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Reform Legislation under Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt came to the presidency in September 1901 as a result of the McKinley assassination. He became chief executive in his own right following a decisive election victory in 1904. Throughout both terms, Roosevelt disappointed Republican conservatives by pressing hard for a variety of reforms. He attempted to increase railroad regulation with two major pieces of legislation and, heavily influenced by the muckrakers, sought protection of the nation`s food and drug supplies. The president further surprised his party by threatening management in order to settle an ongoing coal strike. His vast program of public lands conservation drew both praise and criticism, but established his most enduring legacy. Westerners generally applauded his efforts to reclaim arid lands. Roosevelt achieved great public acclaim with his trust-busting initiatives, starting with the taming of J.P Morgan`s Northern Securities Company. The Panic of 1907 was blamed on the president`s progressive policies by the Republican conservatives, but fostered the beginnings of major bank reform. One of Roosevelt`s most egregious failures lay in the area of race relations.