The turn of the century, was a time in which politics was in shambles. The corruption in American politics was at an all time high. The so-called “big business” was overrunning a country, which wanted a real democracy, not government in which the people did not have a say. Although immigration was at an all time high, the country was in decline.
The basis of the three presidents to come would be a platform for reforms. The reform policies of three presidents had an effect on an era. This man went to a nation in dire need of a leader, an optimist, and above all save the country from drowning in it’s own feces. The fact of the matter is simple. Theodore Roosevelt, was a revolutionary when it came to the political field. He made the nation new again after fifty years; he put pride in the American heart.
Granted, he may have made a few arguable bad decisions, yet he breathed life into a country that was suffocating itself. Theodore Roosevelt was a great American President. In 1890 the Congress of the United States passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, this act was passed to promote Compton in the field where there may be a monopoly, by breaking up the company (Lowman 372). But it would not be until 1902 that this Act would be put to use, when Northern Securities Company was put on trial (Lowman 451).
Theodore Roosevelt was the President at this time, and earned himself the nickname trustbuster, “because he used this tactic so frequent in his presidency. He put other policies in commission, which made it even easier to convict companies. One of these was the Expedition Act; the Act was put in place to speed up the antitrust cases in the courts” (Lowman 452). “But in reality, he did not favor indiscriminately breaking up all trusts. He eventually concluded that as businesses grew, combination was a natural development; he decided that the forming of trusts was in many cases the most efficient way to manufacture and distribute goods.
He began to distinguish between businesses that were simply big and businesses that were actually a threat to the public” (Lowman 452). In foreign affairs, Roosevelt was somewhat of a revolutionary. His Presidency was the one who acquired and built the Panama Canal. In 1850, the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty was signed, binding the United States to go into a joint venture with the British on Canal project.
America got out of that treaty in 1901, with the Hay-Pauncefote treaty, giving the United States the sole right to build and fortify a Canal Zone. In 1902, America finally agreed on the spot to build the Isthmus Channel. It was in Panama. Only Panama was owned and operated by the Colombian government.
Trying to get the portion of land needed, we sent secretary of state John Hay to Columbia. And in Columbia, Hay got a treaty signed called the Hay-Herran Treaty, this gave Columbia $250,000 annually and $10 million up front. All that was needed now was for each legislature to pass the deal; not America but Colombia turned this treaty down (LaFeber 193). This is where the infamous Talk Softly and Carry a Big Stick campaign came into place.
He said of military encounters, “There is a homely adage which runs ‘Speak softly and carry big stick, you will go far'”(Smith 56). Thus Theodore Roosevelt made history, with the refusal of the Hay-Herran Treaty by Columbia; Roosevelt put his plan to great use. He started a revolution in Panama. There had been problems in the past between Panama and Columbia.
Including a 1901 scuffle in which the American Navy had to mediate (LaFeber 193). But given the fact that America could spare no more money towards the cause, Roosevelt did the next best thing protect the revolution in Panama. In 1903 America used their powerful navy to prevent the Colombian army from attacking the revolutionaries (LaFeber 193). Hay later inked the treaty called the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, giving America a ten-mile wide strip of land (as opposed to six in the Hay-Herran Treaty) for the same quantity of money that Hay had offered Columbia.Roosevelt knew the United States had