Re: [tr-m] Review of Grondahl\'s book
- Dear TR members:One question about TR has plagued me for a while and the Grondahl review has brought it again to life. Would TR have become President if he hadn't fought in the Spanish-American War and emerged a hero? I think it is almost certain If he had not served and become a hero, he most likely would not have been elected governor of New York in 1898; as a result, he likewise would not have become Vice President in 1900. He still may have reached the presidency, but it would have been a longer shot and would have come much later in his life.There are two ways to argue this question. One could argue that if the war-time service really "made" TR presidential's career, his reformist zeal/fights for righteousness (which Grondahl argues sidetracked his political progress) were interesting and good but were merely side shows in his rising like a rocket. On the other hand, you could argue that TR entered the war only because of his past (i.e., his zeal for righteousness, etc.). Take away his past and you take away his future.Would love the more erudite musings of the group.Thank you.Rob Siedlecki
- I think he may not have become President as soon as he did, but he would have
at some time.
So many things come together to make history. Take Boss Platt for instance.
I haven't gotten to 1900 in Grondahl's book yet, but its early chapters touch
on Platt when Roosevelt when in the NY legislature in 1882. He may have been
desperate to get TR out of Albany in 1900, because, among other reasons, he
may have remembered him from then. So while it was the war that may have made
Roosevelt NY governor, it may have been Platt's long memory that helped made
him Vice President.
By the way, a very unsympathetic and harsh - and highly fictionalized -
picture of TR at the time he became Vice President is in Gore Vidal's book, Empire.
An admirer of TR must have a strong stomach - or a strong drink - or both -
when reading it.