He didn't believe in democracy; he believed simply in government.In 'The "New Freedom" and the Courts', Theodore Roosevelt said the following:
The "New Freedom" is nothing whatever but the right of the strong to prey on the weak, of the big men to crush down the little men, and to shield their iniquity beneath the cry that they are exercising freedom. The "New Freedom" when practically applied turns out to be that old kind of dreadful freedom which leaves the unscrupulous and powerful free to make slaves of the feeble. There is but one way to interfere with this freedom to inflict slavery on others, and that is by invoking the supervisory, the regulatory, the controlling, and directing power of the government precisely as the Progressives last year demanded in their platform, and as I and those like me demanded in our speeches. Every honest and law-abiding business man when once he realizes what the situation actually is will welcome our proposals; and for the wage-worker and the small man in business, the only hope of permanent relief comes through our program.
Word games. That's just how the progressives will do you. It's true that the government is there to protect the liberties of the citizens, but note the structure of what was said:
that is by invoking the supervisory, the regulatory, the controlling, and directing power of the government precisely as the Progressives last year demanded in their platform
So it's not "protecting Liberty, as the constitution prescribes", or "as the Founders envisioned and laid forth". It's "as demanded by the progressive platform". Have you ever read the Party Platform of the Bull Moose party? Here it is, and here are some highlights:
AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION
The Progressive party, believing that a free people should have the power from time to time to amend their fundamental law so as to adapt it progressively to the changing needs of the people, pledges itself to provide a more easy and expeditious method of amending the Federal Constitution.
They mean something analogous to the Gateway Amendment. The Progressive Party was founded by Roosevelt himself, who was fond of Herbert Croly's writings, particularly a book titled "Progressive Democracy", which among other things, advocates for a much easier amendment process: (page 231)
Instead of requiring the assent of two-thirds of Congress and the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, the power of revision should be possessed by a majority of the electorate.
NATION AND STATE
Up to the limit of the Constitution, and later by amendment of the Constitution, it found necessary, we advocate bringing under effective national jurisdiction those problems which have expanded beyond reach of the individual States.
It is as grotesque as it is intolerable that the several States should by unequal laws in matter of common concern become competing commercial agencies, barter the lives of their children, the health of their women and the safety and well being of their working people for the benefit of their financial interests.
The extreme insistence on States’ rights by the Democratic party in the Baltimore platform demonstrates anew its inability to understand the world into which it has survived or to administer the affairs of a union of States which have in all essential respects become one people.
While there's a real substantive argument that states have powers, not rights, the point here is the abolition of the 10th amendment and the complete centralization of government in DC. Nationalize everything. Roosevelt himself called the states a bunch of "squabbling contemptible commonwealths".
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
We pledge our party to establish a department of labor with a seat in the cabinet, and with wide jurisdiction over matters affecting the conditions of labor and living.
Because all liberty-loving citizens love yet more unaccountable bureaucracies.
We favor the union of all the existing agencies of the Federal Government dealing with the public health into a single national health service
Can you say Obamacare? It's very interesting to note that it took almost exactly 100 years for the progressives wet dream of centralized state run healthcare to come true, and at the base of the mountain there stands Teddy. There's an article from a few months ago on The American Thinker which purports to say we shouldn't blame him, but yes, we should blame him. Take note how every time Obama speaks he uses the phrase "we have more work to do". He's practically saying it in every speech. That's how it is with all progressives, including Roosevelt.
Progressivism is not a single event. They take a little bit of your liberty, tomorrow they'll take more, the next day, even more; until you realize you're the frog in boiling water. Which is why Theodore also deserves blame, because he's the one who initially turned the stove burner on. At some point the progressives realized that they just had to break free of the Constitution. So they did.
The natural resources of the Nation must be promptly developed and generously used to supply the people’s needs, but we cannot safely allow them to be wasted, exploited, monopolized or controlled against the general good. We heartily favor the policy of conservation, and we pledge our party to protect the National forests without hindering their legitimate use for the benefit of all the people.
Problem is, you know a progressive is lying when their lips are moving, or when they are putting ink to paper. Conservation is one of the easiest for progressives to abuse, because people don't want dirty air and water. We see very similar problems today with environmentalism. But if you go digging you will see that there was a very strong eugenic sentiment behind the push. (part 2) Whatever a progressive says, just know that they have an ulterior motive.
INHERITANCE AND INCOME TAX
We believe in a graduated inheritance tax as a National means of equalizing the obligations of holders of property to Government, and we hereby pledge our party to enact such a Federal law as will tax large inheritances, returning to the States an equitable percentage of all amounts collected.
They believe in the IRS which can abuse the people, that's what this is about. We've had a century of progressivism, but these people don't change. They want to know what kinds of prayers you engage in, what books you read, and all of the rest of it. One "reform" is built upon the last "reform". All the while they cloak it in flowery language that sells well. Just don't scratch the surface, because it's gilded. Sure, it's golden and glittery on the outside, but the core is rotten.
There's plenty of other things in the Progressive Platform, some that you may even agree with. But here we are, a century later and we're looking down the barrel of tyranny. Has it been worth it? The Constitutional firewalls have been breached, the federal leviathan has been unleashed, and can anybody honestly say it's been worth it? I personally think that in the end, some people will actually have to be thrown in gulags before they realize that progressives are not all they claim to be. The progressives have already done so twice, (1) (2) what's stopping them from doing it again?