President Wilson & American Pageant

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    According to the authors of the textbook, American Pageant, Woodrow Wilson favored not regulation, but enforcement of antitrust laws, the fragmentation of the big industrial combines. They write that Wilson favored small enterprise, entrepreneurship, and the free functioning of unregulated and unmonopolized markets, whereas TR favored consolidation of trusts and labor unions, paralleled by the growth of powerful regulatory agencies in Washington.

    To what extent do you believe these assessments to be true?

    Thank you.


    This is the standard view. Maybe there’s something to it. But TR did bring antitrust cases (even though prices were falling for consumers in each case). And it’s just confusion to say Wilson favored antitrust but supported laissez faire; the two are at odds with each other. And the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Labor sound like business regulation to me. The textbook should say that both men favored some kind of federal oversight of business, rather than claiming that one was laissez faire and one wanted regulation.

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