Wednesday, May 26, 2010

From Roosevelt to William Howard Taft

At the end of the 19th Century the GOP sought to prevent the loud speaking Teddy Roosevelt from becoming President of the U.S. by providing him with a seat next to William McKinley as the Vice President.

I learned this when I was in high school and again in college, although I never understood the why. The "why" was Roosevelt feared so much by the GOP was because they knew he was a progressive, and they aimed to stop him from ruining the country and the party.

Of course giving him the Vice Presidency turned out to be a mistake on their part, as on September 6, 1901, McKinley was assassinated, thus handing the Presidency over to a young rough riding Teddy Roosevelt -- a progressive Roosevelt.

Not all of what Teddy did for the country was bad. He, after all, helped the progressives clean up factories, protect some land in the U.S. for all future generations to enjoy, and he also worked to end monopolies that threatened the economy.

Back then progressivism may have seemed like a good thing. Perhaps it would have been, had the movement halted when the American people got tired of it and the progressives had to change their name to liberal. Yet, as we can see by the Obama agenda, progressivism lives to this day under another name -- liberal -- that likewise is losing popularity.

However, when Roosevelt decided not to run for president in 1912, he supported William Howard Taft, who pretended to be a progressive to get Roosevelt's support. Thus, finally, classical liberals obtained control of the party, and stopped any further damage to the country.

Taft, indeed, was worried that Roosevelt's desire to change the law with disregard to the Constitution made him "not unlike Napoleon."

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