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Theodore Roosevelt

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Introduction

Theodore Roosevelt suffered as a child because of his physical weakness, and learned to strengthen his body and fight back. This is the explanation given for his extremely powerful, unremitting personality. In fact, "manly" and "masterful" are two of the most common words in his writings, which reflects his desire to impose his views on others. This helped carry him through a strong presidency that, not surprisingly, had a clear imperial impulse.1 Roosevelt stated in his Autobiography that he "did and caused to be done many things not previously done by the president and the heads of the department. I did not usurp power, but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power."2 Roosevelt stood as the transition between the old presidency and the modern presidency. It was he who began to mold and expand the president's role in an international arena, as well as the president's role in the new world of big business and potent organized labor. Roosevelt's dynamic personality allowed him to utilize many prerogative powers, and get away with it. He was very successful in appealing to the American voters, and getting them to pressure their Congressmen to do what he wanted. Whenever he committed a questionable action, he escaped harmful criticism by making enthusiastic speeches filled with reasons of why his actions were morally and legally correct. Roosevelt believed that a good executive must take an active interest in getting the right kind of legislation passed - a belief that went hand in hand with his Stewardship Theory. He believed that a President should act for the public welfare in any way possible, for a president is a servant of the people. He argued that a president could take any action not expressly prohibited by the Constitution or legislation passed by Congress - a very expansive interpretation of the Constitution.3 Roosevelt used his presidency as a "bully pulpit." ...read more.

Middle

Roosevelt rarely consulted or confided in members of his Cabinet. Instead, he had a "Kitchen Cabinet" that consisted of unofficial advisers who met during mealtimes and discussed political issues. Roosevelt consulted these outsiders on everything from speeches, to such important issues as the taking of Panama. 17 This expanded Roosevelt's power, because these advisors were not subject to Congressional oversight, thereby lessening Congress's control over the president. When Roosevelt became President in 1901, the role of the United States in international affairs was confused. Roosevelt struggled with a Congress and voters who weren't concerned about foreign issues and wanted to remain isolationist. But as the US became more industrialized, as the economy and national power grew, Roosevelt, (although it was McKinley who started along this path), recognized the need for a change in attitude and policy. After all, by the time Roosevelt became president, the US had already grabbed colonies around the world - Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, where the US army was engaged in a brutal war to subdue Filipino revolutionaries.18 Americans couldn't imagine their country as an active force in world affairs, and Roosevelt used the publicity available to a president to change that. Roosevelt was a great believer in imperial expansion. In 1904 he stated that US interests had been "served in more than one way by the possession of the Philippines."19 While he was the assistant secretary of the navy, he was a very vocal supporter for American involvement in the Cuban-Spanish War.20 He gave orders to attack the Spanish fleet in the Philippines without the authorization from his superior.21 When a desk job no longer satisfied him, he joined the Rough Riders and became famous for his exploits in the Spanish-American war. ...read more.

Conclusion

347. 4Roosevelt, Autobiography, p. 345. 5Roosevelt, Autobiography, p. 347. 6Roosevelt, Autobiography, p. 354. 7Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 296. 8Roosevelt, Autobiography, p. 352. 9Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It, p. 285. 10Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It, p. 289. 11Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 295. 12Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It, p. 289-290. 13Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 296. 14Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 297. 15Corwin, The President: Office and Powers 1787-1957, p. 6. 16Corwin, The President: Office and Powers 1787-1957, p. 268. 17Corwin, The President: Office and Powers 1787-1957, p. 493. 18Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 300. 19Fisher, Presidential War Power, p. 45. 20Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 300. 21Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It, p. 277. 22Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 301. 23Fisher, Presidential War Power, p. 47. 24Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 301. 25Roosevelt, Autobiography, p. 433. 26Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 300. 27Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency 28Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 302. 29Fisher, Presidential War Power, p. 48. 30Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 302. 31Brinkley, Alan and Dyer, Davis, ed, The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, p. 302. ?? ?? ?? ?? -1- Theodore Roosevelt ...read more.

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