Compare the successes of Presidents Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson in enacting reform legislation.

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Of the three, Theodore Roosevelt was perhaps the greatest reformer. He considered himself a progressive, even though he was a Republican and was largely responsible for breaking up the gigantic business trusts which had dominated the American economy. Since Congress was reluctant to enact legislation to regulate trusts, Roosevelt ordered his Attorney General to bring suit against them. The two most important cases were the Northern Securities Company Case and the Swift and Company Case which broke up the Insurance and Meat Trusts.

Aside from that, Roosevelt was largely responsible for the Pure Food and Drug Act, and the Meat Inspection Act, this after he read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. He couldn't believe that the conditions described by Sinclair were true; and when inspectors assured him that they were, he acted immediately. He was also a major element in the establishment of National Parks. Notably, Roosevelt was the first President to invite a Black person to dinner to the White House as an invited guest, namely Booker T. Washington.

Taft was hardly a reformer. He was more of a caretaker President, and quite conservative. He supported a lower tariff, which Roosevelt had opposed, and so offended Roosevelt that the latter ran against him for President in the 1916 election. His third party effort was just enough to give the election to Woodrow Wilson.

Although a Democrat, Wilson turned a deaf ear to social issues. He said that child labor was a state issue, so the Federal government should not be involved. He did not support Women's suffrage, and in fact was called "Kaiser Wilson" by some women's rights groups. He also was quite racist, and did nothing for the cause of Blacks. In fact, he fired all Blacks who held government positions when he took office.

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Compare the successes of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, & Wilson in enacting reform legislation.

These three presidents are commonly known as the "Progressive President."  Their terms covered the time known as the Progressive Era -- 1901-1920.  While all three had similar aims and goals, Roosevelt and Wilson were generally much more successful than Taft in passing reform laws.

Roosevelt got Congress to pass many important laws such as the Hepburn Railroad Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act.

By the time Taft became president, there were too many splits in the Republican Party (between reformers and others) for him to be able to get much passed.  We can't know if Roosevelt would have done any better, but Taft had a hard time.

Wilson, like Roosevelt, was able to pass important legislation such as the Federal Reserve Act, the Underwood Tariff Act, and the Clayton Antitrust Act.

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