Post From EDSITEment: Leadership and Legacy of the Roosevelts

NOTE: This post by Joe Phelan was developed for EDSITEment and was originally posted on their blog. Thank you to National Endowment for the Humanities, EDSITEment, and Joe Phelan for allowing us to re-post this on our blog. See the original post online at: http://edsitement.neh.gov/blog/2014/09/22/leadership-and-legacy-roosevelts.

Perhaps you have been watching the recent Ken Burns series The Roosevelts and were inspired by some aspect of the lives and achievements of these figures. You may also have noticed that Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt are listed among the 100 leaders on the new National History Day minisite. If your students are interested in doing National History Day projects on one or more members of this distinguished family, EDSITEment has some resources for them. (Note: The entire series remains online for a limited time).

The Modern Presidency

One of the big take-aways from the series is that Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt invented the modern presidency. In their hands the institution became more important than Congress, more assertive in domestic and foreign policy, and more “rhetorical.”

TR was the first “modern” president, engaging directly with the people over the heads of party leaders in Congress.  Before TR, presidents communicated through written messages rather than speeches and seldom spoke on behalf of specific policy proposals.

TR was famous for establishing the presidency as a “bully pulpit” to bring national attention to serious problems that needed to be addressed by the federal government.  

His cousin Franklin Roosevelt was the first mass media president using the new medium of radio to great effect. And Mrs. Roosevelt was the first spouse to be a “full partner” in the White House, getting out around the country in a way that her wheelchair-bound husband could not. After Franklin’s death she served the nation for another two decades as a champion of civil rights, civil liberties and the newly established United Nations.

Voices of Democracy

The NEH-supported project Voices of Democracy will help you explore the important rhetorical aspect of the Roosevelts’ leadership through a series of “case studies” of their key speeches. The site provides authentic texts of speeches of TR, Franklin, and Eleanor (among other American leaders) as well as scholarly commentary; questions to help you focus on and think through the arguments being made in the speech; and suggestions for further research. Think of VOD as an extra academic advisor.

In “The Strenuous Life” (1901) Theodore Roosevelt articulated a philosophy of personal and national character emphasizing hard work, self-discipline, risk-taking, and moral virtue. Roosevelt linked these values with America’s frontier past, using the example of the brave men who tamed the wilderness to illustrate the meaning of the “strenuous life.” Applying that philosophy to the issues of his own day, Roosevelt called on his fellow Americans to reject the life of material prosperity and ease and embrace instead the challenges of international leadership.

Students interested in origins of investigative journalism, will find “The Man with the Muck Rake” (1906) eye opening. Delivered in his second term as president, TR condemned the muckraking journalists who had become so important in the Progressive era, yet he also acknowledged the need for “absolutely truthful” exposés of corruption. Adopting a middle ground between those who celebrated the muckrakers and those who would limit their First Amendment right to free speech, Roosevelt upheld the same progressive principles he applied to other political and social controversies: balance, moderation, order, and stability.

VOD offers a penetrating analysis of FDR’s oratorical masterpiece, the 1941 State of the Union address. Popularly known as the “Four Freedoms” speech and delivered eleven months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the speech made clear Roosevelt’s determination to defend America’s core principles against any potential threat on the horizon. In that sense, it foreshadowed not only Roosevelt’s later war rhetoric, but also virtually all war addresses by U.S. presidents in the decades that followed. As Americans faced later challenges, from the communism of the cold war era to today’s threat of global terrorism, echoes of Roosevelt’s four freedoms are heard in the war speechmaking of later U.S. presidents

Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1940 address to the Chicago Civil Liberties Committee advocated protection of civil liberties at a time of perceived communist threats. Ms. Roosevelt urged listeners to act in accordance with the ideals of democracy and to uphold their responsibility to protect the rights of all Americans. Examining the speech within its own historical framework reveals how Mrs. Roosevelt embraced an increasingly public role as a political first lady and addressed a basic tension between civil liberties and national security that still concerns us today.

Students can supplement these speeches with a few other EDSITEment-reviewed resources. The Miller Center’s American President: A Reference Resource series at the University of Virginia provides expert scholarly input on each of our nation’s chief executives. The series of short essays on various aspects of the two Roosevelt administrations were written by distinguished historians.

Finally there’s the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project offering unique access to the writings of Eleanor’s important post-White House Years. Here you will find the archive for her famous newspaper column “My Day” and radio broadcasts. The site’s lively Twitter feed offers daily quotations from the woman who was called the “First Lady of the World.”

 See the original post online at: http://edsitement.neh.gov/blog/2014/09/22/leadership-and-legacy-roosevelts.

 

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Together Again: Library of Congress and NHD Webinar

On Thursday, September 25 NHD’s Tech Talk webinar features presenters Cheryl Lederle and Kathy McGuigan from the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources program.  Tonight webinar will help teachers learn about ways to use prints and photographs in the classroom.  The presenters will model strategies that teachers can apply in their classrooms tomorrow.

Register: http://tinyurl.com/pqetsnp

Flyner - September 25, 2014 - WebinarDid you miss the last NHD webinar? Watch it online here:

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REMINDER: Free NHD Webinar Tomorrow for New Teachers!

Tomorrow’s Tech Talk webinar is designed to help new (or newer) NHD teachers get started.  Lynne O’Hara, NHD’s Director of Programs, will be joined by three Behring Teacher Ambassadors.  The webinar will begin with Al Wheat, an NHD teacher from Mississippi, who will talk about how to introduce NHD to students without overwhelming them or scaring them off.  Lynne will talk about how to get students to select a good topic that fits with the Leadership & Legacy in History theme.  Then Dawn McKenzie, an NHD teacher from New Mexico, will talk about how to map out an NHD program over the course of a school year.  Finally, Iowa NHD teacher Suzan Turner will address the basics of the NHD contest structure.  We will pause frequently and take your questions. Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5119180264507799042

Flyer - Sept 23, 2014 - Webinar

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A Leader is Impacts History: Applying 100 Leaders in World History in the Classroom

 Post by Lynne O’Hara, NHD Director of Programs

The 100 Leaders in World History program, sponsored by Kenneth E. Behring, is designed to help students think about the idea of leadership. A key piece of a democratic society is the need to evaluate and select leaders at the local, state, and national level. We hope that this study of historical leaders will help students evaluate the leaders of the past and construct intelligent, informed opinions about the leaders of the present.

Each day this week we are posting to this blog about one of the five criteria that our selection panel used to determine the 100 Leaders in World History. The five criteria are:

  • Articulates a vision,
  • Motivates others,
  • Makes effective decisions,
  • Willing to confront tough issues, and
  • Impacts history.

Today we are discussing how a leader impacts history.

Impacts History

joan-wellcomeimages

Joan of Arc [Source: Neurdein & Paris (photographers), n.d., Wellcome Library, London]

Leaders need to leave a legacy in which they impact history.  Some leaders write their own histories, and knew that they would be remembered. George Washington told his wife Martha to burn their personal correspondence so that it would not become part of the historical record.  Other leaders had a bigger impact after their death – consider the execution of Joan of Arc or the assassinations of Benazir Bhutto or Abraham Lincoln.

Sometimes legacies are unintended.  Charles Darwin was a biologist whose scientific theories were used to justify a century of expansion, colonialism, and subjugation.  Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in China opening up the Chinese economy and led to stronger ties with Western nations.

So what leader will you choose to study?  What direction will you take?  We hope that the 100 Leaders in World History website will be a catalyst for classroom discussion, help students and teachers brainstorm ideas, and expose students to the wider world of historical leaders.

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NoodleTools Support for Annotated Bibliographies

NoodleTools partners with NHD and offers NHD teachers the ability to sign up their school and gain a free NoodleTools account for students to use as they develop their NHD projects. For more information, click here. Thank you to Rigele Abilock, President, Corporate Strategy & Operations at NoodleTools, for contributing this post to the Voice of NHD. 

As your students begin researching their NHD topics, they’ll want to keep track of their sources.  Here are resources to support the working bibliography process.

GATHER:

Once you and your NHD students are enrolled in NoodleTools, your NHD students can also download the NoodleTools Companion App here.  Use the app to scan a book’s ISBN or search by author/title to generate a perfectly formatted citation. After adding an annotation (or notes), the citation is routed directly into the student’s working bibliography in NoodleTools.

ARCHIVE:

Students can link an archived PDF copy of an online source directly to each citation entry.  This allows both them – and you – to conveniently refer back at the source linked to each bibliographic reference.

EVALUATE:

NoodleTools “Show Me” modules guide students in identifying tricky source types, including primary sources, and in assessing the relevance and credibility of information. Show Me modules are directly embedded in the NoodleTools citation screens at the point-of-need, but also available as standalone teaching resources here.

If you haven’t already done so, click here to request NoodleTools access for yourself and your NHD student applicants!

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A Leader is Willing to Confront Tough Issues: Applying 100 Leaders in World History in the Classroom

Post by Lynne O’Hara, NHD Director of Programs

The 100 Leaders in World History program, sponsored by Kenneth E. Behring, is designed to help students think about the idea of leadership. A key piece of a democratic society is the need to evaluate and select leaders at the local, state, and national level. We hope that this study of historical leaders will help students evaluate the leaders of the past and construct intelligent, informed opinions about the leaders of the present.

Each day this week we are posting to this blog about one of the five criteria that our selection panel used to determine the 100 Leaders in World History. The five criteria are:

  • Articulates a vision,
  • Motivates others,
  • Makes effective decisions,
  • Willing to confront tough issues, and
  • Impacts history.

Today we are discussing how a leader is willing to confront tough issues.

Willing to Confront Tough Issues

Sitting Bull [Source: O. S. Goff (photographer), 1881, Library of Congress]

Sitting Bull [Source: O. S. Goff (photographer), 1881, Library of Congress]

Leaders need to deal with issues that challenge their societies.  Margaret Sanger, Harvey Milk, Jonas Salk, and Mother Theresa addressed problems that they saw.  Often these leaders are polarizing – some people believe that they made good decisions while others disagree.  Consider the economic challenges faced by Ronald Reagan or the post-World War II landscape tackled by George MarshallTheodore Roosevelt and Mohandas Gandhi saw societies in need of change and helped to make that change happen.

Often these leaders take positions that are at odds with the majority of the people in their time, like Sitting Bull’s opposition to American expansionism or Eleanor Roosevelt’s resigning her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for an update on the next of the five criteria: impacts history!

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A Leader Makes Effective Decisions: Applying 100 Leaders in World History in the Classroom

Post by Lynne O’Hara, NHD Director of Programs

The 100 Leaders in World History program, sponsored by Kenneth E. Behring, is designed to help students think about the idea of leadership. A key piece of a democratic society is the need to evaluate and select leaders at the local, state, and national level. We hope that this study of historical leaders will help students evaluate the leaders of the past and construct intelligent, informed opinions about the leaders of the present.

Each day this week we are posting to this blog about one of the five criteria that our selection panel used to determine the 100 Leaders in World History. The five criteria are:

  1. Articulates a vision,
  2. Motivates others,
  3. Makes effective decisions,
  4. Willing to confront tough issues, and
  5. Impacts history.

Today we are discussing how a leader makes effective decisions.

Ford-NYPL-1920s

Henry Ford Photographer unknown, n.d., New York Public Library

Makes Effective Decisions

Leadership is a daily struggle. Leaders are people who are challenged to respond to situations in which they often have imperfect information.  They need to make decisions that are the best for their society, even though they might be unpopular during their time.  Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela reformed nations struggling with economic, social, and political challenges.

Not all leaders make the right decisions.  Students are encouraged to look at the legacy of the decisions made by leaders like Mao Zedong, Christopher Columbus, or Henry Ford and consider the decisions that they made.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for an update on the next of the five criteria: willing to confront tough issues!

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