Chapter 30: Wilsonian Progressivism at Home and Abroad 1912-1916

The "Bull Moose" Campaign:

  • Democrats nominated Woodrow Wilson -1912 - "New Freedom" program - stronger antitrust legislation, banking reform, tariff reductions
  • Jane Addams nomiated Theodore Roosevelt for Progressive Republican party - 3rd party - "bull moose"
  • Roosevelt's "New Nationalism": Herbert Croly's The Promise of American Life 1910. -> Consolidation of trusts and labor unions, growth of federal regulatory agencies, woman suffrace, social welfare, minimum wage laws, "socialistic" social insurance
  • Wilson's "New Freedom" - small enterprise, entrepreneurship, free functioning of unregulated and unmonopolized markets, against social welfare. Fragmentation -not regulation - of big industrial combines (antitrust laws)

Woodrow Wilson: A Minority President:

  • Wilson won -> Roosevelt -> taft. Socialist Eugene V. Debs got 900,000+ votes.
  • Taft grew old, became Supreme Court justice in 1921 (a job he was much better suited for)

Wilson: The Idealist in Politics:

  • Wilson was from the South, he sympathized with the Confederacy
  • Eloquent speaker, preached morals
  • Intellectual, seemed stanoffish
  • Strong moral principles, wrong was wrong and you shouldn't compromise with that

Wilson Tackles the Tariff:

  • Plan to assault the "triple wall of privelege": tariff, banks, and trusts.
  • Wilson directly spoke to Congress and House passed Underwood Tariff Bill 1913 - substantial reduction of rates and import fees.
  • Congress enacted graduated income tax with modest tax on incomes over $3000 (above average)

Wilson Battles the Bankers:

  • Bank needed reform . Lous D. Brandeis -1914 - Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It
  • 1913, Wiilson preached to Congress about developing a decentralized bank in government hands
  • 1913, he signed Federal REserve Act - established 12 regional reserve districts, each with a central bank - issued paper money "Federal Reserve Notes"

The President Tames the Trusts:

  • Wiilson went for trusts -> Congress passed Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914: President-appointed commission could search and crush monopolies engaged in interstate commerce that were involved in unfair trade practices (adulteration, bribery, etc.)
  • Clayton Anti-Trust act of 1914 - lengthened Sherman Act against price discriminateion, etc. Clayton Act exempted labor unions and agricultural organizations from antitrust prosecution (legalized strikes and picketing).

Wilsonian Progressivism at High Tide:

  • Federal Farm Loan Act of 1916 - credit available to farmers at low rates of interest (Populist idea)
  • Warehouse Act of 1916 - authorized loans on the security of staple crops (Populist idea)
  • La Follette Seamen's Act of 1915 - required decent treatment and living wage on American merchant ships
  • Workingmen's Compensation Act of 1916 - granted assistance to federal civil-service employees during periods of disability
  • Adamson Act of 1916 - 8-hr workday for train workers (interstate commerce)
  • Wilson nominate Louis D. Brandeis to Supreme Court
  • Wilson's progressivism stopped with the blacks. He was for segregation.

New Directions in Foreign Policy:

  • Wilson disliked big stick and dollar diplomacy. Immediated ended dollar diplomacy.
  • 1914 repealed Panama Canal Tolls Act of 1912 (which had exempted US from tolls)
  • 1916 passed Jones Act -granted Philippines territorial status and promised independence when a stable government could be formed (30 years later)
  • California forbade Japanese settlers from owning land - Japan offended - Secretary of State Bryan pleaded with California to soften stand, and tensions eased
  • 1914-15 uprising in Haiti, Wilson reluctantly dispatched Marines to protect American lives. 1916 concluded treaty with Haiti- US supervision of finances and police.
  • Sent marines to Dominican Republic to quell riots
  • Bought Virgin Islands from Denmark - Caribbean really was YANKEE LAKE

Moralistic Diplomacy in Mexico:

  • Revolution in Mexico (led to much immigration to US), Huerta became president.
  • Jingoes (Hearst) called for intervention with Mexico and new President Huerta.
  • At first, President Wilson refused to intervene with the war in Mexico. But after a small party of American sailors was accidentally captured by the Mexicans, Wilson ordered the navy to seize the Mexican port of Vera Cruz.
  • Just as war seemed imminent with Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile intervened and pressured Huerta to step down.
  • Venustiano Carranza became the president of Mexico. Pancho Villa, rival to President Carranza, attempted to provoke a war between Mexico and the U.S by killing Americans. Wilson, rather, ordered General John J. Perishing to break up Villa's band of outlaws. The invading American army was withdrawn from Mexico in 1917 as the threat of war with Germany loomed.

Thunder Across the Sea:

  • World War I began in Europe. Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria) vs. Allies (France, Briatin, Russia, Japan, and Italy).

A Precarious Neutrality:

  • Wilson proclaimed neutrality.
  • Ties with Britain naturally made Americans ally-ish
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II and Germany's brutality further tarnished the image of the Central Powers in American eyes

America Earns Blood Money:

  • American industry boosted from trade with Britain and France -> America eventually gave $2.3 billion to Allies while still "neutral"
  • Britain blocked trade between US and Germany
  • Germany declared area around British Isles submarine (U-boat) war area - "won't sink neutral ships but we can make mistakes"
  • Wilson decided to continue neutral trade, but warned Germans "don't sink us or there'll be hell to pay"
  • 1915 Lusitania (British merchant vessel) was sunk and many Americans onboard died. Easter US wanted war, but rest of country didn't. Wilson declared US "too proud to fight"
  • When Germany sunk another British liner, the Arabic, in 1915, Berlin agreed to not sink unarmed passenger ships without warning. Germany continued to sink innocent ships as apparent when one of its submarines sank a French passenger steamer, the Sussex. President Wilson informed the Germans that unless they renounced the inhuman practice of sinking merchant ships without warning, he would break diplomatic relations, leading to war. Germany agreed to Wilson's ultimatum, but attached additions to their Sussex pledge: the United States would have to persuade the Allies to modify what Berlin regarded as their illegal blockade. Wilson accepted the Germany pledge, without accepting the "string" of additions.

Wilson Wins Reelection in 1916:

  • Progressives renominated TR, refused to run, death of Progressive party.
  • Republicans nominated Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes (condemned Wilson's tariff, trust-busting, and pussy Mexico German relations)
  • TR was a war hawk (scoffed at Wilson AND Hughes)
  • Democrats nominate Wilson - "He kept us out of the war"
  • Hughes won the east, but Wilson won the election with the votes from the West and Midwest