POWER & RESPONSIBILITY (THEODORE ROOSEVELT)
by William Henry Harbaugh
ISBN 978-0-945707-13-4 $35.00
542 pages including notes and index
This is a positive and controversial book - one that restores
much of the luster to Theodore Roosevelt's reputation as a man, as President,
and as a reformer and Progressive. Interpreting TR’s career from the
point of view of what was politically possible rather than theoretically
desirable, Prof. Harbaugh shows how Roosevelt - as a young assemblyman in
the New York Legislature, as an incorruptible commissioner of the civil service
and later of the police, and finally as governor and President - repeatedly
forced the leaders of the Republican Old Guard to compromise their opposition
to his social and economic views.
He tells how TR, following his return from Africa in 1910,
fretted for a year and a half over the ineffectiveness of his chosen successor
before submitting to his overwhelming urge to be President again. And
he reveals how TR, having lost his bid for the Republican nomination in 1912,
found himself in an insoluble ideological and political dilemma.
This is also a critical book - Roosevelt is portrayed in full dimension
- as a high-minded statesman and as an ambitious politician, as a noble patriot
and a flaming chauvinist, as a scientific minded intellectual and a glorifier
of war, as an advance agent of reform and a sometimes partisan critic of reformers.
And it is an interesting book... the author treats not only
of TR’s political battles, epochal causes, and remarkably constructive achievements
but also of his private life and inner tensions - his love for Alice Lee and
Edith Carow, his affection for his father, his early dependence on religion,
his relations with Elihu Root, Ray Stannard Baker, Robert La Follette, Oliver
Wendell Holmes, and many other notable men, and with his personal tragedies,
first as a young husband and then as a mature father.