The Progressive Presidents
The presidential election of 1912 was the most Progressive in US history; with the two frontrunners, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both espousing Progressive philosophies (and the most “conservative” candidate, William Howard Taft, being in many ways a Progressive himself). Although both Wilson and Roosevelt were Progressive, their attitudes toward Progressivism differed, at least in theory. This paper will provide an opportunity to review the complex nature of Progressivism, and to explore how presidents’ policies while in office often differ from their rhetoric on the campaign trail.
To complete this paper, start by analyzing the primary sources listed below to uncover each president’s political principles and beliefs. Compare and contrast the two men’s principles based on their writings. Drawing from the material in the textbook, compare each presidents’ political principles with his actions while in office—how well did their actions match their rhetoric? Finally, use JSTOR or Project MUSE to find a scholarly article of at least fifteen pages in length about the Progressive politics of Roosevelt or Wilson or both. What new perspectives does the article offer on the subject? Does the author’s depiction of those politics agree with your own interpretation based on the primary sources?