A Jaguar Hunt On The Taquary, And The Precepts Of Pythagoras

Every man is a jumble of paradoxes.  The same man can harbor sentiments of the noblest, most generous, and elevated type; and at the same time, he can retain the capability to deliver lethal blows for necessity or sport.  It is almost as if the altruist or artist needs a bit of tempering with a dash of Tamerlane.  Consider Theodore Roosevelt, the president generally considered the primary voice of conservationism in the twentieth century.

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Starting Out With The Roosevelt-Rondon Expedition In Brazil

The naturalist Leo E. Miller published an engaging record of his South American adventures in 1918 entitled In the Wilds of South America.  We have previously related one of his adventures in Colombia, his quest for the elusive “cock of the rock” whose nesting places were perched over inaccessible, cavernous waterfalls.  While he was in British Guiana, he received word that ex-president Theodore Roosevelt had received permission from the Brazilian authorities to explore the ominously-named Rio da Duvida in the Amazon; he would be guided in this effort by Brazil’s most famous living explorer, the indestructible Candido Rondon.

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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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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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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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