Is it a coincidence that the following two paragraphs clipped from the introduction of this book seemed to become part of Theodore Roosevelt’s personal philosophy. No one can say with certainty what the building blocks of any individuals intellect may have been. We can only guess at correlations between information a person has been exposed to and their later actions that may suggest acceptance of the information as being valid knowledge to live by. Parkman’s words may have been a revelation or re-enforcement of ideas already formed or overlooked and of less importance. But what is known about TR’s life story is that he went through life in a selfless manner, that he had great success and wisdom in making the lives of others and the nation prosperous and that he loved history and gained wisdom from knowing past events and that the books he wrote conformed to what Parkman’s principles for writing history were professed to be. We also know TR was a jealous critic of anyone that made errors when recording historical events which also suggested that he took the following quotes to heart.
“The springs of American civilization, unlike those of the elder world, lie revealed in the clear light of History”.
“Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research, however patient and scrupulous, into special facts. Such facts may be detailed with the most minute exactness, and yet the narrative, taken as a whole, may be unmeaning or untrue. The narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time. He must study events in their bearings near and remote; in the character, habits, and manners of those who took part in them, he must himself be, as it were, a sharer or a spectator of the action he describes”.
The books we read impact upon the well of knowledge of which we draw during our expedition through life. It is my hope that those that recognize the enormous amount of wisdom that Theodore Roosevelt drew upon in his journey through life will join the mission of this web site and help in the production of making many of the books which he read available in a central location by using this web site as a prototype or perfecting it to be the Ultimate Theodore Roosevelt Library. Anyone helping with such a project will leave something of benefit for future generations as TR and Parkman have done in producing their books from a mountain of scattered documents. What I am suggesting is the same process they used minus the tedious process of trying to determine fact from fiction. We only need to bring the books he wrote, the books about him and the books he read into the library for others to sift through and draw correlations. Bringing diverse material into one location is what Parkman spent a lifetime doing and is what TR did in writing “The Winning of the West” and other history books. There is a benefit and need for posterity to examine a collection of the books to which our wisest and most successful president, Theodore Roosevelt, was exposed. Someday someone would have a grand time seeking correlations of wisdom and making some speculation about items in the diverse books that may have found expression in his life as I have done with the aforementioned quotes.
Can we view the buffalo today and a multitude of diverse wildlife that has not become extinct because TR helped to save their habitat? Can we forget how the other half lived and how their lives changed? We who live today are part of the other half that would have been forgotten in the world of plunder and monopolies of his day except for TR's selfless actions. Can we forget that all was accomplished using honest verbiage with honest actions? If we have forgotten the part TR played in making our lives better today, no one will understand of what I am speaking when I suggest that we serve a little homage by trying to understand a person America needs to remember in a grand way, so that others become more apt to emulate what they discover in him that has benefit. If our forgetful actions tells others a selfless life well- lived means nothing we can expect societal degradation by our failure to recognize actions others should emulate. We could build the Ultimate Theodore Library a book at a time or we can watch ball games, TV shows, listen to music and do our daily chores and not notice the low setting sun of our lives passing with no worthy action done ( due to a thirst for personal entertainment or personal gain).
(Footnotes have been removed from this book)