During the Panic of 1907, Theodore Roosevelt tacitly approved of the absorption of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company by United States Steel. Despite President Roosevelt's dislike of trusts, this action indicated his progressive reforms were directed not at the abolition of big business but at its regulation.

Years later, President Taft would instruct his Attorney General to file an anti-trust suit against US Steel, which was seen as a repudiation of Roosevelt's consent. This suit helped create the breach between Taft and Roosevelt, leading to the foundation of the Progressive Party and Roosevelt's unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1912 as the "Bull Moose Candidate".