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When you were a kid, in your bedroom, you had a big Teddy Bear. This is from one man and one man only who had unprecedented impacts on our country. In September of 1901, when his predecessor William McKinley was assassinated, Theodore Roosevelt incidentally became the youngest ever to be President of the United States. From 1890 to 1920, a time period known as the Progressive Era began to emerge as a movement that swept through the United States with social activism and political reform. Long hours, low wages, and abysmal conditions led to workers being enraged with the status quo and promptly urged Roosevelt to change it. Several key events epitomized these political reforms and accumulated to become Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy. However, two pivotal factors made Roosevelt effective at accomplishing these goals. T.R ignited progressive ideals by promoting social and economic justice for the middle class while also advocating for an equal business opportunity.Roosevelt took the struggle between “Robber Barons” and laborers head-on by ensuring social and economic liberty among the common people. This is primarily evident in Theodore’s most famous “Square Deal” described by Professor of Politics, Sidney Miller from the University of Virginia. “When the country faced a coal shortage in the fall of 1902 because of a strike, the President thought he should intervene. He thought he could use the executive office to play a role—even though he did not have any official authority to negotiate an end to the strike. When management refused to negotiate, T.R threatened to use troops to seize the mines and run them as a federal operation.” (Milkis 1).  By using series of negotiations tactics to halt the strike and even gain a small increase in pay for the laborers, the president was successful. These tactics included his notorious “3 C’s”: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection. During this time, strikers were oppressed and were forbidden from expressing any point-of-view contradicting management of companies. Workers are portrayed as victims for requesting a higher wage to make a living, and even just to make ends meet. This was contrary to the tactics of all presidents before Roosevelt who used force to suppress the workers rather than control the cruel magnates. Furthermore, T.R. proved to the public that their president would stand with them regardless of the consequences.Moreover, President Roosevelt ensured everyone that he would use his executive power to bring equality for businesses and an end to monopolies. The Department of History at The Ohio State University writes Hill and Morgan arranged a new corporation, the Northern Securities Company, to own the stock of both the Northern Pacific and the Burlington railroads.  This arrangement would end competition between those two great carriers neither Hill nor Morgan figured on Theodore Roosevelt and the power he was bringing to the presidency.  Roosevelt’s Department of Justice prosecuted the Northern Securities Company for violating the Sherman Act.  In 1904, the Supreme Court agreed with the administration’s position and ordered the Northern Securities company dissolved (Ohio State). The president was able to bring a suit to a previously ineffective bill in which none of his predecessors were able to do so. As a result,  this led to him being called the “Trust-Buster” due to his strict enforcement of the Sherman- Antitrust Act.  This was a bold message sent by T.R. to establish big businesses will not have free reign without regard for the public, and the U.S will enforce equal chances for small businesses to promote an antitrust, but also an anti-laissez-faire setting within the economy.However, critics note Roosevelt’s enforcement of the act was ultimately a failure because of its ineffectiveness. The act was immensely useless and eventually was taken over by its successor, the Clayton Antitrust Act, because of the loopholes that allowed the continuation of monopolies. However, Britannica Encyclopedia puts this false notion to rest. Roosevelt even filed lawsuits against more than 43 trusts, including John Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and the very own Northern Securities during his presidency (Cooper). This act initiated the downfall of huge trusts, and it is apparent the Sherman Antitrust Act was capable of its purpose despite its repeal. By dissolving these trusts, the president ensured fair competition among the capitalist society, as well as big businesses, did not have precedence over the federal government. Thus, progressive reform was an eminent factor in Roosevelt’s term with the Sherman Antitrust Act to accomplish that reform.Theodore Roosevelt called for progressive modifications because of him urging for business equality as well as favorable standards for workers. With Roosevelt as president, the United States dissolved powerful monopolies as well as increased support for the middle-class population. That Teddy Bear in your room, Theodore Roosevelt, set the foundation for our country and will continue to grip the nation with his ideas and fairness to this date.

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