The Roosevelts: Two exceptionally influential Presidents of the United States, 5th cousins from two different political parties, and key players in the United States’ involvement in both World Wars. Theodore Roosevelt negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War and won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. He also campaigned for America’s immersion in the First World War. Almost 25 years later, Franklin Delano Roosevelt came into office during the calamitous aftermath of the Great Depression, yet during his 12-year presidency he contributed to the drop in unemployment rates from 24% when he first took office, to a staggering mere 2% when he left office in 1945. Furthermore, the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged discussion and implementation of women’s rights, World War II refugees, and civil rights of Asian and African Americans even well-after her husband’s presidency and death. Witness the lives of these illustrious figures through this slideshow, and take a look at the first half of 20th century American history through the lives of the Roosevelts.
“[Theodore] Roosevelt used his bully pulpit to shape public opinion on many subjects. Conservation of natural resources received special emphasis…. Earlier presidents had done little to protect scenic places and national parks against the wasteful exploitation of the environment…. The president achieved much, creating five national parks, four national game preserves, fifty-one bird reservations, and one hundred and fifty national forests” (Lewis L. Gould, Theodore Roosevelt, 43). Public domain via the Library of Congress
In 1909 and 1910, after finishing his second term as president, Roosevelt traveled to Africa on safari. While abroad, the American public grew increasingly fascinated with Roosevelt and “to satisfy popular demand, [Theodore Roosevelt] recruited a friendly reporter, Warrington Dawson, to recount the progress of the hunt for the press corps. When Roosevelt returned first to Europe and then home in the spring of 1910, it was to intense popular acclaim everywhere.” (Lewis L. Gould, Theodore Roosevelt, 52). TR (center, facing sideways) on safari, 1910. Public domain via the Library of Congress.
Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft
“Taft was a first-class lieutenant; but he is only fit to act under orders; and for three years and a half the orders given him have been wrong. Now he has lost his temper and is behaving like a blackguard.” (Theodore Roosevelt to Arthur Lee, dated May 1912, from the Papers of Lord Lee of Fareham.) After leaving office in 1908, Theodore Roosevelt’s relationship with his personally-selected successor, William Howard Taft, soured due to policy differences. Theodore Roosevelt decided to run for an unprecedented third term against President Taft in 1912 as a third-party candidate. Theodore Roosevelt and his newly-founded Progressive Party were ultimately defeated by Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson in the general election. Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft, c. 1909. Public domain via the Library of Congress.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt with his mother, Sara
“Franklin grew up in a remarkably cosseted environment, insulated from the normal experiences of most American boys, both by his family’s wealth and by their intense and at times almost suffocating love…. It was a world of extraordinary comfort, security, and serenity, but also one of reticence and reserve.” (Alan Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 4). Franklin Delano Roosevelt with his mother, Sara, 1887. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
FDR at Harvard
“Entering Harvard College in 1900, [FDR] set out to make up for what he considered his social failures [as a boarding school student at] Groton. He worked hard at making friends, ran for class office, and became president of the school newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, a post that was more a social distinction at the time than a journalistic one. (His own contributions to the newspaper consisted largely of banal editorials calling for greater school spirit.)” (Alan Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 5). FDR as president of the Harvard Crimson, with its Senior Board in 1904. Public domain via the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library.
FDR and Polio
In August of 1921, Roosevelt fell ill after being exposed to the poliomyelitis virus. “He learned to disguise it for pulic purposes by wearing heavy leg braces; supporting himself, first with crutches and later with a cane and the arm of a companion; and using his hips to swing his inert legs forward…So effective was the deception that few Americans knew that Roosevelt could not walk” (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 18-19). Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fala and Ruthie Bie at Hill Top Cottage in Hyde Park, N.Y . Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library.
FDR and the Great Depression
Depression breadlines. In the absence of substantial Gov’t relief programs during 1932, free food was distributed with private funds in some urban centers to large numbers of the unemployed. February 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, Photo 69146. Public domain.
FDR and the New Deal
“When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the oath of office as president for the first time on March 4, 1933, every moving part in the machinery of the American economy had evidently broken…. Roosevelt right away began working to repair finance, agriculture, and manufacturing…. The Roosevelt agenda grew by experiment: the parts that worked stuck, no matter their origin. Indeed, the program got its name by just that process: Roosevelt used the phrase “new deal” when accepting the democratic nomination for president, and the press liked it. The “New Deal” said the Roosevelt offered a fresh start, but it promised nothing specific: it worked, so it stuck.” (Rauchway, The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction, 56). Franklin Roosevelt at desk in Oval Office with group, Washington, D.C. 1933. Library of Congress, Harris & Ewing Collection. Wikimedia Commons.
FDR and the New Deal
In the beginning of his presidency, Roosevelt proposed a “New Deal.” Over time, it “created state institutions that significantly and permanently expanded the role of federal government in American life, providing at least minimal assistance to the elderly, the poor, and the unemployed; protecting the rights of labor unions; stabilizing the banking system; building low-income housing; regulating financial markets; subsidizing agricultural production…As a result, American political and economic life became much more competitive, with workers, farmers, consumers, and others now able to press their demands upon the government in ways that in the past had usually been available only the corporate world” (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 61). “CCC boys at work–Prince George Co., Virginia.” Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum
FDR and the Social Security ct
President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, at approximately 3:30 pm EST on August 14th, 1935. Standing with Roosevelt are Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC); Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY); Rep. John Dingell (D-MI); Rep. Joshua Twing Brooks (D-PA); the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins; Sen. Pat Harrison (D-MS); and Rep. David Lewis (D-MD). Library of Congress. Wikimedia Commons.
FDR and the Social Security Act
One of the most important pieces of social legislation in American History was The Social Security Act of 1935. The Act was part of Roosevelt’s Second New Deal (from 1935-38). The Social Security Act set up several important programs, including unemployment compensation (funded by employers) and old-age pensions (funded by a Social Security tax paid jointly by employers and employees). It also provided assistance to the disabled (primarily the blind) and the elderly poor (people presumably too old to work). Furthermore, it established Aid to Dependent Children (later called Aid to Families with Dependent Children, or AFDC), which created the model for what most Americans considered “welfare” for over sixty years (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 51-52). Roosevelt said, “No one can guarantee this country against the dangers of future depressions, but we can reduce those dangers” (Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, 270). This is a poster publicizing Social Security benefits. Public Domain via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
FDR and the Second World War
When war finally broke out in Europe in September 1939, Roosevelt continued to insist that the conflict would not involve the United States. Roosevelt declared, “This nation will remain a neutral nation, but I cannot ask that every American remain neutral in thought as well.” Then, on December 7th, 1941, a wave of Japanese bombers struck the American naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing more than 2,000 American servicemen and damaging or destroying dozens of ships and airplanes. Roosevelt called it, “a date which will live in infamy” (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 68). View looking up “Battleship Row” on 7 December 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) is in the center, burning furiously. To the left of her are USS Tennessee (BB-43) and the sunken USS West Virginia (BB-48). Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Wikimedia Commons.
FDR and the declaration of war
“The Senate and House voted for a declaration of war—the Senate unanimously, and the House by a vote of 388 to 1. Three days later, Germany and Italy, Japan’s European allies, declared war on the United States, and the American Congress quickly and unanimously reciprocated” (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 75-76). United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Japan, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. US National Parks Service via Wikimedia Commons
The Big Three
Shown here are ‘The Big Three’: Stalin, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference, November 1943. At this time, war in eastern Europe had turned decisively in favor of the Soviety Union, which meant that Roosevelt and Churchill now had little leverage over Stalin. Even so, Stalin agreed to enter the Pacific war after the fighting in Europe came to an end. Roosevelt and Churchill promised to launch the long-delayed invasion of France in the spring of 1944 (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 83). US Signal Corps public domain photo.
Eleanor Roosevelt and the Second World War
An outspoken and publicly active First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt was active both on the homefront and overseas. Her visits drew crowds of people and welcomed her favorably and amiably. This resulted in positive press being written about the Roosevelts across the United States as well as Britain. Eleanor Roosevelt visiting troops in Galapagos Island. US National Archives and Records Administration
The Roosevelt Family
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt with their 13 grandchildren in Washington, D.C. in January of 1945 (Archivist note: This photograph was taken at FDR’s fourth inauguration. This is one of the last family photographs taken before FDR’s death.) Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a stroke in on 12 April 1945. In the decades since his death, his stature as one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century has not diminished. “History will honor this man for many things, however wide the disagreement of many of his countrymen with some of his policies and actions,” the New York Times wrote the day after his death. “It will honor him above all else because he had the vision to see clearly the supreme crisis of our times and the courage to meet that crisis boldly. Men will thank God on their knees, a hundred years from now, that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House” (The New York Times, 13 April 1945). Roosevelt’s funeral procession in Washington in 1945; watched by 300,000 spectators. Library of Congress.
The remaining 17 years that Eleanor Roosevelt lived after her husband passed away were years in which she carried out her humanitarian efforts and maintained the integrity of the Roosevelt name. The next President Harry Truman appointed Eleanor as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, and less than a year later, she became the first chairperson of the preliminary United Nations Commission on Human Rights. She also chaired the John F. Kennedy administration’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. To this day, she is quoted, and referred to with great respect and admiration for her efforts in human rights and politics. Roosevelt speaking at the United Nations in July 1947. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
Headline image credit: The Roosevelt Family. Library of Congress.
The post A visual history of the Roosevelts appeared first on OUPblog.
. Woody’s World by E. Renee Heiss illustrated by Chelsea Sekanic Character Publishing 5 Stars Back Cover: In 1929, twelve year-old Woody thinks little about money. Then the stock market crashes, crumbling his father’s business with it. Suddenly, money becomes very important to Woody, so he searches for ways to help his family. Sometimes his …
The Mighty Miss Malone
Christopher Paul Curtis
After all the fiscal cliff diving the United States media has practiced in the last forty-eight or so hours, this book seems incredibly fitting to review. Christopher Paul Curtis revisits the height of the Great Depression in Indiana/Michigan - site of his Newbery-winning Bud, Not Buddy
- in The Mighty Miss Malone
The story follows the lives of twelve year-old Deza Malone, her brother Jimmie and parents Peg and Roscoe as their lives spiral downwards into shanty town destitution after Deza's father leaves town to find work, her mother loses her job, and the family, their house.
What happens to a family torn apart by poverty? The Mighty Miss Malone
draws a very stark picture. It's not so stark that a young audience will feel overwhelmed, but it is very eye-opening. I watched the effects on my daughters every morning on the way to school (we listened to this book on tape). The enlightenment that life can be very very different, was and, today, is for over fifteen million children nationwide reflected on their faces many mornings.
Curtis provides both a forward and an afterward, first grounding the story in the roots of unshakable family bonds and then providing hard-hitting facts such as the number of children living below the poverty line in the U.S. today. He does a good job of weaving a story that entertains, awakens curiosity and provides information.
From a craft perspective, The Mighty Miss Malone
, while solidly built upon characters so real I feel as if I've met them before in my life, follows a plot that is less satisfactory and somewhat random. This could be meant to reflect the very real randomness which wreaks havoc on the lives of so many living at the edge of or in poverty. However, this randomness makes the ultimate resolution to the family's financial woes almost like a deux ex machina. Again, in many ways, finding work during the Great Depression may very well have felt like a deus ex machina. I remember my dad telling me stories about his grandmother, mother of ten children during the Depression, walking down the street and finding a dime and breaking down into tears because she didn't have any money to buy food until she found that dime. So take my comments with that grain of reality salt.
Add to that, however, that Deza does very little to change her plight, unlike Bud, in Bud, Not Buddy
, who himself strikes out to find his lone surviving relative. Nor does she solve the internal, emotional struggle, i.e. reuniting the family. Does it matter? Because both the external and internal problems are solved by someone other than the main character, those resolutions are not as intense, nor do they feel as earned. Deza, like the main reader, is along for the ride. We feel with her. We feel acutely. Curtis does an excellent job with that, but we don't ultimately feel satisfied with the story's resolution because Deza hasn't done much to make to it happen. She's suffered, but her suffering doesn't buy her the golden elixir. It's suffering that could continue on indefinitely if someone else (both her mom and her brother) hadn't bought the golden elixir with their actions. Ultimately, it's a bifurcated hero's journey with many hero's solving problems, but none of them is the main protagonist.
Don't let that stop you from reading The Mighty Miss Malone
. It's a story worth reading, a time in our history worth revisiting. Maybe if a few members of Congress were to do so, fiscal cliff diving might take on an entirely different meaning.
Oops. Mixing politics with book reviews. Bad, bad reviewer!
For other warm winter reads, plow on over to Barrie Summy's website. Happy 2013!
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, Wendy Lamb Books, 2012, 320 pp, ISBN: 0385734913Recap:It's going to be darn near impossible for me to recap this gem without going into a three page summary. So, here are the highlights.
- Deza Malone
: quite possibly one of the best tween characters ever written. For real.
- The Malone Family
: "We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful."
And they are.
- The Great Depression
: No one is escaping this monster, and the Malones are hit harder than most.
- Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling
: The fight the whole world watched, and a catalyst in Deza's own story.Review:If I had to describe this book in just one word, it would be Delightful. For about the first 89 pages I simply could not wipe the smile off my face. That Deza Malone is just a hoot and a half! After page 89, well... her story got a whole lot more depressing. But even when she could have been wallowing in the depths of despair (I think Roscoe Malone's penchant for alliteration is rubbing off on me), Deza was never anything short of delightful.
I haven't read dialogue this good since the amaaaaaazing Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. I have a bad habit of turning down pages when I want to remember a line, or two, or five, and I think I turned down about every other page. Whoops. Read the Quotable Quotes below to get just the tiniest idea of what I'm talking about.
Set in the midwest during the Great Depression, Christopher Paul Curtis takes his readers on a tour of the streets of Gary, IN - where work is all but impossible to find, then on to the homeless camp near the tracks outside of Flint, MI, and then finally to the glamorous speakeasies of Chicago. He also uses each distinct setting to illustrate the fact that even though these cities may be "geologically located" pretty near to each other, people's attitudes about race varied widely from place to place, dramatically impacting the Malones' opportunities at each stop.
Curtis also made a point of including the 1936 fight between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling
. Initially, Deza couldn't imagine why everyo
Similarities between our time and the Great Depression era are extending beyond the fiscal crisis.
My latest New York Times Magazine mini-column looks at a sandstorm, “Steinbeck-ish in its arrival,” that rolled through Lubbock, Texas last month, as a harbinger of a possible impending (and permanent) Southwestern Dust-Bowlification. “I expected at any moment to see a line of Model Ts coming through headed to California,” a city councilman said. “It really did look like pictures I had seen of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.”
See (and hear) also a tour of Grapes of Wrath country as of 2009 and Woody Guthrie’s “Talking Dust Bowl Blues” (above).
Hello everyone! This is my artist for this week's challenge. It's also my fist post. Yey! :)
... and here is me.
by Cassie, Publicity Assistant
A. David Moody is Professor Emeritus of the University of York and the author of Ezra Pound, Poet: Volume 1: The Young Genius 1885-1920. In the following piece, Moody looks at the Pound’s opinions on democracy and the economy, showing us that Pound’s opinions in the 1930s line up fairly well with the pundits of today. This piece is also timely since October 30th is Pound’s birthday and he died on November 1, 1972.
I am finding it hard to pin down a feeling I have these days as I read the pundits on the current financial crisis and hear echoes all the time of what Ezra Pound was writing in the 1930s. But Pound was called a crank for his beliefs.
“The provision of finance is a utility, just like the distribution of water and energy. Yet this public good is in the hands of private sector managers who have done a disastrous job.”
(Guardian (London), editorial comment, 9 Oct. ‘08)
“The City has become a ghetto where greed (never mentioned) is all but an absolute good.”
(Andrew Phillips (Lord Phillips of Sudberry), City solicitor, Guardian 16 Oct. ‘08)
“Financiers have organized themselves so that actual or potential losses are picked up by somebody else—if not their clients then the state – while profits are kept to themselves.”
(Will Hutton, Observer (London), 27 Jan. ‘08)
“There is a chance to make finance once again the servant of the public, as it should be.”
(Larry Elliot, Economics Editor, Guardian (London), 15 Oct. ‘08)
“The Bank of England can directly create sterling assets (that is, print money) if it needs to”—i.e. it does not have to “borrow” from the banks it has just had to bail out.
(Gavyn Davies, partner in Goldman Sachs, Guardian (London), 9 Oct. ‘08)
“[The government] pays interest to private organizations for the use of its own credit . . . So that actually the government is getting itself into debt to the banks for the privilege of helping them to regain their stranglehold on the economic life of the country.”
(Senator Bronson Cutting, New York Times, 20 May 1934 – from a speech Pound commended.)
Pound might have written all of those things, if in his own terms. (”Leveraging” was not a current term in the 1930s, so he used plain terms: banks were lending money they did not have, to their own profit and the public’s loss.) As early as 1919 he was trying to understand how it was that, in a democracy, power to secure to the people “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was not with the people, but with those few who owned and controlled the people’s credit and who were capable of exercising it against the common interest. And he was already arguing that it is the function and responsibility of the state, that is, of the government appointed by the people, to create and to regulate the nation’s credit, and to prevent it being usurped by private interests.
Pound’s prophetic critique of anti-democratic capitalism became a major theme after the 1929 Crash and the Great Depression of the 1930s—and it led to his being falsely accused of being himself anti-democratic. But in this time of financial crisis, and with it being near to the anniversaries of his birth and death (born 30 October 1885; died 1 November 1972), it is fitting to celebrate the now undeniable fact that, while he did go wrong in some ways, Pound was fundamentally right about the damage done to the whole society by unrestrained greed in the financial system, and about it being the responsibility of governments to issue and to control credit. It would be a good moment to read and to take the point of his cantos 31-51, particularly those about the American bank wars of 1829-35 and 1863.
employing means at the bank’s disposal
in deranging the country’s credits, obtaining by panic
control over public mind” said Van Buren
(Ezra Pound, Canto 37)
“Banking should be treated as a utility.”
(Martin Wolf, Financial Times)
“The reckless greed of the few harms the future of the many.”
(Will Hutton, Observer (London), 27 Jan. ‘08)
“The sin of usury, diluted in the 1500s, should be brought back—usury, reaping that which one did not sow.”
(Ann Pettifor, political economist, Guardian (London), 11 Oct. ‘08)
“It is not money that is the root of the evil. The root is greed.”
(Ezra Pound, Gold and Work, 1944)
“Hopefully our democracies are strong enough to overcome the power of money and special interests.”
(Joseph Stiglitz, formerly Chief Economist of the World Bank, Guardian (London), 16 Oct. ‘08)
“The state can lend money.”
(Ezra Pound, Canto 78)
“It is an infamy that the STATE in, and by reason of, the very act of creating material wealth should run into debt to individuals.”
(Ezra Pound, New English Weekly, 5 July 1934)