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Untrodden GroundHow Presidents Interpret the Constitution$
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Harold H. Bruff

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226211107

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226211244.001.0001

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Facing the Lions

Facing the Lions

McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Wilson

(p.187) Chapter Seven Facing the Lions
Untrodden Ground

Harold H. Bruff

University of Chicago Press

President William McKinley established a modest American empire. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson transformed both the Constitution and the office of the presidency. They promoted a constitutional conception of the federal government as an active force in regulating the economy and aiding the lives of ordinary Americans. They sponsored Progressive legislation that has had lasting effects, taking a newly assertive role within Congress. At home and abroad, they asserted a broad power to protect the lives and property of American citizens. Both presidents intervened repeatedly in Latin America, in an extension of the Monroe Doctrine. Roosevelt took the Panama Canal zone; Wilson intervened in Mexico. Roosevelt developed the executive order power to promote conservation and took action against the trusts. Wielding great power, Wilson guided the nation into World War I and tried to control the Versailles peace negotiations. He suppressed dissent and endured a substantial period of disability.

Keywords:   William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Progressive Era, World War I, Panama Canal, executive orders, Versailles

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