President Theodore Roosevelt was very concerned that all people should be treated fairly. When businesses acted in their self-interest and put the public’s interests in danger, he wasn’t afraid to act. This idea of treating everybody fairly was known as the Square Deal.
President Roosevelt used the Sherman Antitrust Act to deal with businesses that were only focused on their own self-interest. When the creation of the Northern Securities Company nearly led to an economic crisis, President Roosevelt filed suit against the company. The Supreme Court ruled the company had to dissolve. In 1902 when the owners of the coal mines refused to make any compromises to the workers as a way to resolve the coal strike, President Roosevelt threatened to have the government run the mines. He was concerned the public wouldn’t have enough coal to heat their homes as the strike dragged on and as winter approached. Eventually, arbitration was used to end the strike.
President Roosevelt took other actions to be sure businesses were acting fairly. The Bureau of Corporations was established to monitor businesses. The Hepburn Act gave the Interstate Commerce Commission the power to set railroad rates. The Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act were laws passed to protect consumers. Meat would have to be inspected before it could be sold. It was illegal to falsely label food and medicines.
President Roosevelt believed all people should be treated fairly. His Square Deal programs and policies reflected that belief.