US Presidents 1890-1945

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Presidents 1890-1945
What did the Republicans stand for?
The Republicans were formed in 1854 as part of the anti-slavery movement. As time went on the party became
increasingly pro-business but it did have a reformist wing that was influenced by progressivism. It promoted
anti-trust laws, social justice and conservation. The leading figure was Theodore Roosevelt, he was Vice-President
from 1901 and President from 1901-1909. In 1912, Roosevelt ran for President as a Progressive candidate against
the Republican President William Taft. He set up his own political party called The Bull Moose Progressive Party;
this split the Republican vote and handed the Presidency to Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.
What did the Democrats stand for?
The Democrats claimed to be the oldest political party in America, the Civil War Party. The Civil War changed the
party. After the Civil War, the Democrats power base depended on western farmers and the white southerners.
The `solid south' voted Democrat in every Presidential election (1880-1960) except one in 1928. For much of their
political life during these years they were the party of opposition.
Grover Cleveland 1885-1889
Domestic policy
More efficient government
o Cleveland was more concerned with preventing congress from granting privileges to
special interest that pursuing his own legislative agenda
o He focused on making federal government more efficient by appointing officials based
on merit
He repealed the Bland-Allison Silver Purchase Act of 1878 and tariff reduction
o Cleveland believed that inflating the money supply through the purchase and coinage
of silver undermined the confidence in the American dollar
o The Bland-Allison Act remained law until the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890
replaced it
Cleveland turned away hundreds of veterans' pension bills because he thought they were
He vetoed a bill to provide drought relief to farmers in the West as, in his belief, such assistance
was not the province of national government
He stood against temperance, receiving the support of those who opposed it (including the
Irish, Germans and East Europeans)
Race relation
o He agreed with white southerners in their reluctance to treat Africans Americans as
social and political equals
o He aimed to limit Chinese immigration and to prohibit those who left the US to visit
relatives in china from returning, because he believed that the prejudice towards the
Chinese was so deep and their culture was so alien that America could not absorb this
immigrant group
o Cleveland sought to persuade Native Americans to forego their old tribal ways; he
attempted to assimilate American Indians into the dominant culture by parcelling out
reservation land to individuals and families and setting up a procedure for gaining
He was mainly silent on women's suffrage, however he did speak in favour of it
Foreign policy
His principal agenda was to oppose territorial expansion and entangling alliances

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Benjamin Harrison 1889-1893
Domestic policy
Brought in the Antimonopoly legislation, the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890
Introduced Silver coinage and a higher tariff
o This probably added to the Panic of 1893 (an economic depression)
Harrison supported bills that promoted African American rights in the South
o Although he could not get them through Congress
Foreign policy
Harrison established Samoa as an American protectorate and tried to annex Hawaii following a
He used the new armoured navy to pressure Chile into paying reparation for…read more

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About $150 million of tax revenue a year was generated from taxes levied on beer,
tobacco, amusements, and some business transactions
Increased tariffs
o McKinley had campaigned to increase the tariff income both as a means of reducing
internal taxes and as a means of encouraging the expansion of domestic industry and
employment of American workers
o The resulting Dingley Tariff Act, raised rates to an average rate of 49 percent.…read more

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De Lome's letter described McKinley as "weak and a bidder for the
admirations of the crowd" and, more importantly, revealed that the Spanish were
not negotiating in good faith with the United States
o Americans saw the letter as an attack on both McKinley's and the nation's honour
o The public's anger only intensified following an explosion on the Maine and its sinking
on February 15, 1898, in Havana Harbour, killing 266 crew members
o McKinley ordered an investigation of the Maine explosion even while…read more

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The high court's action was a major victory for the administration and put the business
community on notice that although this was a Republican administration, it would not
give business free rein to operate without regard for the public welfare
o Roosevelt then turned his attention to the nation's railroads, in part because the
Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) had notified the administration about abuses
within the industry
o In addition, a large segment of the population supported efforts to regulate the
railroads because so many…read more

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During the Santo Domingo crisis, Roosevelt formulated what became known as the
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
o The corollary announced that the United States would serve as the "policeman" of the
Western Hemisphere, a policy which eventually created much resentment in Latin
Great White Fleet
o Roosevelt believed that a large and powerful Navy was an essential component of
national defence because it served as a strong deterrent to America's enemies
o During his tenure as President, he built the U.S.…read more

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Woodrow Wilson 1913-1921
Domestic policy
Wilson revived the custom, abandoned in 1801, of addressing Congress in person and
immediately called for a series of reforms, which he had called the "New Freedom" in his
presidential campaign.…read more

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As the war drew to a close and preparations were begun for a peace conference,
Wilson was generally looked upon in Europe as the saviour of the future
o In the United States, however, he suffered an electoral setback in Nov 1918, after
appealing for the return of a Democratic Congress as an endorsement of his foreign
policy; the Republicans captured both houses of Congress.
o Shortly afterward Wilson set sail for Europe as head of the U.S.…read more

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Agricultural prices fell
o Many farmers struggled
Coolidge ignored many important issues
o Labour unions fought for higher pay and lower taxes
o African Americans and Mexican Americans faced severe discrimination
o Not the federal governments job to legislate social change
Foreign policy
Signed the Immigration Act
o Restricting southern and eastern European immigration
Signed the Indian Citizenship Act
o Which granted full U.S.…read more

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Protected the livelihoods of labourers and farmers through the National Labour Relations Act
(NLRA) and Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)
Established Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), all of which last to this day
Drastically decreased unemployment from 25% to 2% over his tenure
Attempted to "pack" the Supreme Court in his second term by proposing a law to add six new
justices to the bench
o This move ran into significant political opposition from within the…read more


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