Thursday, January 6, 2011

To Answer An E-Mail Regarding My Defending Theodore Roosevelt

My friend asks, "Out of curiosity, how much reading have you done into the late 19th century Progressive Movement? In my opinion, you haven't characterized it correctly. They were quite interested in big govt. solutions/socialism. They also realized that it couldn't be done quickly, but by incrementalism. President Wilson was a big proponent of it. Both Roosevelts continued along the path. They went into hiding for a while, but are out again now in force.

My good friend,

That's a great question! Actually while I was going for my degree in Criminal Justice, I started to read about the formation of different Police Departments.

I started reading a great deal about Theodore Roosevelt starting when he was a New York City Police Commissioner. I found it very interesting that he was already fighting against corruption, graft, citizen abuse, and the political machines and "Bosses" of the time.

This lead to my reading about how he championed blue collar Americans who had no rights during that era. This lead me to reading about the horrid situation with Child Labor abuses in our country.

"With the coming of industrialization in Europe and the United States, the implied right of abuse was transferred to the factory, where orphaned or abandoned children as young as five worked sixteen hours a day. In many cases irons were riveted around their ankles to bind the children to the machines, while overseers with whips ensured productivity."

Source - http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/1361/Chi...l#ixzz1AHZRbMKP

Wouldn't you fight against such Bullspit? Knowing you the little that I do, I'd say that you would absolutely fight against such an abuse.

Since I have been a long time Republican and hard core Conservative, and subsequently have done what most Conservatives do .... and that's give all that I can to help those in need without the government getting involved, I couldn't understand how people are calling Theodore Roosevelt a modern day "Progressive".

Then I found out that the Progressive Movement from 1890 to 1920 was different than what is called Progressives today. Which by the way was not a term used by modern day "Liberals" again until 2004 after the DNC hired a Linguist to help the DNC "re-package" their message. Why? Because in poll after poll at the time, the term "Liberal" had become a negative in the eyes of the American public.

The Progressive Movement from 1890 to 1920 tackled such problems as unfit working conditions and landlord abuse. It never expounded the ideals of Socialism and in fact fought against the idea that the State should take care of it's citizens from cradle to grave. It did however give the average working man, woman, and child some muscle to defend itself from situations were they never had a voice.

People have a way of rewriting history. In the case of those who fought against housing and labor abuses, they weren't Communist ( and trust me when I say that I've seen real Communist at work) ... but instead they were simply Americans looking out for the next guy.

I think if I were around during the Gilded Age and saw the ways that Americans were being treated, then I'd probably would have joined in the fight to help those in need.

If it were happening today, would my fight against such abuses mean that I'm a bleeding heart Liberal? No it doesn't because I wouldn't advocate a Government take over of that business who is doing the offense ... instead I'd use the law of the land to rectify such an abuse.

Remember pard, TR wasn't the one who started a lot of the reform. In fact much of the reform started way before McKinley took office. But those reforms did lead to things like the 1938 passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (52 Stat. 1060) where the federal government started regulating child labor, among other provisions.

TR said all he wanted was for Americans to have a "Square Deal", and his policies which he carried on after McKinley was shot would go along with the preamble of the U.S. Constitution:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

That ain't Socialism! That God Bless Us is Americanism!

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Tom