How did Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson differ in their respective approaches to the problem of regulating and controlling big business in the United States?

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As president, Theodore Roosevelt used an expansive definition of executive power to pursue monopolies, or trusts, that he saw as injurious to the public welfare. This led to some high-profile showdowns with powerful businessmen, such as his successful lawsuit against the Northern Securities Company, a railroad trust controlled by plutocrat and financier J. P. Morgan. As a result of this case and a handful of others (as well as Roosevelt's talent for self-promotion and image creation), he became known as the "trust-busting" President. But in truth, Roosevelt generally preferred to regulate the trusts, which, in many cases, he saw as beneficial to economic growth. He encouraged state legislation and signed federal laws (like the Hepburn Act) that placed regulations on big corporations. He also sought to empower the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce these regulations. When he ran for reelection in 1912 on the so-called "Bull Moose" ticket, he doubled down on this program of...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 26, 2019
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