What Would Teddy Do?: Introduction (02:12)
Few presidents have captured the public imagination like Teddy Roosevelt. His political legacy appeals to both the right and the left. How would he handle the issues we face now?
Guns and Violence (04:44)
Americans own more guns than any nation. The country has a high percentage of gun violence, promoting a debate around the right to bear arms. As a young man, Roosevelt spent time in the heavily armed American frontier. He stopped one altercation with a drunken gunman using only his fists.
Gun Issues (03:04)
Glenn Beck believes Roosevelt would not support the NRA, but would be strong on the 2nd Amendment. Bill O’Reilly says he would blame the culture for gun violence. Robert Reich and Doris Kearns Goodwin consider possible regulations Roosevelt would implement.
Similar Wars (04:38)
The War on Terror has many similarities to the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt’s relationship with his father might have influenced Roosevelt's decision to get involved; spreading American influence and ideology were at its core.
Spanish-American War (04:30)
In response to the sinking of the Maine, Roosevelt formed the 1st Volunteer Cavalry, which won the Battle of San Juan Hill. Journalist Richard Harding Davis built and perpetuated the legend of the Rough Riders. John McCain thinks Roosevelt believed in using the military and wanted America to have a major role in world affairs.
Executive Power (06:36)
Believing that the political parties had become corrupt, Roosevelt built up his executive power. While congress dithered, he used big stick diplomacy to get the Panama Canal built. Roosevelt used his power to pressure or bypass congress, garner popular support, and get things done.
Taking on Monopolies (05:33)
The Great Recession has echoes of Roosevelt’s time. Roosevelt took on J. P. Morgan’s Northern Securities Trust, in addition to other companies. Reich says Roosevelt understood that free market rules must be fair. Bill O’Reilly says Roosevelt would have punished the people responsible for the 2008 economic meltdown.
Conserving the Environment (06:06)
Roosevelt was the most fervent conservationist in the oval office, using executive power to establish national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, and forests. David Gergan says that Roosevelt would have agreed with Obama’s measures to combat climate change. Bill Nye says that the central task of the nation is to leave it better for our descendants.
American Dream (02:36)
Many Americans feel the best days are behind. By 1912, Roosevelt started a third party and ran for president again. Reich say that Roosevelt launched a campaign with the most radical sense of social justice and change that had ever been seen in America.
Presidential Perspective (04:06)
Roosevelt was shot while campaigning, but continued on; he lost the vote. Tyson recites a speech by Roosevelt about great men. He thinks Roosevelt would not recognize our contemporary politics and be appalled by the quality of discourse.
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