Biographies of great people who embody some of the values I admire – always energizes me! The latest PBS documentary series from Ken Burns is “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.” It goes into depth about the backgrounds of President Teddy Roosevelt, his fifth cousin President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt in a very captivating way. I highly recommend!
Teddy Roosevelt helped negotiate a Coal Industry Strike settlement between Unions and Management, and fought for the establishment of some our most popular National Parks. Interestingly, Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican, although his views seem pretty different from the Republican party of 2014. When Teddy was in office, the Republicans were more “progressive” than the Democrats. Teddy Roosevelt stood for the “SQUARE DEAL” for everyone – government policies that were fair and even for everyone and did not favor either the rich or the poor, but gave everyone an opportunity to succeed.
Teddy Roosevelt said: “I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules. These aren’t Democratic values or Republican values. These aren’t 1 percent values or 99 percent values. They’re American values. And we have to reclaim them.”
The Square Deal was “formed upon three basic ideas: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection.” These were the days when there were more “Moderates” in public office, although corruption and attempts to “buy” elections and political favors was at least as common then as it is today. Teddy accepted contributions but could not be *bought.*
Teddy’s 5th cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was elected around 24 years and 5 Presidents AFTER Teddy left office. While he was still President, Teddy gave Eleanor away at her wedding to FDR. FDR and Eleanore were both inspired by Teddy’s philosophies and commitment to serving EVERYONE, not just the rich. But it’s interesting to note that FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt were Democrats, not Republicans. FDR was so popular that he was elected to 3 4-year terms although he died in office after serving 11 years. I’ve already written a post about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt and their great accomplishments in a previous post.
No matter what political party you affiliate with today, these Roosevelts are people who stood for values that almost everyone can agree on.
Here’s a famous Teddy Roosevelt quote that resonates even today:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”