Ready for Teddy: The Indomitable Theodore Roosevelt (TR)
F 2017



Essentially, Theodore Roosevelt should never be forgotten.  His face on Mount Rushmore means he was a force in politics as well as a face in international relations.  We see him all the time as the hero of San  Juan Hill or shaping his personality in the Badlands of the Dakotas at his ranch on the Little Missouri.  Still, there is so much we don't know about Teddy.  He almost lost his life on an unknown Amazon river.  After his presidency, he was feted by the heads of Europe.  Who was this man who guided his country ably in some of its darkest hours?  How did he overcome the so-called robber barons in the Gilded Age?  Why did he earn the Nobel Peace Prize?  Was he one of the greatest presidents of our country?  How was he affected by the death of his father, first wife, and mother?  Why was his personality so "bully" to so many Americans and  others?  Was he really the person to take McKinley's place?  Should we be revering him even to this day?  

This Fall, 2017 S/DG will attempt to answer the previous questions with a wealth of materials about TR's life.  Apparently, the historians have not given up trying to figure out Roosevelt's contributions.  Our core books, T.R.:  The Last Romantic,and Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of American Leadership  seem to fit the picture of a firebrand president whom the public wants to run again and again for president.  That raises the question:  Why was T.R. so intent on letting William Howard Taft succeed him as president?  Why did Teddy later run against Taft, Debs,  and Wilson, expecting another term as president?  

In a look back at previous proposals, I noted only one T.R. S/DG that dealt with Teddy's relationships with the press, The Bully Pulpit.  It is time to resurrect Teddy and what he meant to America.  So many recent books verify that the visiting him will be worthwhile.  We are going to talk about the epic story of how Theodore Roosevelt transformed America.  It is a story for the ages that bears telling often and under different circumstances.  

Teddy Roosevelt was the true torch bearer when America needed a hero.  From affirming the Monroe doctrine to national conservation, Teddy produced results.

Weekly Topics


Session 1.  Life Itself:  Ongoing Battle--The Formative Years.

Illustrious Backgrounds of Parents/Grandparents.  Working/Playing with Three Other Siblings.  Terrible Bouts with Asthma.  

Session 2.  College Years and Youngest Member of New York Assembly.


Session 3.  The Draw of the West, Dakota Days, and Ranching Venture.



Session 4.  Closet of Broken Dreams:   Impact of Alice's (first wife) and Mother's Death; Work on Civil Service Commission and Growing Political Interest;  Sagamore Hill:  Edith (second wife) and Theodore.


Session 5.  Roosevelt As a Writer and Naturalist:  From War of 1812 to Winning of the West.


Session 6.  The Police Board, Crime Fighter, and Interventionist  Policy.


Session 7.  The Time at the Naval Department and "Acting"  Naval Secretary for John Long.


Session 8.   Colonel Roosevelt and The Rough Riders' Time.  


Session 9.  Governor Roosevelt of New York.


Session 10.  Getting McKinley Re-elected and VP Roosevelt.


Session 11.  Taking over the Presidency and Burgeoning Power (1901-1904): "Force of Nature" The Gardner Report and Trust Busting; Coal Strike Agreement and Mediating with Capital and Labor; Arbitration of Claims with Venezuela (British, German); Affirming the Monroe Doctrine; Teddy's Canal Plans..


Session 12.   Teddy's Diplomacy and American Concerns (1905-1909):   Roosevelt Corollary; Protecting the Environment—18 national monuments and 5 national parks; Mediating with Japan and Russia over End of Russo-Japanese War (Portsmouth); Railroad Regulation Act, Meat Inspection, and Pure Food and Drug Acts.


Session 13.   Adroit Tactician in American Politics (1905-1909):  Brownsville (Texas) Incident, Negro Riots, and Outcome; Propping Up the Cuban Government; Conservation As National Duty; Launching the Great White Fleet (1907); Financial Responsibility and "Roosevelt" Panic of 1907; Reenacted Employers' Liability Act; Workman's Compensation Act; Child Labor Act for District of Columbia.


Session 14.  When My TR Is Gone:  1912 Election, Years after the Presidency,  and Teddy's Persona

Note:  Pre-Meeting, August 8, 1 p.m.



Core Book(s)

Brands, H.W.  T.R.:  The Last Romantic.  New York:  Basic Books, 1997.

Knokey, Jon A.   Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of American Leadership.  New York:  Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2015.

Additional Sources

Canfield, Michael R.  Theodore Roosevelt in the Field.  Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Cowan, Geoffrey.  Let the People Rule:  Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary.  New York:  W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.

Gardner, Mark Lee.  Rough Riders:  Theodore Roosevelt:  His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge Up San Juan Hill.  New York:  Crown, 2016.

Lunde, Darrin.  The Naturalist:  Theodore Roosevelt, a Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History.  New York:         Crown, 2016.

McCullough, David.  Mornings on Horseback.  New York:  a Touchstone Book,Published by Simon and Schuster, 1981.

Miller, Nathan.  Theodore Roosevelt:  A Life.  New York:  Quill, William Morrow, 1992.

Morris, Edmund.  Colonel Roosevelt.  New York:  Random House, 2010.

Morris, Edmund.  Theodore Rex.  New York:  Random House, 2001.

Ward, Geoffrey L. and Ken Burns.  The Roosevelts:  An Intimate History.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.

Roosevelt, Theodore.  The Winning of the West.  4 vols.  London:  American Cowboy Books, 2015.

Wolraich, Michael.  Unreasonable Men:  Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics.  New York:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.