Study Guide Answers
Wilson believed that there was a “Triple Wall of Privilege” that kept the rich wealthy and everyone else struggling to make a decent buck. This wall consisted of Trusts, Tariffs, and Banking. He wished to break down these walls, these pillars of aristocracy.
To bust the trust “wall”, Wilson set up the Clayton Antitrust Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. They both served to bust trusts. Their main differences were that the Clayton Antitrust Act was supposed to bust presently existing and developed trusts, while the Federal Trade Commission Act was more of a preventative measure. The Fed Trade Commission Act was enforced by a governmental regulatory agency that decided whether certain businesses would come into existence and develop. The aim was to prevent any business that had a blooming trust-like demeanor from becoming fully functional.
Another wall of the “Triple Wall of Privilege” was that of Tariffs. These high tariffs made it so that the cheapest prices for any product came from American businesses, whose prices were way up high anyways. Wilson enacted the Underwood-Simmons Tariff. This low tariff (the lowest up to that time) allowed for more international competition that forced American businesses to lower their prices. This gave consumers more choice and more importantly, ultimately boosted the U.S. economy in the long run.
The Banking wall of the “Triple Wall of Privilege” was another problem that required a novel solution. The intellectual Wilson had the answer. He put the Federal Reserve Act into action. This made for the existence of 12 Federal Reserves (banks). In short time, they held most of the country’s funds. As a result, the standard currency of the U.S. became Federal Reserve Notes, the same currency we use today. This put money in control of the government.
Giving the government control of the money has many advantages. Instead of money seeming to chiefly flock to the selfish wants of the financially elite, the government can disperse the money more productively so that the economy as a whole benefits. The government can also help reduce inflation and to a degree, control the seasonal rises and falls of the economy. The government can quickly shift funds to financially troubled areas. This was indeed a shift in power. There was now more economic power within the people.
The best man for the times, although he may not be the leading progressive, and despite his faults, should be Woodrow Wilson. He was very smart, for he taught at Princeton, and he was very steadfast, because he broke up the Standard Oil Co. of NJ while he was the Governor. He didn’t like war, but when necessary, he had it declared.
So, when possible, he kept our country out of trouble from abroad, and in doing so, helped our reputation among developing countries (“Watchful Waiting”). His economic reforms regarding the “Triple Wall of Privilege”, mentioned in the previous essay, sealed our fate for ultimately becoming the richest nation in the world. The genuine concepts involved in that could only come from someone as smart as Wilson. The BEST MAN FOR THE TIMES goes to Woodrow Wilson!!!