TR and FDR

“There are two figures that dominated the American scene in the twentieth century. the first was Theodore Roosevelt. The second, remarkably, was his young cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Both men possessed great personal charisma, keen political instincts, penetrating social consciences, seemingly boundless energy, and brilliantly diverse intellects. Both of them left a lasting impress upon the world. But that is where the similarity between the two ends. In every other way, they could not have been more different.

“Theodore Roosevelt was a conservative social reformer who wanted to firmly and faithfully re-establish the ‘Old World Order.’ Franklin Roosevelt, on the other hand, was a liberal social revolutionary who wanted to boldly and unashamedly usher in the ‘New World Order.’

“Theodore Roosevelt’s motto was ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Franklin Roosevelt’s motto was ‘good neighbors live in solidarity.’

“Theodore Roosevelt spoke forcefully, but led the world into a remarkable epoch of peace – he even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905. Like his mentor, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt spoke of peace, but led the world into the bloodiest confrontation of man’s tortured history.

“The difference between the two perspectives was fundamental and presuppositional. Whereas Franklin Roosevelt’s liberal global vision was informed by an unhesitatingly humanistic worldview, Theodore Roosevelt’s conservative civic vision was informed by an uncompromising Christian worldview. In fact, while Franklin Roosevelt rejected the faith of his fathers in early in his life, Theodore Roosevelt held tenaciously to the spiritual legacy that had been passed on to him by his father and grandfather. He often reveled in his Dutch Reformed and Scottish Covenanter roots. And the family ties to ‘that stark Puritan divine Jonathan Edwards’ was for him a point of special pride.

“The practical outworking of these two models for American life and culture was dramatic: Franklin Roosevelt’s led to invasive bureaucracy at home and intrusive adventurism abroad, while Theodore Roosevelt’s led to progressive grassroots reform at home and sagacious cooperation abroad. Franklin Roosevelt’s vision paved the way for modern liberalism, accomodationism, federal interventionism, and the New Left. Theodore Roosevelt’s vision paved the way for modern conservatism, anti-communism, communitarian responsibility, and the New Right.

“Both men understood the very critical notion that ideas have consequences. As a result, the twentieth century in America has largely been the tale of two households – of the Roosevelts of Sagamore Hill and the Roosevelts of Hyde Park.”

~ George Grant, Carry A Big Stick (Pt. II, pp. 179-181)

10 thoughts on “TR and FDR”

  1. Any idea what year or how old Teddy was in the dapper photo at the top of your dec. 6, 2011 article where it features him in tails from the knees up???
    I have an 1800s framed tinted photo that’s the same image…it’s in its original 1800s gesso frame and appears possibly hand signed by him in black ink at the bottom…pen & quill style.

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