Thursday, November 18, 2004

Theodore Roosevelt Web Book

Theodore Roosevelt Web Book. This is an online book which uses different public domain essays and books to create an encyclopedia dealing with Teddy Roosevelt. It is well done.

From the site:

HERE IN THESE PAGES is Theodore Roosevelt in his miraculous abundance, talking of labor and industry, swatting the malefactors of great wealth, laying down the principles of American foreign policy (and no one in his time did it with a sharper eye for the realities of a tough game), and trumpeting the program for a generation of progressive legislation, tossing in, incidentally, comments on adventurous living, the ancient Irish sagas and protective coloration of animals, with a side-swipe at nature-fakers and lyric tributes to landscapes in three continents which to
him spelled enchantment.

Here he is again, the man who, for twenty years, made the front page a morning thriller for the readers all over the world. He wasn't always right. He could be—and was—occasionally dead wrong. Now and then he wasn't fair to an opponent, but he thought he was! At times his wide side-swipes and punches hit the wrong fellow, or hit the right fellow too hard or in the wrong place. But, by and large, generally he hit the man who ought to have been hit and defended the man who ought to have been defended; and the America that he wanted to see built was the kind of America that plain folks in Bangor or Los Angeles or Emporia would want to rear their children in.

The fact was that Theodore Roosevelt understood his time. It was a complex time that could be understood in all its aspects and its contradictions only by a man who could see around the corner—into the past through knowledge, into the future through imagination. Much has been written about the difference between a politician and a statesman, but the main difference hinges around the question of imagination. It takes imagination to see what is under your nose. For months the Wright brothers flew their contraption over the housetops of Dayton, but no one was more astonished than the good people of Dayton when the wires buzzed with the news of the flights at Kitty Hawk. They had seen but they hadn't believed, because their imaginations had been unable to conceive of human flight. A citizen will walk through a slum every day on his way to the office and it will mean nothing to him except squalor and a stench; but a statesman will see it once and make it the cradle of a social philosophy.

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