Theodore Roosevelt Cyclopedia - Topics in The Cylopedia

Topics in The Cylopedia

The topics and subjects included in the Theodore Roosevelt Cyclopedia cover the full range of TR's activities and opinions. Issues of TR's times, like "Silver Issue," "Recall of Judicial Decisions," and "Trust Legislation," and periods and events in Roosevelt's career, such as "New York Assembly-Roosevelt's Service in," "Governor of New York," and "Roosevelt's Reception in Europe" (1910), are listed in the Cyclopedia. Roosevelt's views on the historical events of his era, such as "Spanish-American War," "Russo-Japanese War," "Panic of 1907" and "Election of 1916," are given.

Some 149 people are listed as subjects in the Cyclopedia, from historical figures before TR's times, like Oliver Cromwell, Frederick the Great, and John Marshall, to Roosevelts's contemporaries, including Jane Addams, William Jennings Bryan, Mark Hanna, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Pancho Villa, Woodrow Wilson and Booker T. Washington. Roosevelt's comments on writers are given, from Dante to Dickens to Edwin Arlington Robinson.

Institutions, groups, and organizations, such as the Methodist Church, Mugwumps, Y.M.C.A., U.S. Senate, Audubon Societies, and Progressive Party, are listed. Birds and animals—ousel, wapiti, elephant, mocking-bird, moose, and many others—are described in the words of the hunter-naturalist TR. Historical topics from before Roosevelt's era are covered, including the fall of the Roman Empire, the Mongol Invasions, the French Revolution, and the War of 1812. Many of the entries in the Cyclopedia are general topics, like "citizenship," "experts in government," "ideals," "reading," "tolerance," "women in politics," and "scholarship." Other entries are specific references, such as "Socialism in Sweden," "Standard Oil Company, "Bryce's American Commonwealth," and "Northern Securities Case."

Theodore Roosevelt was a great phrase-maker and coiner of terms, and most of his famous slogans, epithets, titles, sayings, and characterizations are listed in the Cyclopedia, including "lunatic fringe," "Square Deal," "malefactors of great wealth," "Big Stick," "muck-rakers," "Bull Moose," "nature fakers," "polyglot boarding house," "weasel words," "New Nationalism," "broomstick preparedness," and "strenuous life." A few others, however, are not in the Cyclopedia, such as "Ananias Club" (liars) and "bully pulpit" (the White House).

Unfortunately, the editors made no systematic attempt to trace or indicate the origin and first use of a term or phrase. The earliest use is often given, but not in all cases. This failure to include notes on the history of phrases and terms is a real limitation in the Cyclopedia as a reference work. The editors were clearly more interested in presenting Roosevelt's thought than in producing a guide to familiar quotations, though most of the famous quotations were included in the book. The quotations given are often lengthy, thereby preserving much of the original context, and providing an accurate view of Roosevelt's thinking.

Usually quotations on a topic are taken from a variety of sources over a period of many years, thus showing the development and the remarkable degree of continuity in TR's thought. In some cases, the quotations selected do not give the full scope of Roosevelt's opinions on a particular subject. For instance, only favorable remarks are quoted for William McKinley and Robert M. LaFollette, whereas TR was also critical of both leaders, particularly Senator LaFollette. But on most subjects an accurate, balanced, and full picture of TR's thinking is given. For instance, the quotations on William Howard Taft show TR's changing views of a man who was at one time a close friend and associate and later a political opponent.

Likewise, the coverage of the Panama Canal is thorough. Many of the remarks quoted are candid and colorful, and the private as well as the public Roosevelt is revealed in the Cyclopedia. Anyone familiar with TR's words will probably regret that some particular quotations were not included in the Cyclopedia. But on the whole, the editors did an excellent job in selecting quotations that show the totality of the many-sided Roosevelt.

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