What made Theodore Roosevelt a Progressive president? Compare his actions to the presidents before him.
If we were to look at the presidents preceding Theodore Roosevelt, they tended to believe in laissez faire economics and tended to uphold the interests of business leaders over those of workers (you can observe this in the resolution of the Pullman Strike, where President Cleveland sent troops to forcibly break the strike). Meanwhile, the US economy continued to be dominated by large-scale, often monopolistic, business interests. The Progressive Movement was one focused on reforming the problems of the Gilded Age, and it made calls for a more responsive government that could actively offer solutions to these problems. Theodore Roosevelt most definitely fits within this narrative.
Roosevelt was always something of a political outsider, even from the beginning. It should be noted, when speaking about politics around the turn of the century, that they were dominated by what were called political machines—large political organizations designed to mobilize voters for the purposes of...
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