Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography

By Henry F. Pringle | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

IT was Brander Matthews, I think, who first suggested that Theodore Roosevelt, like Benjamin Franklin, was polygonal. He was interested in so many things, and regarding all of them had emphatic opinions. A historian himself, Roosevelt naturally held pronounced convictions on history:

I believe it would be worse than useless if it doesn't tell the exact truth, and if it doesn't tell of our disasters and shortcomings as well as our triumphs . . .

It can never be truthfully or usefully presented unless profound research, patient, laborious, painstaking, has preceded the presentation.

Many hard-working students . . . feel that complete truthfulness must never be sacrificed to color. In this they are right. They also feel that complete truthfulness is incompatible with color. In this they are wrong.

But truth is always relative, and the biographer who claims to have achieved it is rash indeed. The historian may, with approximate justification, be dogmatic regarding the wars, the political upheavals, and the economic changes of which he writes. The biographer who says "Lo! Here is an exact portrait, without flaw, the whole truth!", who blithely uses the infant art of psychoanalysis when his evidence is all too sparse, that biographer is open to question. The biographer who believes he has achieved pure objectivity, that he has eliminated all personal bias, is deceiving himself.

The author, then, does not claim that this life of Theodore Roosevelt fulfills his subject's definition of history. He could not, if only for the reason that the geometric pattern of Roosevelt's life was a figure wholly novel; a polygon with so many facets that their number approached infinity. He could be courageous and timid, honest and disingenuous. He could be moved by the highest considerations and, on occasion, by personal whims and jealousies. He was often kind, nearly always charming, and sometimes cruel. The author does point out, however, that the biography is based on patient research. No testimony has been suppressed. There is no imaginary dialogue; no psycho-

-vii-

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Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Book I 1
  • Chapter I - Teedie 3
  • Chapter II - Growth 16
  • Chapter III - Thou Goddess, Indifference! 26
  • Chapter IV - Alice Lee 40
  • Chapter V - Butter and Jam 54
  • Chapter VI - I Rose like a Rocket 65
  • Chapter VII - Practical Politician 79
  • Chapter VIII - Gentleman Cowhand 92
  • Chapter IX - The Years Between 106
  • Chapter X - A Job Once More 120
  • Chapter XI - Sword of Righteousness 132
  • Chapter XII - The Nation in Peril 152
  • Chapter XIII - Lord of the Navy 165
  • Chapter XIV - A Bully Fight 181
  • Chapter XV - Reward for a Hero 201
  • Chapter XVI - Yearnings and Consummation 216
  • Book II 235
  • Chapter I - Middle of the Road 237
  • Chapter II - The First Attack 251
  • Chapter III - The Rights of Labor 264
  • Chapter IV - The Big Stick 279
  • Chapter V - Setting for a Melodrama 301
  • Chapter VI - I Took Panama 315
  • Chapter VII - Trimming Sail 339
  • Chapter VIII - The Imperial Years Begin 359
  • Chapter IX - Imperial Years 372
  • Chapter X - The Japanese Menace 398
  • Chapter XI - Malefactors of Great Wealth 413
  • Chapter XII - The Wicked Speculators 432
  • Chaper XIII - Substantial Justice 446
  • Chapter XIV - Handing Down the Law 465
  • Chapter XV - End of the Reign 476
  • Book III 495
  • Chapter I - The First Error 497
  • Chapter II - Among the Kings 508
  • Chapter III - Return Triumphant 525
  • Chapter IV - True Democracy 540
  • Chapter V - Battling for the Lord 553
  • Chapter VI - Drums of War 572
  • Chapter VII - The Final Blow 589
  • Appendix 605
  • Bibliography 607
  • Index 613
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