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Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt: Preacher of Righteousness

Joshua David Hawley
Foreword by David M. Kennedy
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 336
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    Theodore Roosevelt
    Book Description:

    Often dismissed by scholars as an opportunistic politician whose ideas lacked historical import, Theodore Roosevelt has been underestimated as a thinker. But to disdain Roosevelt's politics is to overlook his important and lasting contributions to the shape of modern America, says the author of this compelling new study of the 26th president of the United States. Joshua Hawley examines Roosevelt's political thought more deeply than ever before to arrive at a fully revised understanding of his legacy: Roosevelt galvanized a twenty-year period of national reform that permanently altered American politics and Americans' expectations for government, social progress, and presidents.

    The book explores the historical context of Theodore Roosevelt's politics, its intellectual sources, its practice, and its effect on his era and our own. Hawley finds that Roosevelt developed a coherent political science centered on the theme of righteousness, and this "warrior republicanism" was what made the progressive era possible. The debates of Roosevelt's era were driven largely by his ideas, and from those debates emerged the grammar of our contemporary politics. Casting new light on the fertility and breadth of Roosevelt's thought, Hawley reveals the full extent of his achievement in twentieth-century intellectual history.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14514-4
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    David M. Kennedy

    In death as in life, Theodore Roosevelt has both dazzled and rattled his countrymen. He was a luminous beacon of idealism to many contemporaries. The famed Kansas journalist William Allen White wrote of his first encounter with Roosevelt in 1897 that “Roosevelt bit me, and I went mad. . . . He sounded in my heart the first trumpet call of the new time that was to be. . . . [H]e poured into my heart such visions, such ideals, such hopes, such a new attitude toward life and patriotism and the meaning of things, as I had never dreamed...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. 1 In the Father’s House
    (pp. 1-19)

    Toward morning the north wind slackened, and the dawn came milder than those before. Passengers on the ferry to Staten Island were relieved to find the bay relatively calm and the deck free of ice, though elsewhere the gale’s handiwork lingered: tides in the East River, swelled to record levels by the October wind, remained high. Still, the morning of the twenty-seventh arrived as a reprieve, a temperate pause before the onset of a bitter season. The year was 1858. In a stately brownstone on East Twentieth Street, a young woman heavy with child set aside her breakfast and ordered...

  6. 2 A Small, Ornithological Boy
    (pp. 20-31)

    Jake had caught six fish, all before breakfast, and his father maybe two dozen, maybe more, but he hadn’t caught any and now the flies were bothering him. Ellie and West were whipping the rapids just downstream, throwing their bodies up against the current and splashing. The flies were a bitter nuisance. Teedie Roosevelt, age twelve, abandoned his rock on the river’s shore and, grasping a fishing pole, started down into the current. The water surged powerful and foamy, stronger than he expected, and after a few initial steps the current grabbed his feet and jerked him under. He fought...

  7. 3 Race and Destiny
    (pp. 32-47)

    At first the three boys studied together—Teedie, Elliott, and cousin West Roosevelt. Theodore saw to the arrangements. He thought about enrolling them in a nearby secondary school, but there was Teedie to consider. The boy was growing and becoming increasingly sociable, confident, occasionally warm. The asthma was better, too. But he had continued to suffer attacks in Dresden over the summer, one or two of them severe, and Theodore wouldn’t risk it. This was too important. They would all benefit, those boys, from the sustained attention of a professional tutor. But Teedie especially needed the instruction. He was the...

  8. 4 The Code of a Warrior
    (pp. 48-74)

    “In the still fall nights, if we lie awake, we can listen to the clanging cries of the water-fowl,” Theodore Roosevelt wrote from the Dakota Territory in 1885. “[A]nd in cold weather the coyotes occasionally come near enough for us to hear their uncanny wailing.” He may have lain awake many a night in the fall of 1884 and ‘85 thinking and remembering—the coyotes’ wailings a fitting accompaniment to his recollections.¹

    At the threshold of a promising career in the New York State Assembly, Roosevelt abandoned Albany for a story-high house of hewn logs hard on the banks of...

  9. 5 Apostle of Expansion
    (pp. 75-90)

    And then he came home to politics. Benjamin Harrison, twenty-third president of the United States, remembered Roosevelt’s loyalty to the party in 1884—after being repeatedly reminded by Roosevelt friends and supporters. The Mugwumps had deserted the Republican side that year and cost the party the election, but Roosevelt stayed, despite his misgivings and despite the furious denunciations from his erstwhile allies in the Mugwump camp. Now he was back in New York, more or less permanently, with a new wife and a new home on Long Island: Sagamore Hill, he was calling it. He needed a job. He was...

  10. 6 The Fate of Coming Years
    (pp. 91-114)

    How to return was another matter. The leading cause of Theodore Roosevelt’s discontent as his thirty-eighth birthday loomed was a fact about which he did not write or speak openly, but a fact no less real for being unarticulated. His political career had stalled. Six years at the civil service commission followed by eighteen months on the New York City police board was not the materiel with which to build a national political following. That’s not to say he didn’t enjoy the job of police commissioner. He did. Or he did at first. Mayor William Strong had rescued him from...

  11. 7 Master-Spirit
    (pp. 115-137)

    Roosevelt went on charging right into the governor’s mansion. The Cuban campaign was a spectacular success, and when reports of his military heroics reached the press, the conquerer of Kettle and San Juan Hills became a household name. Roosevelt wasted no time converting his newfound popularity into political advantage. Almost as soon as he returned from Cuba, Roosevelt pushed himself into the New York gubernatorial campaign. In the autumn of 1898, New York voters chose their new favorite son to lead the state. Roosevelt was back in elected office, back in a big way. Intriguingly, the new responsibility prompted him...

  12. 8 Warrior Republicanism
    (pp. 138-162)

    According to the civic liturgy as then prescribed by the U.S. Constitution, Theodore Roosevelt swore the oath of office at twelve noon, March 4, 1905, on the east steps of the Capitol. Thousands of well-wishers turned out to witness the Rough Rider president, the colorful, quotable, indefatigable steam-engine-in-trousers-president, take the oath in his own right. No longer the accident of an assassin’s bullet, he belonged now in the company of the chosen, the latest in a distinguished line of American statesmen. And he intended to claim his republican heritage. While the Constitution makes no provision for an inaugural address, every...

  13. 9 The Progress of a Progressive
    (pp. 163-189)

    Almost at once the coalition began to splinter. Or perhaps the moment was just passing beyond Roosevelt’s command. Much of the public saw the president’s railroad bill and his food and drug and meat inspection acts as great victories. Not all White House allies were equally celebratory, though. Roosevelt’s legislative maneuvers at the end of the congressional session exposed tensions within the pro-regulation camp, which proved to be portentous. A klatch of Western and Southern senators, some Republicans, some Democrats, bristled at Roosevelt’s decision to make peace with Aldrich and accept potentially extensive court review of the Interstate Commerce Commission’s...

  14. 10 A Prophet’s Return
    (pp. 190-206)

    Osawatomie, Kansas, was a small hamlet on the eastern side of the state, fifty-plus miles southwest of Kansas City and maybe twenty from the Missouri border. The town had just over four thousand residents and one point of interest: radical abolitionist John Brown and his supporters skirmished there against pro-slavery settlers in 1856. Fifty-four years later, the state of Kansas created the John Brown Memorial Park in the approximate vicinity of the clash, and civic leaders saw a chance to put Osawatomie back on the map. The city commercial club planned a gala event, a massive, public dedication of the...

  15. 11 Battle for the Lord
    (pp. 207-234)

    Finally, by February Theodore Roosevelt threw off the cloak of retirement and girded to reenter the fray. On the twenty-first he gathered reporters for the most momentous announcement of his political life. “My hat is in the ring,” he exclaimed. “[T]he fight is on.” The colonel was going to challenge William Howard Taft, his once-loyal subordinate and chosen successor, for the Republican presidential nomination in 1912. He would bid to regain control of the Republican Party and, with it, the progressive moment. Roosevelt convinced himself that Taft had squandered the legacy he left. Taft’s self-indulgent indecision and foolish alliance with...

  16. 12 The Valley of Vision
    (pp. 235-259)

    Word reached Manhattan late in the morning, borne by shouting newsboys and their extra editions so that by lunchtime every passerby who cared to look or listen knew. Theodore Roosevelt already knew. He didn’t need the papers to tell him. In his offices at theMetropolitanmagazine downtown, he kept to his schedule. He finished dictating letters and signed a few books ahead of his luncheon, and then at the appointed time walked to the Harvard Club wearing his straw hat. Dr. Albert Shaw of theReview of Reviewswas there, along with the young German-American writer Hermann Hagedorn. The...

  17. Epilogue
    (pp. 260-268)

    Eulogists hailed Theodore Roosevelt with the reverence and earnest warmth reserved for men who have touched one’s soul. They called him an emblem of American manhood, a scion of virility and strength. The New York Assembly praised his “indomitable will, unconquerable courage and power of mental and physical endurance.” Many mentioned his laborious journey from fragile youth to energetic adulthood. Others noted his common touch despite his privileged upbringing. Nearly all praised his moral vision and capacity to inspirit, invigorate, inspire. “Today,” said Senator Frederick Davenport from the floor of the New York Assembly three days after Roosevelt’s death, “there...

  18. Author’s Note
    (pp. 269-270)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 271-306)
  20. Index
    (pp. 307-318)