Roosevelt the Trustbuster
Theodore Roosevelt believed that trusts were bad for the United States. He believed in the work of capitalism, but had suspicions about the idea of trusts (Currie 17). Roosevelt worked to eliminate the bad trusts and put restraints on the good ones. He filed a lawsuit against the Northern Securities Company, arguing the trusts violated the Sherman Act (Davidson and Stoff 639). When the country began to hear of the lawsuit, the stock market dropped on Wall Street. In the year of 1904 the Supreme court ruled that trusts fell in violation of the Sherman Act, and ordered that all trusts must be broken up (639). The Attorney General also filed lawsuits against companies such as Standard oil and American Tobacco Company. Roosevelt did not want to consider himself the "trustbuster", a person who wanted to destroy all trusts, but instead fix those that "have done something we regard as wrong." (640)
Roosevelt ran for president in 1904. He promised American a Square Deal, by which he meant that everyone from farmers and consumers to workers and owners would have the same opportunity to succeed (Davidson and Stoff 628). His promise of Square Deal was targeted for the railroad companies. The interstate Commerce Act of 1887 had done little to end rebates and other abuses (628). This is why Roosevelt urged Congress to outlaw rebates. Soon afterward, in 1906, Congress gave the ICC the power to set railroad rates (628).
Roosevelt had one goal. It was to reform the government to protect consumers (628). After reading a novel called The Jungle, Roosevelt sent government inspectors into meatpacking houses. However, the owners of the houses refused to let them enter (Davidson and Stoff,628). So, Roosevelt exposed them and public were outraged. Soon, in 1906, Congress was forced to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act, which required food and drug makers to list ingredients on the package (628). This also ended false advertising and use of impure ingredients (628).
Natural resources were used rapidly as the companies demanded for more resources. For example, to fuel the industrial growth, lumber companies were cutting the whole forests and miners were taking iron and coal from the earth, leaving gaping holes. Roosevelt took actions to protect nation;s wilderness areas. He pressed for conservation, the protection of the natural resources. He said "The right of the public to natural resource outweigh private rights". Roosevelt forced lumber companies to plant new trees in the forest they were clearing and he also took control of mining. Under Roosevelt, the government set aside about 194,000 acres for national parks. A national park is an area set aside for people to visit. They are run by federal government.