“Strange and impressive associations*”

“a small field of usefulness*” roosevelt-t-above-firemens-field.gif

Who’s Firemens Field’s friend?

The question is posed by dueling Oyster Bay Long Island web sites.

www.savefiremensfield.org was formed by opponents of a proposed Teddy Roosevelt Museum to be located on Firemens Field near the town center. A mischievous proponent of the project then launched www.savefiremansfield.org, apparently to snare the unwary.

The Theodore Roosevelt Association wants to build the museum, and claims no relationship with either site. But the pro-museum site uses a TR photo with the Association’s permission on it’s banner:


What was Roosevelt saying and to whom in this endlessly quoted “Man In The Arena” speech?

Roosevelt’s speech was in part a mash note to the French from America, “the only two republics among the great powers of the world.” Roosevelt swooned for France, how “the lesson her whole history teaches, that a high artistic and literary development is compatible with notable leadership narms and statecraft*.”

The French were certainly up to their necks in the “rough work of the world*” as they stumbled into a century of slaughter and surrender at home, and then massacre and withdrawal from their colonies.

The speech and most of Roosevelt’s public persona today are a relic, a fetish for nostalgists pining for the days of manly, unapologetic imperialism over the lesser races. And some spectacularly wordy tough talk.

*Who’s the Man?

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