Chapter 29 - Wilsonian Progressivism at Home and Abroad

Chapter 29 Quizlet

I. The “Bull Moose” Campaign of 1912
  1. With the Republican party split wide open, the Democrats sensed
    that they could win the presidency for the first time in 16 years.
    • One possible candidate was Dr. Woodrow Wilson, a once-mild
      conservative but now militant progressive who had been the president of
      Princeton University, governor of New Jersey (where he didn’t
      permit himself to be controlled by the bosses), and had attacked trusts
      and passed liberal measures.
    • In 1912, in Baltimore, the Democrats nominated Wilson on the 46th
      ballot, after William Jennings Bryan swung his support over to
      Wilson’s side.
    • The Democratic ticket would run under a platform called “New Freedom,” which would include many progressive reforms.
  2. At the Progressive convention, Jane Addams put Theodore
    Roosevelt’s name on the nomination, and as TR spoke, he ignited
    an almost-religious spirit in the crowd.
    • TR got the Progressive nomination, and entering the campaign, TR
      said that he felt “as strong as a bull moose,” making that
      animal the unofficial Progressive symbol.
  3. Republican William Taft and TR tore into each other, as the former
    friends now ripped every aspect of each other’s platforms and
  4. Meanwhile, TR’s “New Nationalism” and Wilson’s “New Freedom” became the key issues.
    • Roosevelt’s New Nationalism was inspired by Herbert
      Croly’s The Promise of American Life (1910), and it stated that
      the government should control the bad trusts, leaving the good trusts
      alone and free to operate.
      • TR also campaigned for female suffrage and a broad program of
        social welfare, such as minimum-wage laws and “socialistic”
        social insurance.
    • Wilson’s New Freedom favored small enterprise, desired to
      break up all trusts—not just the bad ones—and basically
      shunned social-welfare proposals.
  5. The campaign was stopped when Roosevelt was shot in the chest in
    Milwaukee, but he delivered his speech anyway, was rushed to the
    hospital, and recovered in two weeks.
II. Woodrow Wilson: A Minority President Wilson's 1st Inauguration
Wilson Early Video
  • With the Republicans split, Woodrow Wilson easily won with 435
    Electoral votes, while TR had 88 and Taft only had 8. But, the
    Democrats did not receive the majority of the popular vote (only 41%)!
  • Socialist Eugene V. Debs racked up over 900,000 popular votes,
    while the combined popular totals of TR and Taft exceeded Wilson.
    Essentially, TR’s participation had cost the Republicans the
  • William Taft would later become the only U.S. president to be
    appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, when he was nominated in
III. Wilson: The Idealist in Politics
  • Woodrow Wilson was a sympathizer with the South, a fine orator, a
    sincere and morally appealing politician, and a very intelligent man.
    1. He was also cold personality-wise, austere, intolerant of stupidity, and very idealistic.
  • When convinced he was right, Wilson would break before he would bend, unlike TR.
IV. Wilson Tackles the Tariff
  • Wilson stepped into the presidency already knowing that he was
    going to tackle the “triple wall of privilege”: the tariff,
    the banks, and the trusts.
  • To tackle the tariff, Wilson successfully helped in the passing of
    the Underwood Tariff of 1913, which substantially reduced import fees
    and enacted a graduated income tax (under the approval of the recent
    16th Amendment).
V. Wilson Battles the Bankers
  • The nation’s financial structure, as created under the Civil
    War National Banking Act had proven to be glaringly ineffective, as
    shown by the Panic of 1907, so Wilson had Congress authorize an
    investigation to fix this.
    1. The investigation, headed by Senator Aldrich, in effect recommended a third Bank of the United States.
    2. Democrats heeded the findings of a House committee chaired by
      Congressman Arsene Pujo, which traced the tentacles of the “money
      monster” into the hidden vaults of American banking and business.
    3. Louis D Brandeis’s Other People’s Money and How the
      Bankers Use It (1914) furthermore showed the problems of American
      finances at the time.
  • In June 1913, Woodrow Wilson appeared before a special joint
    session of Congress and pleaded for a sweeping reform of the banking
    1. The result was the epochal 1913 Federal Reserve Act, which created
      the new Federal Reserve Board, which oversaw a nationwide system of
      twelve regional reserve districts, each with its own central bank, and
      had the power to issue paper money (“Federal Reserve
VI. The President Tames the Trusts
  • In 1914, Congress passed the Federal Trade Commission Act, which
    empowered a president-appointed position to investigate the activities
    of trusts and stop unfair trade practices such as unlawful competition,
    false advertising, mislabeling, adulteration, & bribery.
  • The 1914 Clayton Anti-Trust Act lengthened the Sherman Anti-Trust
    Act’s list of practices that were objectionable, exempted labor
    unions from being called trusts (as they had been called by the Supreme
    Court under the Sherman Act), and legalized strikes and peaceful
    picketing by labor union members.
VII. Wilsonian Progressivism at High Tide
  • After tackling the triple wall of privilege and leading progressive
    victory after victory, Wilson proceeded with further reforms, such as
    the Federal Farm Loan Act of 1916, which made credit available to
    farmers at low rates of interest, and the Warehouse Act of 1916, which
    permitted loans on the security of staple crops—both Populist
  • The La Follette Seamen’s Act of 1915 required good treatment
    of America’s sailors, but it sent merchant freight rates soaring
    as a result of the cost to maintain sailor health.
  • The Workingmen’s Compensation Act of 1916 granted assistance
    of federal civil-service employees during periods of instability but
    was invalidated by the Supreme Court.
  • The 1916 Adamson Act established an eight-hour workday with overtime pay.
  • Wilson even nominated Louis Brandeis to the Supreme
    Court—making him the first Jew ever in that position—but
    stopped short of helping out Blacks in their civil rights fight.
  • Wilson appeased the business by appointing a few conservatives to
    the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Trade Commission, but he used
    most of his energies for progressive support.
VIII. New Directions in Foreign Policy
  • Wilson, unlike his two previous predecessors, didn’t pursue
    an aggressive foreign policy, as he stopped “dollar
    diplomacy,” persuaded Congress to repeal the Panama Canal Tolls
    Act of 1912 (which let American shippers not pay tolls for using the
    canal), and even led to American bankers’ pulling out of a
    six-nation, Taft-engineered loan to China.
  • Wilson signed the Jones Act in 1916, which granted full territorial
    status to the Philippines and promised independence as soon as a stable
    government could be established.
    1. The Filipinos finally got their independence on July 4, 1946.
  • When California banned Japanese ownership of land, Wilson sent
    Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan to plead with legislators,
    and tensions cooled.
  • When disorder broke out in Haiti in 1915, Wilson sent American
    Marines, and in 1916, he sent Marines to quell violence in the
    Dominican Republic.
  • In 1917, Wilson bought the Virgin Islands from Denmark.
IX. Moralistic Diplomacy in Mexico
  • Mexico had been exploited for decades by U.S. investors in oil,
    railroads, and mines, but the Mexican people were tremendously poor,
    and in 1913, they revolted, and installed full-blooded Indian General
    Victoriano Huerta to the presidency.
    1. This led to a massive immigration of Mexicans to America, mostly to the Southwest.
  • The rebels were very violent and threatened Americans living in
    Mexico, but Woodrow Wilson would not intervene to protect American
    1. Neither would he recognize Huerta’s regime, even though other countries did.
    2. On the other hand, he let American munitions flow to Huerta’s
      rivals, Venustiano Carranza and Francisco “Pancho” Villa.
  • After a small party of American sailors were arrested in Tampico,
    Mexico, in 1914, Wilson threatened to use force, and even ordered the
    navy to take over Vera Cruz, drawing protest from Huerta and Carranza.
    1. Finally, the ABC powers—Argentina, Brazil, and
      Chile—mediated the situation, and Huerta fell from power and was
      succeeded by Carranza, who resented Wilson’s acts.
  • Meanwhile, “Pancho” Villa, combination bandit/freedom
    fighter, murdered 16 Americans in January of 1916 in Mexico and then
    killed 19 more a month later in New Mexico.
    1. Wilson sent General John J. Pershing to capture Villa, and he
      penetrated deep into Mexico, clashed with Carranza’s and
      Villa’s different forces, but didn’t take Villa.
X. Thunder Across the Sea
  • In 1914, a Serbian nationalist killed the Austro-Hungarian heir to
    the throne (Archduke Franz Ferdinand). The domino-effect began where
    Austria declared war on Serbia, which was supported by Russia, who
    declared war on Austria-Hungary and Germany, which declared war on
    Russia and France, then invaded neutral Belgium, and pulled Britain
    into the war and igniting World War I.
  • Americans were thankful that the Atlantic Ocean separated the warring Europeans from the U.S.
XI. A Precarious Neutrality
  • Wilson, whose wife had recently died, issued a neutrality
    proclamation and was promptly wooed by both the Allies and the German
    and Austro-Hungarian powers.
  • The Germans and Austro-Hungarians counted on their relatives in
    America for support, but the U.S. was mostly anti-German from the
    outset, as Kaiser Wilhem II made for a perfect autocrat to hate.
  • German and Austro-Hungarian agents in America further tarnished the
    Central Powers’ image when they resorted to violence in American
    factories and ports, and when one such agent left his briefcase in a
    New York elevator, the contents of which were found to contain plans
    for sabotage.
XII. America Earns Blood Money
  • Just as WWI began, America was in a business recession. American
    trade was fiercely protested by the Central Powers, that were
    technically free to trade with the U.S., but were prohibited from doing
    so by the British navy which controlled the sea lanes. The Allies and
    Wall Street’s financing of the war by J.P. Morgan et al, pulled
    the U.S. out of the recession.
  • So, Germany announced its use of submarine warfare around the
    British Isles, warning the U.S. that it would try not to attack neutral
    ships, but that mistakes would probably occur.
    1. Wilson thus warned that Germany would be held to “strict accountability” for any attacks on American ships.
    2. German subs, or U-boats, sank many ships, including the Lusitania,
      a British passenger liner that was carrying arms and munitions as well.
      • The attack killed 1,198 lives, including 128 Americans.
      • Notably the Germans had issued fliers prior to the Lusitania setting sail that warned Americans the ship might be torpedoed.
  • America clamored for war in punishment for the outrage, but Wilson
    kept the U.S. out of it by use of a series of strong notes to the
    German warlords.
    1. Even this was too much for William Jennings Bryan, who resigned rather than go to war.
    2. After the Germans sank the Arabic in August 1915, killing two
      Americans and numerous other passengers, Germany finally agreed not to
      sink unarmed ships without warning.
  • After Germany seemed to break that pledge by sinking the Sussex, it
    issued the “Sussex pledge,” which agreed not to sink
    passenger ships or merchant vessels without warning, so long as the
    U.S. could get the British to stop their blockade.
    1. Wilson couldn’t do this, so his victory was a precarious one.
XIII. Wilson Wins Reelection in 1916
  • In 1916, Republicans chose Charles Evans Hughes, who made different
    pledges and said different things depending on where he was, leading to
    his being nicknamed “Charles Evasive Hughes.”
  • The Democratic ticket, with Wilson at its head again, went under
    the slogan “He kept us out of war,” and warned that
    electing Hughes would be leading America into World War I.
    1. Ironically, Wilson would lead America into war in 1917.
    2. Actually, even Wilson knew of the dangers of such a slogan, as
      American neutrality was rapidly sinking, and war was appearing to be
  • Wilson barely beat Hughes, with a vote of 277 to 254, with the
    final result dependent on results from California, and even though
    Wilson didn’t specifically promise to keep America out of war,
    enough people felt that he did to vote for him.

1. Explain Wilson's rise in politics.
2. Who were the three candidates in 1912?
3. How did Roosevelt's and Wilson's versions of progressivism differ?
4. Why did Wilson win the election of 1912?
5. How did Wilson fight the tariff?
6. What was the Sixteenth Amendment?
7. How did Wilson deal with the banking issues?
8. What two laws did Wilson get through Congress to regulate the trusts? What did they do?
9. How did the Clayton Anti-Trust Act help labor?
10. What was "Moral Diplomacy?" Examples?
11. Why did the US get involved in Mexico in the 1910s?
12. What was the resolution to the Mexican-American disputes of the 1910s?
Why did the US later invade Mexico?
13. What was America's stance as World War I began?
14. How did the US become financially involved in the affairs of WWI?
15. What was the German reaction to the Americans financial connection to the Allies?
16. What happened to the Lusitania ?
17. What was the Arabic Pledge? Sussex Pledge?
18. Who were the candidates and what were the results of the election of 1916?