Tag Archives: Progressive

Facts in Five

Don’t call him “Teddy” edition

  • No one called him “Teddy” to his face; the nickname he preferred was  TR.
  • TR claimed he decided to be a Republican after watching Lincoln’s funeral parade from his grandfather’s Manhattan townhouse.
  • Frightened of his activism, the Republican party decided to “hide” Roosevelt on McKinley’s ticket in 1900
  • Roosevelt’s Progressive politics can be traced to the time he spent representing a poor, predominately immigrant district in the New York legislature
  • It was TR that ordered Commodore George Dewey’s squadron to the Philippines in anticipation of war with Spain
Always be ready to use the Big Stick

Always be ready to use the Big Stick

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Facts in Five

Don’t call him “Teddy” edition

  • No one called him “Teddy” to his face; the nickname he preferred was  TR.
  • TR claimed he decided to be a Republican after watching Lincoln’s funeral parade from his grandfather’s Manhattan townhouse.
  • Frightened of his activism, the Republican party decided to “hide” Roosevelt on McKinley’s ticket in 1900
  • Roosevelt’s Progressive politics can be traced to the time he spent representing a poor, predominately immigrant district in the New York legislature
  • It was TR that ordered Commodore George Dewey’s squadron to the Philippines in anticipation of war with Spain
Always be ready to use the Big Stick

Always be ready to use the Big Stick

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Everybody Wants to be a Historian

Noted economist Thomas Sowell fancies himself… a historian.  In his syndicated column he often pontificates on historical issues with an assumed air of expertise.  Conservatives in America accept his theories outside the realm of economics as if they were debated, peer-reviewed, and definitive.  Trouble is, outside of economics, Mr. Sowell is a novice.

Leave history to the historians…

Modern social media makes contact between scholars… easier than ever.  Practically Historical recently pointed out to Professor Sowell that his recent op-ed pieces attacking the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt were misguided and far outside the mainstream.  It was made abundantly clear that there are working historians who can inform the public about the progressive policies of Teddy Roosevelt  (and it may have been hinted which discipline is clearly superior.)

Academic squabbles are nothing new… but modern social media makes it possible for the antagonists never to square off.  Remaining true to the passive aggressive nature of economists, Professor Sowell published this column belittling the history profession and the academics who pursue it.  Good one…..I guess ? 

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What is a Progressive?

Progressivism is part of American politics… and has been hotly debated since the end of the 19th century.  As Americans head back to the ballot box to decide the nation’s course for the next four years, economic conditions have made progressives as relevant as ever.  But, what is a progressive?  What do they believe?  Here are three different explanations from some of our great progressive leaders….can you match the words to the man?

“The essential difference, as old as civilized history, is between the men who, with fervor and broad sympathy and imagination, stand for the forward movement, the men who stand for the uplift and betterment of mankind, and who have faith in the people, on the one hand; and, on the other hand, the men of narrow vision and small sympathy, who are not stirred by the wrongs of others. With these latter stand also those other men who distrust the people, and many of whom not merely distrust the people, but wish to keep them helpless so as to exploit them for their own benefit.

“The purpose of protecting the life of our Nation and preserving the liberty of our citizens is to pursue the happiness of our people. Our success in that pursuit is the test of our success as a Nation.  For a century we laboured to settle and to subdue a continent. For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people.  The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization.  Your imagination, your initiative, and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.”

“Because, the truth is, ladies and gentlemen, that this is how we were warned it would be. President Reagan told us from very the beginning that he believed in a kind of social Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. “Government can’t do everything,” we were told. “So it should settle for taking care of the strong and hope that economic ambition and charity will do the rest. Make the rich richer — and what falls from their table will be enough for the middle class and those who are trying desperately to work their way into the middle class.”  You know, the Republicans called it trickle-down when Hoover tried it.  Now they call it supply side.  But it’s the same shining city for those relative few who are lucky enough to live in its good neighborhoods.  But for the people who are excluded — for the people who are locked out — all they can do is to stare from a distance at that city’s glimmering towers.  It’s an old story.  It’s as old as our history.  The difference between Democrats and Republicans has always been measured in courage and confidence.  The Republicans believe that the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of the old, some of the young, some of the weak are left behind by the side of the trail. The strong, the strong they tell us will inherit the land.  We Democrats believe in something else.  We democrats believe that we can make it all the way with the whole family intact. And, we have more than once. — to new frontiers of education, housing, peace; the whole family aboard, constantly reaching out to extend and enlarge that family; lifting them up into the wagon on the way; blacks and Hispanics, and people of every ethnic group, and native Americans — all those struggling to build their families and claim some small share of America”

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Theodore Roosevelt

Lyndon B. Johnson

Mario Cuomo

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Facts in Five

Don’t call him “Teddy” edition

  • No one called him “Teddy” to his face; the nickname he preferred was  TR.
  • TR claimed he decided to be a Republican after watching Lincoln’s funeral parade from his grandfather’s Manhattan townhouse.
  • Frightened of his activism, the Republican party decided to “hide” Roosevelt on McKinley’s ticket in 1900
  • Roosevelt’s Progressive politics can be traced to the time he spent representing a poor, predominately immigrant district in the New York legislature
  • It was TR that ordered Commodore George Dewey’s squadron to the Philippines in anticipation of war with Spain
Always be ready to use the Big Stick

Always be ready to use the Big Stick

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Unintended Consequences

The Senate of the United States was designed… to give equal representation to the States- a more disciplined, stable, and experienced legislative body.  Madison saw the dangers in the popularly elected House, for people were often, “subject to the [periodic] infection of violent passions… that such an institution may be sometimes necessary as a defense to the people against their own temporary errors and delusions.” 

You still doubt my ideas?

You still doubt my ideas?

Popular elections are often driven by partisanship, misinformation, and demagoguery.  The States were to choose Senators to insure, “In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice, and truth can regain their authority over the public mind?”

Madison discernibly demonstrates the need for… a portion  of government that can rise above the passions and partisanship that too often sweeps through popular elections.  Federalist 63 uses this reasoning to support the original intent of the election of Senators- State governments deliberately selecting their representatives through  legislatures- the voice of the people held within those bodies…

Henry Clay of Kentucky- impossible to elect him under the 17th amendment

Henry Clay of Kentucky- impossible to elect him under the 17th amendment

Current reformers arguing for the repeal of… 17th amendment miss this point entirely.  Conservatives claim the amendment impedes Federalism and limits States rights- but they ignore the more fundamental issue- original intent.  By putting the election of Senators to a popular vote, the body has been subjected to the political passions of any given election cycle.  Partisanship grinds the political process to a halt- the Senate has become an overpaid debating society where grandstanding members play to their bases to insure reelection.  Rank amateurs, never elected to a public office, are foolishly thrust into our most powerful legislative body.   The misguided Progressivism that brought on the 17th amendment is in dire need of reconsideration; the amendment’s repeal being the only logical conclusion.

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What is a Progressive?

Progressivism is part of American politics… and has been hotly debated since the end of the 19th century.  As Americans head back to the ballot box to decide the nation’s course for the next four years, economic conditions have made progressives as relevant as ever.  But, what is a progressive?  What do they believe?  Here are three different explanations from some of our great progressive leaders….can you match the words to the man?

“The essential difference, as old as civilized history, is between the men who, with fervor and broad sympathy and imagination, stand for the forward movement, the men who stand for the uplift and betterment of mankind, and who have faith in the people, on the one hand; and, on the other hand, the men of narrow vision and small sympathy, who are not stirred by the wrongs of others. With these latter stand also those other men who distrust the people, and many of whom not merely distrust the people, but wish to keep them helpless so as to exploit them for their own benefit.

“The purpose of protecting the life of our Nation and preserving the liberty of our citizens is to pursue the happiness of our people. Our success in that pursuit is the test of our success as a Nation.  For a century we laboured to settle and to subdue a continent. For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people.  The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization.  Your imagination, your initiative, and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.”

“Because, the truth is, ladies and gentlemen, that this is how we were warned it would be. President Reagan told us from very the beginning that he believed in a kind of social Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. “Government can’t do everything,” we were told. “So it should settle for taking care of the strong and hope that economic ambition and charity will do the rest. Make the rich richer — and what falls from their table will be enough for the middle class and those who are trying desperately to work their way into the middle class.”  You know, the Republicans called it trickle-down when Hoover tried it.  Now they call it supply side.  But it’s the same shining city for those relative few who are lucky enough to live in its good neighborhoods.  But for the people who are excluded — for the people who are locked out — all they can do is to stare from a distance at that city’s glimmering towers.  It’s an old story.  It’s as old as our history.  The difference between Democrats and Republicans has always been measured in courage and confidence.  The Republicans believe that the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of the old, some of the young, some of the weak are left behind by the side of the trail. The strong, the strong they tell us will inherit the land.  We Democrats believe in something else.  We democrats believe that we can make it all the way with the whole family intact. And, we have more than once. — to new frontiers of education, housing, peace; the whole family aboard, constantly reaching out to extend and enlarge that family; lifting them up into the wagon on the way; blacks and Hispanics, and people of every ethnic group, and native Americans — all those struggling to build their families and claim some small share of America”

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Theodore Roosevelt

Lyndon B. JohnsonMario Cuomo

Mario Cuomo

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