The Progressive Presidents essay

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The term progressivism refers to a variety of economic and social responses to problems, introduced to America by introduction of industrialization in America. As a result, America finds itself at crossroads at the beginning of the twentieth century, having been presented with both abundant opportunity but, at the same time, limited by the problems, which were both internal and external. This necessitated the need of leaders, who will provide a direction, which would suit the ripe climate for reform. This paper will discuss how presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson brought about progressivism, based on their principles and beliefs.

Theodore Roosevelt took up the presidency of America in 1901.He was a soft spoken figure, who uniquely carried a big stick and  the Spanish-American War had given him the status of a hero. On assuming power, he came up with the three C’s principle, which he strongly believed would address the era’s primary concerns. They represented the control of corporations, conservation, as well as consumer protection. In the period, the contentious topics were majorly the relationship between the laborers and the owners, coupled with the role of the government in that relationship and also the ownership of the corporation (The Progressive Presidents, 2013).

Theodore is known for being a statesman, whose progressive policies he accomplished included sending of the Great White Fleet out, having the Square Deal crafted, being able to preserve the land for national park, which now constitutes thousands of acres, which also included the Grand Canyon, and winning the Medal of Honor, and the Nobel Peace prize. He was also able to successfully endorse the Big Stick Diplomacy and inspiring the teddy bear’s creation. Before election as the president, Roosevelt had earned a reputation as a moderate progressive.

As a politician, Roosevelt was a brilliant thinker and a campaigner. He was also righteous, egotistical, and extremely ambitious, and considering everything as a contest he was always serious to win. His worldview and ideas was representative of the views of the 19th century’s middle class and upper class educated Americans. He also believed that the nation’s problems could be healed by his already absorbed progressive and populist ideas, as well as the scientific thought in the hands of the experts. In addition, his investment personality into office and own exuberance greatly distinguished him from a lot of the people in his class (About Theodore Roosevelt, 2013).

The “imperial presidency,’’ of president Roosevelt  could easily be described as a life considered to be larger than life of chief executive, since it was dominated by leadership, characterized  by the president’s  force of will. Using his office, he was able to preach the reform message, thus, leading the nation in what he believed was the best direction for the country. Seemingly using force of will and “masculine progressivism’’ with the boost of his boisterous and vigorous nature, this president managed to bring his vision of the politics of America reform into a reality(The Progressive Presidents, 2013).

While a president, Theodore believed that America was in great need for good corporations, and to ensure that corporate greed did not get out of hand, the corporate behavior needed to be watched. However, progressivism ended, when the horrors of World War I led to the exposure of the cruelty of the people. World War I was associated largely with the progressive language, used by President Woodrow Wilson, which, by means of war, meant to create a safe world for democracy (The Progressive Era, 2013).

The other progressive president, Woodrow Wilson, who is also quite idealistic, believed that the will of the people should be the guiding principle for governance in America. Wilson believed in what is termed as “New Freedom’’, which led to several changes although he was more idealistic than practical. For the idealistic Wilson, the end justified the means, for instance, when he announced that the constitutional amendment is basically a matter of policy on war (The Progressive Presidents, 2013).

The President, who came into power in 1913 ruled America for two terms until 1921. He was a dynamic politician, having a role of the president in the public, the president of America, believed in domestic policy progressive ideas, as well as liberal internationalism. It is important to note that, in addition to Wilson’s administration commanding, the greatest attention with regard to foreign policy, he had great principles with respect to foreign affairs. He opened doors to improve relations with Latin America, as well as China. After the outbreak of World of World War I, he pleaded for America to take an impartial stance in thought, as well as in action towards the war in an effort to achieve domestic support of the neutrality of the official American (Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), 2013).


The progressive presidents played an important role in the early twentieth century in solving the problems, brought about by industrialization in America. Three presidents appear during this era but Roosevelt and Wilson are prominent in this progressivism. Roosevelt is known for having been the youngest American president in power, who was popular with the three C’s principle, his great ambition and also for crafting the Square Deal. On the other hand, President Wilson was known to apply ideological progressivism. He was more theoretical than practical, and concentrated more on foreign policy, as well as thought to have greatly contributed to World War I.

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