The Making of Theodore Roosevelt
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Like many of his peers, Roosevelt was shielded from such disturbing realities of modernization during childhood and youth.
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After the double tragedy of losing his first wife and his mother, Roosevelt withdrew out West and pursued ranching and writing. Kohn insists that many biographers have misinterpreted this episode. The time out West, he argues, was in reality a shorter series of trips to the Dakotas, punctured by frequent absences in New York and Boston.
Even while serving as civil service commissioner in Washington, Roosevelt remained actively involved in New York politics and returned to the city to preside over the police commission for two years from to , a time during which he refined his views on municipal reform. While his fight against corruption and in particular his efforts at law enforcement against alcohol sales on Sundays mobilized opposition in his own local party organization, it also garnered him national attention.
Supported by influential friends such as Henry Cabot Lodge, he gained another national appointment, this time as assistant secretary of the navy in Kohn gives his two-year tenure in Albany mixed reviews.
While TR advanced housing reform in New York City, supported forestry programs, helped improve labor laws, and strengthened the regulation of banks and insurance companies, he was neither a radical reformer nor a threat to business interests. His political views on the need for efficient regulatory mechanisms through strengthened executive power were honed by his time in local politics. This appears to derive from a advertisement by writer Alfred Henry Lewis for a forthcoming series of biographical articles about Roosevelt: "All activity, Mr. Roosevelt has often shown that it is better to do the wrong thing than do nothing at all.
In politics this last is peculiarly true. The best thing is to do the right thing; the next best is to do the wrong thing; the worst thing of all things is to stand perfectly still".
The Making of Theodore Roosevelt
Misattributed [ edit ] To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth. First attributed to Roosevelt on the internet in recent years, there is no evidence he ever said this, as noted in "Teddy Roosevelt on Conservatives vs. Liberals", by Dan Evon at snopes.
On October 2, , Roosevelt wrote a letter to his son Kermit. He said he was glad his son was playing football but warned him not to let sports distract from his studies too much. I suppose I have a natural tendency to preach just at present because I am overwhelmed with my work. I enjoy being president, and I like to do the work and have my hand on the lever.
But it is very worrying and puzzling, and I have to make up my mind to accept every kind of attack and misrepresentation. It is a great comfort to me to read the life and letters of Abraham Lincoln. Roosevelt answered the question of what presidents should read in his Autobiography. The short answer: everything.
If he cannot also enjoy the Hebrew prophets and the Greek dramatists, he should be sorry. He ought to read interesting books on history and government, and books of science and philosophy; and really good books on these subjects are as enthralling as any fiction ever written in prose or verse. In April , Roosevelt was living in the Dakota Territory, chasing after boat thieves and reading Russian literature.
He told his sister Corinne that he could not decide if he could recommend the book he had just finished in good faith.
Homeschooling: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt
I brought Anna Karenina along on the trip and have read it through with very great interest, I hardly know whether to call it a very bad book or not. However, he conceded ,. Tolstoy is a great writer. Do you notice how he never comments on the actions of his personages?
Schumacher on Kohn, 'Heir to the Empire City: New York and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt'
He relates what they thought or did without any remark whatever as to whether it was good or bad, as Thucydides wrote history. Roosevelt was a sickly, asthmatic child, often cooped up in his family townhouse near Gramercy Park. To pass the time, he vacuumed up every nearby book, especially those that had to do with natural history and birds. As he later wrote in his Autobiography ,.
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Among my first books was a volume of a hopelessly unscientific kind by Mayne Reid, about mammals, illustrated with pictures no more artistic than but quite as thrilling as those in the typical school geography. When my father found how deeply interested I was in this not very accurate volume, he gave me a little book by J. Wood, the English writer of popular books on natural history, and then a larger one of his called Homes Without Hands. Both of these were cherished possessions.
They were studied eagerly; and they finally descended to my children.
When Reid died in , The Spectator in London said he.