Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography

By Henry F. Pringle | Go to book overview

Chapter III
THOU GODDESS, INDIFFERENCE!

DR. OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES of the medical faculty was fascinated in 1871 by radical changes that were sweeping over Harvard College. On the whole, he approved of them; in particular, he looked with favor upon a young man named Charles W. Eliot who was facing a storm of unpopularity and causing such a buzz of discussion at Cambridge that the very leaves on the elms in the Harvard Yard seemed to flutter in the excitement.

"Our new President," wrote Dr. Holmes to a friend that year, "has turned the whole university over like a flap-jack." He was "a sensation . . ." who had demonstrated "an extraordinary knowledge of all that relates to every department." Dr. Holmes had been entertained, he added, by "some of the scenes we have had in our Medical Faculty, -- this cool, grave young man taking the reins into his hands and driving as if he were the first man that ever sat on the box." One fellow professor had asked Eliot why, since during all these years the medical school had managed its own affairs, it now seemed necessary "to change all our modes of carrying on the school."

"I can answer . . . very easily," said Eliot, "there is a new President."1

The period of transition that was to change Harvard completely began with the accession of Eliot to the presidency in 1869. It was still in progress when Theodore Roosevelt entered as a member of the freshman class. The struggle, to define it not too accurately, was between Harvard complacency and an energetic, ambitious, dissatisfied pedagogue without tact, with small patience. As an undergraduate, Theodore shared the general dislike for the president of Harvard. When Roosevelt became a national figure, Eliot disagreed violently with his growing imperialism.2 For his part, Roosevelt felt that Eliot had failed to ap-

____________________
1
Morse John T., Life and Letters of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Vol. II, p. 187.
2
Lodge Henry Cabot, Selections from the Correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, Vol. I, p. 218.

-26-

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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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