Tag Archives: Progressive Era

Theodore Roosevelt: Let Us Remember


Source: AZ Quotes

It seems to me from this Theodore Roosevelt quote that he was arguing for both a progressive income tax and national service. A progressive income tax where Americans are taxed based on their ability to pay taxes.

The more money you make an earn on your own, the more in taxes that you would pay. For people in poverty they would pay the less if any in income taxes and people in the middle would pay a moderate level of income taxes. Which is the income tax system that America has right now, if you exclude the tax deductions and benefits that benefit corporations and wealthy individuals greatly. While middle class Americans other than being able to deduct their home mortgage interest and their state sales taxes, as well the child tax credit, tend to pay the U.S. Government (or Uncle Sam) what they owe by law in taxes. I believe its safe to say like its also safe to say that it snows in Minnesota in January, that Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t be a fan of the modern American income tax system.

And then you look at the TR quote where he’s saying that as much that has been given must, much will be expected in return. Again, I believe he’s arguing for progressive taxation there, but he’s also arguing for national service and public service. That its a real privilege to live in and be born in America and we simply have the advantages that a lot of other people if not most people who are born and raised in other countries which is why we have the economic as well as personal freedom that we do, that we should be expected to give back to the country, because so much has been given to us. Not just in taxes but in public and national service to make the country a better place. Whether its military service, foreign service, law enforcement, becoming teachers, or volunteering for charities , that we should give back because so much as been given to us.

As strange as this might sound there is a lot of TR in the wealthiest and most successful of American families. The Bush Family has always believed in public service. The Roosevelt’s obviously, the Kennedy Family, the Rockefeller Family, the Carnegie Family, and many others. These great families believe that other Americans who didn’t grow up with the same advantages as they did and perhaps didn’t have any advantages at all, believe that the underprivileged deserve an hand up to help them have a better life in America. And not just through public policy, but through private charity and other non-profit organizations that serve the needy in America. Which is also a major part of Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy.


Reason Magazine: Nick Gillespie Interviewing Judge Andrew Napolitano- ‘How Teddy Roosevelt & Woodrow Wilson Destroyed Constitutional Freedom’

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Libertarians which is what both Nick Gillespie and Andrew Napolitano are, (not that there’s anything wrong with that) understanding of the U.S. Constitution, is very different from every other political faction.

Every political faction in America except the Socialists on the Far-Left and the Christian-Nationalists, Alt-Right racist terrorists on the Far-Right, generally support and believe in the U.S. Constitution. But Conservatives and even Conservative-Libertarians, now believe that government and even the Federal Government, has some role when it comes to the safety net and public welfare in the country. They believe that these programs should be run by the states and local government’s and be block granted to them. But Progressives, Liberals, and Conservatives, all now support some role at least for the Federal Government when it comes to the public welfare and a regulatory state.

So course the Andrew Napolitano’s of the world are going to disagree with Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow, Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and other Progressives, when it comes to the general welfare clause and commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. There Libertarians who believe taxation is theft and don’t see America as like a club with hundreds of millions of members that we’re all part of and have to pay dues (meaning taxes) in order to keep our membership in that club. So of course Libertarians are going to see Square Deal which gave us the regulatory state in America, the New Deal, which gave us the safety net in America, and the Great Society, which expanded the safety net in America, of course Libertarians are going to see these programs and agendas as unconstitutional.

Reason Magazine: Nick Gillespie Interviewing Judge Andrew Napolitano- ‘How Teddy Roosevelt & Woodrow Wilson Destroyed Constitutional Freedom’

Library of Congress: Michelle Krowl Interviewing Doris Kearns Goodwin- Roosevelt & Taft


Source: Tomato Bubble– WW, TR & WHT

We’ve had other presidential elections where you’ve had an actual Progressive, against an actual Conservative. Instead of the media labeling one a Conservative and the other a Progressive, or the top presidential candidates self-proclaiming themselves as the Conservative and as the Progressive. Even though one candidate might have anti-conservative views and be against the free press and who doesn’t support civil liberties, like with Richard Nixon. Who did have real conservative views as it related to foreign policy and economic policy. But was a big government authoritarian especially when he could get away with it as it related to the press, checks and balances, and Americans civil liberties and individual rights. Or with the Democratic Party with George McGovern who was labeled as the Liberal candidate in 1972, but who actually was a big government Socialist and didn’t put many if any limits on governmental power.

1932 with President Herbert Hoover versus Governor Franklin Roosevelt, is an example of a real Conservative in President Hoover and a real Progressive in FDR. 1964 with President Lyndon Johnson and Senator Barry Goldwater, is an example of a real Progressive in LBJ and a real Conservative in Senator Goldwater. 1984 with President Ronald Reagan and former Vice President Walter Mondale, another example of a real Conservative in President Reagan and a real Progressive in Vice President Mondale.

But 1912 I believe is the first real example of where America had a real choice between a Conservative and a Progressive and perhaps a Conservative against two Progressives, if you label Woodrow Wilson also as a Progressive. If there was ever a Libertarian Utopia and pre-Progressive Era America is the only point in this country where you even try to make a case that America was a Libertarian Society, it was pre-Roosevelt Administration in the 1900s. Meaning (The first ten years of the 20th Century) And the election of 1912 was an election where you had a Conservative President in William H. Taft, who wanted to conserve that Libertarian Ayn Rand Society, where there was basically no Federal government at least involvement in the economy. And Teddy Roosevelt who wanted to build off of his Square Deal from his time as President and create what was later labeled as the New Deal and the American safety net that was created in the 1930s under FDR.

The presidential election of 1912 represents the conservative establishment of where America had been up to that point economically and where we were as far as how we dealt with the rest of the world, represented by President William Taft. Against the anti-establishment Progressive presidential candidate in Theodore Roosevelt. America had a real choice between a real hard-core Conservative in Taft. Who saw his job as to conserve and protect the status-quo and keep America as it was.

Against a real hard-core Progressive in Teddy Roosevelt who wanted to blow up the establishment. Build off of what made America great and worked well for the country. But use government especially the Federal Government build a society where more Americans could succeed, where all Americans would have a good opportunity to succeed. Where not all of the power in the country was centralized with the wealthy and their businesses. And was a choice that American voters deserved to have and be able to decide for them was the current America good enough, or do we need to do something else and bring progress and move quicker as a country.

Progressive People’s Coalition: Progressive History of America


Source: IZ Quotes

I disagree with the guy talking in this video on perhaps only one thing. He argued (and I’m paraphrasing) that progressivism is neither left or right, but a belief in improving the human condition or welfare of the people. And doing what’s best to achieve those things somewhat at least regardless of ideology. The only thing that I disagree with that is that progressivism is neither right or left. To me at least progressivism along with liberalism, is on the center-left of American politics and very mainstream to the point that probably most Americans whether they’re aware of that or not, are Progressives. Which I’ll explain.

Progressives believe in progress and ,making things and life in society better. What puts them on the center-left is that they believe government has a major role, but not the only role and the national government even, in seeing that society moves forward and progress is always made. I agree with the guy in the video that progressivism is different from both conservatism and liberalism. Conservatism at least in the political sense, is about conserving the status-quo and conserving the U.S. Constitution and our constitutional rights. Liberalism is based off the U.S. Constitution and our individual rights. But not about conserving the status-quo. Protecting the Constitution and our individual rights, but always looking to move forward and make things better.

What makes progressivism different from liberalism, is that progressivism is not as individualist and less based on individual rights and more based on society as a whole. So its similar to socialism in that, but where progressivism is different from socialism is that Progressives don’t believe government can do everything for everybody. Progressives don’t believe in nationalizing certain parts of the economy, or having a welfare state big enough to essentially manage people’s personal and financial lives for them.

Progressives believe in American capitalism and even a certain level of economic freedom, short of centralized wealth and having no rules in the economy to protect people from predators. But that everyone in life should be able to be successful and live well. Instead of the private market completely being responsible for who wins and who loses in society. Progressives believe that everyone should have the right and opportunity to succeed in America. Instead of economic wealth and freedom in America to be completely determined based on where, and whom people are born to. That even people born to low-income and even irresponsible parents, should have the opportunity to do well in America.

Rob Galloway: Teddy Roosevelt- Speech on Social & Industrial Justice


Source: AZ Quotes

Theodore Roosevelt speaking about the right to organize. Which I believe as a non-lawyer is guaranteed under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and our freedom of assembly. To join lawful non-criminal groups of our choosing.

As a Liberal I’m a big believer of freedom of choice and personal responsibility and the ability for people to make their own decisions and then have the responsibility to live with and deal with the consequences of their own decisions on their own, for good and bad. TR was not arguing that Americans should be forced to join labor organizations, but just have the right to make that choice for themselves.

So-called Liberals and so-called Progressives today, (Socialists in actuality) like to claim that they’re pro-choice. But what they tend to leave out is that they’re really only pro-choice on women’s reproductive rights and sexuality. They’re not even pro-choice on the right to  the right to organize, because they believe people should be forced to join labor unions because its in their best interest. (As they would argue) Apparently believing that they (big government and Socialists) are more qualified to make the most basic economic and personal decisions of three-hundred-million people that they’ve never met before. TR was arguing for the right to organize and that people should be able to make their decision for themselves.

Progressive People’s Coalition: Teddy Roosevelt- What is a Progressive?

I’m writing these series of articles about Theodore Roosevelt, because there’s been this debate inside of the Democratic Party (which now owns progressivism) about what is progressivism and what is a Progressive. At least since Barack Obama who is definitely a Progressive and was a Progressive President, during his presidency. A debate between Center-Left Democrats who the media and the hardcore Left if not Far-Left, would call Centrist Democrats. So-called Centrist Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Socialists in and outside of the Democratic Party who call themselves both Socialists as well as Progressives. People like Senator Bernie Sanders who just happens to be the only self-described Socialist Member of Congress, who is not the only Socialist Member of Congress.

So I’ve been writing this series to explain what is progressivism and exactly what Progressives believe in and what it means to be a Progressive. Not to go issue by issue and layout all the progressive positions on every single issues. But to give you an overall vision of what progressivism is and what it means to be a Progressive. To me at least Teddy Roosevelt meets every definition of what it means to be a Progressive. If he were alive and involved in American politics today, he would not just be a Democrat or at least an Independent, but a Progressive Democrat. He would be the Sherrod Brown   of the Democratic Party today. Senator Brown who is a blue-collar Midwestern Progressive Democrat from Ohio, who has been in Congress since 1993. First elected to the House and is completing his second term in the Senate.

As I wrote before Teddy Roosevelt was a Progressive because he not just believed in progress, but also using government in a limited way to help create that progress. To use government as an investor (for lack of a better word) in American progress. To help build a society where everyone can succeed and make a good life for themselves and be able to live in freedom.

Socialists believe in progress as well, but they don’t believe in limited government at least as it relates to the economy. Progressives want to create a society where everyone can do well. Where everyone can get a good education, where everyone has a modern infrastructure system and can get around. Where people can work under safe working conditions and where commuter are protected from unsafe products. Where people can get immediate financial help when they go through hard times and can get help getting back on their feet.

Socialists have a  much larger role for government especially the national government, whether you’re talking about Democratic Socialists like Senator Bernie Sanders, or Communists like Fidel Castro. (Its hard to name a famous American Communist Right now) And see the national government’s job as to provide basic human services that they believe that private sector can’t be trusted to provide the people well.

Teddy Roosevelt is to progressivism and Progressives, what Jack Kennedy is to Liberals and liberalism.. What Barry Goldwater is to Conservatives and conservatism. What Ron Paul is to Libertarians and libertarianism. What Bernie Sanders is to Democratic Socialists and democratic socialism. What Karl Marx is to Communists and communism. And unfortunately Donald Trump is to Nationalists and nationalism. The standard-bearers to their movements and politics. And I would argue today that progressivism is still alive and very well, but now resides as part of the Center-Left in the Democratic Party. Even with the growth of Socialists both Democratic and unfortunately Communistic  at least, in the Democratic Party.



Keith Hughes: The Square Deal For Dummies- Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Era Reforms


Source: IZ Quotes

I wouldn’t say Teddy Roosevelt was the first or last Progressive Republican, but its hard to find any Republicans who are Progressives today. Senator Susan Collins, might be the closest, but she’s a Center-Right Republican who is more of a Conservative in the classic sense or a Moderate-Conservative. But she’s a Republican because she believes in a strong national defense, economic freedom, property rights, low taxes, but also believes in civil liberties and commonsense regulations that Conservatives at least at one point believed in all those things. Traditional Conservative Republican values.

TR wasn’t a Socialist obviously even though he believed in both a public safety net, as well as a regulatory state, and that the rich shouldn’t control most of the power in the country. He was a strong believer in economic freedom and individualism, but that power should be for everybody and that everyone should have the ability to live in freedom. And not have a small minority at the top with most of the wealth in the country, while everyone else struggles just to survive.

Teddy wasn’t a Liberal, or a Conservative. He had liberal leanings on things like civil rights, regulatory state and safety net, but probably wasn’t as a big believer in free speech and the Right to Privacy, as Liberals (and I mean real Liberals) are. Teddy had conservative leanings at the least in the sense that he believed in America and was a true Patriot and believe America had to be defended with a strong defense, but would go much further into the economy with government when it came to the safety and regulatory state.

Teddy wasn’t a centrist either. He had strong center-left progressive leanings and real hard-core principles and wasn’t even someone who combined bits and pieces into one new ideology. But was someone who believed in progress even a limited government to help create that progress. Not to run the country or even private enterprise, but to see that everyone had a real shot at making it in America. And that there was an insurance system for people who fell through the cracks and needed temporary relief. As well as a regulatory state to protect consumers and workers from predators.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal with the introduction of the regulatory state in America, is exactly what made TR a Progressive. He wasn’t saying that capitalism and individual freedom, were failing and needed to be replaced with communism. But that capitalism needed a referee and that the U.S. Government would be that referee at the national level. And that capitalism wasn’t working for enough Americans. Not enough Americans were able to benefit from capitalism and live with individual freedom. Too much power at the top in society and not enough for everyone else. That is what Theodore Roosevelt’s Square Deal represents to me.