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President Theodore Roosevelt is known as the first “trust-busting” president. He is typically seen as someone who was very opposed to monopolies. However, Roosevelt was not as opposed to monopolies as his successor, William H. Taft.
Theodore Roosevelt did think that many trusts should be broken up. However, he did not think that all trusts were bad. Instead, he thought that some trusts were actually beneficial to the public in general. He only wanted to break up the trusts that were, in his view, harmful to the public. Roosevelt is said to have told J. P. Morgan that he would not attack his trust “unless we find out that in any case they have done something that we regard as wrong.” In other words, Roosevelt was not against trusts just because they had monopoly power. Instead, he was only against trusts that acted in ways that he thought were harmful.
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