The 1912 United States of America presidential elections can be termed as the most progressive in America's political history. This election attracted frontrunners, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt who both demonstrated Progressive philosophies. Woodrow Wilson can be compared to Theodore Roosevelt in terms of policies. Progressive era, where citizens were the center of focus was the primary policy of these two leaders. Both of them formulated strong foreign policies with Roosevelt building a national park and a strong navy. Wilson tried not to overexert his authority over businesses and unions as opposed to Roosevelt who was bold by his actions. Even though, both Roosevelt and Wilson were progressive in their policies, they had different attitudes toward progressivism, save for theory. Both of Wilson and Roosevelt set the center-stage for the today government in America. This paper will therefore review the complexity nature of progressivism with the view of exploring how the two president's policies during their tenure were different from their promises during campaigns.
Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt were American presidents who were most celebrated in the 20th century. Roosevelt was a Republican with a strong military background who created the Conservation Movement of the United States of America. Theodore was the youngest president in America's political history to assume office at 42 years. Roosevelt was shot by an assassin during his speech and he still managed to proceed to conclusion. He was famously known for his quote that it takes several individuals or more than one person to kill a moose. Roosevelt being different from Wilson established the New Nationalism in America. It required federal intervention with the view of promoting social justice as well as socioeconomic welfare of the underprivileged citizens. This to a greater extent put an end to poverty and saw the improvement of living conditions of the underprivileged. In addition, Roosevelt had a belief that States should perform their obligation to maintain peace and order in the society. He also believed that civilized States had the obligation of positively influencing the barbarous ones.
Woodrow Wilson was the 28th president in the United States of America and he was born in 1856 in Virginia and raised in South Carolina and Georgia. He was a Democrat who formed the notion of preserve peace. His government enacted significant reform laws in his two terms in office. During his two terms, Wilson concentrated on things which were essential to him such as New Freedom Policy. This was a policy consisting of tax revision, bank reforms and anti-trust laws. In the enforcement of these laws, Wilson desired to see that American citizens were getting a fair treatment. He wanted to ensure that American citizens were not experiencing any form of mistreatment and that businesses were not corrupted. As opposed to Roosevelt, Wilson never tried to distinguish between 'bad' trusts and 'good' trusts. According to Wilson, any trust was bad as a result of his large size. This led to the enactment of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914 which named particular business tactics as illegal. This is what permitted the American citizens to picket and boycott in a peaceful manner and still be legal.
President Wilson was also strongly committed to revising the imperialist practices of the previous regimes and promising Philippines that they will get independence. He was also committed to giving citizenship to Puerto Rican and his government intervened militarily on several occasions in Latin America more than his predecessors. Woodrow Wilson together with William Jennings Bryan, his secretary of state took over office when they had little experience about foreign relations. Despite their continued determination and commitment for their policies to follow moral principles, Wilson and his administration achieved little in applying moral principles to foreign relations. They wanted to show that the United States of America also had respect for sovereignty and was willing to fully support democratic tendencies. This is because they were greatly convinced and encouraged that democracy was gaining ground throughout the world. During his presidential campaigns in 1912, Woodrow Wilson advocated for New Freedom State affairs and promised to take a moral approach while dealing with foreign affairs. In one of his campaigns, he reportedly said he opposed big-stick as well as dollar-diplomacy policies and imperialism of his predecessors who were Republicans. He also said the Americans deserve the confidence of Latin Americans and hoped to cultivate from that friendship. He complemented all these by saying that a just government has consent as one of its primary pillars. Hence, Woodrow Wilson can be said to be a political novice who possessed strong political skills despite holding only one administrative office prior to becoming the president. He was an effective public speaker and brilliant leader, only that he had difficulties in working well other state officials. He developed progressive reform agenda and demonstrated international leadership with regards to establishing new world order. Wilson took advantage of his progressive reputation complemented by strong southern roots in running for the American presidency as a Democrat in 1912.
Bealy, F., & Chapman, R. (2009). Elements in Political Science. London: Edinburgh University Press.