Theodore Roosevelt Brings Big Business To Heel

A central tenet of Theodore Roosevelt’s leadership was the idea that no one should be above the law.  He was deeply troubled by excessive concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few; such a situation was, he knew, inimical to the interests of a democratic republic.  He did not begrudge a man his wealth fairly earned, but he believed that the accumulation of vast treasure should not come at the expense of the public good.  The super-rich could not plunder at will and, at the same time, expect the public to operate under a different set of rules.  What especially galled Roosevelt was the arrogant way that the “captains of industry” of his day expected to reap all the benefits of the American economic system while feeling bound by no reciprocal duties to it.

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The Victory Of General Typhus: Napoleon’s Catastrophic Invasion Of Russia

By 1810 Napoleon was the master of continental Europe.  He had been unable to force the British to accept an accommodation, but nevertheless remained confident that his “Continental System” would bring the recalcitrant islanders to heel.  The system, in effect a massive blockade, forbade European merchants from having any economic intercourse with Britain.  Prussia and Austria had been forced to accept the system in 1807 and 1809, and Napoleon was determined to make the Russians accept it as well.

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Revealing Anecdotes On The Character Of Abraham Lincoln

We have earlier stated that anecdotes often reveal more about a man’s thinking and character than might a long recounting of his deeds.  About Abraham Lincoln many stories have been told, some no doubt apocryphal, others not.  I will present here a few true anecdotes that most readers are not likely to be familiar with; they shed revelatory light on Lincoln’s character, and how his leadership gifts were powerful in their own understated way.

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Theodore Roosevelt Reforms The Coinage

Theodore Roosevelt was not just a president, he was a dynamo.  He initiated anti-trust legislation to break up the plutocratic monopolies that threatened the nation’s economic life; he set aside vast tracts of western lands as national parks to protect the nation’s natural heritage against plunder by rapacious business interests; he advocated a muscular foreign policy that included direct intervention to build a canal in Panama; he promoted a new concept of nationalism; and he took steps to reform exploitative labor laws.  He was no less energetic in his private life.  Throwing himself into the thick of the action, he personally led a unit in the Spanish-American War, hunted big game in Africa, boxed, wrestled, hiked, and nearly killed himself in an incredible journey of exploration in Brazil.  There never was–and never will be again–anyone like him.  He is a man I admire deeply.

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Some Humorous Epitaphs

Many forget that we should learn to be wise enough to laugh at the world and ourselves.  Without laughter–the universal tonic for all melancholic maladies–it becomes ever easier to take ourselves too seriously, and to retreat into comfortable recesses of our own minds that promise nothing but stagnation and sterility.  This may be the unconscious message of the humorous epitaph:  a warning to the living that our time here is not unlimited, and that unless we appreciate the idea of memento mori, we are living in delusion.  Few things are so grim that we cannot make light of them somehow.

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Edgar Allan Poe’s Sinister Inspiration For “The Cask Of Amontillado”

Most readers will be familiar with Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre tale The Cask of Amontillado.  It is a dark tale of revenge, in which one man deliberately intoxicates a hated enemy and then walls him up alive in a crypt.  Like most writers, Poe took his inspiration from his life experiences, and then mixed those with the creative power of his imagination.  Was The Cask of Amontillado based on an actual incident?  The answer appears to be yes, at least in part.

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The Importance Of Theodore Roosevelt’s “New Nationalism” Speech

This past weekend, I visited the John Brown cabin and museum in Osawatomie, Kansas.  This historic former residence of the abolitionist–a key figure in American Civil War history–is now a state park.  What I had not known was that the park was dedicated in 1910 by none other than Theodore Roosevelt, a man who is a personal icon of mine and certainly one of the greatest presidents in US history.

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