Theodore Roosevelt And Woodrow Wilson Essay, Research Paper
Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt s brand of conservatism were very similar. Wilson and Roosevelt were of socially secure background, even though, Wilson did go through a time of poverty and frustration. Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson both favored a laissez-faire style of government, although Wilson disliked the idea of a laissez-faire government at the beginning of his political career. Roosevelt and Wilson stood for the general welfare rather than any special interest. They both disliked the labor and Populist movements. In his political and historical writing Wilson often expressed the same general prejudice that young Theodore Roosevelt showed. Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were suspicious of the trusts but neither knew what to do about business combinations. Wilson and Roosevelt were also late converts to the main body of progressive views.
Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson differed in some aspects of their views. Wilson s conservatism was based upon a deliberate and reasoned philosophy of politics and social change. While Roosevelt s, with its suppressed tendency toward violence, seemed like a nervous tic. Wilson made room for change in his philosophy, reform, and as an organic principle. Roosevelt left no room for change in his philosophy. Theodore Roosevelt s switch to progressivism was not a change of views, but rather a violent change in language prompted by the call of ambition.
Hofstadter views Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt in two different lights. Hofstadter likes what both Wilson and Roosevelt did, but he thinks that Roosevelt had ulterior motives. Hofstadter says, In Roosevelt there appears to be no real movement of the mind because the mind has hardly ever come into focus. Hofstadter repeatedly puts Roosevelt down for doing things only to keep others from becoming angry with him. Roosevelt was afraid to help out the worker
because he thought that the business would become angry with him. A lot of what Roosevelt did was for his own personal gain. Hofstadter says that Theodore Roosevelt should not be taken seriously either. And rightly so, for anyone who today has the patience to plow through his collected writings will find there, despite an occasional insight and some ingratiating flashes of self-revelation, a tissue of philistine conventionalities, the intellectual fiber of a muscular and combative Polonius.
Although Hofstadter does not seem to like Theodore Roosevelt, he does respect him. Theodore Roosevelt was very popular amongst Americans. Through his speaking, he was able to captivate the hearts of many Americans. Another reason why Hofstadter respects Roosevelt is because Roosevelt was a master therapist of the middle class. Roosevelt spoke the views of the middle classes of all parts of the country, and commanded the enthusiastic affection of people who had never walked behind a plow or raised a callus. He had a special sense for the realities they wished to avoid; with his uncanny instinct for impalpable falsehoods he articulated their fears in a string of plausible superficialities.
Hofstadter does not seem to like Woodrow Wilson either. Hofstadter believes that Wilson did most of what he did in order to fit in and be loved by the people because Wilson was deprived of this as a child. He could command respect; from some, because they felt in him the embodiment of a cause, he had devotion. But love he could not win, and there was something insubstantial about his relationship with the people, something forced; the fact that he strove so consciously to be a democrat is the best evidence that by instinct he was not. Hofstadter thinks that Wilson tried to hard just to be liked by the people that he would do whatever the people wanted in order to be loved by them.
As in most cases of politics, both of these men had ulterior motives for their actions. Hofstadter dislikes both of these men for that reason, but at the same time he respects both. Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson played an important role in the Progressive movement but were slowed by their own need for personal gain.