Theodore Roosevelt towers over the Progressive Era like nobody else – he rose to fame at its inception, became president at its height and died as it was spluttering out. Viewed from the 21st century he seems like a mass of contradictions – a strongman intellectual, a populist warmonger who won the Nobel Peace Prize. Reading about him, I am never sure whether to find him admirable or a monster – certainly he did plenty of good, but his decisive leadership also led the country into bloody colonial wars. In our mixes we will (eventually) hear his surprisingly reedy, intellectual voice, and hear songs about him, or the ‘teddy bears’ which bear his name.
The Ken Burns series on The Roosevelts is a good introduction to Teddy. Naturally the whole thing isn’t up on Youtube, but this clip is a nice starter.
The full DVD box set can be found here.
This from The Washington Post’s ‘Presidential’ podcast about how he created the modern concept of the presidency is also a good listen.