[tr-m] TR & Greek Philosophers
- 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
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
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"
(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.
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
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."
- 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.
Plutarch's Lives must be a very uplifting book. I have just ordered it
Amazon.com. I hope it helps me to understand T.R. better. And I hope I
love it just as much as he did.
Mary Beth Smith
There were several listed. How did you decide which one to order?
TR has often been seen as something of a Stoic in his philosophy. He
copy of Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic, on his River of Doubt expedition.
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