Theodore Roosevelt, "The New Nationalism," address, 1910|
As noted above, after 1896 the People's Party disappeared from the national scene, but the positions it advocated lived on. They found a new champion in Theodore Roosevelt, who was able to enact some of them during his presidency. When Roosevelt's successor William Howard Taft turned out to be far more conservative than Roosevelt had anticipated, he considered running for the presidency again in 1912. On August 31, 1910, on a speaking tour during which he received considerable encouragement to run, he used the occasion of a park dedication in Osawatomie, Kansas, where John Brown had fought Missouri ruffians in 1860, to articulate an expanded vision of government's role in America's commercial society. He had been moving in the direction of what he called "the New Nationalism" during his second term, but his thinking derived fresh vigor and coherence from a book entitled The Promise of American Life. Its author Herbert Croly identified two basic strands in American politics: the Hamiltoniancharacterized by strong government, aristocracy, and special privilegeand the Jeffersonian, characterized by democracy, equal rights, and equal opportunity. Croly argued for deploying a Hamiltonian state to achieve Jeffersonian ends, and in this speech, so, too, does Roosevelt. 10 pages.
- What implicit interpretation of the Civil War lies behind "The New Nationalism"?
- How does Roosevelt use the Civil War, Lincoln, and the American past in general to advance his argument?
- What principles shape Roosevelt's vision of government?
- What relationship does he posit between the character of individual citizens and the character of the nation?
- How does Roosevelt's speech echo the Omaha Platform?