Most Progressive Presidents
Progressives used the ideals of democracy, efficiency, regulation, and social justice to try to create a better world than the one that they found themselves living in. It was thought of as the tool by which America could achieve positive change and solve problems.
Roosevelt’s mail goal was to uphold and maintain the framer’s government of the people, by the people, and for the people. (Bull Moose Party, 1912) He saw the benefit of increased efficiency brought on by Big Business but stressed the need to legislate against its abuse of power while, in his "New Nationalism", emphasized the need for enhanced regulation and legislation to combat the evils of Big Business and at the same time maintain an acceptable tone. (Roosevelt,1910) In his "Square Deal" policy, he outlined a plan for enforcing equality for all members of society, including both the small-time laborer and the big-time business executives. He made notice of that fact that special interests groups were using their power to manipulate politics into misrepresenting the common will of mankind. (Bowles, 2011) He stressed the importance of ridding politics of this manipulation through measures such as prohibiting political contributions from corporations and implementation of the Australian ballot. Roosevelt also pointed out that the power of Big Business could be and was being misused to exploit the Little Man and stifle his advancement through society. He suggested that corporations and the people who run them be responsible for maintaining fully legal behavior and disclosing economic status to the public in order to prevent corruption. He also stressed that government should maintain complete control over industry vital to the welfare of the nation.
Wilson saw all monopoly as inherently unproductive and stressed its abolishment. Wilson, in his "New Freedom" policy, stressed that big business monopolies disrupted the economy and subjected the majority of the nation, and must be abolished. By removing the large barrier of monopoly’s called “big business” which clogged the arteries of our economic progress, it would open new opportunities for industrious entrepreneurs and revive the youthful spirit of America. (Wilson,1913) He emphasized how larger, more faceless corporations have taken over the smaller competitive companies of the early days of capitalism and in the process have led to stagnation and inefficiency which subjected the “little man” and stole his individuality and sense of being /worth, corrupted the ideal of democracy, and equality for which this nation was created. During his first Inaugural Address he was quoted as saying “This is not a day of triumph; it is a day of dedication. Here muster, not the forces of party, but the forces of humanity. Men's hearts wait upon us; men's lives hang in the balance; men's hopes call upon us to say what we will do. Who shall live up to the great trust? Who dares...