How Influential Was Theodore Roosevelt In American


How Influential Was Theodore Roosevelt In American Politics In The Period 1898 To 1912 Essay, Research Paper

??????????? Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th

President of the United States of America. He succeeded McKinley as President,

on his assassination in 1901. Roosevelt became ?very popular and became famous for tackling business monopolies,

initiating the conservation of natural resources, his role in the development

of the Panama Canal and his part in the Russo- Japanese War which earnt him the

Nobel Peace Prize. He was born in New York on October 27, 1858 to a

wealthy, upper class merchant. He was well educated and attended Harvard where

he developed political interests. He married ?his first wife, Alice Lee in 1880 and in 1881 was elected to the

state legislature. Then in 1884 tragedy struck and his wife died giving birth

to their only child, a baby girl, even more unfortunate was the fact that eleven

hours previously his mother had died. With this he left politics briefly,

leaving to live on his ranch where he led the life of a cowboy but continuing

to write a range of literature. In 1886 he remarried on a trip to London, to

Edith Carow who became his most valued advisor. He went on to be assistant

secretary of the navy, 1897-98, and during the Spanish- American War he

commanded a volunteer force known as the ?rough riders?. This made him known

nationally, and he became a war hero. It was then he ran for governor and won,

narrowly. This was when his main political career started and the time in

history and his life we are looking from.It was his popularity which led him to becoming

vice- president to William McKinley in 1900. It was in 1901 when McKinley was

assassinated that Roosevelt became the youngest president in American history.

In his first term of office he followed an activist foreign policy, which was

in keeping with his personal motto of, ?Speak softly and carry a big stick?. In 1903 he abetted a revolution in Panama. This led

to the ambassador from Panama signing a treaty; this gave the U.S. the right to

allow work to begin on constructing a canal enabling interoceanic crossings

possible. ?Not only were they able to

build the canal but they were also able to possess the Canal Zone, which for a sum

of money America then had complete control over, meaning protection for the

canal. In 1904 a crisis about the

Dominican Republic led to President Theodore Roosevelt formulating a policy

that said the United States could intervene in any Latin American nation guilty

of internal or external misconduct. Roosevelt’s corollary to the Monroe

Doctrine justified subsequent US intervention in Caribbean issues. This

corollary prevented the establishment of foreign bases in the Caribbean and

allowed the right of intervening in Latin America to the U.S. He was the first American to

win the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation in the Russo- Japanese War in 1905.

He used both public and private channels when the Russians and Japanese became

locked in a war where neither side could score the knockout blow. Roosevelt

tried to maintain a balance between the two and organised a peace conference

that led to a treaty being signed. When there was a conflict between Germany

and France over Morocco, Roosevelt talked the British and French into attending

a conference, to which he sent delegates. In 1907 he sent the entire

United States navy, known as the ?Great White Fleet? on a good will tour of the

world. This was to both impress Japan at a time of controversy, as the U.S. was

excluding Oriental immigrants, and also to display their great naval power. At

this time he made a Gentleman?s Agreement on immigration with Japan, diffusing

the situation. Roosevelt held the ideal that

the Government should keep the justice between the conflicting economic

factors, labor and capital. He became known as a ?trust-buster?, as there were

well publicised prosecutions of big businesses and the breaking up of

monopolies. An example was a great railroad combination being forced to

dissolve, many other antitrust suits followed with the Sherman Act, such as

Swift and Company v. United States. ??????????? Progressivism

flowered during Roosevelt?s second term, as this was when many federal laws

affecting public and industrial health and conservation were introduced. It was

marked by the intervention of the government in things like the big trusts.

Roosevelt was seen to adopt a cautious approach to progressive reform, for when

he did approach the trusts, he did so reassuring the business community. ?With other things he acted more directly, when he heard about meat

being packed in the most terrible conditions, he immediately sent out two

agents who reported that the claims were correct. From this The Meat Inspection

Act of 1906 was implemented, this allowed sanitation standards to be imposed.

Also an act was introduced which meant that adulterated, misbranded or harmful

foods, drugs, and liquors were forbidden, The Pure Food and Drug Act. This

established the Food and Drug Administration. A further legislative milestone

was made with the passage of the Hepburn Act, which bettered the powers of the

Interstate Commerce Commission. ??????????? He

moved boldly on the issue of conservation. It had been something he had shown

concern for before he had become President, so by using his powers he set aside

125 million acres of western land as national forests. There were fifty federal

wildlife refuges added, five new national parks approved and the system of

designating national monuments set up. By using the Forest Reserve Act (1891)

he stopped 172 million acres of timberland being destroyed for settlement or

harvest. In 1908 he set up a National Conservation Commission which would

survey natural resources. Furthering his work he fostered great irrigation

projects, and reserved lands for public use. ??????????? Roosevelt

excited audiences with his personality and looks. He had a vivid personality, favourably

a young family (unknown, as previous presidents were all much older), social

status and was known to be a war hero. Believing in, ?The life of strenuous

endeavour?, he became a popular idol which he used to his advantage throughout

his term in office. He worked for the people?s best interests and the nation

knew this, they felt they had someone working for them. This made him different,

he was a, ?steward of the people?. He bought new excitement and power to the

presidency, leading the nation forward to reforms, unafraid to challenge powers

such as the trusts. ??????????? In 1909

Roosevelt stepped down from office leaving the presidency with Taft whom he had

prepared and helped into the position. He went abroad for more than a year and

on his return he went back into politics. However he became involved in

factional fights as the party split between progressive and conservative

Republicans, there was nothing he could do as he no longer had any power. He

did, however, still have enough influence to take charge of the progressives

and in 1912 ran for president but lost at the convention, after winning at the

primaries. With this he left the Republicans to instead run as the newly formed

Progressive Party?s candidate. They were nicknamed the Bull Moose party after

he?d commented he felt as fit as one, after an assassination attempt on him.

His influence and popularity was still such that he outpolled Taft but it was Woodrow

Wilson who won the election. 1912 is the end of the period

we are looking at, as this is really when he lost the majority of his power.

From then on he was just left frustrated over various factors, political and

private. The Progressive Party was disbanded in 1916 and he died in 1919 after

rejoining the Republicans but before he was given the chance to run against

Wilson again. He did say however, that, ?No man has had a happier life than I

have led; a happier life in every way.???????????? Roosevelt

was of the opinion that as the President he was a, ?Steward of the people? and

should do whatever he was allowed to for the publics good. He worked endlessly

on matters both seemingly big and small showing a sheer determination for all

he did. The power he had was used greatly in matters of foreign policy,

domestic policy and progressivism. The changes he made in politics showed what

great influence he had, not only did he introduce important acts but he opened

the way for further progression to take place. ???????????

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