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[tr-m] TR & Greek Philosophers

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  • Robert Kuniegel
    TR & Greek Philosophers As some on this list may know I have an interest in a certain Greek Philosopher, Socrates. Most people may not remember that Socrates
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 19, 2000
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      TR & Greek Philosophers

      As some on this list may know I have an interest in a certain Greek
      Philosopher, Socrates. Most people may not remember that Socrates was
      also a war Hero who showed fearless resolve in battle. When I started
      reading about TR a few years ago I noticed what I believe were striking
      similarities between Socrates and TR. I have never read anything where
      TR referred to Socrates. Now I have a few quotes from a book given to me
      as a Christmas gift. Can any tell me what the book was that TR may have
      been reading when he was nominated for the vice-presidency (quoted near
      the end of this message).

      For those you have not notice the philosophical similarities between TR
      and Socrates I have a short quote from Machiavelli where Machiavelli
      takes a pop shot at Socratic philosophy and spells out his position
      which is in direct contrast to Socratic philosophy. After reading this
      it is rather easy to notice TR rejected Machiavelli and sided with
      Socrates' position.

      *********
      Machiavelli "The prince"

      Chapter 15: Of the Things for Which Men and Especially Princes, Are
      Praised or Blamed

      In the middle of the first paragraph you can find the central theme to
      all of Machiavelli it follows. Machiavellie draws a distinction between
      his philosophy and that of Socrates (there is a reason I say Socrates
      not Plato, but that is another topic).

      ; for how we live is so far removed from how we ought to live, that he
      who abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will rather learn
      to bring about his own ruin than his preservation".

      (this ends Machiavelli quote)
      ***********

      I have typed the cover and title page of a book which I consider a great
      read. You will find page references where there is mention to Greek
      philosophy. Can anyone expand on this subject as it relates to TR?

      Life and Work of Theodore Roosevelt,
      Memorial Edition (book cover)

      Typical American Patriot, Orator, Historian, Sportsman, Soldier,
      Statesman and President by Thomas H. Russell, llid. Author of
      "America's War for Humanity," etc.etc.

      With an introduction by Merritt Starr, MxZ.,LLb. Contemporary at Harvard
      University with Colonel Roosevelt.

      A special tribute by Major-General Leonard Wood, U.S.A. Commanding the
      Central Department and Former Chief of Staff, United States Army.

      Illustrated with Many Characteristic Portraits and Scenes in a Wonderful
      Life.

      Copyright 1919 by L.H.Walter

      Dedicated to The American People in loving memory of their great
      President and faithful servant Theodore Roosevelt whose whole career may
      be summed up in the words: "He served wherever duty called"

      Page 41:

      (quote by Wood)
      The interests of his men were his own. He realized and lived up to the
      definition given by Socrates to Xenophon of the ideal officer as one who
      looks after the welfare of his soldiers. He instinctively appreciated
      that the less the soldier is able to protect himself because of his
      subordinate position, the more the officer is under obligation to look
      after his interests and welfare. He was a brave officer, never thinking
      of his own life, but always of his objective, and attaining it with as
      little loss as possible among his own men. He defended his country in
      war as his sons have done in this war, and as he endeavored to do. Keen
      always to practice what he preached, he sent his sons cheerfully to the
      front, and having failed in his own efforts to go, turned everything he
      had of moral and spiritual strength into an effort to build up a
      vigorous prosecution of the war, realizing that when you have to strike
      it is humane to strike hard.

      Page 175:
      When the republican convention met in June, 1900, in Philadelphia, his
      presence as a delegate-at-large from New York was hailed with
      enthusiasm. It was his first appearance in a National Convention since
      the Blaine convention of 1884, sixteen years before, and the famous
      Rough Rider, successful Governor of New York, was the lion of the day.
      He made a nomination speech for Mr. McKinley for president, but when he
      himself was nominated for Vice-President with a roar of acclamation, he
      was absent from the scene.
      In a room nearby, he was calmly reading a book by one of his favorite
      Greek authors.

      Page 356:
      Mr. Roosevelt was a tireless reader of books and on his long railroad
      trips usually carried half a dozen volumes. But the side pocket of his
      traveling coat always held one stoutly bound, well-thumbed book-a copy
      of "Plutarch's Lives." On campaign tours and pleasure jaunts he took a
      daily half-hour dose of Plutarch.
      "I've read this little volume close to a thousand times," he said one
      day, "but it is ever new."

      ******

      Bob Kuniegel
    • Robert Kuniegel
      Mary Beth, Scotty, & TR List Members; I have been on vacation for a while and was pleased to see my reference to Greek philosophers sparked some interest.
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 3, 2000
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        Mary Beth, Scotty, & TR List Members;

        I have been on vacation for a while and was pleased to see my reference
        to Greek philosophers sparked some interest. Mary Beth I hope you will
        share your thoughts about TR's favorite book " Plutarch's Lives". I
        know absolutely nothing about the book. I plan to ask some of the
        philosophy professors here at the University of Scranton about the book
        when I run into them. I am also going to put the book on my list to read
        this year (I have a number of projects going now and will not get to it
        for a while).

        Does anyone know which version of " Plutarch's Lives" TR read? I am
        not sure how much of a difference there will be in translations but it
        would be nice to know exactly what he read.

        John A. Gable, Ph.D. wrote: " TR has often been seen as something of a
        Stoic in his philosophy."

        This seems to be an interesting field of study. There are those who
        believe Socrates was foolish because he caused his own destruction being
        so rigid. But for those who believe in his philosophy, he still lives
        in their hearts even though his body passed from this earth in 399 BC.
        Those that recognize where TR was coming from, share the same type of
        kinship with a life force greater than that which binds us to life. If
        this were not true we would not be talking about TR or Socrates today.

        Bob Kuniegel
        ***********
        Plutarch's Lives must be a very uplifting book. I have just ordered it
        on
        Amazon.com. I hope it helps me to understand T.R. better. And I hope I

        love it just as much as he did.
        Sincerely,
        Mary Beth Smith


        *******



        There were several listed. How did you decide which one to order?

        Scotty Collins
        **********8
        1


        *********
        TR has often been seen as something of a Stoic in his philosophy. He
        took
        a
        copy of Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic, on his River of Doubt expedition.
        There
        are some references to Greek philosophers in his letters and writings.

        Best wishes from Oyster Bay,

        John A. Gable, Ph.D.
        Executive Director TRA@...
        Theodore Roosevelt Association (516) 921-6319
        P.O. Box 719 FAX: (516) 921-6481
        Oyster Bay, NY 11771-0719 www.theodoreroosevelt.org
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