Speaker Praises Former President: Visiting Author Celebrates Roosevelt as Great Life

By ASHLEY JACOBY

Last Thursday, Jan. 31, Kathleen Dalton from Boston University spoke at The Great Lives Lecture Series in Dodd Auditorium.  Dalton came to speak about former president, Teddy Roosevelt.

Dalton has spoken about Roosevelt, or TR as she calls him, on networks such as the History Channel, C-Span and the Arts and Entertainment Channel.  Her new book, A Strenuous Life, features the former leader.

Even though Roosevelt came from a wealthy family, Dalton called him a self-made man.  He was an asthmatic child who faced pressure from his father to appear healthy.

“[His father] made him into a fierce, combative force,” Dalton said.
Unlike some of his 19th century peers, Roosevelt cared considerably about social causes. His father taught him at an early age to put his wealth to good use and work to promote charitable causes.

Roosevelt’s father was an advocate for street children and helped to form night education classes for children who worked and could not go to school during the day.

By the time Roosevelt had graduated from Harvard, not only was he educated academically, but he was capable of dealing with people from all walks of life.

Roosevelt worked his way up at the New York Police Commission and eventually became the Assistant Secretary to the Navy.

Later, he became Governor of New York, a position that would lead him to the presidency.

Dalton discussed how Roosevelt became president under unique circumstances, coming into office after the assassination of McKinley.

As president, Dalton said that Roosevelt worked to protect wildlife throughout the United States, attempted to build a larger navy, developed unemployment insurance, promoted health insurance and old-age pension, and even argued for public school lunches.

Dalton said that Roosevelt was concerned for the future of his country.  He wanted to leave it a better place than before he took the office of the presidency.

“[Roosevelt] believed in the fact that we needed to make a better world for the next generation,” Dalton said.

In 1912, Roosevelt ran unsuccessfully for a second term of his own. Eight years later he died of an embolism.

Dalton ended the lecture by encouraging people to research more into the life of the former president.

Amy Reynolds, a freshman, enjoyed the lecture and the history lesson.

“She had a lot to say that I had never heard before,” Reynolds said.  “Roosevelt seems a lot more interesting after hearing an in-depth lecture on him.”

The next lecture in the Great Lives Series will be given by Douglas Gately from the UMW Dept. of Music.  Gately will speak about jazz musician Ella Fitzgerald on Thursday, Feb. 12, in Dodd Auditorium.

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