Theodore Roosevelt Brings Big Business To Heel

A central tenet of Theodore Roosevelt’s leadership was the idea that no one should be above the law.  He was deeply troubled by excessive concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few; such a situation was, he knew, inimical to the interests of a democratic republic.  He did not begrudge a man his wealth fairly earned, but he believed that the accumulation of vast treasure should not come at the expense of the public good.  The super-rich could not plunder at will and, at the same time, expect the public to operate under a different set of rules.  What especially galled Roosevelt was the arrogant way that the “captains of industry” of his day expected to reap all the benefits of the American economic system while feeling bound by no reciprocal duties to it.

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