Theodore Roosevelt, American Politician: An Assessment

By David H. Burton | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS book is about the obvious: Theodore Roosevelt as a politician. Not as a statesman/politician, just a politician. In being styled thus, Roosevelt is not defined negatively; rather the vocation of politics is honored. He was good at politics, not because he was a good man, which he was, but because instinctively he knew how the game was played, and that it was worth the candle. He was a good politician but not perfect, just as he was high-minded yet liable to faults common to everyman. Roosevelt lived and breathed politics, not exclusively in as much as he was truly multidimensional, and it is for his achievements in public life that he is best remembered and mostly written about. Biographers have studied him in terms of "power and responsibility" and "the politics of power." But what's in a name? With regard to this book, Theodore Roosevelt American Politician, a great deal. It focuses on, or better said, concentrates on the parties, persons, decisions, and mistakes that were components of his political experiences.

Is another book on the public Roosevelt really called for? If it succeeds in isolating his political motivation and his moves in order to enhance an appreciation of his savoire-faire, the answer is yes. If it objectifies Roosevelt's decision making as he disposed of issues, domestic and foreign, and if it makes a sober assessment of mistaken judgments, why not? The last study of Theodore Roosevelt is yet to be written. If this book aids others in quest of the total Roosevelt, then well done.

Well-done or not, those who have influenced me in the writing of this book deserve my very real thanks. My colleague, Graham Lee, has been of the utmost help from the inception to the completion of the text. As on other occasions, Frank Gerrity has given the arguments on which the study is based a close scrutiny. Still a third colleague, James E. Dougherty, has shared with me his expertise on the theories of decision making. Ever alert to my interest, Thomas D. Marzik has supplied interesting details. Such are the friends one relies on to help refine ideas and fortify arguments. Finally, I must acknowledge from the deep past the prediction of Rev. Patrick A. Lynch about the writing of books.

-9-

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Theodore Roosevelt, American Politician: An Assessment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Introduction 11
  • 1 - Parties 17
  • 2 - Persons 45
  • 3 - Decisions 81
  • 4 - Mistakes 116
  • 5 - Legacies 145
  • Notes 159
  • Index 170
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