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The Strenuous Life (1900) Theodore Roosevelt. Born: October 27, 1858 Birthplace: New York, New York Died: January 6, 1919 (Arterial Blood Clot) in New.

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Presentation on theme: "The Strenuous Life (1900) Theodore Roosevelt. Born: October 27, 1858 Birthplace: New York, New York Died: January 6, 1919 (Arterial Blood Clot) in New."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Strenuous Life (1900) Theodore Roosevelt

2 Born: October 27, 1858 Birthplace: New York, New York Died: January 6, 1919 (Arterial Blood Clot) in New York, New York Born into a wealthy and socially prominent New York family. Suffered from life-threatening asthma attacks throughout his childhood, but he overcame these attacks with strenuous exercise and became a model of physical courage and toughness. Wife: Alice Roosevelt, first wife (died on the same day as his mother); Edith Roosevelt, second wife (had 5 kids with her and one from previous marriage). Attended Harvard University and Columbia University Law School. Occupation(s) before Presidency: Officer in the National Guard, New York police commissioner. Other ways he served: Governor of New York, Vice President to McKinley, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. With the help of Leonard Wood, he organized The Rough Riders, an all-volunteer cavalry regiment. 26 th President of the United States from Party Affiliation- Republican First President to ride in a car while President.

3 Theodore Roosevelt: Historical Context Roosevelt never ceased to preach about virtues and consistently denounced civilized softness. Supported military and naval preparedness. Adopted the pet phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.” He had an enormous popular appeal because the common people saw him as a champion. He was an advocate of American imperialism. “The Strenuous Life” speech was delivered months after the Senate had ratified the treaty with Spain that established the Philippines as a colony of the United States and at the beginning of the 3 year Philippine- America War. This speech defended American imperialism by focusing on economic self- interest, masculine pride, and the national destiny. During this time period, many worried that the American society was losing its masculine edge because of the closing of the frontier, the increasing dominance of women’s taste in art, literature, and culture, and the conflict between domestic value and the marketplace. “The Strenuous Life” addressed this worry and explored the foreign policy ideas. It also supported the philosophy that adversity builds character and that individuals should be tested by danger, hardship, and toil. Speech presented to the Hamilton Club, Chicago on April 10, 1899.

4 The Strenuous Life: Main Points A true American is one who embraces the strenuous life and the hardships that come with it to ensure that we, as a society, do not become soft and yielding. “…I wish to preach, not the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife: to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.” A man should be glad to work and has a duty to teach his sons to work hard. If one is born rich, work where you are needed and where you can be successful to “reflect most honor upon the nation.” A woman should not be afraid of motherhood or her duty as a mother. This fear of motherhood for women or fear of work from men can doom the nation. “The woman must be the housewife, the helpmeet of the homemaker, the wise and fearless of many healthy children.” If you choose an easy life, you lack desire and will not be satisfied with this life of ease. “A mere life of ease is not in the end a satisfactory life, and above all, it is not a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it for serious work in the world.”

5 The Strenuous Life: Main Points View on the Civil War To not have fought in the Civil War would have been an easier choice. Lives would have been spared, money would have been saved, loved ones would not have been killed, “simply by shrinking from strife.” If we had chosen that route, the nation would have been considered “weaklings” and “unfit to stand among the great nations of the earth.” Thanks to the leadership and wisdom of Lincoln and Grant we were successful, even with the struggles and sacrifices that the nation faced, the results were overwhelmingly positive for the nation. The Union decided to follow the “wisdom of Lincoln and bore the sword or rifle in the armies of Grant!” We suffered through the many losses of the war, and “in the end the slave was freed, the Union restored, and the mighty American republic placed once more as a helmeted queen among nations.”

6 The Strenuous Life: Main Points Navy and Army Roosevelt was a supporter of the military. He praised those who supported the Navy, and told his audience to “keep in mind those who opposed its building up.” Once the naval needs had been met by Congress, the Navy was considered one of the most “brilliant and formidable fighting navies in the entire world.” The Army, however, was in need of “complete reorganization, - not merely enlarging.” Roosevelt claimed that the responsibility for blood shed in the Philippines and failure of any kind would be put on those who didn’t take action and who were more concerned with “mock humanitarianism of the prattlers who sit at home in peace.”

7 The Strenuous Life: Main Points Hawaii, Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines Issues must be taken care of in his own country, but a man’s responsibility doesn’t stop there. One must face his duties to the world and govern those that cannot govern themselves. “A man’s first duty is to his own home, but he is not thereby excused from doing his duty to the State; for if he fails in this second duty it is under penalty of ceasing to be a freeman.” The West Indies and the Philippines had numerous problems, but they had to be faced and solved in the proper way. If we are unable to do it, a “bolder and abler people must undertake the solution.” Reasons for the U.S.’s need to intervene: Porto Rico is not large enough to stand alone. Cuba is entitled to decide for itself if it will be an independent state or a part of the United States. The Philippines had a bigger problem because the population included “half-castes and native Christians, warlike Moslems, and wild pagans.” Roosevelt felt that these people were” utterly unfit for self-government and show no signs of becoming fit.”

8 The Strenuous Life: Main Points Great Benefit for the U.S. and Philippines England’s rule in India and Egypt had been beneficial to all parties involved, yet above all else it had “advanced the cause of civilization.” If the U.S. succeeds in the Philippines, then they will “add to that national renown which is the highest and finest part of national life, will greatly benefit the people of the Philippines island, and above all, we will play our part well in the great work of uplifting mankind.” To accomplish this goal, we must stop any resistance and be prepared for the “even more difficult task” of governing the Philippines.

9 The Strenuous Life: Main Points Conclusions In the face of these challenges, Roosevelt says “that our country calls not for the life of ease but for the life of strenuous endeavor.” We cannot support a life of peace, because if we do other stronger countries will pass us by and dominate the world. “ Let us therefore boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well and manfully; resolute to uphold righteousness but deed and by word; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical methods. Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified, for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness.” Questions: 1.) Is Roosevelt concerned that vigorous activity could produce evil as well as good? 2.) What would Roosevelt say about our world today when it comes to woman and motherhood and men and working?

10 The Strenuous Life: Main Points Roosevelt’s Foreign Policy Due to the amendment of the Monroe Doctrine in 1904, America was able to intervene into Latin American nation’s affairs. This allowed Latin America to be a way to expand U.S. commercial interests AND to intervene in Latin America conflicts exercising an international police power. Roosevelt gained intense criticism in the U.S., as well as in Congress, due to his changed from an isolationist policy to an interventionist and imperialistic policy. This speech was a way for Roosevelt to justify any expansions and towards imperialism so that he could rally support from the people of the nation because he was not popular with his peers at the time due to his policies.


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