Theodore Roosevelt and the Modern Presidency n Despite ridicule from respectable friends, Roosevelt entered into politics after graduating from Harvard. Except for a brief interlude as a cattle rancher after the deaths of his wife and mother, he spent his early years seeking to become “one of the governing class.” Roosevelt’s service as a Rough Rider in the war against Spain made him a national hero. He rode his new fame to victory in the 1898 race for the governor of New York. Mckinley assassinated • In 1900 President McKinley added Roosevelt to the Republican ticket by naming him as his vice presidential running mate. Fifteen months later, an anarchist assassin’s bullet thrust Roosevelt into the presidency. Roosevelt as president Roosevelt saw the presidency as a “bully pulpit” to preach his own ideas. Throughout his government career, he supported progressive reform in strong language while in practice he pursued a more moderate course of action, especially toward business The Modern Presidency • As President, Roosevelt employed the full powers of his office, reversing the pattern of strong Congresses and weak Presidents that had predominated in the late 1800s. In doing so, he became the first modern President. He won such widespread popularity that members of Congress confronted him more cautiously than the unpopular and/or scandalridden Presidents of the late 1800s. Natural resources Roosevelt put his stamp on the presidency most clearly in the area of conservation • To settle competition between farmers and city dwellers over scarce water in the dry Western states, Roosevelt supported the Newlands Reclamation Act, which authorized the use of federal funds from the sale of public lands to pay for irrigation and land development projects. Resource management • Like Gifford Pinchot, the head of the newly formed U.S. Forest Service, Roosevelt believed in resource management. He approved Pinchot’s efforts to regulate lumbering on federal lands. He also added 150 million acres to the national forests and established 5 national parks, 51 federal bird reservations, and 4 national game preserves. Regulating business • Congress had passed the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 to prevent trusts from establishing monopolies, but industrialists devised substitute methods of retaining control, such as holding companies. • Roosevelt won fame as a “trustbuster” for using the Sherman Antitrust Act to file suit against the Northern Securities Company, a giant holding company created by J.P. Morgan to control the railroads. The trusts Roosevelt publicly touted victory in the case. However, in reality he did little to hinder the day-to-day operations of the railroads, which continued to function under the control of a few railroad firms. Mine strike • In 1902 Roosevelt turned to J.P. Morgan to persuade mine owners to accept arbitration in a crippling strike led by the United Mine Workers. In a compromise, miners got a wage increase and a shorter work day. However, they lost on the issue of union recognition, which mine owners refused to grant. Roosevelt threatened the use of troops to seize the mines from the owners A square deal Although mine owners passed along wage increases in the form of higher coal prices, Roosevelt convinced the public that it had gotten a “square deal” through resolution of the strike. The words “square deal” became the campaign slogan that carried him to election in 1904. Food and drugs • In 1906 (same year as the publication of The Jungle) Roosevelt signed the Meat Inspection Law (government inspection of meat and banned the use of dangerous preservatives and misleading labels) and the Pure Food and Drug Act (prohibited the manufacture of of impure or falsely labeled food and drugs). The laws laid the groundwork for future government regulations. After two terms Roosevelt’s hand-picked successor William Howard Taft won the presidency in 1906. • In four years, Taft prosecuted almost twice as many trusts (including Standard Oil and American Tobacco Company) as Roosevelt did in eight years. He expanded national forest lands, supported laws requiring improved safety for miners, and established the Children’s Bureau to protect the rights of children. • Because Taft did not have Roosevelt’s flair for publicity, the public underestimated his achievements– prodding Roosevelt to think of another run for the White House.