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Theodore Rex is the story—never fully told before—of Theodore Roosevelt’s two world-changing terms as President of the United States. A hundred years before the catastrophe of September 11, 2001, “TR” succeeded to power in the aftermath of an act of terrorism. Youngest of all our chief executives, he rallied a stricken nation with his superhuman energy, charm, and political skills. He proceeded to combat the problems of race and labor relations and trust control while making the Panama Canal possible and winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But his most historic achievement remains his creation of a national conservation policy, and his monument millions of acres of protected parks and forest. Theodore Rex ends with TR leaving office, still only fifty years old, his future reputation secure as one of our greatest presidents.
risk. Aides shuddered at the memory of last year’s tour-bus megaphones on West Executive Avenue. Reluctantly, in view of the marvelous weather, the President continued to exercise indoors. After some vain efforts to strangle his Japanese wrestling instructor, he managed three new throws that were “perfect corkers.” As a result, he was mottled all over with bruises, and lame in both big toes, the right ankle, left wrist, and thumb. HIS SIGNATURE FINGERS still worked, however. On 28 April he
however, by the continuing support of Northern newspapers. The Springfield Republican remarked that while Roosevelt’s gesture “may have been an indiscretion,” it was “splendid in its recognition of the essential character of the presidential office.” ON 21 OCTOBER, another lightning report flashed through the South. The President and Booker T. Washington were to dine together again, at Yale University’s bicentennial. What was more, Miss Alice Roosevelt would probably join them. Yale issued a
American Heritage 30.6 (Oct.–Nov. 1979). 168 Roosevelt was not See Blum, “TR: The Years of Decision,” in TR, Letters, vol. 2, 1488, and TR, “True Americanism,” Works, vol. 15, 15–31. Thomas G. Dyer, Theodore Roosevelt and the Idea of Race (Baton Rouge, 1980), is the latest attempt to interpret TR’s racial thought in the light of modern sensibilities, mentioning Booker T. Washington only twice. 169 One of his favorite Nancy Schoenberg, “Officer Otto Raphael: A Jewish Friend of Theodore
or the Potomac flats, sooner or later L’Enfant’s perspectives disclosed the Capitol ahead of him, high and remote on its wooded hill, twinkling with lights as Congress worked late. On 7 December, he received his first piece of legislation from the Senate. It was a minor customs waiver, and he signed it impatiently. A bill authorizing construction of the Isthmian Canal would have been more to his taste, but the Senate had yet to ratify the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty. When it eventually did, on 16
“Pascal’s spirit of self-search and self-reproach” was not incompatible with self-doubt, but no honest judge could deny the role of self in every decision. “All these inward questionings are born of the hope and desire to transcend the limitations which hedge our human nature. Roosevelt, who knew men, had no illusions on this score.” Roosevelt Medal Acceptance Speech, 1931, transcript in TRB. 17 “did not themselves” TR, Works, vol. 17, 621. 18 PRESIDENT-ELECT TAFT Anderson, William Howard