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Conclusion: A Rooseveltian Century?

Serge Ricard


Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444331400.2011.00031.x


Extract

Almost everything has been said in these pages about an outstanding president, a trend-setter who ushered in an early version of the “imperial presidency” and paved the way for the welfare state, a great communicator in the days of the printed page, an inspired “trust-buster” and conservationist when the “robber barons” thought themselves untouchable, a peerless molder and evaluator of public opinion, who was the most popular man of his generation. If he was larger than life it was not only because he patiently and adroitly constructed his own legend in his lifetime, it was because he was truly exceptional and was of the stuff heroes are made. He was not only “pure act,” as Henry Adams quipped, he was also a genuine intellectual, but above all he was the “all-American boy,” thanks to a mix that worked wonders: New York aristocrat, Harvard graduate, rancher, hunter, naturalist, war hero – a man for all tastes and conditions capable of uniting the patchwork American society of the turn of the nineteenth century. His modernity is not always remembered over a hundred years later, yet with his knack for innovation he brought to the presidency extraordinary changes that are now taken for granted: he insisted on a new form of address – “Mr. President” – for the chief executive; he decided to officialize the “White House” name that everyone used to refer to the Executive Mansion; he had ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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