Thomas Woodrow Wilson

The twenty-eighth president of the United States was Thomas Woodrow Wilson, a Presbyterian minister's son. Many historians argue that his traditional southern upbringing had an impact on his views on women, race, and ethnicity. However, Woodrow became a liberal in many areas as a result of his Princeton and Johns Hopkins education. He gave lectures on politics and administration while working as a professor at Princeton at one point. Wilson made the decision to put his theory into practice by seeking the office of governor of New Jersey; it is argued that at the time, the state government was dysfunctional. Woodrow Wilson did not fall short in his role as governor; he improved New Jersey governance. Notably, when Wilson was elected as the president of the United States, he had a vibrant progressive agenda. He succeeded as president as he was able to sign into law several acts that facilitated his agenda. Woodrow Wilson’s plan revolved on issues such as reforming the banking system, regulate the monopolies, help the farmers, lower the tariffs, and improving working conditions.

Reforming the Banking System

Woodrow Wilson had the agenda of reforming the banking system in the U.S. In his joint address to the Congress in 1913, Wilson outlined his agenda to reform the banking system. Through the reformation of the banking sector, Wilson recognized that business people in the U.S could have the freedom and initiative to use a currency that did not limit them. The prohibitive tariffs that had been put in place after the Civil War were limiting businesses in terms of initiatives they could take. The U.S currency at that time was rigid, and Woodrow wanted to address this aspect by making money elastic as well as responsive to sound credit. In his view, the sound credit would enable businesses to grow, and this will lead to positive growth in the economy. Wilson’s other aim was to ensure that the current was stable and facilitated flow of personal and corporate deals (Wilson, 1913). In general, Wilson’s agenda in banking system firstly focused on the having a stable currency.

Moreover, Wilson also wanted a banking system that mobilized federal reserves, unlike the current structure which he wanted to replace. For Wilson, such a system would ensure that funds are not concentrated among few individuals while the rest of the population suffered. Further, the speculative purposes of the banking system would also ensure that resources are employed in fruitful investments. The new banking laws that Wilson had proposed were to be of the interest of the public and not the private banks. In his speech, he suggested that “… banks may be the instruments, not the masters, of business and of individual enterprise and initiative” (Wilson, 1913). Wilson through his address in 1913 encouraged Congress to come up with a law that captured his progressive agenda on the banking system. Indeed, he finally achieved this agenda the same year when he signed the Federal Reserve Act into law. In general, Woodrow Wilson’s agenda on the banking system led to a stable currency and the Federal Reserve that is in place to date.

Regulating Monopolies

Wilson’s progressive agenda also focused on businesses, particularly monopolies. Throughout his campaign, Wilson emphasized on the need to deal with monopolies in the United States as they were destructive to the economy. After his election, he addressed the congress by outlining the destructive nature of monopolies and how businessmen had denied its existence. The monopolies were so powerful in a way that those who were facilitating them were denying its existence. Wilson emphasized on the need to have a new legislation in place to deal with such businesses (Wilson, 1914). Indeed, the Congress in 1914, Congress passed the Clayton Antitrust Act to address monopolies as Wilson had suggested.

Schultz (2009), underlines that in 1914, Woodrow played a significant role in seeing that the Clayton Antitrust Act was passed. Notably, the act ensured that unfair practices among business corporations and other commercial organizations were outlawed. Further, Wilson promoted the development of the federal trade commission which was a government agency that had the mandate to evaluate business practices while issuing rulings to prevent business firms from engaging in such unethical practices.

The passage of the Act fulfilled Wilson’s agenda and campaign promise to limit destructive business policies from monopolies. The law illegalized monopolies anti-competitive business practices that include price-fixing as well as interlocking directorates; this happens where an individual sits on a number of boards for businesses that are competing. Further, Wilson affirmed his anti-monopoly agenda by overseeing the creation of the Federal Trade Commission; this new government agency was tasked with investigating and prosecuting any individual or company engaging in the anticompetitive business practices. In general, Wilson’s agenda on monopolies was a success.

According to Hakim (2003), the new freedom was the name specified for Woodrow Wilson’s domestic policy agenda during the presidential race of 1912. The most important feature of Woodrow’s new freedom was they antitrust program. Historians highlight that in the presidential campaign of 1912, Wilson together with Roosevelt provided contrasting visions of how the federal government would deal with the difficulty of business monopoly. Notably, Wilson sought a regulatory strategy that aimed at regulating the expansion of government authority. Wilson highlighted that statutes would specify the practices that are allowed as well as those that are illegal. The situation would pervade the large companies while avoiding the development of a discretionary national bureaucracy.

Reduction of Tariffs

After taking over office in 1913, Wilson strived to get his agenda through congress. However, his job was made easier by the good number of democratic majorities who were in both houses, the senate as well as the House. Wilson’s efforts were complimented by his position as the party leader. Thus he played a great role in urging members to push his reform agenda. Notably, in 1913, the underwood Tariff became law. According to Binkley (2009), the party leadership of President Wilson was demonstrated better in the Underwood Tariff Act. The ways and means committee designed the bill many weeks before the president was inaugurated. Essentially, the underwood Tariff involved a massive tax reduction, Wilson had a conviction that high protectionist tariffs were unfairly enriching American industrialists. The tariff reduction, therefore, acted as a symbol of Woodrow suspicion of big businesses. Many historians contend that the most significant instance of Wilson’s empowerment of the national government was the successful campaign of the Underwood Tariff bill. Apart from other requirements of the law, it also enacted the first national income tax consequently establishing for the first time in history that the federal government was to direct income redistribution across the country. Wilson had often opposed the protective tariffs, partly because they favored the business interests of the northeast over the agricultural benefit of the South.

Helping Farmers

In a speech delivered to the congress, Woodrow acknowledged challenges faced by farmers, and he outlined his agenda for them. Woodrow pointed out that American farmers needed no special privilege such as extending government credit to them. In contrast, farmers needed to acquire a legislation that would make their own abundant and significant credit resources available as a foundation for collective concerted local action on their own behalf obtaining the capital they ought to utilize. Woodrow urged the members of congress to acknowledge the importance of the agricultural sector in the development of America. Woodrow pointed out that his government through the Agricultural department would ensure that farming becomes an efficient business of large co-operative effort and provide market for foodstuffs (Wilson, 1913). Woodrow asserted that even though the treasury provided the movement of crops through timely deposits, farmers should not entirely depend on the expedients. Therefore, Woodrow put in place a commission to evaluate different systems of agricultural credit that have been introduced in Europe and prepare a report that would facilitate the determination of ideal methods. Indeed, Wilson fulfilled his agenda to help farmers by signing the Federal Farm Loan Act (1916). The law facilitated the process of farmers getting low-interest loans to farmers. Further, the Warehouse Act (1916) also facilitated the offering of loans to security to staple crops

Improving Working Conditions

Further, Woodrow acknowledged that the Bureau of Mines had to be equipped and empowered to offer more efficient services as well as enhancing mine labor and developing mines to become more economical and safe. Woodrow not only saw these improvements as a conservation for work but also a protection of human lives. In his agenda, Woodrow highlighted the country’s need to appreciate the railway workers and offer them a possible and efficient employer’s liability act as well as a law. Regarding social injustices, Woodrow Wilson urged the congress to pursue it in the same ways they did for political and economic reforms. During Wilson’s presidency, the sailors were guaranteed fair treatment as well as a decent wage as contained in the La Follette Seamen’s Act of 1915. Equally, the workingmen’s compensation Act of 1916 provided help for all federal civil workers during a period of disability. On the other hand, the Adamson Act of 1916 stipulated an 8-hour workday which included overtime for any worker that was on a train engaged in interstate commercial activities. Therefore it is evident that the many workers gained a lot from the agenda of Progressive minded Woodrow Wilson.


Conclusively, Woodrow Wilson’s presidency revolved around various progressive reform plans. The plans included the reformation of the banking system, dealing with monopolies, enhancing the working conditions of employees, helping farmers, and reduction of tariffs. Indeed, during his presidency, Wilson achieved his agendas by overseeing the passage of several acts that he signed into law. He provided a stable foundation not only for the U.S as a country but also for his successors. His agendas saw the formation of government agencies to facilitate various functions, and are in place in contemporary American system of government.

Works Cited

Binkley, W. E. (2009). The man in the White House: his powers and duties (Vol. JHU Press.

Hakim, J. (2003). Freedom: a history of US. Oxford University Press, USA.

Schultz, K. (2009). HIST. Cengage Learning: Boston

Woodrow, W. (1913). First Annual Message. The American Presidency Project. Retrieved from,

Woodrow, W. (1914). Address to a Joint Session of Congress on Trusts and Monopolies. The American Presidency Project. Retrieved from,

Woodrow, W. (1913). Address to a Joint Session of Congress on the Banking System. The American Presidency Project. Retrieved from,

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price