little war, ”the Spanish-American War, how did the terms, “concentration camp” and “pacification” first emerge in the brutal 2 year Filipino guerilla war against US occupation?

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26.  Theodore Roosevelt

A reform president.  He becomes President when McKinley is assassinated.  His legacy is the greatly increased power of the Presidency.  Coming from old landed wealth with its attitude of "nobles oblige," he couples this with paternalism.  His role in the Spanish American War demonstrates how he enjoys war.



Trust Buster He becomes a reform president and begins the Progressive Era, which lasts until 1917.  His label as "Trust Buster," after applying the Sherman Anti-Trust Act against a business, is questioned if really earned.



Muckraker. His reputation as champion of labor after settling a coal strike is also questioned. 

The Pure Food & Drug Act
of 1906, passed in response to a public enraged by "muckraker" Upton Sinclair's book, "The Jungle," has the opposite effect than intended.  He presides over what can be termed, "The Age of Conservatism," with a new relationship between the federal government and business.  The public believes a problem is solved but is actually worsened in practice. 



Aggressive foreign policy.  Teddy Roosevelt is well educated, has many interests and is a well-respected writer.  In foreign policy he deals with European leaders as equals, has a racist attitude toward the Japanese but softened by their rising military power, but has open contempt for Latin American leaders.  His diplomatic style is aggressive, using "Dollar Diplomacy" and "Gunboat Diplomacy" in his drive for the Panama Canal.  He wins election in 1904 but bows to the 2-term Presidency tradition in 1908.



27.  William Howard Taft

A one-term Republican, he lacks the charisma of Teddy Roosevelt and at 300 lbs, is the butt of many jokes.  Yet during his term he launches more anti-trust suits than his predecessor, and signs into law two amendments: the federal income tax law, and the direct election of Senators.  The election law amendment ends the practice of rampant election fraud in Senate elections.