Tuesday, December 3, 2013


December 3, 2013


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, delivered a 20,000 word speech 112 years ago today, December 3, 1901, to the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

TR had assumed the office of the Presidency upon the death of William McKinley in September 1901.  McKinley had been shot by an anarchist.

President Roosevelt spent much of the first part of his speech paying homage to his predecessor and condemning anarchists in general.

Turning to economic matters, TR had some positive things to say about "captains of industry."

 He said that..."on the whole, (they) have done great good to our own people," but went on to express the view that the American people feel that "combination and concentration" in the form of trusts, "should be supervised and...controlled" by the Federal government.

TR said...

"In the interest of the whole...the Nation should...assume the power of supervision and regulation over all corporations doing an interstate business."

Later in February 1902, J.P. Morgan, head of the Northern Securities Trust, learned that the Attorney General, Philander C. Knox*,  had filed a lawsuit against his company.

Morgan, one of the most powerful men in the nation, couldn't understand how a mere President of the United States could do this to him.

Morgan sent this private message to TR...

 "Send your man to my man and they can fix it up."

The US Supreme Court ultimately supported TR's view and dissolved the National Securities Corporation.  TR, vindicated, said that this proved that no man, no matter how powerful, is above the law.

A total of 44 trusts were dissolved during TR's presidency earning him the title "TRUSTBUSTER".  

It was his successor, however,President William Howard Taft, who set the record by "busting" 90 trusts.

          "Putting the screws on Him"
                         Puck Cartoon
                        Almanac of TR

*Philander C. Knox (1853-1921) was born in Brownsville, PA.  He was a graduate of Mount Union College and the WVA University College of Law.

Knox served in the cabinets of 3 presidents as as US Senator from PA 1904-1909.  He was Secretary of State during the administration of W. H. Taft.

Philander C. Knox
Harris and Ewing Photo



Springfield, Illinois (JFK+50) Abraham Lincoln, having been certified as "a person of good moral character" by the state of Illinois, was admitted to practice law in the United States Circuit Court 174 years ago today, December 3, 1839.

Mr. Lincoln, who did not attend law school, "learned the law" by working as a clerk in a law office.

Abraham Lincoln of Illinois