Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919):
We must handle the water, the wood, the grasses … so that we will hand them on to our children and children's children in better and not worse shape than we got them. …
Americanism … is a question of spirit, of conviction and purpose, not of creed or birthplace.
The test of our worth … is the service we render.
David McCullough (1933) [Biographer]:
[TR] thought that what would destroy America was the 'prosperity at any price' attitude, the love of … 'soft living,' and a get-rich-quick theory of life. …
Roosevelt felt that a war would be good for the country.
It would stir up blood.
It would bring us together.
It was a noble aspiration, rather than the kind of self-serving grimy business of commerce and the mercantile ambitions of the country. …
Somebody once said of him that if you took all of Theodore and put it in a pot and boiled it down and down, what you've have at the bottom of the pot after that all was over was the preacher-militant. …
… Roosevelt believed it his duty to urge people to do better.
He called the presidency 'a bully pulpit.'
Theodore Roosevelt [Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Naval War College, June 1897]:
Cowardice is the unpardonable sin.
No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumphs of war.
The Nation must be willing to pour out its blood, treasure, and its tears like water rather than submit to the loss of honor and renown. …
(David Grubin, TR, PBS American Experience, 1996)
Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924):
Modern industry has so distorted competition as to put it into the power of some to tyrannize over many and enable the rich and strong to combine against the poor and weak. …
[The] President of the United States is [no] mere department of the Government [—] he is a human being trying to cooperate with other human beings in a common service. …
Jay Winter [Historian]:
Wilson's notion [was] that democracy was not only good for America but … good for the world …
[He entered the] war in 1917 because [he believed] the cause of war … was the existence of aristocratic, militaristic regimes, whose interests had nothing to do with the people.
Give the power to the people, Wilson believed, and wars would be impossible.
A democratic world would be a world without war. …
(Carl Byker & Mitch Wilson, Woodrow Wilson, PBS American Experience, 2002)
Ken Burns & Lynn Novick:
[World War I and] the anti-German propaganda produced by the Wilson administration's newly created Committee of Public Information set off a wave of hysteria about Germans and German Americans.
Sauerkraut was renamed 'Liberty Cabbage'.
Dachshunds were stoned to death.
Schoolchildren destroyed their German textbooks.
And an Illinois mob lynched an American citizen who's only crime had been speaking German over a neighbour's fence.
(A Nation of Drunkards, Prohibition, 2011)
A New Nationalism
[At 51, Theodore Roosevelt was] still ambitious, still driven to wield power, yet he held no political office and had little hope of one.
William Howard Taft was now President, and Roosevelt himself had put him in office, but he believed that Taft was turning against him, siding more and more with the conservative wing of the Republican Party, crippling many of the reforms for which Roosevelt had fought so hard. …
[In the summer of 1910, TR] called for a 'New Nationalism,' …
The New Nationalism … implies far more governmental interference with social and economic conditions.[He] attacked the courts as pro-business, advocated taxes on income and inherited wealth, stronger conservation measures, workman's compensation laws, the prohibition of child labor.
Every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use. …
In June 1912, the Republicans met in Chicago [and nominated President Taft to run for a second term. …]
Roosevelt's [break-away Progressive Party] endorsed a sweeping charter for
- votes for women,
- a minimum wage,
- abolition of child labor,
- unemployment insurance,
- old-age pensions.
John Morton Blum [Historian]:Roosevelt lost in a landslide, and the Democrats [under Woodrow Wilson] captured both houses of Congress. …
He came out for a social welfare program far more advanced than anything the nation was going to know until the 1930's.
William Harbaugh [Historian]:
Here is the inception … of Social Security, even of Medicare in that platform. …
We stand for a living wages.
Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living for those who devote their time and energy to industrial occupation.
A standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the family during periods of sickness, and to permit a reasonable saving for old age.
We hold the seven-day working week is abnormal and hold that one day of rest in seven should be provided by law. …
There was no possibility whatever that the Progressive Party could actually win the election.
It's simply inconceivable that, on its first run, a third party should have polled enough votes.
His defeat struck a blow to the [progressive wing of the Republican Party] from which [it] never recovered …
His rebellion had made a Democrat President, and the Republicans would not forgive him.
[Wilson and his advisors envisioned] a new world order based on democracy. …
[Key] Republicans, led by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge [were] determined to voice their opposition to giving up US sovereignty to [proposed the League of Nations. …]
Wilson warned that the League was the only hope for reconciliation among Germany, Britain and France.
Without it, he prophesied that there would be a "Second World War."
Woodrow Wilson:[Cabot] Lodge introduced a series of amendments … that severely limited American commitments to the organization.
I do not hesitate to say that the war we have just been through, though it was shot through with terror of every kind, is not to be compared with the war we would have to face next time.
What the Germans used were toys as compared with what they would use in the next war. …
[When these proved unacceptable to Wilson] the League of Nations went down to final defeat in the Senate.