By Paul M. Rego

ISBN-10: 0739126075

ISBN-13: 9780739126073

ISBN-10: 0739126083

ISBN-13: 9780739126080

This publication examines the political considered Theodore Roosevelt, particularly his ceaseless hope and energy to reconcile America's individualistic culture with the extra collectivistic beliefs of his revolutionary brethren. Many students and lay-people alike solid Roosevelt as both 'conservative' or 'liberal,' yet his political proposal defies so basic an interpretation; it was once extra nuanced and had a bigger objective than mere ideology. a radical examine of Roosevelt's writings unearths his conviction that the recommendations of non-public autonomy and civic obstacle weren't collectively specific. in reality, Roosevelt argued that it was once as the rules of self-reliance and private freedom have been vital that it was once occasionally precious for the total group to take advantage of its collective power_and, in certain cases, the associations of the government_to permit members to do what they can now not do by myself. additionally, whereas Roosevelt recommended and was once liable for an excellent enlargement within the regulatory powers of the nationwide govt, he understood, not like many different revolutionary reformers, that inspirational rhetoric and confident instance will be pretty much as good as institutional reform and the strength of legislations in compelling members to aid each other in a spirit of civic attachment. In his public writings, Roosevelt sought to form the yank brain in ways in which he concept right. Even his writings on nature, looking, ranching, and armed forces existence have been a part of his political inspiration in that they have been meant to coach american citizens concerning the value of balancing these individualistic values which are fit and important to a society (discipline, own accountability, and a powerful paintings ethic) with such optimistic collectivistic values as an appreciation for mutual help and a priority for the nice of the group.

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Not satisfied merely to preach the virtues of strength, manliness, and purity, he helped to equip the Newsboy’s Lodging House and other missions with boxing gloves, horizontal bars, and all sorts of exercise equipment. 26 TR’s effort to “make his own body” led him to view both the flesh and fear as enemies to be conquered, and it gave him a greater appreciation for hard 36 Chapter Two work and self-discipline. Taking boxing lessons from ex-prizefighter John Long, he impressed both his teacher and himself with his ability to take hard punches and keep fighting.

Indeed, he suggests, character is even more important than intellect, for the “prime factor” in social evolution is “the power to attain a high degree of social efficiency;” and social efficiency is derived from “love of order, ability to fight well and breed well, capacity to subordinate the interests of the individual to the interests of the community, . . ”15 There is thus an interdependency between individualism and society. Roosevelt agrees with Kidd’s attack on Socialism, arguing that the state should “make the chances of competition more even” but not abolish competition altogether.

15 There is thus an interdependency between individualism and society. Roosevelt agrees with Kidd’s attack on Socialism, arguing that the state should “make the chances of competition more even” but not abolish competition altogether. There must be competition, he maintains, and success in the race of life must go to the most meritorious; otherwise, progress is compromised. ” But more important to TR is that everyone run the race on fair terms. ”16 In its rejection of Social Darwinism and the notion that any attempt by the state to assist the deficient will only prevent them from making the necessary adaptation to their environment, Roosevelt’s critique of Kidd is a justification for using the institutional capacities of the state to eliminate the obstacles that prevent everyone from competing on a level economic playing field and thereby having the opportunity to realize their individual potential.

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American Ideal: Theodore Roosevelt's Search for American Individualism by Paul M. Rego


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