Rough Rider in the White House: Theodore Roosevelt and the Politics of Desire

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9780226876092: Rough Rider in the White House: Theodore Roosevelt and the Politics of Desire
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Who was Theodore Roosevelt? Most of us think of him as one of America's greatest presidents, a champion of progressive politics, and a master statesman. But many feared the political power that Roosevelt wielded. Woodrow Wilson once called him "the most dangerous man of the age." Mark Twain thought him "clearly insane." William James scorned the "flood of bellicose emotion" he let loose during his presidency. Even his biographer, Edmund Morris, is astonished at Roosevelt's "irrational love of battle."

In this book, Sarah Watts probes this dark side of the Rough Rider, presenting a fascinating psychological portrait of a man whose personal obsession with masculinity profoundly influenced the fate of a nation. Drawing on his own writings and on media representations of him, Watts attributes the wide appeal of Roosevelt's style of manhood to the way it addressed the hopes and anxieties of men of his time. Like many of his contemporaries, Roosevelt struggled with what it meant to be a man in the modern era. He saw two foes within himself: a fragile weakling and a primitive beast. The weakling he punished and toughened with rigorous, manly pursuits such as hunting, horseback riding, and war. The beast he unleashed through brutal criticism of homosexuals, immigrants, pacifists, and sissies—anyone who might tarnish the nation's veneer of strength and vigor. With his unabashed paeans to violence and aggressive politics, Roosevelt ultimately offered American men a chance to project their longings and fears onto the nation and its policies. In this way he harnessed the primitive energy of men's desires to propel the march of American civilization—over the bodies of anyone who might stand in its way.

Written with passion and precision, this powerful revisioning of an American icon will forever alter the way we see Theodore Roosevelt and his political legacy.

"A superb scholarly study of how Roosevelt built his political base on the aspiration and fears of men in a rapidly changing nation and world."—Charles K. Piehl, Library Journal

"A thought-provoking and innovative study of the dark side of Roosevelt's personality. . . . [Watt's] arguments are clear, passionate, and thoroughly supported."—Elizabeth A. Bennion, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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About the Author:

Sarah Watts is professor of history at Wake Forest University and the author ofOrder Against Chaos: Business Culture and Labor Ideology in America, 1880–1915.

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"Watts probes not so much the public life of her subject as the darker interaction between his private psyche and the culture and politics of early 20th-century America. The result is a superb scholarly study of how Roosevelt built his political base on the aspiration and fears of men in a rapidly changing nation and world." - Library Journal"

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Book Description University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 2006. Softcover. Condition: New. 299 pages. Softcover. New book. UNITED STATES PRESIDENTS. Who was Theodore Roosevelt? Most of us think of him as one of America's greatest presidents, a champion of progressive politics, and a master statesman. But many feared the political power that Roosevelt wielded. Woodrow Wilson once called him "the most dangerous man of the age." Mark Twain thought him "clearly insane." William James scorned the "flood of bellicose emotion" he let loose during his presidency. Even his biographer, Edmund Morris, is astonished at Roosevelt's "irrational love of battle." In this book, Sarah Watts probes this dark side of the Rough Rider, presenting a fascinating psychological portrait of a man whose personal obsession with masculinity profoundly influenced the fate of a nation. Drawing on his own writings and on media representations of him, Watts attributes the wide appeal of Roosevelt's style of manhood to the way it addressed the hopes and anxieties of men of his time. Like many of his contemporaries, Roosevelt struggled with what it meant to be a man in the modern era. He saw two foes within himself: a fragile weakling and a primitive beast. The weakling he punished and toughened with rigorous, manly pursuits such as hunting, horseback riding, and war. The beast he unleashed through brutal criticism of homosexuals, immigrants, pacifists, and sissies—anyone who might tarnish the nation's veneer of strength and vigor. With his unabashed paeans to violence and aggressive politics, Roosevelt ultimately offered American men a chance to project their longings and fears onto the nation and its policies. In this way he harnessed the primitive energy of men's desires to propel the march of American civilization—over the bodies of anyone who might stand in its way. Written with passion and precision, this powerful revisioning of an American icon will forever alter the way we see Theodore Roosevelt and his political legacy. "A superb scholarly study of how Roosevelt built his political base on the aspiration and fears of men in a rapidly changing nation and world."—Charles K. Piehl, Library Journal "A thought-provoking and innovative study of the dark side of Roosevelt's personality. . . . [Watt's] arguments are clear, passionate, and thoroughly supported."—Elizabeth A. Bennion, Journal of Interdisciplinary History "Despite all his well-known heroism, Theodore Roosevelt was a fairly pathetic figure. Adding to recent TR biographies, Watts probes not so much the public life of her subject as the darker interaction between his private psyche and the culture and politics of early 20th-century America. The result is a superb scholarly study of how Roosevelt built his political base on the aspiration and fears of men in a rapidly changing nation and world." --Charles K. Piehl, Library Journal "Watts has provided a thought-provoking and innovative study of the dark side of Roosevelt's personality. . . . Watts' arguments are clear, passionate, and thoroughly supported by a wide variety of historians, writers, poets, cartoonists, artists, journalists, sociologists, and psychologists of Roosevelt's era. . . . Watts provides a wealth of qualitative data in a fascinating book that rewards casual readers as well as scholars in a wide variety of disciplines." --Elizabeth A. Bennion, Journal of Interdisciplinary History "In Watts's model, manhood—in all cultures an acquired status and thus unstable—requires special maintenance in a period of self-conscious modernity, with the untamed masses posing a threat to traditional forms of order. In such a time men crave a leader who can make use of masculinity; one accidentally became president in 1901. . . . Watts supplements this analysis with deep readings of illustrations that show how Roosevelt's secret fears surfaced elsewhere in contemporary culture." --Eric Rauchway, Journal of American History "The book analyzes broader cultural anxieties about U.S. masculinity during the Gilded Age and Progressiv. book. Seller Inventory # 80462X1

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English. Brand new Book. "Rough Rider in the White House" presents a fascinating psychological portrait of the twenty-sixth president of the United States, a man whose personal obsession with masculinity profoundly influenced the fate of a nation. Historian Sarah Watts argues that Theodore Roosevelt struggled, like many of his contemporaries, with what it meant to be a man in the modern era. With his unabashed paeans to violence and aggressive politics (Woodrow Wilson referred to him as "the most dangerous man of the age"), Roosevelt ultimately offered American men a chance to project their longings and fears onto the nation and its policies. Written with passion and precision, this powerful appraisal of an American icon dramatically alters the way we see Theodore Roosevelt and his political legacy. Seller Inventory # BTE9780226876092

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