Theodore Roosevelt, "The Strenuous Life," address, 10 April 1899|
During this period various critics worried that American society was losing its masculine vigor. Several causes engendered this anguish: the closing of the frontier; the increasing dominance of women's taste in art, literature, and culture in general; and the conflict between domestic values and those of the marketplace. This worry is an implicit theme in Frederick Jackson Turner's essay. How will the American characterand Turner's conception of it is decidedly masculinemaintain its vitality now that the frontier, the source of that vitality, is gone? Jack London contrasts robust masculinity with cerebral intellectuality in "South of the Slot." And Simon Pokagon suggests that white men could use an infusion of hearty Indian blood. In his speech "The Strenuous Life," delivered before a Chicago men's club, Theodore Roosevelt not only addressed this worry but also explored its implications for American foreign policythe U.S. had just signed the treaty ending the Spanish-American War, and the three-year Philippine-American War had just begun. His language is personal and psychological, his conclusions political and military. 6 pages.
- What is the purpose of Roosevelt's speech?
- What is his argument? Is it convincing?
- What rhetorical strategies does he use?
- How does he make a connection between the personal and the political?
- How does he define the strenuous life for women?
- How does Roosevelt use the Civil War in his speech?
- What is his attitude to business?
- How does he justify American intervention in the West Indies and the Philippines?