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Old 11-04-2013, 10:15 PM
 
11,986 posts, read 11,331,318 times
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Here's some interesting history that I have never quite resolved.

Teddy Roosevelt was President from 1901 to 1909. Taft was President from 1909 to 1913.

Teddy Roosevelt became President when William McKinley was assassinated at the Buffalo Exposition. He served out the remainder of McKinley's term in office and than successfully ran in 1904 and was elected for a term of his own. Teddy is considered the hallmark of Progressivism and did many great things as President. He got legislation passed requiring the production of sanitary foods and beverages. He ordered his attorney general to vigorously pursue antitrust cases against corporations that were monopolizing industries to the detriment of the public. He obtained passage of the Antiquities Act which allows a president to designate federal land as a national monument. He bought the French interests in the Panama Canal Company and pursued construction of the canal. He succeeded in getting appropriations to build a world class navy.

Teddy could have run for another term in office. He made a deliberate decision not to do so in 1908. He selected William Howard Taft as his successor. Taft was a big fat man and he didn't make a particularly good impression on others. He was bright though and pursued some of Teddy's policies more aggressively and effectively than Teddy did. One example would be the antitrust prosecution of corporations. Taft brought twice as many of these cases as Teddy did. The key difference between the two men was one of style. Teddy was a powerful speaker and persuader. Taft worked behind the scenes to get things done, but was very effective in doing so.

This leads me to the greatest puzzle of all. Why did Teddy Roosevelt turn on William Howard Taft? Taft was essentially carrying out Teddy's policies. If Teddy didn't approve of Taft than why did he stand aside and not seek the presidency in 1912? Did Taft truly do something that caused Teddy to turn on him? Was it simply a matter of ego? Was it that Teddy was unhappy not being President and had to destroy Taft to get his job back? In any event, all Teddy accomplished was splitting the Republican Party and handing the presidency to Woodrow Wilson in 1912. A strange occurrence indeed. Anyone want to help me understand it better?
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:52 PM
Status: ""Wokesters" put the "poop" in the word "nincompoop"" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
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Taft is often overlooked by historians, and makes a very convenient target for people whose politics are over there in Left field, but the man proved to be a very capable, efficient and, above all, a consistent administrator; he simply did not subscribe to Roosevelt's more "activist" orientation.

In addition, Taft's service on the Supreme Court until his death in 1930 can be likened to John Quincy Adams' return to the House of Representatives after leaving the Presidency. A pair of responsible men doing what their background and experience had best qualified them to do.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:39 AM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
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My view of Teddy is at odds with many on this forum. It is my feeling that Teddy invented problems and solved them in a way which benefited him. For example; he destroyed the American railroad system by not allowing railroads to set their own freight rates - a policy that not only destroyed the railroad system, but the trucking industry as well until Carter abolished the set freight rate on both land and air. (Used to be, all airlines had to charge the same; all trucking companies charged the same) His policy destroyed the smaller railroads by forcing them to ship at the same rates as the larger railroads. There used to be hundreds of railroads; they are now still abandoned and being converted to walking and biking trails.

Taft would not follow suite. I think the crux of the matter is, Taft was an extremely fair man, and had a prescience that Teddy did not have. Taft's fairness led him to become Chief Justice, a job he wanted all his life.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:23 AM
 
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Roosevelt and Taft did essentially have the same philosophy of breaking up monopolies in an effort to limit the influence the large corporations had over the country. The problem ultimately stemmed from Roosevelt's belief that Taft couldn't or wouldn't distinguish the difference between --what Roosevelt deemed-- the "good' monopolies from the "bad" monopolies. Whereas Roosevelt would come down on monopolies that he felt weren't in the best interest of the country, Taft attempted to use the anti-trust laws that were resuscitated by Roosevelt's administration to break up all monopolies.

In particular, Roosevelt was angered by Taft's attempts to break up J.P. Morgan's U.S. Steel. For whatever reason, U.S. Steel was one of the monopolies that Roosevelt approved of and believed was a huge benefit to the American people. When Taft tried to dissolve U.S. Steel's monopoly, Roosevelt assumed that Taft wasn't capable of sticking to his game plan. This is when he decided to bad mouth Taft and deem him as an inept leader. Since Taft wasn't nearly as influential as Roosevelt he ended up getting pelted from both sides (Big Business + Public Sentiment); eventually creating an environment where Roosevelt felt it necessary to run for office again.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:05 AM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
19,592 posts, read 11,920,071 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EHCT View Post
Roosevelt and Taft did essentially have the same philosophy of breaking up monopolies in an effort to limit the influence the large corporations had over the country. The problem ultimately stemmed from Roosevelt's belief that Taft couldn't or wouldn't distinguish the difference between --what Roosevelt deemed-- the "good' monopolies from the "bad" monopolies. Whereas Roosevelt would come down on monopolies that he felt weren't in the best interest of the country, Taft attempted to use the anti-trust laws that were resuscitated by Roosevelt's administration to break up all monopolies.

In particular, Roosevelt was angered by Taft's attempts to break up J.P. Morgan's U.S. Steel. For whatever reason, U.S. Steel was one of the monopolies that Roosevelt approved of and believed was a huge benefit to the American people. When Taft tried to dissolve U.S. Steel's monopoly, Roosevelt assumed that Taft wasn't capable of sticking to his game plan. This is when he decided to bad mouth Taft and deem him as an inept leader. Since Taft wasn't nearly as influential as Roosevelt he ended up getting pelted from both sides (Big Business + Public Sentiment); eventually creating an environment where Roosevelt felt it necessary to run for office again.
The connection between Roosevelt and Morgan goes a little deeper than being merely an approved monopoly. There was an attempt - actually a successful attempt, because it worked - to bury Teddy as VP under McKinley. That way he could be controlled. McKinley was bankrolled by Carnegie (steel), Rockefeller(kerosene), and Vanderbilt(railroads), first in '96 and then again in 1900. McKinley outspent his rival, WJ Bryan, by a factor of 5 to 1. I don't think JP Morgan participated in the grand conspiracy that tried to bury Teddy.

So Teddy had good reason to disassemble the holdings of the Big Three. This was before there was a central bank, remember, and JP Morgan had so much money that he had personally bailed the US out a couple of times. I believe that if Carnegie had not sold out to Morgan, who formed US Steel in 1901, then Teddy's view would have been very different. Teddy was able to put aside his pro-union feelings and side with non-union US Steel, and I am of the opinion he did it because it benefited none other than him, Roosevelt.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:37 PM
 
2,241 posts, read 2,970,127 times
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Good posts
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