Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

Fall 8-8-1955

Abstract

Unlike most of his predecessors and successors, Theodore Roosevelt long outlived his Presidential years. Because of his unusual physical and mental vigorousness, he could not resign himself to the customary secreted existence of American ex—Presidents. Instead, he maintained a very active interest in politics and national affairs, and his atypical activity in these matters assured him a continuing place in the public spotlight and of being a perpetual target for journalists, authors, and critics. His every utterance concerning domestic issues, national preparedness, international morality, and Administration ineptitudes was interpreted as indicating selfish personal ambitions. His accusers defined him as a man who would not hesitate to stoop to any level in order to achieve the fulfillment of his desires, while his defenders translated Roosevelt as a great leader, a seer, and as the greatest living American. This thesis was undertaken with the view that further study into the last decade of Roosevelt's public life would expose a more moderate and realistic position between the extreme opinions about him. It is believed that the research involved did reveal such a position. His dogmatic and self-asserting manner provided a basis for many types of charges against him. Since his political ambitions were not nearly so apparent to him as to his antagonists, Roosevelt was unable to attribute any credence to these charges. He appears to have been the conscious patriot and the unconscious politician, playing his unique role to the very hilt.

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