Thursday, December 2, 2010

Colonel


Now with Colonel Roosevelt, the magnum opus is complete. And it deserves to stand as the definitive study of its restless, mutable, ever-boyish, erudite and tirelessly energetic subject. Mr. Morris has addressed the toughest and most frustrating part of Roosevelt’s life with the same care and precision that he brought to the two earlier installments. And if this story of a lifetime is his own life’s work, he has reason to be immensely proud.  -- Janet Maslin -- NY Times.


Let the discussion begin!

240 comments:

  1. Great site about the Roosevelt expedition:

    http://www.mnh.si.edu/onehundredyears/expeditions/SI-Roosevelt_Expedition.html

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  2. While TR was honored by European heads of state as a big time celeb and political 'hero', Taft was having the most troubling time at the White House. I wonder how he felt about all the positive attention TR got during that time.

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  3. As he wrote, he was looking over his shoulder to see if TR had walked in when someone said "Mr. President."

    But he didn't waste too much time before unraveling many of the reforms that Roosevelt had left behind -- and putting public lands back in private hands. Maybe the Taft presidency is the start of the modern Republican party?

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  4. Seems to be, but then it has been noted that more antitrust cases were actually prosecuted during Taft's term than had been under Roosevelt. Seems Roosevelt was mostly upset with the various feuds that had developed in the Taft administration, most notably that between Taft and Pinchot, and that the "Regular Republicans" appeared to have gained Taft's ear.

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  5. I haven't read that far into the book yet, but was surprised at the snide remarks by both Morris (and Roosevelt) about Pinchot. I'm convinced Pinchot was the driving force behind much of the conservation activities that TR took on behalf of the nation (as opposed to some of his other private, Boone and Crockett activities).

    Taft "promised" to maintain the TR legacy but then chose someone like Ballinger who promptly started transferring public lands back to private use. Pinchot really had no choice but to speak out -- and by doing it publicly, was doomed to be fired.

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  6. Pinchot is not treated very well in this account. I don't know if this is Morris' own take on Pinchot, or if he took these impressions from TR. I suppose in many ways, Pinchot was too liberal for TR's tastes, although he seemed to favor him in this particular incident.

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  7. The book is told almost entirely from TR's POV. As such, you get a pretty good idea of how TR thought and acted, even if at times it is not fully understandable. I think Morris should have approached him with a little more distance in retrospective, especially in regard to Wilson. Just the same, I enjoyed it, because it comes across as a very intimate account, especially as the years closed in on Roosevelt.

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  8. Just bought the kindle version after the price dropped to $10. I will be bit behind you all, since I still have some library ebooks out.

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  9. Welcome, Marti!

    TR refers to Pinchot as something like a nice fellow but a bit of a fanatic. But that fanatic did establish the national forests with TR's help. Sometimes a little passion for the public good is a virtue, not a fanaticism.

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  10. ''he was looking over his shoulder to see if TR had walked in when someone said "Mr. President." ''

    Yes, I do see that now. Amazingly, Taft went so far as to schedule his vacation when TR was home and stayed at a place where the two would eventually meet. He did this in order to try to get TR to support legislation that he wanted. And as we have discussed before, TR pushed for the type of progressive legislation that FDR and the Dems would eventually be known for. Today this is called 'liberalism' when, it fact, it should be attributed to Republicans.

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  11. Roosevelt personified himself with Lincoln. You might call him and Pinchot and a few other Republicans the last of the Lincoln Republicans, progressives who still identified themselves with the party. But, the party had already shifted to the right, which was why Pinchot would later entice Roosevelt to run as a Progressive.

    To me the 1912 election was the turning point in national politics. Wilson would adopt much of the progressive legislation into the Democratic Party, stealing Roosevelt's thunder if you will, while the Republicans drifted irrevocably to the right of the political spectrum.

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  12. The split between TR amd Taft still exists--its manifested in the Republican party everyday. Our Hero, TR and his ego split the party asunder and it has never repaired itself since. If he retired as he should have the split might not have happened or might have come in a different form and might have been less permanent. We will never know.

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  13. Anway, its just an opinion...I'm into the book now and started late so I'm on page 82. I have only one criticism and Avrds already expressed it. Too much space was wasted when he wrote the prologue in the present tense...way too long--it could have been very easy to not do that. It seemed endless...but since then, its vintige Morris and vintige Roosevelt. I love Morris's writing style and I thoroughly enjoyed the restroom scene on the train. OThe thought of TR on the pot reading philosophy...well, enough said...

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  14. TO ALL KINDLE USERS>>>>>the dvise connects the internet and provides google and wikopedia. Go to HOME>>>open the devise to wireless>>>>press MENU>>>>>go to EXPERIMENTAL>>>the open through LAUNCH BROWSER

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  15. In today,s world TR'S safari would be classified as a natural disaster of sorts. It was carnage of the first order.

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  16. I identify in a very weird way in that he, like me, was a breach birt which caused the Kaiser to be born with Brachial Palsy centere in his let shoulder, aerm and hand, with a dropped wrist. His arm was not "withered" as is often thought. It was severelly atrphied and was several inches shorter than his right arm . His arm was pulled in at the elbow as if he were folding it. My condition is exactly the same--which is partly why my stroke was such a disaste as it went down my right side, leaving me almost totally paralyzed. But I'm better now....

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  17. Joseph Stalin had a similar condition in his left arm which was also crooked at the elbow and shorter..several photos show this clearly.

    It ain't easy identifying with two of the biggest ogres of the twentieth century.

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  18. I think the Republicans would have split anyway. They already were busting at the seams before Roosevelt, with the handful of progressives still trying to maintain the Party of Lincoln. McKinley himself was a "Regular Republican," with hardly any progressive streak in him. I think about the only thing he and Roosevelt probably agreed on was the Spanish-American War.

    Roosevelt tried to reclaim the party, return it to its progressive roots, but the "Regular Republicans" were having none of it, and fought him throughout his terms and afterward. Eventually, they won out, and we have the morally and ethically bankrupt party we see today. The Democrats moved to the Left and became the progressive party.

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  19. Interesting that TR's "safari" was sponsored by Carnegie with the caveat that Roosevelt had to push his "peace plan" in Europe. Morris didn't talk much about this, which is too bad, as it would have been interesting to read more about the relationship between Roosevelt and Carnegie at that time.

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  20. Good to see you here, Robert. I think it's safe to say we don't identify you with Stalin or with the Kaiser!

    As for the safari, one of the comments in Roosevelt Abroad rang true. That historians don't like to deal with hunting, so they have basically ignored that part of TR's life. According to the intro to that book, his was the first time (this came out before the Colonel) that period of his life had been focused on in a book-length study.

    He says there that the safari was underwritten by several large donations (and probably "match" in the form of naturalists from the Smithsonian) but that TR's party ran out of money before he ran out of animals (he and Kermit paid their own way). So he wrote to Carnegie to send more. The peace conversations were Carnegie's conditions.

    Another story in TR Abroad was that Roosevelt insisted on getting the good shots over his son because the animals shot by him were more valuable to the Smithsonian than the ones his son shot, and for the longest time his son had a hard time understanding that.......

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  21. My intuition tells me that once TR was out the door and Taft in, the fight was on within the party to undo anything that TR had managed to accomplish before he left. And Taft was so insecure that it was easy to unravel much of it.

    The only area I know much about during that period is the Forest Service. Pinchot was forced out (although he technically quit) but was replaced initially on a temporary basis by Henry Graves, who was dedicated to Pinchot's philosophy. The big fires of 1910, which happened soon thereafter, probably had a role, too. Even though the Forest Service was powerless to prevent them, the public demanded that government step in and protect them. Congress appropriated funds for fire protection, improvements, etc. so that was one progressive reform that sort of stuck.

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  22. Roosevelt may have liked Taft very much, and he certainly seemed like an amicable guy, but he was never presidential material and Taft knew it. This was precisely the man the Republican power brokers wanted in the WH, because he was so easy to control.

    It really is hard to figure out why Roosevelt chose to Taft to perpetuate his legacy and then essentially disappeared for a year, leaving Taft pretty much to fend for himself when he was hopelessly out of his realm.

    Morris doesn't explore this. He pretty much leaves TR off the hook time and again. But, it seems that TR was short-sighted in more ways than one and that all too often he let his ego cloud his judgement.

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  23. Morris should have indicated from the very outset of the book that Taft was TR's hand picked successor in 1908 . Taft pledged to continue TR's reforms but was easily manipulated by elites who sought to profit from a different set of rules. This matter is later explored in the narrative but should have been categorically stated up front so that a reader would have learned right away as to why the rift between them was so striking to TR.

    Perhaps Morris assumes that others have read his earlier books.

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  24. I have only just started reading the prologue, and all I could think was that this is the scene of mass murder. Apparently Morris created the detailed description from TR's journals.

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  25. I don't think Morris owed it to readers to explain the rift between TR and Taft from the outset. He wanted to capture TR in his initial retirement from politics, something he vowed to do, but no matter how hard he tried, American politics intruded on his retirement, and I thought it was wonderfully presented by the telegrams Pinchot was sending him while on the hunt, forcing TR to respond.

    In the beginning he appeared to give his good buddy Taft the benefit of the doubt, which is understandable since he was his handpicked successor, but as more news came and Pinchot met him in Europe, it became all too obvious that Taft was not the man he had imagined.

    I guess TR felt he had left the WH in good order and all Taft had to do was follow through on his initiatives. But, politics is never static and TR should have known that he was throwing Taft into a lion's den which Taft was poorly equipped to deal with.

    From what I have read, TR handled the years 1908-1912 very poorly. He let his immense ego carry him away. If he was that concerned with the future of America, at least as far as he saw it, he would have run for another term. He would have won by a landslide.

    Apparently he felt there was some unwritten rule that a President should not seek a third term and deferred. This in itself opened the door to the Republican power brokers. They knew they were no match for Roosevelt while in office, but out of office they figured they could relegate him to the margins. Roosevelt was left to hurl his assault on Wall Street from the vantage point of his "Outlook" office.

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  26. ''I don't think Morris owed it to readers to explain the rift between TR and Taft from the outset ... TR should have known that he was throwing Taft into a lion's den.''


    I guess we shall have to agree to disagree. Ironically, the book opens with TR hunting lions in Africa and feted by European heads of state for his past successes. Many of them enjoyed successes and Morris indicates what some of those are. In the book's cover we are told Taft was 'hapless' in this same time frame. But we learn of Taft's failings later on in the book - failings that caused trouble for the Republican party and were attributable in part to TR because he chose him as successor.

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  27. I think the book can be difficult to follow unless it is read in conjunction with THEODORE REX. Doing boyh books provides the flow necessary to bettter understand the constitution and divisions within the Republican Party. Earlier I raised the proposition that TR caused the rift or split which emerged seemingly dramatically between 1910 and 1912. After two days if refreshing my memory by reading Pringle on TR and Pringle on Taft, I can safely say that the divisions within the party were already there even before TR left for Africa, having arisen circa 1900--a decade or so before. Gintaras posted that the split, which persists today wasn't TR's fault and I can now agree---but I believe that TR exacerbated them.
    TR was a bad judge of character and suffered from an inflated ego and his own brilliance, thus making it almost certain he would not groom anybody who would outshine him, thus he picked weakness, full in the knowledge that he was weak and a wimp. TR left America with a developing Greek Tragedy in which he, the God left the mortal to fail, hoping to return to rescue him, but fate intervened and true to Greek Tragedy, it was the God who was destroyed---destroyed through his ow Hubris. It was all done unconsciously, without overt plan--Twas EGO destroyed the man--

    Thats my theory--- anyhow Morris writes a hellava an account of a very complicated man.

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  28. I'm starting Chapter 8 tomorrow...am I keeping up with you guys?? Let me know. I'm reading about 35 pages a day, a good pace for me.

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  29. I saw a new book on Jackie Kennedy's career as a reader/editor at Doubleday and the other other publisher. I managed the first six pages and they read very well. I can't recall the title...

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  30. Good analysis RW ~ I had the feeling this book was in conjunction with the earlier book and that explains why I had so much initial trouble following it. I'm on Ch 7 and am behind every body else as is usual for me.

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  31. Nope --I'm struggling to keep up. I just got back home with TR, after all the winings and dinings in Europe. The one thing I'm really enjoying is how Morris captures his sense of humor. I really hadn't seen that side of TR before.

    Marti I agree that all the hunting details -- and the way that section is told -- are a little hard to handle.

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  32. I just found the book about Jackie O. that Robert mentioned:

    http://www.amazon.com/Jackie-Editor-Literary-Jacqueline-Kennedy/dp/0312591934/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291791225&sr=8-1

    Had to look it up, since I had not heard of it previously.

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  33. I see that it's not published yet and comes out in January. Robert, where did you find it?

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  34. I've still barely begun Colonel Roosevelt. An ebook from the library that expired on Saturday became available for me again on Monday, so I'm reading that a well.

    Robert, you are WAY ahead of me.

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  35. That's quite dramatic Robert. I'm not sure if that is wholly the case though. He felt Taft was compitent and able to carry his reforms through in the next term. To some degree Taft did, so his administration wasn't the total failure TR came to believe it was. TR choosing to run against Taft first for the Republican nomination and then as a Progressive had to be one of the most fool hardy things he ever did. Of course, Morris gets into that later so I won't jump the gun. But, it seems that TR was simply incapable of staying out of politics, as much as he liked to project himself as a man above politics.

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  36. There's a comment in there I think from his wife that says upon his return trip he was smiling but also looking ahead.

    Seems like he was a man who loved the spotlight (unless he was shooting things and then he didn't want too much publicity -- or wanted to spin it for himself).

    What was interesting about the European tour is that Morris shows him as uncomfortable with all the pomp and circumstance, even though they were all lining up to meet him, king and commoner alike. (Even carrying his coat in the funeral looks like it's too much for him.)

    Seems like America was where he felt comfortable and enjoyed all the attention.

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  37. I came upon the end of Tavis Smiley a little while ago, and he had Edmund Morris as a guest. I looked for it online but haven't found it, even on the PBS website. I did find this from C-Span on youtube and am listening to it now. It's 58 minutes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNwt3_NfFKA

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  38. The discussion in the above video doesn't stick with TR. He is asked about other books, including "Dutch."

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  39. Back to TR...

    I'm interested in Morris' definition of "progressives." I think this term has been widely misused because of the negative aura around the word liberal, but I wonder if Morris has it right here?

    He basically talks about the progressives as representing the middle class who are anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, and anti-labor. Morris also calls out a group he calls the insurgents, political activists (sort of "the base") who want to move the progressive agenda into the Republican party. He suggests (I think) that the two were willing to merge behind Roosevelt.

    This really isn't progressivism as I understand it and not necessarily where Roosevelt is coming from either -- although Morris does talk about the luxury men like Roosevelt and Pinchot had in not having to ever interact or compete with working men, so they could "afford" to be more liberal in their outlook. Again, I think that's what he's saying -- it's sometimes hard to pin Morris down.

    I've always referred to progressivism as a belief in "progress" and science and education, and the power of the government to bring together experts to solve the major problems on behalf of the country. This is where I think the eugenics movement came from (i.e., Morris' racism references) but also the idea of conservation, support for national parks and national forests etc.

    How have others read this, assuming you are there yet? (This is about page 80 or so)

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  40. He was pretty clear on Progressivism. He saw it as social reform including child labor laws, 40-hour work weeks, some kind of social security net, all of which was pretty vaguely defined back then. The only thing that did seem to be sharply defined was the issue of women's suffrage, which TR accepted when he ran as a Progressive in 1912, although Morris suggests it was more a matter of expediency than conviction. Eventually, it would be Wilson who would steer women's suffrage through Congress, although he was initially opposed to the idea. Quite a bit comes out on Progressivism in the chapters that follow. I thought this was the best part of the book.

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  41. Thanks, Gintaras. I was assuming Morris would have to deal with it more during the election of 1912. But Morris (not TR) seemed a bit vague and all over the place with his initial definition/s.

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  42. ''Morris (not TR) seemed a bit vague and all over the place with his initial definition/s''

    Exactly. For example, Morris uses an undefined term called 'condominium policy'. When I checked the index for a reference, there was none to be found. Perhaps this is not Morris's fault as it is that of his editor(s).

    Again, and I hope this is not unduly critical ~ but Morris appears to assume you have read his earlier books or have some prior knowledge of the events that he has discussed in this volume. For that reason I am just a bit confused and have trouble understanding some of what is being discussed. A reader who is new to the study of American history might find this even more confusing.

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  43. I had to look that one up myself. I had never seen that term before:

    "Under the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Palestine was to be administered by an international "condominium" of the British, French, and Russians (also signatories to the agreement)."

    I guess that suggests that they all owned a piece of the real estate?

    Paris 1919 also talks about "mandates," where they carved up the Middle East, as if it's a mandate to look over that section of property. When I read that book, that term was also new.

    But I was pretty confident about Progressivism, since that's a period I work with, and it seemed like his initial references were vague and/or misleading. But I haven't made it yet to the election, so I'll wait!

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  44. I think that condominium is used here as it was in that time, and I read in the dictionary that the real estate term wasn't used until the mid-20th c.

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  45. Gintaras: I truly believe that Tr had a very serious problem with his ego and that when he determined that Taft wasn't following his program as he thought he should, he lost all rationality of sorts and couldn't see that there were other avenues to pursue--he was fixed ideologically--just the same way you seecurrent politics stuck in ideological swamps. He was prisoner to his ideology and that's what destroyed him. He went further and further to the left until he became so radical, he almost fell off the earth. DEPARTING GLORY brings this out by positing that TR , instead ofbecoming more conservative as he aged as most people did--became more radical---and the more radical he became, the more unreasonable he became. I'll leave it at that, but I believe he self destructed in 1912 and did so because of his over inflated ego, which disallowed for any compromise in hs thinking. It all went to his head. Taft wasn't the boob TR presented him as, he as just not as asserive as he might have been. The stpidest thing TR ever did was to run again and then bolt his party--he was a sore loser and wrecked his party's chance in 1912--and the fight has never ended. It went on through to Bob Taft and Barry GOldwater and Ronald Reagan. Although he didn't start it, he kicked the can down the street--and they are still kicking it down the street today.

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  46. That post was too long.

    I'll slow down a bit.
    There is a connection between conservation and eugenics... I'llpost on it later on the weekend.
    I'll also post om the use of the word codominium the definition of Progresssivism.

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  47. International ''condominium'' partitioning:

    TR defended this abhorrent practice on the grounds that Egyptians were 'uncivilized people' because they assassinated their president (he conveniently forgot that McKinley had been assassinated by a white man). Therefore, in his warped mind foreign invasion was necessary to help Egyptians develop better government [pp 72,73]. This sounds like Bush 'justifying' war on Iraq because it is the ''duty'' of every American to endorse foreign nation building. Strange, how nobody felt compelled to invade the USA after McKinley died.

    The British press was not enamored of this idea as they felt it was not TR's duty to tell their government what to do. Of course, when they invaded Iraq and Iran they had their own set of justifications. Meantime, they viewed TR's words as exceedingly outrageous and 'muddled'.

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  48. Robert, no doubt Roosevelt had an enormous ego. As it turned out he couldn't stand being out of the WH. He relished power I think more than ideology. His only way back into power after losing the 1912 Republican nomination (which he felt Taft and the Republican power brokers had cheated him out of) was running on the newly created Progressive ticket. Morris notes that Roosevelt was not particularly bound to this ideology, and that he spent the next 8 years trying to heal the divide he created in the Republican Party. Many insiders felt he would have gotten the 1920 GOP nomination had he not died the year before, having softened on many of his earlier positions. Maybe he had finally recognized that he was his own worst enemy.

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  49. Trippler, there wasn't a lot of "forward" thinking on Israel or Palestine or anything else back then when it came to foreign policy. One of the many reasons we ended up WWI and WWII. Roosevelt was essentially a colonialist, and held deeply entrenched views on Arabs and Africans and for that matter anyone not of White Caucasian blood. He felt that they were inferior physically and intellectually. So, no surprise at all he supported the Mandates that were created in the wake of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

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  50. ''enormous ego''

    I liked the term species of 'genus Americanus egotisticus' (p 57) to describe TR.

    ''colonialist''

    Definitely a white supremacist whose views have a strange resemblance to a guy named Hitler. No wonder he was described as a neurotic whose views and actions were ''sheer madness ... absolutism ... despicable ... neurotic ... acute mania ... who lost touch with reality''.

    pp 169, 173

    So, my question is, why do historians and why do we continue to deify him on this forum???

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  51. such beliefs were more commonly hrld back then and were not looked on the way we look on them now. We've matured greatly since TR's time. His racial beliefs were more ambivalent than fixed, but were certainly more in the mainstream of his time than in todays mainstream. His responses to racial issues seems to me to have been more situational than ideological----except when they were more ideological than situational---in other words---ambivalence more than anything else.

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  52. You might recall many moons ago when I mentioned on an earlier forum that in Latin America TR was, and still is, remembered as a imperialist murderer. After all, his actions were similar to those of Napoleon or Hitler with both having killed thousands of innocents.

    Morris shows us how TR was honored in Europe. But as with most North American historians, he fails to show how he was rightfully hated for his crimes against Latin Americans. A little balance is due in this regard.

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  53. Well, Trip, I think you've gone a little bit overboard on this one. As much as I abhor the Spanish-American War, it was a far cry from the wars Napoleon and Hitler waged in Europe. And, as you will read later in the book (much to your chagrin I imagine) he was feted in Brazil when he led the expeditionary voyage down the "River of Doubt," eventually to have the river named after him. Much to his credit, he gave most of the credit to Rondon, who was the real leader, as TR was left prostrate after that journey.

    TR is not an easily quantifiable entity, either postive or negative, and as Morris notes in his afterward, it has been a love-hate relationship historians have had with TR over the years. I would have to agree with Robert, that Roosevelt was far more situational and far less ideological in his views and opinions.

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  54. [I've always referred to progressivism as a belief in "progress" and science and education, and the power of the government to bring together experts to solve the major problems on behalf of the country. This is where I think the eugenics ]

    We're a bit afield, but there is a loose connection between progressivism and eugenics--through a general belief in Social Darwinism. It had to do with Madison Grant and his book (which was dedicated to TR and fow which Roosevelt wrote an endorsement which he quickly retracted after being told it was racist. Grant helped found The Bronx Zoo, aided by TR and others. The book promoted the concept of white racial superiority and was quite abest seller in 1916, going yhrough several editions and being lauded by many progressives. PASSAGE OF THE GREAT RACE is the title. A current book is out on Madison Grant: DEFENDING THE MASTER RACE by Johnathan Spiro. Nazis sometimes cited Grant, insisting their racial theories were first articulated in America. Morris brings up TR's repudiation of the book way past page 600--look in the index under "Madison Grant" Sorry for the diversion ,nut it seems to fit here...

    I do not believe TR was racist in the sense we use the term today. Grant was andhe influened Congress in their enactment of highly restrictive immigation laws in the 20's. He was anti Catholic, Anti-Semetic and anti immigrant in general.

    He's a true example of good and evil existing simultaneously in the same person.

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  55. The real imperialist murderers in Latin America were the Spanish in Cuba and their concentration camps of the 1890's. Thats a commonality with thins of the future. An estimated 400,000 died of neglect or hunger in recocentrado arrangements...almost a genocidal act under the Spanish administration. See pages 58,59 in O'Toole's THE SPANISH WAR.

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  56. I agree Trippler -- it's always interesting to stop and ask why we bother with people like Roosevelt. But for me, part of his fascination comes from his complexity -- what did he say about himself in that other book: a radical at home and an imperialist abroad ... something like that.

    Many liberal historians have focused on his insane ideas of manliness and war at the expense of some of the other interesting things he worked on/promoted, including conservation. So then you get the other side, stripped of all the other parts of his personality (and their negative impact).

    I wonder if in retrospect Morris' biography will be considered more holistic. I don't remember enough about the other two in the series -- and didn't know enough about Roosevelt when I read them -- to make that judgment. Someone here said Morris wrote it to counter the negative biographies of TR, so probably not.

    But he is a difficult personality to pin down. I find it interesting that everyone seems to refer to him at one point or another as a "boy." That may be the key here.

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  57. As always, I'm behind everyone in my reading, but I didn't get the impression reading about 1910 that Roosevelt was too radical. I wish we had someone like that now! (Indeed, some of what he was arguing about sounded very familiar to contemporary concerns-- particularly his fears about the Supreme Court supporting corporations against the rights/needs of the people).

    I also found it interesting that Pinchot and others often wrote TR's speeches. This has always been my intuition about some of this.

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  58. And Robert -- yes, I have the relatively new bio of Grant. That's a fascinating period. And their oblique ties to the New York Zoological Society and the Smithsonian are part of the research I'm working on now.

    I don't know about how this happened, but the so-called "scientific basis" of eugenics came right out of the eugenics work done at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. I've often read that's the so-called scholarly basis of the Nazis' programs.

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  59. I think one of the reasons we bother with Roosevelt is that he came at a critical juncture in American history and to some degree answered the call. One can certainly argue that he didn't do enough for civil rights, either in regard to women's suffrage or defending Blacks and other minorities in America. But, at the same time he seemed to side with labor unions, promoted conservation, and despite his overblown rhetoric promoted diplomatic efforts to ease tensions abroad, most notably stepping in and negotiating a peace settlement in the Russo-Japanese war, for which he won a Nobel Peace Prize.

    More importantly, he did renew awareness in progressive concerns in America. He may not have been as outspoken as William Jennings Bryan or Fighting Bob LaFollette in this regard, but he did come to embrace the Progressive agenda in 1912.

    Taken as a whole, he was one of the most, if not the most dynamic president we ever had. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who had a greater awareness of issues that surrounded him and had the energy to tackle the issues.

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  60. ....to some degree answered the call....

    Or, to paraphrase Shakespeare, you could say he had greatness thrust upon him.

    He certainly wasn't born great, and part of his excessive ego and insecurities appear to come in part from being so sickly as a child. And then he was sort of tucked away as a vice president to keep him out of trouble. If he hadn't been thrust into the presidency, hard to imagine his fate after serving under McKinley. He'd probably have gone off to war somewhere and been shot.

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  61. He struck me as the kind of guy who was destined to be President. McKinley opened the door for him sooner than anyone would have expected. I think he still remains the youngest to ever become president at 42.

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  62. ''Well, Trip, I think you've gone a little bit overboard on this one. As much as I abhor the Spanish-American War, it was a far cry from the wars Napoleon and Hitler waged in Europe.''

    Not to certain historians in Latin America, particularly in Colombia. Because of the war TR and others fomented there over 100,000 people were killed in that country. This is roughly the equivalent of 2 million in the USA at that time. Had an invader killed that many Americans, do you suppose historians would call such an invader a Napoleon or Hitler? Europeans referred to those two as 'Antichrists'. When I was in high school studying advance Spanish and Latin American studies, we came across critics at that time who referred to TR as 'Antichrist'. Considering the amount of blood shed because of his imperialism, it is understandable.

    The War of A Thousand Days as it is called in Colombia led to terrible land disputes among Hispanics and Native Americans. Tens of thousands of Indigneous peoples of various tribes were butchered. To this day we do not have an accurate count of the dead. Furthermore, the recent civil wars and 'violencia' which is dismissed as democracy versus communism by the American media is actually a continuation of hostilities between the Hispanic majority and Native American population. Over 300,000 people have died as a result of the 'violencia'. Again, Colombian historians trace the start of this trouble to the actions taken by TR. Thus, TR's evil deeds have led to the deaths of innocents in that country where he is still regarded as an Antichrist.

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  63. There was already civil unrest between east and west Colombia, if not outright war, before TR decided to take sides with the Panamanians over the canal. It isn't a clear cut case like you present. Nevertheless, this was one of TR's black eyes, and Wilson paid reparations to Colombia afterward.

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  64. Yes, there was some compensation paid = $25 million or roughly $250 per person who was killed in the war. If I knew how many were crippled and maimed as well as how many died in the subsequent civil strife among Hispanics and the Native American population, we might get a better measure of the token compensation paid.

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  65. For the record, the Thousand Day War began in 1899, as the Conservatives (Colombia) and Liberals (Panama) fought over the extent of the newly created Republic of Colombia. The US supported the Panamanian revolution as early as 1901, and helped negotiate the final peace treaty in 1902. You can say that Roosevelt aided and abetted the civil war by imposing a naval blockade, but he didn't instigate it. To hold him responsible for the 100,000 lives lost is absurd.

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  66. I mentioned ''TR and others'' above. No one so far as I know blamed TR exclusively for the troubles there.

    You mentioned above that TR was feted in Brazil which shows that not everybody hated him in Latin America. And you are correct. But this reminds me of what is happening today -- Bush was honored in India. But he is hated in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Because one nation honors him doesn't mean the rest of the area loves him or that his warmongering should be overlooked.

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  67. Interestingly that TR took a public stand against the abuses of capitalist elites by endorsing Lincoln's ''Labor is the superior of capital''.

    He stated that anyone who said such a statement back then (like today) would be called a ''communist agitator'' for speaking such a truth. Property rights (of the elites) should be secondary to the common welfare. Political bosses were not to aid and abet elitist abuses. In order to check these, corporate transparency and governmental oversight in the form of regulation was warranted which was intended to promote public good. He called this policy ''New Nationalism''.

    pp 107-109

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  68. Don't get me wrong, Trippler, I think the awful policy that McKinley and Roosevelt set in Latin America still haunts us today, but at the same time I didn't like the comparison to Hitler. That I thought was a bit extreme.

    The Spanish-American War was about as wrong-headed as a war can get. A trumped-up war that served no other purpose than to expand our imperial reach. Twain, Henry Adams and many others all spoke out against the War, but I guess dear Teddy felt that the US would only be as big as its navy could carry it.

    If nothing else, you have to admire the way he prefigured the use of our military to expand our reach, modeling this new sense of Manifest Destiny upon Britain and Spain before it. He was unapologetic, as Morris notes.

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  69. Yea, it was interesting how Roosevelt swung so hard to the left after he left office. Too bad he didn't adopt this view earlier, he might have pushed through some of the regulations he later promoted. Kind of makes you wonder if this was mostly about reshaping his "legacy."

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  70. I'm interested in learning more about this idea of New Nationalism. I didn't get a sense of the forest, as Morris seemed more focused on the trees in that chapter.

    After Roosevelt took charge of the party and traveled the country, the Republicans still lost several seats, which appears to be a rebuke of TR and these ideas. But as I recall Morris writes that the democrats had taken many of these ideas of "reform" as their own. Maybe in comparison to Taft Americans thought Democrats could make them actually happen?

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  71. ''I didn't like the comparison to Hitler. That I thought was a bit extreme''

    No problem. Perhaps I failed to explain properly that it was Latin American critics who have done so.

    When I was a high school freshman I had a classmate who was born and raised in Colombia. In JHS his teachers equated TR with Napoleon and Hitler because of his imperialism. The teacher was a Hispanic and she acknowledged that this had been taught in Latin American schools for decades. I do not know if this is still being taught.

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  72. avrs: Have you read the Grant biography yet. Let me know what you think (if you've read it--if you haven't read it--do you plan to. I have the Kindle sample, but haven't read it yet.

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  73. Robert, I just pulled the book -- it looks like I made it to chapter 3, and then put it aside.

    Looking through it now, I am assuming I will use it as a resource, rather than try to read it cover to cover (lots of nazi stuff in it from the look of it, which I have a hard time reading). It's very dense, although for my purposes that's a good thing.

    Let me know if there's something you want me to look up for you.

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  74. Thaks avrds...the book is on the Kindle and I just finished their sample, consisting of chapter one...I'm very impressed at his basic work on conservation. There is a whole chapter in WILDERNESS WARRIOR on the Bronx Zoo and I alread have the full book on the Kindle.
    After I finish THE COLONEL I'll consider downloading the rest of the Grant book...I'll seee if I can fit it into a very tight book budget...new years is only a couple of weeks from now...I'll let you know.
    What are you researching?
    The dichotomy this guy represents fascinates me as I've read extensively on antiSemitism and that seems to be a part of the Master Race concept he was propounding--but givr me a few weeks and I'll see whether I'll read the whole book

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  75. It was interesting how Roosevelt and Wilson painted the future pretty much along similar lines. The Cooper book goes much deeper into the many similarities and subtle differences between TR's New Nationalism and WW's New Freedom. Essentially, they were both making a play for the rising progressive movement in the country.

    What hurt Roosevelt, as Morris points out, is that he couldn't enlist La Follette. Seems Fighting Bob was pretty upset at the way Roosevelt wrecked the Republican Party, and in the end threw his support behind Wilson, as did many other progressive Republicans.

    But, Wilson is not the kind of guy you really would have expected to rise to the occasion given his rather conservative views across the board. Again, Cooper does a good job of discussing Wilson's transition in The Warrior and the Priest.

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  76. Robert, chapter two of the book on Grant covers his interest in the Zoo, which is why I had read that far. (And so others here know this isn't that far afield, the New York Zoological Society was also founded by Roosevelt, who also established the Bison Society, which they housed in the Lion House at the Zoo.)

    Let me know if you read it. I'll read along with you and skip the worst parts. One of the things that fascinates me about this period -- and some of TR's comments suggest this too in relation to all the animals he pursues -- is that there seems to be a fascination with "pure blood" animals like the American bison. This seems to be some sort of metaphor for their fear of "mixed blood" Americans.

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  77. Thanks, Gintaras. I have the Cooper book. At some point I'll have to read it just to get a better sense of the politics if nothing else.

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  78. This is shaping into a pretty good discussion. It is such a fascinating period as the US grows into an industrial powerhouse with politicians staking out new terrain. A lot of missteps, squandered opportunities and glaring shortfalls, but then you can't expect politicians to see too far into the future, not even Roosevelt.

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  79. Page Smith says the Progressive Era lasted only 4 years--1912 to 1916-- I stretch it until 1918--when Wilson's party lost the mid-terms....Does anyone agree with this?

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  80. Oh, phooey. I just lost my response... Oh well, it was probably too long anyway.

    I would put the progressive era at least back to 1905, if not earlier, with the establishment of the Forest Service.

    The historian William Cronan called the Forest Service the premier progressive era agency.

    And Pinchot had laid the progressive foundation for the agency when he took over at USDA in the late 1890s. TR transferred the forests to USDA in 1905. He also transferred millions of more acres as part of his midnight raid to get around Congress, orchestrated by Pinchot. I think that was in 1907.

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  81. Someething to get you going, Diane. Douglas Brinkley has an article in this month's Audubon magazine; he has a book coming out in 2011 about saving Alaska wilderness, in the article, and presumably in the book, he talks about Roosevelt the conservationist. woo-woo!

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  82. The funny thing is, Carol, I really like TR in spite of all his flaws. I just want to read about him as he was, not some sort of mythical hero. That's what I object to.

    Still, I'm enjoying Morris. He's a little over the top in his writing style, but that's part of his charm I guess.

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  83. Maybe Brinkley should get together with Sarah and write a book on Alaska, that should have pretty broad appeal ; )

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  84. The greatest good for the greatest number in the long run. That was Pinchot's mantra and seems to sum up the Progressive point of view. Ah, that we had someone who would promote that now!

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  85. Hard to gauge when the Progressive era began and ended. You really to take William Jennings Bryan as a whole. He ran for President on a progressive agenda in the late 1890s, including a switch to the silver standard. You can probably say it ended with the repudiation of Wilson in 1918, although the repeals didn't come until 1921 with the new Republican administration.

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  86. I suppose we have guys like Kucinich holding to the progressive agenda, but seems it has become another dirty word for a lot of politicians. Amazing how the conservatives have been effectively able to tarnish the values of liberalism and progressivism with their bellicose rhetoric.

    Would be nice to see a leading politician stand up for these values, maybe even remind folks that progressivism and liberalism were born out of the Second Awakening and are just as much Christian moral values as they are ethical values.

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  87. It's interesting how we don't have the equivalent of WJ Bryan from the religious right in this country. Seems like he may have paved the way for TR in some regards?

    We always have Bernie Sanders. And I give them credit too -- Sherrod Brown and (surprised on this one) Mary Landrieu -- who spotted him throughout the day.

    There are many great progressives in the House, including Kucinich, as goofy as he is in other regards. And speaking of goofy, I'll miss Grayson and his charts. You could tell he was hitting too close to home when the Republicans shipped thousands of dollars to Florida to defeat him.

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  88. It does seem that the left wing of the evangelical churches remains pretty quiet politically. I imagine they are relatively small percentage of the vote, but still there are plenty of bleeding heart Baptists out there like Bill Moyers and Jimmy Carter, although I don't think Carter considers himself Baptist these days. He had a fallout with the Southern Baptist Conference some years ago.

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  89. One of the interesting asides in Morris is his comment that TR's cousin, FDR, joined the Democratic party -- I think he said right after the 1910 elections (or maybe during?).

    On the side, I'm reading Roosevelt's Purge by Susan Dunn. There's this great comment from FDR at the 1936 Democratic Convention that true freedom meant more than political freedom, more than the right to vote, more than the right to express oneself freely, more than the right to practice one's religion.

    "Liberty," FDR said, "requires opportunity to make a living -- a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for."

    Dunn continues: "To truly secure the citizens the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Roosevelt put the national government to work on their side. No longer would it be small, frugal, and responsive only to the needs of big business and concentrated wealth. No longer would an American president be deaf to the desperate needs of the nation's citizens."

    Ah, those were the days!

    But he, too, was blocked by members of his own party, including our so-called progressive from Montana, Burton Wheeler.

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  90. Interesting to me how Morris focuses on one of the other members of the family in each of his books. In the first book, he spent a lot of time on Edith Roosevelt. In the second book, young Alice. In the third, Kermit was a significant figure.

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  91. ''the conservatives have been effectively able to tarnish the values of liberalism and progressivism with their bellicose rhetoric''

    ''Christian values''

    Well, that's just it ~ for some reason which nobody can figure out, progressives today refuse to invoke the Bible in defending their agenda. Clearly their ideas were based on that book's teachings but when people like me point that out in democraticunderground.com, the libs there act as if hell would break loose if they did so. This says to me that libs just don't want to win political debates or offices because they refuse to use the best weapon they have. As always, victory is a matter of choice and they have chosen to lose.

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  92. William Jennings Bryan was a Democrat. I imagine he still would be, Creationism and abortion notwithstanding.

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  93. The Bible is what you make it. Its not a political document and quite frankly, does not belong in political debate. We elelelect politicians to office, not prelates. To use the Bible as a political toll diminished both the Bible and the person spouting its verses. I find that most politicians who spout biblical wisdom do so in a very shallow way, indicatinng they have little knowledge oof the Bible, Christianity and theology. This is not a nation founded on Christian principles, but a nation founded by men who happened to be Christian and who very early on declare their belief that reigion was to be freely exercised and that no religious test was to be had for any political office. But now that Glen Beck has decided to become an evangelist I guess we will have to tolerate his crap until he runs out of steam or makes a really self destructive statement. Ca you just imagine his views on TR as a a Social Darwinist? He'd get apoplictic...

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  94. I was thinking more along the lines of these folks:

    http://www.faithfulamerica.org/

    I am on their email list from back in the Bush years, thinking that was the best way to push back against the uber-Christianity of that administration.

    But this group, and I'm sure there are others, don't seem to have the same high profile as some of the right wing Christian organizations, which decided early on to become political, not religious.

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  95. I'm back to Morris again. Interesting to see TR totally adrift after his trip to Africa. At one point, Morris says the rest of his life stretched ahead of him like an anti-climax. So of course he started dreaming of war.

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  96. By the way, do you really think those who wrote the Declaration, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, etc., were Christians? I'm assuming most were Diests at best.

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  97. ''The Bible is what you make it. Its not a political document and quite frankly, does not belong in political debate.''

    Perhaps. The right wingers use it at their convenience but misinterpret and misapply it all the time. That's why the more patriotic types should use it against them. As for me, I can honestly tell you there isn't a living human being walking the earth today who knows that book any better than I do. And I just love to take it and beat the living crap out of the right wingers with it! If Dems and others used it like they used to, the right wingers would readily be defeated in every election. As a society, we would be far better off that way.

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  98. Significantly, Chapter 11 is entitled ''Onward Christian Soldiers'' (this is where I remain well behind everybody else, as usual):

    When the Progressives detached themselves from the mainstream Republicans they ''felt as if they were [in] the Holy war - and they [were] Crusaders''. when they held their convention they sang 'Onward christian Soldiers' to inspire themselves to try to win office and bring social changes.

    Their efforts did not succeed but they served as inspiration for FDR 20 years later.

    pp 211-228

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  99. Like it or not, religion has factored into every level of elections in this country. I would prefer to leave religion out of politics but it simply can't be done. So, why shouldn't the Democrats do more to draw religious votes? Why shouldn't they make the case that they support Christian values as much as Republicans do. It is absurd to think that somehow the Republicans have cornered the market in this regard, mostly because of their unwavering stances on abortion, stem cell research, and gay rights.

    Even as Deists, the founding fathers pretty much promoted Christian values and allowed church services to be held in Congress. The idea of "one nation under God" didn't come until much later (Eisenhower I believe) but it has been implicit in American politics from the start. We are a nation born out of the religious "awakenings."

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  100. People on the right eho use the Bible as a political tool or weapon are usually strict ideologues (sic) and no battle of biblical verses and beliefs will change their views. They believe in the absolute infallibility of the book and any deviation from their view is heretical and emerges from ignrance or evil. It does do any good to throw biblical verse their way--they will always insist they are righ to the exclusion of any and all other views. There slaves to their beliefs, which are not subject to open discussion. They are absolutist and intolerant--and noby and nothin' will change them.

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  101. And that, Robert, is the best reason I can think of why Democrats shouldn't imitate Republicans and their use of the Bible. Thanks for reminding me!

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  102. I lost access to the hard copy of THE COLONEL. Help me out... I'm on chapter 27 and need page numbers for the 28th and the 29th, the epilogue, and the acknowledgements.

    Ill look up yje religions of the signers and let you know the results

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  103. Guest editorial from today's LA Times - Part I:

    ''And the rich get richer ''

    Today's Republicans might want to remember that the estate tax's modern champion was a president they used to regard as among the greatest the party has produced — Theodore Roosevelt.

    By Tim Rutten

    December 18, 2010

    Of the several objectionable provisions included in the tax compromise that congressional Republicans extorted from the Obama administration, none is more noxious than the one that all but guts the estate tax.

    Even the needless and unfair continuation of tax reductions for families making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year merely extends a benefit already enjoyed by affluent households. Estate tax cuts, by contrast, create a whole new windfall for those who already enjoy privileges and security undreamed of by the vast majority of Americans.

    The provision is the work of Arizona's John Kyl, the Senate's second-ranking Republican and a longtime advocate of abolishing the estate tax. To most eyes, the former estate levy didn't look like much of a burden; it allowed couples to leave their heirs$7 million tax free and taxed any additional inheritance at 45%. Kyl's plan, which he has crowed is as good as abolition, increases the exemption to $10 million for couples and reduces the tax rate on the rest to just 35%. The average windfall for the approximately 6,600 wealthy taxpayers annually affected by the estate duty will top $1.5 million.

    Abolishing the estate tax has been a goal of some conservative Republicans since the 1940s, so it's easy to forget that its modern champion was a president the GOP used to regard as among the greatest the party has produced — Theodore Roosevelt. Like many thoughtful Americans of his era, he believed the disproportionate accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few would make a mockery of our meritocracy and, ultimately, of our democracy. In 1910, he summed up those feelings. "We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used," Roosevelt said. "It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community.... The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and … a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate."

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  104. Part II:

    In 1916, eight years after Roosevelt left office, Congress finally recognized the justice of his case and incorporated a levy on estates into the tax code.

    In fact, American governments have taxed estates, at least on a temporary basis, since the founding. The first estate duty was imposed by the Federalists to finance the undeclared war with France; Abraham Lincoln imposed a temporary inheritance tax during the Civil War. It clearly is a pillar of any rationally progressive tax system, and it is no accident that it's under assault in what amounts to a new Gilded Age in which wealth is accumulating with ever-greater rapidity in a smaller and smaller number of hands. The hereditary advantage such unchecked concentration confers undermines our notions of equal opportunity and turns the American dream into little more than a genetic lottery.

    Arguments that the existing estate tax frustrates initiative simply are nonsense. Has anybody noticed a shortage of rich people lately?

    It's also no mystery how such advantages are obtained. Again, Roosevelt's appraisal of the first Gilded Age is sadly resonant. "The man of great wealth owes a particular obligation to the state," he said, "because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government."

    It is particularly grotesque that, in this instance, those who derive their special advantage from the government by reason of the wealth they've amassed have secured this benefit by holding hostage the meager assistance Washington affords the one in 10 Americans who currently are jobless. In California, 12.4% of the workers are unemployed; in L.A. County, where bankruptcies have risen by 30% over the last year, nearly 13% are jobless. Of the 15 million Americans who are without work, 42% have been looking for a job for more than five months. An additional 9 million have been forced to accept part-time work, though they'd like full-time employment.

    Those are the people the Republicans held hostage, so that the children of the rich might grow fatter still.

    timothy.rutten@latimes.com

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  105. pages for

    Chapter 28: 533-552

    Epilogue: 553-570

    Acknowledgments: 571

    Archives : 573, 574

    Bibliography: 575-580

    Notes: 581-729

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  106. Just shows how far the Republicans have drifted to the Right over the past century. Even Rockefeller looks like a Leftie by today's standard.

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  107. Religion has always been the 500 lb. elephant in the room. William Jennings Bryan ran on an expressly religious platform as a reformist Democrat. He would later serve as Wilson's Sec. of State. Wilson himself had a strongly religious background although he subdued it while running for President. It is not like you have to preach the Bible, but it doesn't hurt to make allusions, and demonstrate that you support the same values many Christians have. Even here Roosevelt chose his words carefully, as the Progressives were not without their religious element.

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  108. I've just never understood how you could go to church on Sunday and profess to believing in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, and then turn around and pull every last safety net from under the poor and working poor. (Or cry when you talk about school kids and then vote against even health care for children and education).

    This is what I consider "unchristian." Or sacrilegious, since I assume most religions have some sort of similar commandment, or whatever that is considered.

    Thanks for the editorial, Trippler. I had recently read that the estate tax dates back to that period -- should have assumed it was promoted by TR.

    By the way, you and Robert are way ahead of me in the book, but I'm going to keep reading! I need to see who wins in 1912!

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  109. The New Nationalism

    There are so many interesting paragraphs here, that I wasn't sure which one to quote. So here's the entire speech:

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=501

    and the book:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=qRaGAAAAMAAJ

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  110. Keep reading: I'll stay with you since 1912 interests me.

    I just finished the book. What a really well written book--Pilitzer material.

    Thanks for the chapter pages.

    I'm really happy as this was the 40th book this year----in spite of my stroke and my eyes. (and my computer skills are still imptoving) Now I'll see if I can get a small book to top things off. I really shoulsd write an article about how to recover, so other people can benefit from my experience. It's been the most rewarding year of my life and THE COLONEL was my Christmas present to myself. I'm goin yo order the hard copy for my library. I continue to be confident that I'll read again normally. It will take another six months I think. Now--onto 1912!!! (and lets not forget Eugene Debs and Bob LaFollrtte (sic--spelling)

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  111. Congratulations, Robert! It's so nice to have you back here again. That's a Christmas present in itself!

    Off to see what happens in 1912.

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  112. That's very impressive robert. Yes, you should write a book on your recovery. That's more books than I have read, but then I have family distractions to deal with. A topic of another book.

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  113. At the time I read the book and after reading Cooper, I'm not very convinced TR really had his heart and soul into the Progressive movement. It was a means of putting him back into the national spotlight and if the votes fell his way back into the WH. Seems that much of the agenda was similar to what WJ Bryan had already put forward, so the Democrats already had a certain hold over the progressive movement in the country. The Progressive Party seemed mostly comprised of disgruntled Republicans who were upset with the direction their party was going in. Even here La Follette broke off in his own direction.

    The Socialists were hardly mentioned in the book. Eugene Debs ran for President as well in 1912, but Morris showed little interest in him. Later, Wilson would have Debs arrrested for sedition because of his objections to the war in 1918. Quite an irony considering it took Wilson so long to enter the war himself, something that really got TR's goat. There were plenty of Peaceniks within the Democratic Party as well.

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  114. That's interesting, Gintaras. I have mixed feelings about Roosevelt's commitment to progressivism. I think he believed, as in that first speech quoting Lincoln, that the rights of property needed to be protected, but that everyone should have the right to property. And when corporations and capital took away the rights of the individual, it was the government's duty to step in and protect the individual.

    I think Robert set 1912 as the beginning of the progressive era, but he was saying these things in 1910. I wonder how Page Smith would assess TR's presidency, when many of those ideas were being implemented or pursued.

    On the other hand, TR had some very smart people behind him pushing him to do the right thing on a whole host of areas, including conservation. Even Morris admits that they were writing some of his speeches for him.

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  115. As for Debs, I think we need to read an entire book on him!

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  116. There is a book on Debs written by Nick Salvatore that is very good. I started reading it sometime back with trippler but didn't finish it. I would love to return to it.

    I think 1912 definitely marks a decisive turning point in American politics with the splintering of the Republican Party and rise of the Democratic Party along progressive lines, but Progressivism started much earlier. It just didn't gain any traction until this time.

    You can say that Progressivism was essentially a return to Reconstruction, with advocates pushing forward much of the same social agenda as the Radical Republicans did back in the 1860s. The problem was that in the meantime, industry had firmly rooted itself in America and conservative Democrats had reclaimed the Southern states, so that Progressives found themselves pushing against a monumental brick wall.

    You have to credit Roosevelt for breaking through it in part, but I didn't get the sense that he was that committed to progressive values and eventually shied away from them almost entirely. It was good that he at least left a legacy of estate taxes to help combat inherited wealth and saw the natuarl wilderness as an asset that should be saved for future generation, not just sold off to the lowest bidder. But, Roosevelt definitely didn't go far enough.

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  117. I thik Gintaras pointed out to me that progressivism really began in the 1890's and I can accept that if we posit that there was an overlap between Popilsm and the the Populist Party and the progressive movement.
    Page Smith writes that the Progressive Era lasted only 4 yars --- 1912 to 1916, but I thik you can extend the era to 1918, when the Democrats won control of Congress and Wilson was repdiated. I'll read Smith and get his view on TR and his Administratio and then post on it.

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  118. Thanks Robert. I'd be interested to see what he and you think about that period. I don't think of TR as a populist, do you?

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  119. avrds: No, but some historians see an overlap. Populism was basically rural arising out of the Grangers, around the 1890's, while Progressivism was basically Urban...both were sworn enemies of the "malefactors of wealth" big corporations, banks--so an overlap was present--both championed the commoon man--but I think Populism had more of a religious bent than progressivism (William Jennings Bryan the Chataqua movement)

    I still have to re-read Page Smith and get his views. I'll be back tomorrow....

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  120. I see him more a Populist than a Progressive, that's for sure. There just wasn't that commitment. Cooper points out that his stance on women's suffrage was more a matter of expediency than it was conviction. An issue he felt he could seize on and win, since this was one of the differences between him and Wilson.

    It's not to say that Roosevelt didn't have any convictions, but it is hard to square his greater sense of manifest destiny with that of civil rights and labor.

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  121. He is certainly difficult to pin down, but I don't see him as a populist. He was a progressive on key issues, but not on all.Ausstralian observers at the time saw him as the US equivalent of Alfred Deakin, himself a bundle of contradictions. And what about the comparison with the young Winston Churchill?

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  122. As I remember, Morris called TR a progressive with a little "p," and pretty much said that his bid for President as a Progressive was foolhardy as he only reluctantly committed himself to their platform.

    I suppose "Populism" carries with it a number of bad connotations, but it isn't inherently bad.

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  123. Nice to have you back, George. Compared to Churchill? Interesting. I think Morris says TR hated the young Churchill. Maybe that's why!

    That's an interesting distinction between populism and progressivism. I relate to the difference Robert is making with urban vs. rural, and I also would add national vs local concerns.

    But I apologize -- I haven't reached that part in Morris yet. I'm trying to read other books on the side, and it's just not working very well (although I'm loving Roosevelt's Purge -- like reading current events -- and have dabbled in a new book on the history of labor which is much needed, but not as great a book as I'd hoped).

    And George, you'll be glad to hear that I'm writing another chapter of my dissertation. I've set May 2012 for my graduation date. Big party in Montana if I pull it off, which I need to do. I can't keep putting it off forever.

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  124. I had to check -- I have that Salvatore book on Debs. And the three volumes of his letters that came out a few years ago. When you were reading that one, I think I was reading "Harp Song" which I remember as being a bit strange.

    Fascinating man, and an incredible time in this country.

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  125. Ouch! Assassination attempt got TR near the heart. Despite the pain and loss of blood, he makes a full speech and only after it is over does he agree to go to a hospital. Well, we did read earlier that he was a bit loose inside his head.

    Ouch!

    pp 229-252

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  126. Yea, that was pretty amazing. Yet, it didn't seem to make that big an impact on the voters. Campaigning was suspended by mutual agreement as everyone waited to see how TR would pull through this crisis.

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  127. It must have been a pretty amazing campaign. A lot of firsts in that campaign. I believe Morris noted that it was the first time party nominees addressed their conventions. Also, the nominees directly campaigned, covering large swathes of the country in their bids to be elected. For Teddy, it seemed like quite an ordeal. Morris notes the physical strain on him, culminating in the assassination attempt. But, being the Bull Moose that he was, he wouldn't relent, campaigning right up to the end even if he felt his chances were slim to none. The Democrats stuck by Wilson, while the Republicans split between Taft and Roosevelt. Debs may have siphoned a few votes away from Wilson, but you figure his supporters had little faith in either party.

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  128. Seems wikipedia has the best breakdown of the campaign,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1912

    others tend to be sketchy. Pretty amazing that Debs managed to garner almost a million votes, running on such a radical platform. I suppose he played into much of the recent immigrant vote.

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  129. What strikes me as I read through the election section is that so many of his friends tried to dissuade him from running and most were convinced he was crazy. Like the overgrown boy, that assessment seemed to be pretty common. Certainly the powers that be didn't want him in the race.

    Yet, I guess he felt that if he could get "to the people" he would win. They certainly turned out for him when he showed up.

    (This reminds me a little bit of Sarah Palin -- she can draw the crowds with her personality and celebrity-dom, if I can coin such a word. And now the establishment is starting to turn up the heat on her.)

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  130. I wish that Morris were more available as a historian, not just a chronicler. He doesn't seem to step in and analyze any of this. Maybe TR really had gone off the deep end, if his friends and colleagues are to be believed. Morris just isn't present enough to evaluate that.

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  131. Morris paints pretty much a biography. There aren't a whole lot of insights into what really propelled TR to do some of the things he did. I had hoped for a more probing account as well.

    There is at least one good book on the 1912 election by James Chace. I think we talked about it before in one of the old Am History forums but never discussed it in any depth. Here's an interview with Chace on the book,

    http://www.carnegiecouncil.org/resources/transcripts/5029.html

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  132. Yes, I read that book -- probably with the NY Times group. I think that was the first time I'd read anything about that election, so it was all new to me. I may pick it up again after finishing Morris, just to put some of this into perspective.

    I am reading overtime at the moment and find that I have something very specific I'm looking for -- a point of view. A lot of these writers are good story tellers (well, at least a few of them) and/or they can document the facts, but they don't seem to have anything to say.

    Hopefully Morris will show his cards at the end of the book. He's such a good writer -- sometimes a little over the top -- but he doesn't seem to be very engaged with the material yet.

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  133. I'm almost caught up with you, Trippler. Made it through the convention last night with the police breaking up fist fights in the aisles -- what a scene!

    Makes current conventions seem corporate and staged by comparison -- although who can forget the sight of Hillary Clinton pushing through the crowd with her NY delegation to nominate Barack Obama? And on the good news front, looks like he may yet even pull his presidency out of a hat.

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  134. I'm reading AMERICA1908, which covers TR in the context of thst year. I plan to read THE PANIC OF 1907 by Bruner, the Chace's 1912. These are three short books relevant to the Progressive Era and will all be relevant to our discussion here.

    He's already pulled the rabbit out of the hat--the rabbit his opponents tried to shoot all year long. Now he needs to reassert himself and keep the hat at the ready--there will be lots of rabbits to pull out soon enough. It's going to be one hellava ride through the next year.

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  135. Natalie Curtis Burlin:

    http://www.nataliecurtis.org/intro.html

    Of what I've read in the book, this was my favorite chapter. Burlin was a fascinating character in that her pioneering work helped preserved music and culture of South western Indians. While the Bureau of Indian Affairs tried to discourage her work, it was TR who fought to promote her efforts.

    At first, I had her confused with her contemporary Edward S Curtis in that I thought they were related. But there was no such relation though TR also promoted his works. Later on she worked to preserve Southern black music and culture as well.



    pp 277-295

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  136. I finally read through the progressive platform and how the individual candidates staked out their territory. Interesting how race became such an issue -- TR assumed to be too friendly with black people, so having to back off on how the progressive platform would be implemented in the South (i.e., "states rights").

    But he was no match on this issue when it came to Wilson, the ultimate racist, ensuring support from the South.

    I haven't read far enough to say this with confidence -- maybe he'll show his true colors later -- but it seems like TR did indeed believe in much of the progressive platform. Certainly his wife seems to believe him advising him to go out with his beliefs. And while TR tried to trim back the most "radical" of the anti-business statements of Pinchot and the other moonbeamers (what a term!), he still decided to pursue his commitments.

    I like Debs statement -- they are all the same!

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  137. After studying TR for years, I'm pretty well settled that he was ambivalent regarding race. He shifted positions from time to time,going from Brownsville to George Washington Carver and embracing Social Darwinism to condeming the racial theories ofMadison Grant. He was for racial equality except when he was against it.
    TR would be a liberal Republican today. I think he agreed with the Progressive platform by and large, but after a few years, less so than in 1912. He became more radical with age, sometimes following progressive principles, but by and large the Progressive Party and Progressivism ebbed and waned without him holding its banner, and finally died out by 1918.

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  138. WW I brought the end to America's swinng to left. Debs and La Follette and TR reprented it at its high mark.
    I dispute the theory that TR had a shot for 1920. The regulars were back in the drivers seat and the Taft wing called the shots. And they continued to do so until the Depression

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  139. Harding won in 1920 on a gigantic tdal wave of repudiation of Wilson and the Progressive way of thought. TR was dead and so were many of his ideas--and those ideas would not re-emerge until 1933. I say 1933, because during the 1932 election, FDR ran a rather middleof the road campaign promising lower less government spending and a balance budget.

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  140. Years ago I tried to read "HARPSONG" a rather poorrly constructed bioography of Eugene Debs. It is one of the few books I couldn't de-cipher. I note the someone here had the same problem. If I can remember the circumstances as to how and by whom it was written, I'll post on it. If I remember correctly the author was a Villsge resident -- one of the many I ran across in the early days of Bob Dylan (when he was still working under his real name) She was qyuite a character in her own right and was a fixture in The Village for years.

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  141. 'ambivalent regarding race'

    TR did not endorse Balfour's dream of an Anglo-American union and said he 'wish I had a little Jew[ish blood] in me'. Still, he affirmed his Germanic heritage whose character he regarded as being 'very vivid'.

    p 375

    Yet, he did display some skepticism over what he termed 'hyphenated Americans' especially during tense days of the sinking of Lusitania.

    p 420

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  142. With TR, probably one of the few blacks he saw not in a servile position was Booker Washington, so he probably had no way of identifying with their plight. I imagine he cared to some degree, but not enough to make civil rights part of his agenda, which is a real shame, because the hardening of the Jim Crow South occurred during his time in office and he did nothing about the unconstitutional state voting laws, chain gangs, lynching or anything else that became the norm in the South. He was too worried about losing white votes.

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  143. Morris touched very lightly on this in Theodore Rex and makes only passing mention of it as TR stomped through the South trying to drum up votes during his Republican nomination drive, and later as a "Progressive."

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  144. On the other hand....

    He did invite Washington to dinner, which suggests that he may have been a political racist but not a "personal" one. That said, he had no overarching commitment to racial equality, as he was willing to throw blacks in the South under the bus when it came to getting votes. And didn't Morris note that Washington supported Taft in 1912?

    Can't remember where I read this but after TR got so much blow back from the Washington dinner, he took a hunting trip into the South to prove that he was just like one of them. It's all symbolism and optics when it comes to politics I guess. Which makes this illustration even more powerful:


    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/weekinreview/09harris.html

    Interesting that all blacks were turned away from the Lincoln second inaugural open house -- except for Douglass, who was invited in after sending in his card.

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  145. I have to wonder if TR was simply trying to emulate Lincoln in inviting Washington to dinner at the White House. There was no follow-up on this. At least, Lincoln maintained a dialog with Frederick Douglass, although I imagine Douglass' criticisms tested his patience. I don't think Roosevelt would have tolerated any criticism.

    Cooper (and I believe even Morris admits) that Roosevelt's run on the Progressive ticket was more about expediency than it was conviction. He used the Progessive to thrust himself back in the limelight. I suppose he figured that even if he lost in 1912 he would still be in a position to attack Wilson's policies, which he did with abandon. Yet, I don't think Roosevelt would have been any different president than Wilson other than most likely having plunged the US into WWI sooner.

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  146. I don't think that comes up so much in the Morris book, but it may be later. I got the impression that this was more motivated against Taft, whom he managed to defeat. And fed by the "moonbeamers," and Montana's Senator Dixon (those were the days).

    But then Morris doesn't really examine any of these policies in any detail. I take Morris at his word (as someone here noted) that the purpose was to "right" the record after all TR's critics had a go at him.

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  147. That was my comment after reading Morris's afterword.

    If you take TR as a whole you are left with a largely positive impression of the man. He was a great man in a number of ways, and you certainly have to admire the energy he brought to the WH. But, I think Henry Adams had him sized up pretty well when he said that TR's ego was larger than his intellect. The man could devour great quantities of information but didn't seem that particularly good at processing that information.

    Cooper noted this in a more subtle way comparing Roosevelt's and Wilson's reading and writing habits. Roosevelt consumed vast quantities of literature and was a prodigious writer, but there wasn't the sense that any great analysis took place. Whereas Wilson was a much slower reader, apparently as a result of dyslexia, and so read fewer books (often repeatedly) and poured over his writings much more carefully so that one got the sense of a much greater analysis taking place.

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  148. Plus, Wilson was an academic. Roosevelt was more of a doer, with all the negatives that come with that. Act first, think about it later. It seems like when the election was over he just sort of shrugged and moved on to the next adventure. But I think he accomplished his real goal in beating Taft.

    I'm finishing up Bacevich's book, which is great, and then will take another trip with TR into South America. Sorry I'm not keeping up, but I will stick with it.

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  149. ''next adventure''

    When asked my did he go on so many adventurisms, TR's reply was:

    'Youth will be served. It was my last chance to be a boy'.

    p 363

    Well, that certainly explains it.

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  150. I thought Morris did a good job describing his Brazilian adventure. He explained something that Candace Millard failed to do. It was not their original intention to go down the River of Doubt. Roosevelt's expedition team was essentially roped into it by the Brazilian government, hoping to get better advertising for the interior land they wanted to develop. Otherwise, the narrative follows pretty much the same course.

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  151. -Barnes v Rossevelt -

    Not a very significant chapter in American history. You have to wonder what Barnes really wanted to accomplish in his libel suit against TR. Political corruption is a two way street as TR had criticized Dems with just as much vehemence without any of them getting as worked up about it as did Barnes. Other than to just hassle his old pal, I cannot think of any real reason for the trouble.

    Barnes hired a crafty lawyer in Wm Ivins who made TR crack just a bit in the trial. And, from the narrative, it appears the presiding judge was on his side. They managed to get TR worked up but didn't appear to prove that he libeled Barnes. Well, the Lusitania disaster became headlines and broke up the circus that the trial descended to. Afterwards, the jury ruled in TR's favor.


    pp 404-424

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  152. I wonder if this is a real pic or photoshopped (?):

    http://www.calebmcewen.com/storage/TR%20on%20Moose.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1247968558316

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  153. Life Magazine seems to think it's real.

    During that period I've read of all sorts of crazy things people did with wildlife, including harnessing elk and bison to pull wagons.

    This one on the other hand ....

    http://frontpage.americandaughter.com/?p=1914

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  154. Am I the only one who has been taken with the photos in this book? Very different, snapshot quality to a lot of these (e.g., I recently passed the marriage of TR's youngest daughter and that beautiful photograph). Most of these I've never seen before.

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  155. Yes, those are good photos. I also like the illustration of TR on the book's cover - he appears to be a menacing but very real person in that pic.

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  156. While I'm not the world's biggest conspiracy buff, I often wonder what exactly was TR's alleged role in promoting Marx & Lenin:

    http://www.wildboar.net/multilingual/easterneuropean/russian/literature/articles/whofinanced/whofinancedleninandtrotsky.html

    Note that those allegations go way back to the early part of the century. Yet none of them appear in our readings.

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  157. Going back to the election for a minute -- I'm hoping Robert will chime in with his extra readings, while I catch up -- here's something that will really give you pause and/or a good laugh:

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F20A10FD3D5417738DDDA00894D0405B828DF1D3

    My guess is that writer has the right idea, that TR wanted to save capitalism (i.e., provide a counter to socialism), but these claims of being a socialist go WAY back.

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  158. I haven't been reading much. I'm in chapter 12 right after the TR was shot. On the side, I read Robert Reich's "Aftershock." Reich is one of my heroes. I've spent far too much time on the internet.

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  159. Marti, I'm not much farther along in the book than you are. I still haven't made it to South America, although I think TR is about to head that way. I've been trying to read a chapter or two a night, but some nights I don't get very far. I'm also distracted by other reading.

    Plus, I always want to look to see if I can get copies of all the stuff TR is writing -- like History as Literature and his autobiography. So far I've found most on the web. He's definitely prolific -- too much manic energy and time on his hands. Maybe this is where Gintaras sees the contemplative Wilson vs. Roosevelt.

    Robert Reich is a hero of mine, too. He's the only reason I could hold my nose and vote for Clinton the first time, assuming he'd be in his cabinet. I still vividly remember my bitter disappointment when Clinton announced his economic team and Reich wasn't one of them. Then he announced Reich for secretary of labor a few days later which seemed a good fit. I've read most of his books, although not this latest one.

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  160. Now I'm in the part of the book about TR on Brazil trip. Just before that is a chapter about Germany having nothing about TR but may be a set-up for what is coming up later about WWI? Could someone comment about why Morris wrote it in this way?

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  161. Marti, you have now passed me by. Some of the others who have already finished the book will probably have better ideas, but I'll try to catch up with you tonight. Sorry I'm so far behind. I'm enjoying the book, and intend to finish it, but right now am engrossed in the Killing of Crazy Horse. I just can't seem to put it down.

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  162. I was relieved to get beyond the Brazil expedition today while I had some down time at a job. Morris does have some interesting items in there, but I got my fill of it in the book that was dedicated to it (The River of Doubt). TR was a mess before it was over.

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  163. The book is a long haul. I was glad to see someone else write about his trip down the River of Doubt, as I didn't think much of Candace Millard's account. Morris keeps in relatively short, but has all the salient features of the trip, including the various feuds that developed.

    It was interesting how the priest basically saw this as an expedition to save souls, having outfitting the crew for a more leisurely journey down another river, where he probably figured he would come in contact with more natives. Of course, Rondon was having none of it, given all the ties he had carefully cultivated among the native population. Even TR had had is fill of the priest by that point.

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  164. This is a great website I linked earlier on the Brazilian expedition, which includes film footage,

    http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trbrazil.html

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  165. I won't be able to finish the book as I must return it to the library by tomorrow. Therefore, I skipped through some of the later chapters and came upon the photo of Quentin as a war casualty. This, no doubt, contributed to TR's death as he had been in declining health since the assassination attempt.

    It is amazing how TR managed to get in all that work while continually traveling as pro war lobbyist and campaigner. But it sure took its toll on him.

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  166. When you go to the library, see if they have DEPARTING GLORY by Joseph L Gardner or Patricia O'Toole"s WHEN TRUMPETS CALL. Both cover TR after the White House. I don't know which is better. I liked them both---and follow along with the discussion here.

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  167. Avrds: I finished 1908 and found it superficial, but well written. It covered the GREAT RACE, The Wright Brothers, The Race to the North Pole, The Progressive movement and Henry Ford....all in all, a nice transition book.
    In the past several days I've gotten into two very long discussions wit friends over Economic Theory, the current continuing crisis and, intrresting enough, on the construction and Composition of the DSM IV -TR. After thirty years work in a psychiatric hospital, I foud myself discussing diagnostic issues wit a Workman's Compensation Atttorney with 30 years in his field. It was a vewide ranging discussion about issues and problems most people don't even know exist--the best discussion I've had all year.
    Any how, I never got into the book on the Panic of 1907---but stumbled into H.G> Wells's WAR IN THE AIR, published in 1907 about a world war in which Germany attacks us from the air using airplanes and balloons. Its not his best book, but it shows how perseptive he was in his ideas about warfare and flight in general. Seven years later Germany and a lot of the rest of the world would go to war.
    I have about 100 pages to go and unless I get into another wide ranging discussion, I should fonish by Friday.

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  168. Where are we at in THE COLONEL. I want to get back into the discussion.

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  169. Did anyone read RIVER OF DOUBT? It is N EXCELLENT RENDITION OF YHE EXPEDITION.

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  170. OOOPS!!! Excuse the caps.I'll be more careful. I've increased my speed and agility in using yhe keyboard. Speed, though imptrove, is still slow....bu my caretaker noticed I'm back to usin four fingers with ease--so progress continues. Next step is to re introce my left thumb to operate the Shift Key.

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  171. Thanks for your recommendations RW.

    The library system has Patricia O'Tooles WHEN TRUMPETS CALL but our local branch does not and it would take about a week to have it sent. The other book is not in our system at all.

    Any word yet on our next reading?

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  172. As I mentioned above, I skipped about 4 chapters and went to the epilogue. There, the writer wrote a few interesting things about the change in the way TR has been perceived over the years.

    ''Panama should have given a warning to his supporters that the reformer at home was an imperialist abroad ... {Biographer Herbert Pringle} ''declined to take TR seriously. He mocked Rough Rider's fake humility ... and demolished many myths ... Pringle's writings were salutary.''

    pp 561-568

    I especially found the note about how TR was viewed as a wicked imperialist in the 1960s because of the Phillipines massacre in 1906. Indeed, this and the situation in Colombia were the things I was taught in high school during those days. Teachers told us about his role in promoting Progressivism. But they were not shy about saying the truth about American imperialistic terrorism which is so sugar coated nowadays by writers and the right wing political correctness crowd.

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  173. We are at the Brazilian expedition I believe. I don't share your enthusiasm for River of Doubt, Robert. I thought Morris summed up the expedition better in his few pages than Millard did in her book, simply because she spent way too much time making it into a melodrama with Kermit's love pangs and letters, and providing very few insights into what this expedition was all about.

    In the beginning, Morris noted that Brazil wanted to open up its interior for development and saw no better way than to give this project the exposure it needed than by luring Roosevelt and his expeditionary team down the River of Doubt. They had intended to do a much more gentle excursion, which is why they were so poorly outfitted for this treacherous river. Morris also noted that Rondon was very much oversupplied as well, and that much shaving down had to be done on both sides.

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  174. Although I thoroughly enjoyed RIVER OF DOUBT, I think yor croticism of it is well taken. Morrris does a very good job with the subject. I think TR never grew up in a sense and his decisions were sometimes ill advised. The decision to take up the venture at his age was not very wise. I take him at his word that it was his last chance to be a child.

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  175. I gave up on WAR IN THE AIR by H G Wells. Badly written by an excellent story teller--every body's entitled to a bad one every so often.

    I'm reading Sample from the Kindle Machine: RATIFICATION & Ian Kershaw's one volume condensation of HITLER & FIRST FAMILY (John and Abigail ADAMS)

    Anyone have suggestions.

    I can't believe I lost 1907--it somewhere in the house. My memory is terrible on short trtm things. It's de-railed. I'll get back to it when I find it.

    How'bout TORIES-- has anyone looked at that one? ROBRT MORRIS? SCORPIONS?

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  176. You lost 1907? That's sort of like me leaving George Washington in the garage ... He's still in there as far as I know...

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  177. I agree that Morris does a good job with the brazillian expedition. And I was glad to see TR came out on the other side alive and remarkably well all things considered. What an ordeal to have gone through.

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  178. I'm now reading via audio book M Wm Phelps's ''Nathan Hale: The Life & Death of America's First Spy''

    http://www.amazon.com/Nathan-Hale-Death-Americas-First/dp/0312376413

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  179. "I'm reading Sample from the Kindle Machine: RATIFICATION & Ian Kershaw's one volume condensation of HITLER & FIRST FAMILY (John and Abigail ADAMS)" Robert

    OK, Robert, please clarify for me -- the Hitler book isn't the same as First Family, is it? Is first family about the John Adams family?

    Is 1907 the title of a book?

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  180. Is it The Panic of 1907?

    http://www.amazon.com/Panic-1907-Lessons-Learned-ebook/dp/B001JPH9DQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1294211585&sr=1-1

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  181. Av and I ended up on a parallel thread of the River of Doubt, with some good links in the post. Check it out,

    http://am-perspectives.blogspot.com/2011/01/river-of-doubt.html#comments

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  182. Next up the Wilson-Roosevelt War over the War. I thought this was the most interesting part of the book as Roosevelt was fit to be tied it took Wilson so long to enter the war, but then it didn't seem Americans in general were too anxious to be engaged in a "European War." Morris tells it pretty much from Roosevelt's side, but notes some of his gaffes.

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  183. I just started that chapter last night.

    It sounded like it was the possibility of war with Mexico that first got Roosevelt all excited, which I'd like to know more about. He doesn't use the word "peacenik" about Wilson, but something like that word. The ultimate put-down as far as TR is concerned.

    Plus, he arrives home on a stretcher and before you know it he's back at it again.

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  184. The Mexican Revolution must have really got TR's goat. I well imagine the last thing he wanted was a Socialist Republic south of the border. Kind of like the Haitian revolt in the previous century. How dare these people try to take their countries into their own hands.

    Of course, it didn't help matters when Wilson bungled up the operation in Veracruz. This angered TR to no end.

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  185. Yeah, the book is THE PANIC OF 1907. I hsd twenty or so books out, 7 0n the current downrurn, several on the depression and others on finance in general. 1907 was one of them. When I returned them to their shelves, I was left with the 1907 dustjacket, but no book...Oh well, it'll turn up later.

    Aside from the panic of 1907, in which TR and J P Morgan struck their deal, there was a panic of sorts in 1919 brought on by excesses after WW I . It was mostly economic, was shortlived and involved bank failres--I was looking for comparisons to the present situation, keeping in mind that the New Deal safety valves were not in place, nor was the Federal Reserve System reorganized sufficiently to make a difference... I'll go to the library and see if they ave a copy of my missing book...

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  186. At the time, political leaders appeared even more indebted to wealthy industrialists and financiers than they do today. As you say, Robert, there were no safety valves back then, and one of the reasons the First New Deal didn't do much good was because there was really no means to properly distribute the money and monitor its affect on the economy. All that would come later in the FDR adminisration.

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  187. I'd be interested in a brief overview of the panic of 1907 and TR's role in it if someone could do that easily. There are still gaps in my knowledge of this period.

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  188. Just read about TR's short visit to the White House, sipping lemonade with Wilson on the porch. There was something so idyllic about that scene, although it was interesting that TR is reading a Tarkington "boy's adventure" novel, which couldn't possibly interest Wilson. Really are a study of contrasts.

    In the meantime the world does seem to be ready to explode. I sort of get the issue with Mexico -- stopping the arms but then backing down to avoid war -- but not sure how they could foresee the horrors coming from the shooting of the arch duke. That was a well written aside in the book, though.

    And it doesn't answer Marti's question about that interlude chapter, which I thought might become clearer once I read further into the book. I guess Morris must have come across that little vignette in his research and just wanted to use it?

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  189. I hope we haven't run out of gas because we are just getting to the good part. Morris seemed to relish the ideological battles Roosevelt had with Wilson after the election, resorting to the power of the pen to challenge the standing president.

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  190. I haven't given up on Morris! I'm trying to finish up a book on Crazy Horse, but will get back to TR again today.

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  191. It's a bit late for me (11 PM) I'll give an overview on the Panic of 1907 and TR & Morgan and the deal which they made when I come back tomorrow.

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  192. Thanks, Robert. I'm just getting into WWI, so that will help give me a little time to catch up on the book!

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  193. I pulled out four books to read a little to refresh my memory on the Panic of 1907. Once again its too late to start. I apologise....but I promise I'll post tomorrow...

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  194. Freak snow storm comming in from the South---looks serios, so I'll stay home tomorrow and practice reading from books--real books---yeah!!!!

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  195. Weather settled dow--so I'm on to THE PANIC OF 1907

    The panic which occured in 1907 was concentrated in the banking and investment industry, which was largely unregulated in i907. It really began as a backwash of monetary diffficulties emerging from the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906--the quake created a high demand for money and this created a strain on the money market in America and in England. Insurance claims were enormous and we had no central banking system to suppy and meet demands for currency---so the Bank of England pitched in and eased, but did not solve the problem. Agriculture began to have problems obtaining loans and interest rates rose. Speculation went banannas. Interestigly enough the Stock Market soared.Money in America was created throgh banks ourchasing Federal bond and the issuing currency up to 90% of their face value. Legislation governing reserves was rescinded and banks started to issue currency up to 100% of bond value. Two financiers tried to corner the copper market and failed, leading to speculation that the price of copper would plunge and the economy would co;;apse in a trickle down effect. There then ensued a run on the Knickerbocker Trust Company, an investment house--and two days later it closed its doors. It failed--leading to the suicide of its president...the elsion is placed here because the all hell broke loose and the Panic escalated and things became very complicated. The Panic was short lived and its causes were many, but it is best remembered because Private Enterprise bailed us out--for the last time in our history. I'll go into details as I go along--right now I need to take a rest--be back tomorrow.

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  196. Interesting that the earthquake triggered the panic. Today, natural disasters tend to spur the economy. All that money in insurance claims and repairs flowing into the economy, but I imagine the insurance industry was relatively primitive at that time.

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  197. There are places where just saying "San Francisco" will trigger panic.

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  198. Finished the book yesterday in the wee hours. Morris was quite thorough in what happens with each of TR's family members.

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