Woodrow Wilson Essay Research Paper The turn

Woodrow Wilson Essay, Research Paper The turn of century was an important time for pre-WWI America. National and international affairs were in full swing, just as ever. America was trying hard to remain

Woodrow Wilson Essay, Research Paper

The turn of century was an important time for pre-WWI America. National and

international affairs were in full swing, just as ever. America was trying hard to remain

with its Isolationism, yet could in no way thoroughly do so. Yet with this isolationistic

stance, that was deteriorating daily, much emphasis was put onto national affairs of the

United States by the government. Woodrow Wilson, the third president of this new

century, also had great concern with the national affairs of the U.S. Elected in 1912,

Wilson strongly believed in a government ?more concerned about human rights than

property rights? (Comptons). Through these strong idealistic views, Wilson was in fact

the ?president of the common people.? He proved this through his efforts for farmers and

other laborers. This also seen through his ?New Freedom? basis of government, as

opposed to President Roosevelt?s ?New Nationalist? form of government. On top of this,

Wilson?s flood of social welfare legislation proved that he was definitely ?president of the

common people.?

One thing must be known about Wilson before anything else. That is the fact that

he was a strong idealist. He had great visions of how to make the U.S. a better nation for

all. This is illustrated trough his many Acts that he sent through congress. He put in place

many systems that help benefit all the common people. Though he did not always follow

all the way through with his plans (he more or less put them in place and left them), his

strong devotion to the common people being treated equally cannot be overseen. The fact

is that Wilson truly cared about the farmer and the working man. For example, it is

known that he ?promised to return state government to the people? (Bailey 703). He

believed in the struggles of people as a whole, rather than individually. One act that he put

into place was the Federal Farm Loan Act. Here, Wilson made credit very easily

accessible to those farmers in need. This law divided the country into twelve regions and

opened a Federal Land Bank inn each one of these regions (McDuffie 139) Wilson also

made the rate of interest towards these farmers very low and affordable. Wilson realized

the importance of the farmer upon American society, a fact that many other politicians of

the time easily ignored. So with his idealistic visions, Wilson brought a little ease upon the

farmers of America. In 1916, Wilson helped get the Warehouse Act into effect. This act

?authorized loans on the security of staple crops? (Bailey 709). Both of these acts were in

essence Populist ideas that the Populists wanted into effect for some number of years.

And it was only President Wilson who brought these issues to light and made a difference

for these common people. It is obvious that Wilson was concerned of the farmers and he

therefore acted upon the concerns and made life that much easier for them.

Wilson was also very concerned with the average workers of the U.S. His flood of

social welfare programs was clearly send and felt by hard working American citizens all

around the country. The combination of new acts being put in place targeting business in

general, along with those targeted specifically for the betterment of the welfare of working

Americans. In 1916, Wilson imposed the Workingman?s Compensation Act. Under this

Act, assistance was given to federal civil service employees in the time of disability. Also,

Wilson put into place the Child Labor Act in the same year. Though this law was declared

unconstitutional in 1918, it was a definite step in the right direction. For it did not allow

the shipment of products that had been made by those under the age of fourteen or the age

of sixteen (the age limit was different for different products). Also in that same year, the

Adamson Act was put into effect. This law required a maximum of no higher than an

eight hour work day. This law was mainly meant for railway workers. This law was

considered ?a major victory for railroad unions, a averted a railroad strike in September


Wilson?s whole form of government during his first term was based on his ?New

Freedom.? In this New Freedom, Wilson put in effect ?a program to liberate American

economic energies by drastic tariff reduction, strengthening the antitrust laws, and

reorganizing of the banking and the credit system? (Cink). This was in opposition to

Teddy Roosevelt?s ?New Nationalism? which looked ?toward sweeping extension of

federal regulation and welfare activity? (Cink). This New Freedom form of government

started right off the bat when Wilson reached office. Wilson immediately made an

amazing effort to attack what is called the ?triple wall of privilege? (Bailey). The three

components of this were the tariff, the banks, and the trusts. His first step, with working

with the tariffs, included making an appearance to the Congress in 1913. There, he the

Underwood Tariff Bill was proposed and later passed. This bill helped in lowering tariffs

greatly; a task in which Wilson had promised to his ?common people.? The Underwood

Act lowered general rated from about 40% to 26% (Cink). Through this Act, the first

income tax was presented under the 16th Amendment. This was a graduated income tax

which started on incomes over $3000. This $3000 was much higher than the average

man?s salary, so most had nothing to worry about. He next attacked the severely suffering

banking system. He put into place the Federal Reserve Act. Like with the farming act,

this Act split the U.S. into twelve regions with a Federal Reserve bank in each region.

The Federal Reserve Banks would be owned by corporations that bought stock in that

bank. These banks could issue paper money. Many believe that it was this system that

helped keep America?s economy so strong during the years of war. The trusts were the

final part of Wilson?s ?triple wall of privilege.? After much convincing, the Federal Trade

Commission Act was passed in 1914. To help out all companies, this Act seeked to crush

monopolies. The Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914 also helped in achieving this goal. This

Act basically added on to the list made within the Sherman Act of things companies

cannot legally do. This Act also started the long overdue benefits of labor. Wilson

successfully cracked down on all of these things which in turn made him symbolize exactly

what he stood for; ?the president of the common people.? Yet kind of ironically, after

implementing this New Freedom based government in his first term, Wilson drastically

changed into a more Roosevelt New Nationalist base government for his second election.

Sho basically, in his first term, he cracked down on all the improper laws and regulations

through his New Freedom, and later built new laws and regulations through his New

Nationalism. He worked from the ground up, always thinking about the common people.

Overall, it is definitely known that Wilson was a major idealist. He was constantly

thinking of grand ways to make the U.S. a better place for all to live. Though he probably

could have done more, Wilson took huge leaps towards helping the average working and

farming American. He was at the base of countless Acts and Amendments that bettered

the life of many. He stood for the struggle of the people, and understood their struggle,

from a philosophical view. Woodrow Wilson clearly was the president of the common

people. This was shown through his efforts to better the conditions for farmers and

laborers. This was also shown through his flood of social welfare programs on the

middle/lower class working America. On top of all that, Wilson?s ?New Freedom,? later

turning into Roosevelt?s ?New Nationalism,? helped to deteriorate unfair systems in the

U.S. (New Freedom) and then to build positive ones later on (New Nationalism). Wilson

carried the United States with their chins up high through this crucial time right before the

U.S. actually entered the war. And the mere stability that the working class Americans

felt through Wilson?s plans was so crucial to the country at the time. And Wilson did just

that. He brought the comfort back to the homes of the everyday working Americans. He

was, in fact, the ?president of the common people.?