The New Freedom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

The New Freedom has two meanings. The first comprises the campaign speeches and promises of Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 presidential campaign; it called for limited government. The second meaning, the more common, comprises the Progressive programs enacted by Wilson as president during his first term (1913-1916), when the Democrats controlled Congress. Wartime policies are not generally considered part of the New Freedom; and after the 1918 elections the Republicans took control of Congress, and were generally hostile to the New Freedom. As President, Wilson focused on three types of reform:[1]

1. Tariff Reform:[1] This came through the passage of the Underwood Tariff Act of 1913,[1] which lowered tariffs for the first time since 1857 and went against the protectionist lobby.[1]

2. Business Reform:[1] This was established in 1914 through the passage of the Federal Trade Act, which established the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and halt unfair and illegal business practices by issuing "cease and desist" orders,[1] and the Clayton Anti-Trust Act.

3. Banking Reform: This came in 1913, through the creation of the Federal Reserve System, and in 1916, through the passage of the Federal Farm Loan Act,[1] which set up Farm Loan Banks to support farmers.[1]

Campaign slogan in 1912[edit]

Wilson's position in 1912 stood in opposition to Progressive party candidate Theodore Roosevelt's ideas of New Nationalism, particularly on the issue of antitrust modification. According to Wilson, "If America is not to have free enterprise, he can have freedom of no sort whatever." In presenting his policy, Wilson warned that New Nationalism represented collectivism, while New Freedom stood for political and economic liberty from such things as trusts (powerful monopolies).[citation needed] Wilson was strongly influenced by his chief economic advisor Louis D. Brandeis, an enemy of big business and monopoly.[2]

Although Wilson and Roosevelt agreed that economic power was being abused by trusts, Wilson ideas split with Roosevelt on how the government should handle the restraint of private power as in dismantling corporations that had too much economic power in a large society.

Wilson in office[edit]

Once elected, Wilson seemed to abandon his "New Freedom" and adopted policies that were more similar to those of Roosevelt's New Nationalism, such as the Federal Reserve System. Wilson appointed Brandeis to the US Supreme Court in 1916. He worked with Congress to give federal employees worker's compensation, outlawed child labor with the Keating-Owen Act (though this act was ruled unconstitutional in 1918) and passed the Adamson Act, which secured a maximum eight-hour workday for railroad employees. Most important was the Clayton Act of 1914, which largely put the trust issue to rest by spelling out the specific unfair practices that business were not allowed to engage in.[3]

By the end of the Wilson Administration, a significant amount of progressive legislation had been passed, affecting not only economic and constitutional affairs, but farmers, labor, veterans, the environment, and conservation as well. The reform agenda of the New Freedom, however, did not extend as far as Theodore Roosevelt's proposed New Nationalism in relation to the latter's calls for a standard 40-hour work week, minimum wage laws, and a federal system of social insurance. This was arguably a reflection of Wilson's own ideological convictions, who according to Herbert Hoover adhered to the classical liberal principles of Jeffersonian Democracy[4] (although Wilson did champion reforms such as agricultural credits later in his presidency, and called for a living wage in his last State of the Union Address). Despite this, the New Freedom did much to extend the power of the federal government in social and economic affairs, and arguably paved the way for future reform programs such as the New Deal and the Great Society.

Legislation and programs[edit]



Health and Welfare[edit]



Environment and public works[edit]



In 1913 Woodrow Wilson's book The New Freedom was released, detailing his thoughts about the concepts and program.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Woodrow Wilson, The Progressive. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  2. ^ By: Strum, Philippa Strum, "Louis D. Brandeis, the New Freedom and the State," Mid America, 1987, Vol. 69#3 pp 105-124
  3. ^ Link,Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era p 69-72
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Progressivism by Walter Nugent
  6. ^ a b Encyclopedia of South Carolina By Somerset Publishers, Staff, Editorial
  7. ^ Roots of reform: farmers, workers, and the American state, 1877-1917 by Elizabeth Sanders
  8. ^
  9. ^ The Institutionalist Tradition In Labor Economics by Dell P. Champlin and Janet T. Knoedler
  10. ^ The Pendulum of Politics: Today's Politics from Yesterday's History by Craig Parkinson
  11. ^ The American economy: a historical encyclopedia by Cynthia Clark Northrup
  12. ^
  13. ^ WB - Our History (An Overview 1920 - 2012). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  14. ^ Working in America by Catherine Reef
  15. ^ Woodrow Wilson: His Life and Work - William Dunseath Eaton, Harry C. Read - Google Books. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  16. ^ Work in America: A - M. - Google Books. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  17. ^ The Mosquito Crusades: A History Of The American Anti-Mosquito Movement From The Reed Commission To The First Earth Day by Gordon Patterson
  18. ^ Public health reports United States. Public Health Service, United States. Marine Hospital Service, 1926
  19. ^ a b The National government and public health by James Alner Tobey
  20. ^ Social Security History. (1923-03-05). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  21. ^ a b The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, Since 1865: Volume 2 by Paul S. Boyer, Joseph F. Kett, Clifford Clark, Sandra Hawley, and Andrew Rieser
  22. ^ Social Security Online History Pages. (2005-11-26). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Vision and aging: crossroads for service deliveryy Alberta L. Orr
  25. ^ History of Nova Scotia, 2000 April 15-30. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  26. ^ The politics of American Federalism by Daniel Judah Elazar
  27. ^ From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society by Neil A. Wynn
  28. ^ The greatest generation comes home: the veteran in American society by Michael D. Gambone
  29. ^ Federal health administration in the United States by Robert Devore Leigh
  30. ^ Encyclopedia of Multiculturalism: Slavery-Zoot-suit riots by Susan Auerbach
  31. ^ a b Time-Life Books, Library of Nations: United States, Sixth European English language printing, 1989
  32. ^ How to draw the life and times of Woodrow Wilson by Melody S. Mis
  33. ^ Mothers Day and Other Family Days, Volume 37 by Reagan Miller
  34. ^ Wilson, Woodrow (1913). The New Freedom. New York, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]