Topics in the News
America, Europe, and Asia
The "Open Door" Policy.
In 1899, with the European powers effectively carving up a weak China into "spheres of influence" under their financial control and moving on a possible collision course over trade in that Asian nation, Secretary of State John Hay appealed to them to cooperate with each other and the United States. Hay circulated what became known as the "Open Door" notes to Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, and Japan, asking them not to erect prohibitive trade barriers and to leave an "open door" for other countries, especially the United States, to trade within their Chinese spheres of influence on an equal basis. They reluctantly agreed. For the time being China maintained the appearance of national integrity, but in reality its sovereignty was a hollow shell. In June 1900 young Chinese nationalists, angry and resentful that their government had succumbed to foreign domination, took matters into their own hands. Calling themselves the Righteous Fists of Harmony (or Boxers), they seized foreign diplomats and residents and herded them into the British legation. Concerned that this action might be used as a pretext for further dismemberment of China, Hay again called for cooperation and coordination in handling the crisis, as well as for an affirmation of Chinese sovereignty. A multinational force put down the rebellion in August and rescued the diplomats....
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Big Stick and Dollar Diplomacy
The Teller Amendment, attached to the 1898 declaration of war against Spain, declared that the United States was going to war to gain Cuban independence, not to colonize Cuba. (In contrast, the United States seized Puerto Rico from Spain and made the island a U.S. territory.) As part of the agreement for the withdrawal of American troops at the end of the military occupation in 1902, an independent Cuba was induced to sign a series of provisions, known collectively as the Platt Amendment. Named for its sponsor, Sen. Orville Platt of Connecticut, the amendment declared that Cuba could not make any treaty impairing its sovereignty without consent from the United States, and it allowed the United States to intervene to maintain the independence or political and social stability of Cuba. The amendment also stated that Cuba could not incur any debt it could not repay from current revenues and that Cuba was to lease land to the United States for American naval bases. (The United States still operates a base at Guantánamo Bay as part of this clause.) Diplomatic pressure usually proved sufficient for the American government to get its way with the Cuban government. With Cuba independent in only a formal sense, American troops returned to that nation in 1906 to put down protests by a political party that had lost in recent elections.
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Business Trusts and Regulation
On 1 January 1901 Andrew Carnegie agreed to sell his steel company for $480 million to J. Pierpont Morgan, who then consolidated that company with his other steel holdings to form United States Steel Corporation, the first company in history capitalized at more than $1 billion. By comparison all U.S. manufacturing combined had only $9 billion in capitalization at that time, and all federal and state government expenditures totaled $1.66 billion in 1902. Through vertical integration of its holdings, U.S. Steel controlled every step in the steelmaking process from mining coal and ore to the making of nails and steel beams. Bringing about 80 percent of all American steel production under one company, U.S. Steel operated with expenses and revenues greater than all but a few of the world's governments. The deal was one of three hundred major consolidations that reshaped the American economy between 1897 and 1903. Those mergers totaled roughly $7.5 billion in capitalization, encompassed an estimated 40 percent of the U.S. industrial output, and effected vast horizontal integrations that brought large segments of industries—sometimes entire industries—under the control of a handful of firms. In railroads, for example, 95 percent of all trackage was controlled by six lines in 1899. Other industries—including aluminum, tobacco, life insurance, sugar, lead, whiskey, plate glass,...
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City and State Reforms
Few Are Immune.
Reformers in major cities at the turn of the century faced widespread problems. It seemed as if no city were immune to corruption and graft. Geography played no favorites. Reporters and journalists found city councils for sale as well as mayors protecting criminals or keeping company with criminal elements in Jersey City, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and many other major cities. Men with names such as "Hinky Dink" Kenna and "Bath Tub" John Coughlin and political machines such as Tammany Hall in New York City supplied the necessary votes on election day to keep their systems operating. Franchises for streetcars, water and sewage, gas, and electricity were sold to private companies—often run by the corrupt politicians or their friends—with fifty-year leases that allowed them to set rates without interference. The police and other civil servants employed to protect the public interest were no less corrupt, taking kickbacks or payoffs for favorable treatment. Underpaid policemen could expect to supplement their pay with bribes from saloon keepers or the owners of brothels. The true victims in all these crimes saw their pay-checks covering less and less of their bills as they watched the cost of their household utilities rise, their children's schools fall apart, the streets remain unpaved and littered with trash, and their water become contaminated. All the while these private...
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The Conservation Crusade
Origins of the Movement.
Concern over the consumption of natural resources and its impact on the land began in the middle of the nineteenth century. Transcendentalist writers Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson called attention to the destruction of nature in their native New England. Landscape painters of the Hudson River School, including Thomas Moran and Frederic Church, depicted idyllic wilderness scenes in the Adirondacks and the Rockies, evoking a yearning for romantic natural vistas by then under threat of destruction. Lumbermen had cleared eastern forests and were moving westward at a rapid pace, leaving behind barren lands subject to injurious soil erosion. In 1894 fear of watershed destruction and soil erosion in the Adirondacks led the New York State legislature to pass a "Forever Wild" constitutional amendment, which banned any logging within the Adirondack State Park. By the turn of the century lumbering was the second largest industry in the country, and statistics showed that annual timber consumption was still rising. Also during the late nineteenth century western farmers and ranchers competing for water had tangled in shooting wars over water rights. Neither private corporations nor individual western states could afford to finance the desperately needed irrigation systems to resolve the problem of water shortages. The 1890 census report announcing the closure of...
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Divisive Party Politics
Growing Executive Power.
During the first decade of the twentieth century, the presidency underwent dramatic changes. In office from 1897 until his death on 14 September 1901, William McKinley had quietly expanded the chief executive's power during the Spanish-American War, making policy decisions regarding the Philippines without consulting Congress. Strong support in Congress for the expansion of American international influence muted any congressional opposition to McKinley's actions. He reorganized the executive branch and increased the size of his staff to handle his increasing responsibilities. McKinley was also more involved than previous "caretaker" presidents in the creation and passage of legislation, actively leading his party and the government. He presided over a victory in the Spanish-American War and a strong economic recovery, both of which helped to generate public confidence in his administration.
A Prototypical President.
When Vice President Theodore Roosevelt became president in September 1901, the nature of the office quickly came to reflect his own character. Congress and the nation at large knew within a few months that great change was afoot. Journalist Ray Stannard Baker captured Roosevelt's essence: "The President ran full-speed on all the tracks at once." In his December 1901 State of the Union message...
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Industrialism and Government
The Effects of Industrialism.
As industries consolidated at the turn of the century, factories grew larger and more dangerous. By 1900 industrial accidents killed thirty-five thousand workers each year and maimed five hundred thousand others, and the numbers continued to rise. The general public became concerned with indus-trial accidents only when scores of workers were killed in a single widely reported incident, such as the many coal-mine explosions or the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in 1911. The average workday varied from industry to industry, but most laborers worked ten-hour days, six days a week for wages that barely covered the cost of living for a family of four. To make ends meet many of these families had little choice but to send their children, sometimes as young as six, to work in the factories. Wages generally rose during the first decade of the twentieth century, but these increases were outpaced by inflation, making it more expensive to live. At the first sign of economic trouble owners did not hesitate to slash wages or lay off workers. The loss of skilled jobs to automation, the institution of "Taylorism," or scientific management, and the hiring of new immigrants at lower wages added to the plight of the working class.
In response to the rise of the trusts at the end...
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Jim Crow, Nativism, and Racism
Jim Crow Matures.
By 1900 southern segregationists had completed much of their legislative agenda. Through legal devices such as poll taxes, literacy tests, and the grandfather clause (which denied suffrage to anyone whose grandfather had been ineligible to vote) voter rolls had been reduced, and the disfranchisement of blacks was virtually complete. The Supreme Court tacitly approved the creation of a separate society with its 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld the Louisiana law requiring "separate but equal" railroad facilities for blacks and whites. Starting around 1900, this notion of "separate but equal" was quickly applied to all facets of southern life, though never with any effort to make things equal. By 1915, for example, South Carolina was spending twelve times as much per capita for the education of white children as it did for black children. Throughout the South movie theaters, water fountains, hotels, restaurants, and swimming pools were segregated or declared off limits to blacks. Laws legislating this separation of the races, named Jim Crow laws, relegated blacks to an inferior status socially and to second-class status legally.
Southerners effectively used progressive arguments for their actions. Jim Crow laws were extreme examples of social-control legislation, laws in...
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The McKinley Assassination
On 5 September 1901, Presidents' Day, President William McKinley, who was visiting the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, delivered a speech that clearly set forth his position on the controversial issue of tariffs and trade reciprocity and laid out a new direction for the GOP during his second term. As part of his visit he had also scheduled a public reception at the Temple of Music on the afternoon of 6 September. Although the president was guarded by three members of the Secret Service, four special agents, and several soldiers, his secretary, George Cortelyou, believed that it would be difficult to ensure McKinley's safety at so public a gathering and asked the president to cancel the reception. McKinley brushed aside his secretary's apprehensions.
Before the reception a crowd gathered under a blazing sun, hoping to see the president and shake his hand. He arrived promptly at four o'clock. The public was admitted to the building two abreast and then formed into single file. As the line moved along, the Secret Service men tried to catch a glimpse of each person before he or she reached the president. At around seven minutes past four, Leon Czolgosz, a short, slender young man with a bandaged hand worked his way through the line, patiently waiting his turn. When Czolgosz reached McKinley, he...
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National Politics: The 1900 Republican Convention
A Successful Incumbent.
As the sitting president, William McKinley faced no challenge for the Republican nomination. The prospering economy, his deft handling of the Spanish-American War and its aftermath, and his statements about containing the trusts helped his popularity immensely—as had his successful use of the press and his many speaking trips across the country. After March 1900 he followed tradition and withdrew from the public eye, retiring to the White House for the spring and for the summer to his home in Canton, Ohio, where he received visitors and dealt with a growing crisis in China. His friend Sen. Mark Hanna, who had run Mc-Kinley's successful campaign four years earlier, was again selected as head of the Republican National Committee.
Seeking a Running Mate.
The only question facing the Republicans who met in Philadelphia on 19-21 June was who would be McKinley's running mate. The death of Vice President Garrett Hobart in 1899 had left open the second spot on the ticket. (Prior to passage of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution in 1967, there was no provision for filling the vacancy if a vice president died in office.) The prospective vice-presidential candidate needed to be an easterner to balance the ticket, and several names had been mentioned prior to the convention. Secretary of War Elihu Root was...
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National Politics: the 1900 Democratic Convention
The Democrats gathered in Kansas City on 4 July, and to no one's surprise they nominated the charismatic William Jennings Bryan, who had been their candidate four years earlier, on the first ballot. As his running mate they chose Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois, who had been vice president during Grover Cleveland's second term and who shared Bryan's belief that the nation should abandon the gold standard for silver. The only suspense at the convention pertained to which issue would be given greater weight in the party platform: an attack on expansionism or a restatement of the 1896 pledge to free coinage of silver. The debate was short, and expansionism won out. Attacking the foreign policies of the McKinley administration, the Democrats declared that "imperialism growing out of the Spanish war, involves the very existence of the Republic, and the destruction of our free institutions. We regard it as the paramount issue of this campaign." They called for the establishment of a stable form of government and independence for the Philippines to be followed by protection of the new nation from outside interference. This course was what the Republicans had planned for Cuba and were considering for the Philippines as well. At Bryan's insistence the platform also included a reaffirmation of the party's support for the coinage of silver.
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National Politics: the 1900 Elections
The Republican Platform.
Shortly after the Democrats issued their platform, Republican newspapers began discussing the GOP platform adopted in Philadelphia. The Republican platform was interesting for what it did not include as much as for what remained. Senator Hanna's pet project of subsidies for enlarging the merchant marine, which would help overseas business expansion, had been dropped because of midwestern opposition. A statement affirming that Congress has power over territories that belong to the United States had been left out. Other controversial issues, such as a statement about civilservice reform, were also removed to prevent injury to Republican chances. McKinley, who had favored all three proposals, expressed his support for the most important, stating that Congress has "full legislative power over territory belonging to the United States" and adding, "This doctrine, first proclaimed in the cause of freedom, will never be used as a weapon of oppression." He also reasserted the Republican position backing the gold standard.
The Republicans' Real Positions.
McKinley's formal letter of acceptance, issued in September to be used by Republican campaigners, addressed other issues at length. He explained the actions he took to resolve the...
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National Politics: the 1902 Elections
Breaking with Tradition.
As the off-year elections got under way, the new president, Theodore Roosevelt, planned to make a series of speeches. Roosevelt's active participation in the campaign was an innovation, and to quell criticism that a sitting president was supposed to be above party politics, the White House told reporters that...
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National Politics: the 1904 Republican Convention
The Benefits of Incumbency.
Political events in the early part of 1904—especially Senate approval of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, Roosevelt's greatest foreign-policy triumph to date—bolstered the president's election chances. In March Roosevelt openly courted Union Army veterans, traditionally a powerful block of Republican voters, by having the Pension Bureau issue an order lowering the age at which Union veterans could receive benefits. That same month his trust-busting program, which worried conservative Republicans and their wealthy supporters, gained a boost when the Supreme Court handed down a decision favoring the government in the Northern Securities case. His efforts to emphasize conservation were gaining support as well. The last part of his "Square Deal"—the friendliness toward organized labor that he demonstrated by how he had settled the anthracite-coal strike in 1902—rounded out the successes of his first term.
The death of Sen. Mark Hanna in February 1904 removed any threat of opposition to Roosevelt's nomination. Roosevelt struggled to find a replacement for Hanna as chairman of the Republican National Committee. After being turned down by three different men, including Elihu Root, Roosevelt asked the man he had wanted all along, George B. Cortelyou, secretary of commerce and labor. With...
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National Politics: the 1904 Democratic Convention
After the defeat of William Jennings Bryan in 1900, the conservative wing of the Democratic Party emerged as the dominant force in the party. Casting about for a candidate, Democrats first considered asking Grover Cleveland to run for a third term, but Bryan's opposition and memories of Cleveland's mixed record quickly ended that boom. They then looked for someone not associated with the factionalism of the 1890s. The conservatives pushed aside maverick publisher William Randolph Hearst, turning instead to Judge Alton Brooks Parker of New York. They theorized that he could carry New York, and, if he could pick up just a few more states to go along with the Solid South, the Democrats could reclaim the White House. Silence on the issues was the key to winning the nomination, Parker's managers felt, so much so that he was called the "enigma from New York" by some members of the press. The strategy worked, and the judge swept the nomination rather easily.
A Conservative Convention.
The platform reflected the conservatives' sway over the party, further angering Bryan and his supporters, who failed to get a tougher antitrust plank and a strong commitment to tariff reform. Parker completed the push to the right when he sent the convention a telegram stating his monetary views. As president, he said, he would take the...
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National Politics: The 1904 Elections
The Invisible Candidates.
Parker's bold statement of his position on the gold standard led many Democrats to believe that they had indeed found a candidate aggressive enough to take on Roosevelt. That hope quickly dissipated with the reading of his acceptance speech in August. He spoke out for self-government in the Philippines and said that the states had all the power needed to regulate trusts. The rest of his remarks listlessly ran through a litany of Democratic positions. Parker's decision to run a front-porch campaign, as McKinley had done in 1896, showed how little energy his campaign had. It was difficult to reach his hometown of Esopus, New York, and the voters stayed away. The Democratic National Committee had money to spend on the campaign, but it did so inefficiently, further hurting the party's chances. In taking a conservative stance on the issues, Democrats conceded the middle and left of the political spectrum to Roosevelt and the Republicans. The Republicans, on the other hand, could not unleash their best campaign weapon because of tradition. According to long-standing political custom, the incumbent president should not actively campaign for votes. With Roosevelt off the stump the Republicans lacked their best speaker. He could give one speech accepting the nomination and outline his positions in his acceptance letter, but that was the extent of his public participation in...
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National Politics: The 1906 Elections
The contentious 1906 session of Congress left the Republican Party in some disarray. The division of the party in the debate over tariff reform was compounded by wrangling over the Hepburn Act to
|Senate||59th Congress||60th Congress||Net Gain/Loss|
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National Politics: The 1908 Republican Convention
Changing of the Guard.
Despite Roosevelt's pledge not to seek another term, conservative Republicans feared a third-term movement for the popular president at the convention. Sticking to his promise, Roosevelt made every effort to ensure that delegates elected to the convention supported the nomination of his friend and hand-picked successor, Secretary of War William Howard Taft. Roosevelt's support made Taft's collection of delegates prior to the convention relatively easy. Progressive Republicans supported Taft as the president's heir apparent, further helping his cause. The administration's control of the seating process at the convention virtually sealed the deal. When two hundred disputed delegates gave their support to Taft, his two rivals, Vice President Charles Fairbanks and Sen. Joseph Foraker of Ohio, were essentially defeated before the convention opened in Chicago on 16 June. The wrangling over selection of Taft's running mate during the convention reflected the tension between conservatives and progressives. Neither the president nor the candidate got the vice presidential candidate they wanted. After Sen. Jona-than P. Dolliver of Iowa, Gov. Charles Evans Hughes of New York, and Sen. Albert J. Beveridge of Indiana turned down the second spot on the ticket, the progressives were left empty-handed, opening the way for the conservatives. They succeeded in gaining the nomi-nation...
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National Politics: The 1908 Democratic Convention
The Return of the Great Commoner.
William Jennings Bryan returned to the helm of his party in 1908. He had staked out his position two years before in a speech leaving little question that he was trying to reclaim the political left from Roosevelt and the progressive Republi-cans. In this two-hour speech he dedicated six paragraphs to the railroad question. Viewing them as monopolies, he said that if proper, effective railroad regulation could not be obtained, the government should treat the railroads as public property and ultimately take them over. The Republican press acted as if the entire speech were about railroads. They substituted "immediately" for "ultimately," making the proclamation seem more extreme than it really was. Congressional Republicans responded to Bryan's criticism by passing the Hepburn Act, and southern states rejected his argument because it went counter to their states' rights philosophy of restricting the power of the federal government. Bryan quickly dropped the issue, but his opponents did not. The remainder of his speech did little to inspire his followers or appease the conservatives within his party. Yet regardless of how the Democrats felt about the speech, Bryan was still the man to beat for the nomination in 1908.
Having not recovered from the disaster in the previous election, the...
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National Politics: The 1908 Elections
The Bryan Campaign.
As the campaign got under way, Bryan ran in his usual style. He attacked the Republicans for stealing many of his platform ideas from previous years. He argued that he was the rightful successor to Roosevelt because he was more progressive than Taft and could carry out better reforms than his Republican opponent. The Panic of 1907 left the Republicans unable to promote themselves as the party of prosperity, but Bryan did not capitalize on the issue. He campaigned on so many issues that his message failed to reach the public in an effective manner, and he unsettled many middle-class voters by adopting as his campaign slogan, "Shall the People Rule?"—a question whose strong socialist under-tones were repellent to many middle- and upper-class Americans. The Democrats also remained outside main-stream political feelings by adhering to their support for states' rights. In the end his ideas proved too radical for most voters, including labor, despite the endorsement of the AFL.
Taft's Lackluster Effort.
Docile by nature and over-shadowed by a much-loved, charismatic president, Taft did little to invigorate the voters on his own. After the convention he took a two-month vacation before hitting
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Bryan, William Jennings 1860-1925
DEMOCRATIC> PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, 1896, 1900, 1908
SECRETARY OF STATE, 1913-1915
"The Great Commoner."
Best known for his three unsuccessful campaigns for the presidency of the United States (1896, 1900, and 1908), for his tireless advocacy of the rights of the "common man," and for his participation in the Scopes "Monkey" Trial in 1925, William Jennings Bryan is also notable for his exemplary leadership of the faltering Democratic Party during the first decade of the twentieth century.
Born in Salem, Illinois, on 19 March 1860, Bryan inherited from his parents a fervent Protestant faith and an intense commitment to the Democratic Party. After earning an A.B. (1881) and an A.M. (1884) at Illinois College and a law degree from Union Law School in 1883, he married Mary Elizabeth Baird in 1884. In 1887, seeing no political future for himself in Illinois, he set up a law practice in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1890, when the new Populist Party disrupted Nebraska politics, Bryan...
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La Follette, Robert M. 1855-1925
GOVERNOR OF WISCONSIN, 1901-1905
U.S. SENATOR, 1906-1925
With his election as governor of Wisconsin in 1900, Robert La Follette emerged as one of the most impassioned American progressives, battling the entrenched power of the corrupt political "machine" by putting into practice his "Wisconsin Idea" of entrusting his administration to non-partisan civil servants drawn largely from the University of Wisconsin faculty. Largely because of Lincoln Steffens's articles about his efforts in McClure's Magazine he was soon marked as a rising star in the nationwide progressive movement, earning him the nickname "Battlin' Bob."
La Follette was born into a poor but respectable farming family in pioneer Dane County, Wisconsin, on 14 June 1855. Despite their poverty, La Follette's family managed to scrape together enough money to send him to the University of Wisconsin. His love of oratory and the need to perform drew him to the stage, but fearing he could not support a family as an actor, he turned to law. After graduation in 1879, he stayed at the university to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1880. Within a year he had been elected district attorney of Dane County, Wisconsin, and married Belle Case, with whom he subsequently had four children,...
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Pinchot, Gifford 1865-1946
HEAD OF THE FORESTRY DIVISION, US. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, 1898-1901
HEAD OF THE BUREAU OF FORESTRY, 1901-1905
HEAD OF THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE, 1905-1910
A Valued Adviser.
The most influential of the small group of close friends who advised President Theodore Roosevelt on conservation issues, Gifford Pinchot made conservation one of the leading causes of the Progressive Era. In the course of his career he slowly expanded the nation's concept of conservation from protection of forest resources to the conservation of human society itself.
Born on 11 August 1865 at his maternal grandfather's summer home in Simsbury, Connecticut, Gifford Pinchot, the son of a wealthy New York merchant and land speculator, spent much of his childhood abroad with his parents and three siblings. After graduation from the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in 1884, he enrolled at Yale University. His maternal grandfather, who had achieved even greater wealth in Manhattan real estate and construction than Pinchot's father, promised to leave his entire fortune to young Gifford if he would enter the business after he graduated from Yale in 1889. Instead, he followed his father's advice and decided to become a forester. His father had seen the great working forests of Europe and...
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Roosevelt, Theodore 1858-1919
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 1901-1909
A Modern President.
As president, Theodore Roosevelt embodied the new century, full of boundless energy and endless possibilities. His dynamic personality overshadowed the accomplishments of both his predecessor, William McKinley, and his successor, William Howard Taft. Roosevelt's youthful vigor and active lifestyle personalized the presidency to an extraordinary degree. Public focus shifted away from the party to the man in office, as Roosevelt continued McKinley's efforts to modernize the presidency and aggressively exercised his executive powers instead of playing the part of "caretaker president." Roosevelt used the office as his "bully pulpit," lecturing his fellow citizens on moral, ethical, and political issues. America's power and presence on the world stage expanded further under Roosevelt's "Big Stick" diplomacy, while his writings and speeches also had a major impact on domestic issues. By the time he left office, the presidency had been permanently transformed.
Theodore Roosevelt was born on 27 October 1858 in New York...
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Taft, William Howard 1857-1930
SECRETARY OF WAR, 1904-1908
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 1909-1913
Few Americans had heard of William Howard Taft when President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to replace Elihu Root as secretary of war in 1904. In 1908, when conservative Republicans championed him as their presidential candidate, Taft's family and friends had to persuade him to run. He aspired to a seat on the Supreme Court, but his wife had greater ambitions for him. A large man given to lethargy, he did not have the drive or the skill to be a truly successful politician. "Politics, when I am in it, makes me sick," he exclaimed.
Born on 15 September 1857 into a midwestern, staunchly Republican family of moderate wealth and some legal and political distinction near Cincinnati, Ohio, William Howard Taft was indoctrinated early with the conservative attitudes frequently found among members of the upper middle class. At Yale University he was exposed to the laissez-faire teachings of William Graham Sumner. After graduating as salutatorian from Yale University in...
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Washington, Booker T. 1856-1915
AFRICAN AMERICAN POLITICAL LEADER AND EDUCATOR
Up from Slavery.
Booker T. Washington was the most influential African American political, social, and educational leader of the 1900s . As head of the Tuskegee Institute and founder of the National Negro Business League he shaped an accommodationist strategy to cope with segregation and discrimination and became the center of a fierce debate among black leaders and intellectuals. He was born the son of a slave woman and a white father, whose identity he never learned, on a small farm in western Virginia in 1856. As a child Washington, who was taught the virtues of frugality, cleanliness, and personal morality, worked in a salt furnace and as a houseboy for a white family. In 1872 he entered Hampton Institute, graduating in 1875. There he formed one of the central ideas of his life: if African Americans were to be accorded equality and respect by whites, they would have to demonstrate their usefulness and establish their autonomy in concrete and unmistakable ways.
This idea shaped the guiding principles of the Tuskegee Institute, which Washington founded in 1881. The school instructed its students in academic subjects, but it primarily emphasized training in carpentry, masonry, agriculture, cooking, and other basic skills. Washington shaped the...
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People in the News
Albert J. Beveridge, a freshman senator from Indiana, made his first speech as a U.S. senator on 9 January 1900. Having just returned from a visit to the front lines in the Philippine Islands, where American troops were fighting Filipino insurrectionists, he chastised the Democrats for wanting to give up the islands and praised the Republican effort to establish and maintain control over them.
On 5 December 1904 it was announced that Sen. Francis Marion Cockrell of Missouri would retire after twenty-nine years of service and would take with him the last pair of cowhide boots worn in the Senate. After Cockrell's retirement, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Secret Service agent William Craig was killed and President Roosevelt suffered an injured leg when the carriage in which they were riding was struck by a trolley car near Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on 3 September 1902.
Minutes after San Francisco was hit by a devastating earthquake early on 18 April 1906, Gen. Frederick Funston, one of the heroes of the Filipino Insurrection and commander at the Presidio in San Francisco, acting without orders from Washington, marched his troops into the city and quickly established martial law to combat looting and general anarchy. His quick thinking was subsequently praised by city leaders...
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Henry C. Adams, 55, Republican representative from Wisconsin (1903-1906), 9 July 1906.
Robert Adams Jr., 57, minister to Brazil (1889-1890); Republican representative from Pennsylvania (1893-1906), 1 June 1906.
Russell A. Alger, 69, Union Army veteran; secretary of war (1897-1899); Republican senator from Michigan (1902-1907), 24 January 1907.
William B. Allison, 79, Republican representative (1863-1871) and senator (1873-1908) from Iowa; Senate majority leader (1897, 1904-1906, 1907-1908), 4 August 1908.
William B. Bate, 78, Mexican War and Confederate veteran; Democratic senator from Tennessee (1887-1905), 9 March 1905.
Vincent Boreing, 63, Union Army veteran; Republican representative from Kentucky (1899-1903), 16 September 1903.
Abraham L. Brick, 47, Republican representative from Indiana (1899-1908), 7 April 1908.
Marriott Brosius, 58, Republican representative from Pennsylvania (1889-1901), 16 March 1901.
William J. Bryan, 31, Democratic senator from Florida (1907-1908), died three months after filling the vacancy caused by the death of Stephen Mallory, 22 March 1908.
Henry Burk, 53, Republican representative from Penn-sylvania...
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Albert J. Beveridge, The Russian Advance (New York & London: Harper, 1903);
John Burroughs, Camping and Tramping with Roosevelt (Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1907);
John H. Clifford and Marion M. Miller, eds., The Works of Abraham Lincoln, 4 volumes, with introductions and articles by Theodore Roosevelt (New York: Newton & Cartwright, 1908);
Oscar King Davis, William Howard Toft, The Man of the Hour (Philadelphia: P. W. Ziegler, 1908);
Marshall Everett, Complete Life of William McKinley and Story of His Assassination (Cleveland: N. G. Hamilton, 1901);
Samuel Fallows, ed., Life of William McKinley, Our Martyred President (Chicago: Regan Printing, 1901);
William Bayard Hale, A Week in the White House with Theodore Roosevelt (New York: Putnam, 1908);
Murat Halstead, The Illustrious Life of William McKinley, Our Martyred President (Chicago, 1901);
Halstead, Victorious Republicanism and Lives of the Standard Bearers, McKinley and Roosevelt (Chicago: Republican National Publishing, 1900);
Marcus A. Hanna, Mark Hanna: His Book (Boston: Chappie, 1904);
John Hay, Memorial Address on the Life and...
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Important Events in Government and Politics, 1900–1909
- On January 2, Secretary of State John Hay announces that he has completed negotiations for the "Open Door" policy in China.
- On February 6, President William McKinley appoints William Howard Taft, a federal circuit judge, to head the Philippine Commission to establish a civil government in the islands.
- On March 9, the Social Democratic Party meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana nominates the Socialist Eugene V. Debs of Indiana for President and Job Harrison of California as Vice-President.
- On March 24, the new Carnegie Steel Company is incorporated in New Jersey in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Law of 1890. The law has proven ineffective in preventing the establishment of industrial monopolies. Capitalized at $160 million, Carnegie Steel is the largest incorporation to date.
- On April 4, Admiral George Dewey, naval hero of the Spanish-American War, announces his willingness to be a candidate for the presidency.
- On April 12, the Organic Act for Civil Government extends American navigation laws and federal statutes to Puerto Rico. Island residents are Puerto Rican citizens, except those Spaniards who elect to remain Spaniards.
- On April 13, for the fourth time in eight years, the House of Representatives adopts a resolution favoring a constitutional...
(The entire section is 4036 words.)