Roosevelt the Reformer: Theodore Roosevelt as Civil Service Commissioner, 1889-1895

Roosevelt the Reformer: Theodore Roosevelt as Civil Service Commissioner, 1889-1895

Roosevelt the Reformer: Theodore Roosevelt as Civil Service Commissioner, 1889-1895

Roosevelt the Reformer: Theodore Roosevelt as Civil Service Commissioner, 1889-1895

Synopsis

"Roosevelt the Reformer covers an often overlooked yet fascinating period of Theodore Roosevelt's life, his first six years in Washington. This was an important period in which Roosevelt matured politically and learned how to navigate Washington politics. He sparred with powerful cabinet officers and congressmen, cultivated important friendships and allegiances, flourished intellectually, and strengthened his progressive views of social justice, racial theory, and foreign relations. It was a period altogether significant to the honing of the administrative talent and intellectual acuity of the future president. Richard White Jr. situates young Roosevelt within the exciting events of the Gilded Age, the Victorian era, and the gay nineties. He describes Roosevelt's relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and adversaries. Many of these people, such as Henry Cabot Lodge, Cecil Spring-Rice, Alfred Mahan, Henry Adams, and John Hay, would influence Roosevelt when he later occupied the White House. White explores TR's accomplishments in civil service reform, the effect of the commission experience on his presidency a decade later, and his administrative legacy." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

"AT times I feel an almost Greek horror of extremes," Theodore Roosevelt once confessed to an English friend. Roosevelt could not decide whether he was a conservative radical or a radical conservative. the twenty-sixth president of the United States was a complex, often contradictory, and almost always controversial man. Revealing stark contrasts, Roosevelt seemed at times altruistic, idealistic, and driven by a high-minded progressive desire to improve the fate of mankind. He demonstrated boundless energy, moral intensity, and in many ways perpetual adolescence. Often he could be quite childlike, a friend once remarking that one had to remember that Theodore's age was "about six." in the blink of an eye, however, Roosevelt could be politically ruthless, blindly ambitious, xenophobic, and to some, even racist. There are no lukewarm descriptions of Roosevelt. His supporters adored him as a champion of reform, while his enemies branded him either a traitor to progressivism or a traitor to conservatism. Henry Adams, one of the more discerning chroniclers of his time, quipped that Theodore possessed "the quality that medieval theology assigned to God—he was pure act."

As the memory of Roosevelt fades over time, leaving mostly a toothsome and bespectacled caricature of the man, history has a more dif¤cult time grasping Roosevelt's life and career. Roosevelt's interests were many and varied. He held strong views on almost every conceivable subject, including international relations, national defense, immigration, conservation of the wilderness, bird collecting, marriage and chil-

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