Theodore Roosevelt's contribution to the Progressive Era.

Essay by starryblueyedHigh School, 11th gradeA+, December 2005

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Theodore Roosevelt took office in September of 1901 when President McKinley was assassinated. He, like many Progressives, possessed a fear that the consolidation of power and wealth in the hands of private interests threatened the stability of the nation. Roosevelt's aim was not to restructure American capitalism but to protect it from its own extremes through careful government intervention. In enforcing federal antitrust laws, Roosevelt drew a distinction between good trusts and bad trusts. Roosevelt's administration also initiated antitrust proceedings against over 40 more corporations (including the Swift & Company beef trust, Standard Oil, and the American Tobacco Company).

Another thing Roosevelt did to change the Progressive Era was he intervened in the 1902 coal strike. As winter approached and 140,000 miners would not do their jobs, the coal industry was declining and the nation grew desperate. The mine owners refused to recognize the miners' union, let alone negotiate a settlement.

Roosevelt summoned both sides to his office for an informal meeting. The managers refused to even consider settlement with the president of the United Mine Workers, John A. Mitchell, and chastised Roosevelt for getting in the middle. Furious, Roosevelt leaked word that he might declare a national emergency and call out the Army to run the mines if the owners did not give in. A settlement was reached that granted the miners' demands for a higher wage and shorter work day.

More important then the actual settlement though, was the statement that Roosevelt made by doing that. He was saying that the federal government could get involved in a strike if the public welfare was involved. He vigorously fought for tougher regulation of railroad practices (the Elkins Act of 1903 and the Hepburn Railway Act of 1906), consumer products (Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat...