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Melting Pot Of Politics

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The Melting Pot of Politics, The Progressive Era

The Progressive Movement during the late 1890’s was one of America’s most influential time periods. It was not one group of people fighting for one thing; it was a plethora of people that had different ideas of how they saw society changing and how to improve it. Everyone was very different as far as parties went and had their own views. There were a few main parties that formed during this time period. There were the Democrats that had William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson, there were the Republicans that had William Taft, there were the Progressives that had Theodore Roosevelt and Robert Lafollette and there were the socialist party that had Eugene Debs. This melting pot of influences had tremendous social, economic, and political change.

Among the two candidates that had the most influence on the American people was the Progressive candidate, Theodore Roosevelt and the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson. These two were strikingly similar in their actions as history unfolds but they came from two opposite parties that contributed to the overall progressive era. They both maintained an image to the American people that was great and accomplishing, illustrating many reforms and positive, however these reforms were only executed in the interest of Roosevelt and Wilson.

T. Roosevelt only became president because McKinley was assassinated. He was not popular and he was made fun of as a coy boy by the republicans that were not happy. They did not want him stepping in and changing the Old Guard ways and so he promised the Old Guards that he would not reform or change their banking systems, their tariff issues or currency issues. But Roosevelt needed to show the American people some reforms so that he would appear to be a decent president. The Old Guard supported this decision to back Roosevelt as he made the people think that was a decent president due to his accomplished reforms. These reforms were also backed by the Old Guards because they profited from it.

One of the major reforms of the time was the Women’s Suffrage issue. No other president bothered with women until Roosevelt stepped in and only endorsed Women’s Suffrage because he needed the votes and he thought he could attract enough women and get their husbands to vote for him also. He did not really believe they were equal or that they even deserved to vote, he did it out of political expediency.

In the world of business, Roosevelt’s stance consisted of two sides. One side was against the people as exemplified in the Coal Strike of 1902 as he forced the workers back to mines by threatening to seize the mines. He did this only because it threatened the national economy in winter if there would be no coal due to strikes. Although he first sided with the coal workers, his actual reason was national interest and was in favor of the big business. His other side was against big business as portrayed by using the Sherman Anti Trust laws to break down companies like the Northern Securities Company in 1902. Roosevelt only did what was good for the nation and did whatever it took to keep the nation going in a forward direction but made it appear as if he was concerned about the average American. He would not say he was pro big business but he really was not 100% pro people either.

Another major reform was Roosevelt’s desire to improve business for businesses. This is the reason why the Food and Drug Act was established and The Meat Packing Act, he made it seem as if it was for the people but it really was not. Although



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