Although some reformers, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, were deeply worried about the consequences of economic development on the natural environment, the most influential, most effective reformers were primarily concerned with the impact of the rise of big business on small businesses, industrial workers, and consumers, and with corruption in government that reformers believed resulted from the economic power of large corporations.Farmers were upset at what they regarded as arbitrary and excessive railroad rates and abuses such as rebates to big business like Standard Oil.
Thus, both the populist and progressive movements sought to combat the negative effects of industrialization and economic expansion by focusing primarily on railroad regulation and the strengthening and enforcement of antitrust legislation.
Nevertheless, some progressive reformers like Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot did pay significant attention to preventing further damage to the natural environment and helped to found the modern conservation movement.
In 1902, President Roosevelt not only forced mine owners to submit to arbitration to settle a nationwide coal strike, he also asked his attorney general to file an antitrust suit against the Northern Securities Company, a large railroad holding company.
After the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision to break up the Northern Securities Company in 1904, Roosevelt went on to strengthen the Interstate Commerce Commission’s ability to regulate railroad rates by pushing the Hepburn Act through Congress in 1906.
President Roosevelt used his executive authority to put thousands of acres of public lands aside for national parks, saving them from commercial exploitation.
In 1908, he convened a conservation conference at the White House in an effort to further mitigate the damage that mining and manufacturing were doing to the natural environment, especially in the West.These farmers were among the first and most outspoken advocates of reform in the late 19th century.Pressure from the Farmers’ Alliances convinced Congress to pass and President Cleveland to sign the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, a piece of legislation designed to regulate railroad rates and prohibit corrupt practices such as rebates.President Roosevelt also pushed for the establishment of the forest service and appointed a conservation-minded ally, Gifford Pinchot, to head that agency.Finally, even after retiring from office, Roosevelt supported Pinchot in his efforts to prevent President Taft’s secretary of the interior, Richard Ballinger, from opening additional public lands to commercial exploitation.These examples also address the targeted skill by showing the cause and effect of these events in relation to the reform movements, earning two more points.You also are able to meet the last point by applying the skill of synthesis.Look at the question below and formulate a response.You can do this by making bullet points or, to get the test day experience, time yourself for 35 minutes and write!It cites the Farmers’ Alliances and their role in pushing for the Interstate Commerce Act and Sherman Antitrust Act.In addition, the essay uses a lot of pertinent information from the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt to support the thesis statement and also addresses how there were some reforms that dealt with the natural environment, i.e., national parks and the forest service.