What Manner of Man?
WHAT SORT OF MAN WAS THIS WHO PERMITTED HIS FAMILY TO make the White House into a headquarters for their commercial operations? The picture as it was does not resemble even remotely the vision of the statesman who stood upon a moral plateau far above the time-serving lesser men in Congress.
In good time someone will undertake an inquiry into the early personal life of Roosevelt sufficiently objective to enable us to form some opinion of the origins of the mental and moral urges that drove him along the course he took in the Presidency. All we have now is a handful of surface facts gathered chiefly from his mother, his wife and family. These are meager and pathetically distorted.
Part of the Roosevelt legend is the concept of a fine old aristocratic family that became the friend of the common man. It is unimportant, perhaps, but it serves to illustrate the glittering crust of fable which overlays this whole Roosevelt story. The President's father was a sixth generation Roosevelt who played out decently the role of a Hudson River squire. He was a dull, formal and respectable person moving very narrowly within the orbit set by custom for such a man. By 1900, however, the name Roosevelt had become a good one for promotional purposes, because it had become illustrious by reason of Theodore Roosevelt who belonged to a very different branch of the family.
On Franklin D. Roosevelt's mother's side there was certainly nothing distinguished in the blood. Her father was a crusty old China Sea trader and opium smuggler. The family had much of its