How Influential Was Theodore Roosevelt In American Politics In The Period 1898 To 1912 Theodore Roosevelt was the 26 th President of the United States of America. He succeeded McKinley as President, on his assassination in 1901. Roosevelt became very popular and became famous for tackling business monopolies, initiating the conservation of natural resources, his role in the development of the Panama Canal and his part in the Russo- Japanese War which earn him the Nobel Peace Prize. He was born in New York on October 27, 1858 to a wealthy, upper class merchant. He was well educated and attended Harvard where he developed political interests. He married his first wife, Alice Lee in 1880 and in 1881 was elected to the state legislature.
Then in 1884 tragedy struck and his wife died giving birth to their only child, a baby girl, even more unfortunate was the fact that eleven hours previously his mother had died. With this he left politics briefly, leaving to live on his ranch where he led the life of a cowboy but continuing to write a range of literature. In 1886 he remarried on a trip to London, to Edith Carol who became his most valued advisor. He went on to be assistant secretary of the navy, 1897-98, and during the Spanish- American War he commanded a volunteer force known as the rough riders.
This made him known nationally, and he became a war hero. It was then he ran for governor and won, narrowly. This was when his main political career started and the time in history and his life we are looking from. It was his popularity which led him to becoming vice- president to William McKinley in 1900. It was in 1901 when McKinley was assassinated that Roosevelt became the youngest president in American history. In his first term of office he followed an activist foreign policy, which was i keeping with his personal motto of, Speak softly and carry a big stick.
In 1903 he abetted a revolution in Panama. This led to the ambassador from Panama signing a treaty; this gave the U. S. the right to allow work to begin on constructing a canal enabling inter oceanic crossings possible. Not only were they able to build the canal but they were also able to possess the Canal Zone, which for a sum of money America then had complete control over, meaning protection for the canal. In 1904 a crisis about the Dominican Republic led to President Theodore Roosevelt formulating a policy that said the United States could intervene in any Latin American nation guilty of internal or external misconduct.
Roosevelt's corollary to the Monroe Doctrine justified subsequent US intervention in Caribbean issues. This corollary prevented the establishment of foreign bases in the Caribbean and allowed the right of intervening in Latin America to the U. S. He was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation in the Russo- Japanese War in 1905. He used both public and private channels when the Russians and Japanese became locked in a war where neither side could score the knockout blow.
Roosevelt tried to maintain a balance between the two and organised a peace conference that led to a treaty being signed. When there was a conflict between Germany and France over Morocco, Roosevelt talked the British and French into attending a conference, to which he sent delegates. In 1907 he sent the entire United States navy, known as the Great White Fleet on a good will tour of the world. This was to both impress Japan at a time of controversy, as the U. S.
was excluding Oriental immigrants, and also to display their great naval power. At this time he made a Gentleman's Agreement on immigration with Japan, diffusing the situation. Roosevelt held the ideal that the Government should keep the justice between the conflicting economic factors, labor and capital. He became known as a trust-buster, as there were well publicised prosecutions of big businesses and the breaking up of monopolies. An example was a great railroad combination being forced to dissolve, many other antitrust suits followed with the Sherman Act, such as Swift and Company v. United States.
Progressivism flowered during Roosevelt second term, as this was when many federal laws affecting public and industrial health and conservation were introduced. It was marked by the intervention of the government in things like the big trusts. Roosevelt was seen to adopt a cautious approach to progressive reform, for when he did approach the trusts, he did so reassuring the business community. With other things he acted more directly, when he heard about meat being packed in the most terrible conditions, he immediately sent out two agents who reported that the claims were correct.
From this The Meat Inspection Act of 1906 was implemented, this allowed sanitation standards to be imposed. Also an act was introduced which meant that adulterated, misbrand ed or harmful foods, drugs, and liquors were forbidden, The Pure Food and Drug Act. This established the Food and Drug Administration. A further legislative milestone was made with the passage of the Hepburn Act, which bettered the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission. He moved boldly on the issue of conservation. It had been something he had shown concern for before he had become President, so by using his powers he set aside 125 million acres of western land as national forests.
There were fifty federal wildlife refuges added, five new national parks approved and the system of designating national monuments set up. By using the Forest Reserve Act (1891) he stopped 172 million acres of timberland being destroyed for settlement or harvest. In 1908 he set up a National Conservation Commission which would survey natural resources. Furthering his work he fostered great irrigation projects, and reserved lands for public use. Roosevelt excited audiences with his personality and looks. He had a vivid personality, favourably a young family (unknown, as previous presidents were all much older), social status and was known to be a war hero.
Believing in, The life of strenuous endeavour, he became a popular idol which he used to his advantage throughout his term in office. He worked for the peoples best interests and the nation knew this, they felt they had someone working for them. This made him different, he was a, steward of the people. He bought new excitement and power to the presidency, leading the nation forward to reforms, unafraid to challenge powers such as the trusts. In 1909 Roosevelt stepped down from office leaving the presidency with Taft whom he had prepared and helped into the position. He went abroad for more than a year and on his return he went back into politics.
However he became involved in factional fights as the party split between progressive and conservative Republicans, there was nothing he could do as he no longer had any power. He did, however, still have enough influence to take charge of the progressives and in 1912 ran for president but lost at the convention, after winning at the primaries. With this he left the Republicans to instead run as the newly formed Progressive Partys candidate. They were nicknamed the Bull Moose party after hed commented he felt as fit as one, after an assassination attempt on him. His influence and popularity was still such that he out polled Taft but it was Woodrow Wilson who won the election. 1912 is the end of the period we are looking at, as this is really when he lost the majority of his power.
From then on he was just left frustrated over various factors, political and private. The Progressive Party was disbanded in 1916 and he died in 1919 after rejoining the Republicans but before he was given the chance to run against Wilson again. He did say however, that, No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way. Roosevelt was of the opinion that as the President he was a, Steward of the people and should do whatever he was allowed to for the publics good. He worked endlessly on matters both seemingly big and small showing a sheer determination for all he did. The power he had was used greatly in matters of foreign policy, domestic policy and progressivism.
The changes he made in politics showed what great influence he had, not only did he introduce important acts but he opened the way for further progression to take place.