U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt Pros and Cons of Presidency
About the U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, a list of pros and cons in the history of his presidency.
FULL PORTRAITS OF SELECTED PRESIDENTS
His 7 Years, 171 Days as President:
He was the first man to use the office of the presidency to combat the abuses of big business. His celebrated "trust-busting" advanced the principle that corporate interests must be subordinate to national interests. In his handling of the Anthracite Coal Strike, he dealt fairly with the miners' union and enraged their bosses, thereby becoming a hero to millions of workingmen. He signed into law the Pure Food and Drug Act to protect the public and established the Dept. of Commerce and Labor to give government a greater role in the economy.
Despite the fanfare and all of his colorful words, TR's economic "progressivism" was more show than substance. In his reforms, Roosevelt attempted to satisfy the popular desire for change without any basic reforms in business institutions. His closest advisers were bankers and businessmen, and in his election bid in 1904 he had the support of J. P. Morgan, Henry Clay Frick, and the other robber barons.
Roosevelt led the U.S. to a new position of power in the family of nations. He built the Panama Canal, sent the U.S. fleet around the world to head off threats of Japanese expansion, and intervened to settle the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
He was an expansionist and imperialist who helped create great hatred toward the U.S. with his high-handed dealings with Latin American republics. He completely disregarded Congress in all his major foreign policy decisions and arrogantly told congressmen that there was nothing they could do to stop him.
Shortly after he was sworn in as president, he invited Booker T. Washington to the White House--the first time a black had been the guest of a president. This caused great indignation throughout the South.
On the night of Aug. 13, 1906, gunfire was heard near Fort Brown, outside Brownsville, Tex., where three companies of black infantrymen were stationed. The town whites, fearing an attack by the blacks, embarked on a shooting spree. One white was killed. The blacks swore they had played no part in the Brownsville raid. Nevertheless, Roosevelt signed a harsh order dishonorably discharging 170 black GIs. Not until John D. Weaver exposed this racial discrimination in a book in 1970 did Congress act on the "black Dreyfus affair," and in 1973 it reversed Roosevelt's infamous order.
He was our first conservationist president. He awakened in Americans a new concern for our soil and water, and he stressed the need to preserve the remaining wilderness. He set aside 150 million acres of timberland for national use, established 50 game preserves, doubled the number of national parks, and founded 16 national monuments.
Like everything else in his administration, his conservation achievements were exploited to political advantage. The public loved to read accounts of the President's well-publicized hunting and camping expeditions into the wilds.
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