Factually Specific Response to Why the Historians Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2260 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History

¶ … factually specific response to why the historians were and continue to be fascinated by the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. The underlying objective was to present how he was able to use his clear philosophical goals to reshape an entire era of American history to fit his own image. By pointing out some of his greatest achievements, both foreign and domestic, this report can provide insights into his strong points and assess if he had significant failures or setbacks that historians downplay. There is a strong need to clarify why his style of governance was so in line with the needs of a then young and dynamic nation during the decade of the twentieth century. (White House, 2005)

Theodore Roosevelt "was born in New York City in 1858 into a wealthy family, but he too struggled -- against ill health -- and in his triumph became an advocate of the strenuous life." (White House, 2005) the nation acquired the youngest President in the Nation's history after the assassination of President McKinley.

Theodore Roosevelt had recently turned 43 when he was sworn into office and was said to have "brought new excitement and power to the Presidency, as he vigorously led Congress and the American public toward progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy. He took the view that the President as a "steward of the people" should take whatever action necessary for the public good unless expressly forbidden by law or the Constitution." (White House, 2005)

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His youth was an extremely powerful asset when compared with previous 'log cabin Presidents.' During his tenure, he was able to greatly broaden the use of executive power and won the support of the nation through these powers. His history of driving cattle, hunting big game and a prestigious military career and war hero status provided the strength a young budding nation needed during a time of constant turmoil and upheaval. "As President, Roosevelt held the ideal that the Government should be the great arbiter of the conflicting economic forces in the Nation, especially between capital and labor, guaranteeing justice to each and dispensing favors to none." (White House, 2005)

Term Paper on Factually Specific Response to Why the Historians Assignment

But he was not all brawn as he won the Nobel Peace Prize later in his career for his part in the mediation process for the Russo-Japanese War. "While campaigning in Milwaukee, he was shot in the chest by a fanatic. Roosevelt soon recovered, but his words at that time would have been applicable at the time of his death in 1919: 'No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way.'" (White House, 2005)

RMS Lusitania

Roosevelt may still be seen as a great leader because of his comments surrounding the events of the Lusitania. "The former U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, a winner of the Noble Peace prize, was sorry that he was no longer President, believing he would be better than Woodrow Wilson in guiding the nation and the world, and he expressed his opinion, published the Outlook on September 23, that in the United States sympathy for Belgium was "very real," but he cautioned against U.S. intervention and described Germany as having been compelled to violate Belgian territory 'by the iron law of self-preservation.'" (Smitha, 1998)

The early phases of WWI began to take shape around 1914. For example, during this time both Britain and France considered it fair game to detain all ships that were carrying goods to Germany which lead Germany to declare that the waters immediately surrounding Great Britain were to be considered a war zone. This also entailed constant retaliation directed at the British and French blockades.

Ships began sinking through Germany's guerilla style submarine warfare as can be demonstrated by the sinking of the British steamship Falaba killing 111 people. At the time, President Woodrow Wilson was not taking a stance for either side which made him look weak in the eyes of many. As the Germans continued to sink more and more ships, Americans were starting to perish. "... A British liner, the Lusitania set sail for England. Warnings from the German embassy in Washington D.C. had been published in New York newspapers, stating that war existed between Britain and Germany and that the Lusitania, would be a legitimate target when it reached the war zone in waters adjacent to the British Isles. Various Americans who wished to sail on the Lusitania ignored the warnings." (Smitha, 1998)

President Wilson figured that the ship was not a vessel of war but instead a luxury liner and that kept him from choosing not to restrict Americans from traveling on the ship. "The Lusitania was one that had been built in part with government money and obliged to serve the country in time of war. In addition to passengers, the Lusitania was carrying munitions. When it arrived in British waters a German submarine sank it, and 1,198 people died, including 128 Americans. In Britain and the United States, people were outraged." (Smitha, 1998) in Wilson's perceived weakness emerged a perceived strength in Theodore Roosevelt.

What was demonstrated by Roosevelt here is that his military charisma made Wilson look as though he were not strong enough to lead the nation into war. In other words, the nation was ready to fight and Roosevelt represented a more true relation with the desires of the common man. The sub-attacks by the Germans were considered as cowardly and barbaric which infuriated American citizens.

The Palmer Raids

During the year 1912, then President Theodore Roosevelt was considered to be one of the better known avowed Progressives. He was searching for a third party Presidential nomination but at the time he was still quite popular his 'Bull Moose' Party was having trouble gathering votes.

This became even more obvious as the election swung to Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson. However, prominent during this period were the brief anti-communist Palmer raids. The Palmer Raids were actually a series of attacks based on radicals and mainly Alexander Mitchell Palmer throughout the United States from 1912 through 1921 by Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson used the platform of socialism and communism being the root of all of America's problems and the underlying factions needed to be weeded out. This line of reasoning may have been one of the many underlying problems Roosevelt had in mustering support for his third campaign. The public raids were covered heavily by the press at the time and gained a strong support base as anti-communist mentalities grew strong.

In this case, Roosevelt may have been out of touch with the wishes of the American people and therefore this could be considered one of his outright blunders. The communist and socialist threat was very real in the minds of the common man yet Roosevelt let the advantage go to Wilson.

The Scopes Monkey Trial

The American trial lawyer Clarence Darrow was a popular Ohio litigator that was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as an arbitrator in the Pennsylvania anthracite coal strike in 1902. But later in 1925, Darrow actually was the lawyer who argued the conflict between religion and reason when he was asked to defend a Tennessee science teacher named John T. Scopes for violating the Butler Act. The Butler Act was a law that literally made it a crime to teach the theory of evolution.

Darrow was quoted as having called that trial the 'one that made it a crime for teaching the truth.' "Scopes was convicted, but the world read of and listened to the famous "monkey trial" and Dayton, Tennessee, became a circus. During the trial, he said, 'I do not consider it an insult but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure -- that is all that agnosticism means.' (Meyer, 2005)

Roosevelt's man Darrow was very critical of the administration for not adding more support in what he considered to be common sense. Roosevelt did seem to agree with Darrow but was not as vocal publicly as Darrow may have expected.

Bernard Baruch

Bernard Mannes Baruch was an American financier and presidential adviser. He was known for coining the term Cold War that described the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. Bernard Baruch was an adviser to presidents on economic matters for more than 40 years ranging from Theodore Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy. He also was considered to be a highly regarded elder statesman. During his lifetime he amassed an immense fortune and was considered to be an economic genius.

In 1917, Bernard Baruch became the War Industries Board's Chief Executive. The company's objective was to encourage American companies to utilize mass produce and to use mass production techniques. The goal was to help the nation become more efficent as well as to urge the manufactures to reduce waste through standardization. The War Industries Board helped to establish national production quotas as well as to allocate raw materials and natural resources limits.

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