Was Theodore Roosevelt Truly A Trust Buster?

1646 words - 7 pages

Was Theodore Roosevelt truly a trustbuster?Theodore Roosevelt is remembered in history as a man of vigor, ambition and someone who could take even the darkest of misfortunes and benefit from it. "Teddy" Roosevelt was sworn into office in 1901, shortly after the President McKinley was shot in office by an anarchist and "brought new excitement and power to the presidency". Teddy Roosevelt is remembered as an enthusiastic conservationist, initiator of the big stick policy, the man who saw the completion of the Panama Canal, and his most memorable accomplishment in office, being a "trust buster." However, there is much speculation about if Teddy Roosevelt was truly worthy of being labeled a "trust buster." William Howard Taft is known to have busted far more trusts than the Roosevelt administration, yet, why is President Roosevelt known as the end all be all of trust busting? Was his title indeed earned?As a man of great character and immense power, Teddy Roosevelt is credited with being "the first modern president" and is known for his accomplishments due to the tremendous increase of presidential authority during his time in office. The Roosevelt Administration came into office during a time of economic, demographic and political growth. Big businesses were on the rise and having positive and negative effects on life of the "common man." The working class saw a period of awful working conditions, minimal wage, and watched helplessly as the standard of living decreased drastically for some and increased remarkably for the lucky few.Big Businesses of America however continued to boom and the chasm between the rich and the poor grow larger and larger everyday. The availability of cheap labor due to the mass amounts of people flooding immigration meant nothing but good news to big businesses and the average American wasn't quite content with the way the economy was heading. Being a successful and honest politician, Roosevelt preached that big businesses must be broken down to protect the small business owners, as well as to eliminate the chances of monopolies rising. The preexisting laws against Trusts and combinations bound Teddy Roosevelt and even more importantly William Howard Taft during their presidency. Both presidents found the Sherman Anti-Trust act to be the most practical and affective against large companies. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act essentially prohibited Trusts and was passed by congress 1890, far before either of the two presidents was even born. However, this act was only ever enforced after the Roosevelt administration took office.Teddy Roosevelt believed that significant yet non-radical steps should be taken towards illuminating large and powerful monopolies such as The Northern Securities, which was essentially a company that was used to control railroads. James J. Hill relentlessly fought over control over important railroads in various states and collaborated with the famous and wealthy J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller and...

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