For a man whose whole life appears to embody a Cult of Masculinity, Theodore Roosevelt was surprisingly enlightened about the roles and rights of women. Beginning with his senior thesis at Harvard, and extending through his whole remarkable life, TR argued that women should have better protections and broader rights in American society. This symposium explored Roosevelt's relations with the women in his life—and, more importantly, his broader understanding of the role of women in American politics and American life.
When seven-year-old "Teedie" Roosevelt came upon a dead seal in front of a New York City shop, he measured it, gazed on it in wonder, and eventually obtained the skull for what would become the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History. His scientific curiosity, boyish enthusiasm, and love of the outdoors persisted through his hectic life as a public servant.
In this symposium we explored TR's love of nature, his work to save the buffalo, his conservation friendships with John Muir and Gifford Pinchot, and his love of big game hunting.
Theodore Roosevelt campaigned strenuously in 1900, when he was selected as William McKinley’s running mate. During that campaign, Roosevelt denounced Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan as a socialist, an incendiary, and “a human trombone.”
The 1912 election involved the Republican establishment working—in some ways legitimately, in some ways corruptly—to deny the insurgent candidate Roosevelt the presidential nomination, even though he was without question the favorite of the majority of Republicans throughout the country.
Theodore Roosevelt’s encounters with law and the legal tradition were anything but abstract. Roosevelt did almost nothing without bringing his outsized personality and capacity for creating a great story to bear on events. Yet the legal questions Roosevelt encountered in the course of his life are important ones. His contributions to the national debate were important. This symposium considered Theodore Roosevelt and the Law, including the live, spontaneous Trial of Theodore Roosevelt on the Stickney Auditorium stage.
Theodore Roosevelt’s greatest regret as a statesman was that no major crisis occurred during his presidency to test his leadership capacities. His ardent calls for military preparedness and for early entry into the Great War echoed in his own family, and reverberated throughout the nation and the world. This symposium considered the roots of the crisis, Roosevelt’s response, his family’s participation, and views of the war from North Dakota and from Europe.
This symposium explored Theodore Roosevelt's contributions to a uniquely American literature, art, and culture.
Theodore Roosevelt: The Progressive in the Arena reviewed TR's progressivism and his relationship to other figures and movements that represented progressive ideals.
Theodore Roosevelt: In the Arena of the West took a new look at Roosevelt’s time in the Dakota badlands and his fascination with the American West.
Theodore Roosevelt: The President in the Arena, examined Theodore Roosevelt's actions as president and his impact on the post.
Theodore Roosevelt: Family Man in the Arena examined the adventure and the challenges of family life among the Roosevelts.
The symposium examined TR's contributions to the American conservation movement by considering his life and work in the American West, his reading in conservation literature, and the friendships he forged that influenced his conservation ethic and legislative program.
This year’s symposium focused on the years 1880-1919, a period in which the United States increased the size of its armed forces, particularly the Navy, acquired its first off-shore colonies, and challenged the great powers of Europe in the world’s arena.
The theme “Theodore Roosevelt: The Adventurer,” was chosen to take advantage of the release of Candice Millard’s “River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey,” an account of Roosevelt’s 1914 exploration of the River of Doubt in South America.