Total Pageviews

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Blueprint for America's Future (Part Two)

(Editor's note:  This is the second segment in a multi-part series titled A Blueprint for America's Future. The underlying theme highlights the iconic presidential election of 1912, which some believe contains the true blueprint for America's future. The first segment traces Theodore Roosevelt's exit from the Republican Party and the foundation of his new "Progressive" or "Bull Moose" Party.)

Many times, over the years, T.R. compares the machinery of politics to the workings of a kaleidoscope. 
At times brilliant colors and harmonious patterns can be seen, sometimes carefully shaken into shape, sometimes forming of their own accord.  At the slightest hitch, however, brilliance and harmony can fall into jagged disarray, leaving the viewer with clashing colors, shapes and shafts of impenetrable black.

T.R. knows that his third party candidacy is a long shot and that he would not likely win.  But he sees it as his duty.  “My public career will end next election day,” T.R. tells a visitor in the days preceding his new party’s own nominating convention.

He asks his wife to say what she thought of his situation.  A house guest relates that “She was quite radiant with trust and affection, as she expressed her faith that the path through honor to defeat was the one to take.”

T.R.’s transformational embrace of faith cause critics to suggest at the Progressive National Convention in August 1912 that Progressivism is a religion.  He nurtures the theme that he is engaged in Holy Work.

Familiar church hymns ring through the course of the proceedings, which are also held in Chicago, as the delegates sing and chant, surging the religiosity in the hall to the point of delirium.

Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

In his acceptance speech for the party nomination, entitled A Confession of Faith, T.R. repeats what he had stated earlier at the Republican National Convention, to a tumultuous response: “I say in closing what in that speech I said in closing: We stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord.”  A New York Times reporter writes that “It was not a convention at all.  It was an assemblage of religious enthusiasts.”

The mocking prophecy of Eliju Root, US Senator, R-NY, and formerly T.R.’s Secretary of War and then Secretary of State, appears to have been fulfilled: “He aims at a leadership far in the future, as a sort of Moses and Messiah for a vast progressive tide of a rising humanity.”

Jane Addams, a proponent of women’s suffrage, says that “I have been fighting for progressive principles for thirty years.  This is the biggest day in my life.”  The convention commits the Progressive Party to a vast program of social, economic and environmental reform.  T.R. has made Progressivism a “moral” issue, entitled to use a superlative when he calls the program “much the most important public document promulgated in this country since the death of Abraham Lincoln.”  The Progressive motto is to be “Pass prosperity around.”

In his vision of a moral society, ethically based, T.R. poses that the

Material progress and prosperity of a nation are desirable chiefly so long as they lead to the moral and material welfare of all good citizens.  Just in proportion as the average man and woman are honest, capable of sound judgment and high ideals, active in public affairs, --- but, first of all, sound in their home, and the father and mother of healthy children whom they bring up well, --- just so far, and not farther, we may count on civilization a success.

The soldier, or ordinary citizen, has to have the right stuff in him.  He has to have “the fighting edge, the right character.  The most important elements in any man’s career must be the sum of those qualities which, in the aggregate, we speak of as character.”

We must have the right kind of character --- character that makes a man, first of all, a good man in the home, a good father, and a good husband --- that makes a man a good neighbor.  You must have that, and, then, in addition, you must have the (right) kind of law and the (right) kind of administration of the law which will give to those qualities in the private citizen the best possible chance for development.

It comes as no surprise that the platform of the Progressive Party of 1912 amounts to a re-drafting of T.R.’s New Nationalism program.  It is not matched again for initiative and specificity in detail until the platform of the Democratic Party in 1964.

-Michael D'Angelo

(Editor's note: The third segment in this multi-part series takes the reader on a spiritual journey, as events --- which may only be described here as psychic --- unfold in the weeks leading up to the 1912 general election ...).

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Blueprint for America's Future (Part One)

(Editor's note:  This is the first segment in a multi-part series under title of A Blueprint for America's Future. The underlying series theme highlights the iconic presidential election of 1912, which some believe serves as the true blueprint for America's future.)

2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominated by a major national political party for the American presidency, has invested her campaign with the slogan: “Stronger Together: A Blueprint for America’s Future.”

Some students of US history do well to trace this blueprint to the platform of the Democratic Party in 1964.  Others may take it back further to 1932 and Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” agenda.  Still others link the blueprint to its genesis in the iconic three-way presidential election of 1912, Theodore Roosevelt challenging the democratic process to higher ideals.

Several twists and turns bring America to the place it is then situated, as the political calendar turns to 1912.  By the end of his presidency in 1908, T.R. is the Republican heir to Abraham Lincoln’s grand old party and champion of Progressive Era reform.  But against this responsibility he views with consternation the presidency of his hand-picked successor, President Taft, who has ominously transformed into the nation’s top reactionary in the ensuing period between 1908 and 1912.

A series of articles which can be reviewed here traces T.R.’s political transformation to a more spiritual basis during Mr. Taft’s presidency.  Alarmed by Mr. Taft’s passiveness and political about-face, T.R. is compelled to renew the contest, seeking the Republican Party nomination once again in the 1912 election.

The 1912 Republican primary contest is vicious on every level.  It pits President Taft, the conservative, whose powerful base champions the status quo, against T.R., the upstart, whose base favors the continuation of progressive change.

T.R finishes the Republican primary contest in strong fashion, about as well as can be hoped for.  He sweeps through and wins each of the last five voter primaries, including Mr. Taft’s home state of Ohio.  But T.R. finds, as is typically the case, that it is nearly impossible to wrest the nomination from an incumbent president.  At the nominating convention in Chicago, the Republican Party wages an epic, internal civil war battle, whose effects reverberate to the present day.

T.R. concludes his speech at the Republican national convention in an attempt to sway the delegates with the following language:

Assuredly the fight will go on whether we win or lose.  What happens to me is not of the slightest consequence; I am to be used, as in a doubtful battle any man is used, to his hurt or not, so long as he is useful and then cast aside or left to die.    We fight in honorable fashion for the good of mankind; fearless for the future; unheeding of our individual fates; with unflinching hearts and undimmed eyes; we stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord.

Never before has T.R. used such evangelical language, or dared to present himself as a holy warrior.  It is also said that never before has he heard such cheering.  Intended or not, he invests progressivism with a divine aura.

But obtaining the Republican Party’s nomination is not to be, coming as no surprise when President Taft’s conservative base carries the day to secure the nomination, beating back the progressive tide.  But the Republican Party that T.R. knew has lost the liberal conscience of Abraham Lincoln’s party.  And everyone knows that the Republican National Committee has decided to field a losing candidate (Mr. Taft) in November (1912), rather than gamble on one (T.R.) who would “radicalize” its “traditional” platform.

In turn, T.R. makes a monumental decision.  He precipitously bolts from the Republican National Convention --- and the Republican Party --- to form the new Progressive Party or “Bull Moose” Party.  The decision is occasioned by what T.R. sees as his compelling sense of duty, his conscience and his station.  Progressive would now contain a capital “P.”

-Michael D'Angelo

(Editor's note: The second segment in this multi-part series covers the 1912 Progressive Party --- or "Bull Moose" --- National Convention and the drafting of its historic progressive platform for the ensuing general election.)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Election Noise and Desiderata

As the 2016 US presidential election cycle ramps up toward its culminating crescendo, this ordinary citizen is blessed to appreciate the value --- of silence.  Yes, silence.   Reflecting on Desiderata, posted previously, adds yet to the blessing.  Note how that noble poem begins:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

The din of the presidential nominating conventions is now safely behind us.  It occurs to this ordinary citizen that should the average voter not be able to distinguish between wheat and chaff in all of 5 minutes, then one could dedicate the next 10 hours explaining yet they’d still not get it.  Perhaps human nature is such that some may never get it.  We must be at peace with that.

Consider that in the 1932 election --- 3+ years into the depths of the ongoing Great Depression, the unemployment rate at an alarming 25% and the Republican candidate promising “to do nothing” as a platform for re-election --- nearly 40% of the electorate still voted the national Republican ticket.  Remarkable as that may now seem, we must be at peace with that, also.

Silence is often the time we can hear the best.  It is said that’s why God has given us one mouth but two ears.  To facilitate listening.  Why make our own contribution to the noise, when we are better served to listen?  In the silence are sure to be the answers we seek.    The poem continues: 

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.

The ordinary citizen has more than enough balls in the air to juggle within the competitive economic landscape than to negotiate the din of who will be elected next.  What then?  If the system does not provide a fair shot for the many, as some suggest, the ordinary citizen might be well served to go to that place where material things give way to matters of the spirit.  Fear, doubt, hopelessness, despair: consider that none of these are real.  It may be easier to be at peace, were one to have this simple understanding.

We must look within for spiritual guidance:

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

We must be easier on ourselves, too.  Consider that the idea of forgiveness begins with forgiving ourselves first --- primarily for judging others.  Sometimes, we must be reminded that we --- all of us --- are children of the universe.  No one person is better than any other.  We are all the same --- connected to each other as children of the one God.  Doesn’t that make life seem a bit easier?

Finally, the poem concludes:

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy.

Why may we not see ourselves giving Love as a means of livelihood for that is what we all do?  Love is the exchange for all.  Forgiveness, healing and love are truly the sine qua non of this evolving universe.

Peace and good will to all.

-Michael D'Angelo

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Progress in the Pursuit of Happiness?
Perhaps it is one of those rare moments in the recording of history when the stars are in near perfect alignment.  An expression of the American mind identifies certain self-evident truths, that all men are created equal and possess the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  But an uncharted course in self-government requires the flexibility of experimentation.

A consensus of the educated, most respected citizenry concludes that individual pursuits are limited, doomed to failure, absent a social compact for collective, shared responsibility.  But while severing ties with the mother country, the citizenry agree to adopt its proven economic model, over objection that the system flows from principles adverse to liberty.  The greatest good for the greatest number under man’s creation produces enviable physical results.  Prosperity abounds in a land of plenty.

The individual’s happiness is indeed plentiful.  He celebrates success with a triumphant display of material conquest.  Not satisfied, he is further inspired to consolidate and advance his control over a larger portion of the bounty.  Neglecting the notion of a social conscience, he conspires to perpetuate his gains, assuring aristocratic privilege and hereditary status among those subsequent generations who will possess more than they earn.   He validates his actions by the blessings of a divine providence.  The anointment process is complete.

Since protecting the status quo is all that is required, why would the successful individual welcome a suggestion of meddling interference with the order of a wholly rational universe?  He deftly uses the mechanism of obstruction, seemingly mistaken for legitimate conservative values.  But his actions expose the popular myth that business success is a guarantee of civic virtue.  While his material position has not been harmed, his moral prestige is gone.

Some say the successful individual has manipulated the system for his own advantage.  Of course, this would serve to over-simplify the complicated dynamics of the historical process.  While the methods employed are sometimes questionable, unscrupulous and dishonest, they are not illegal.  But it is difficult to escape the conclusion that while it may be a simplification, it is not a falsification.  A man proves by his deeds according to the laws of human nature that the greatest number is typically the number one.

Meanwhile, the masses of the unknown, who comprise the vital base from whence the strength of the nation derives, complete this picture. The newcomer especially is no less energetic, industrious or talented. Attracted to the table by a promise of reward for an honest day’s work, he learns that a feast has been served previously and all that remain are crumbs. His opportunity effectively foreclosed, the newcomer is not likely to achieve a comparable level of success or prosperity by a reasonable measure.

At the crossroads the great crisis comes into view. The ordinary citizen reflects how the loudest yelps for liberty may have been heard among the drivers of the African slave --- amid a similar call today for less government from he who would monopolize economic opportunity. In reclaiming a fair shot at the American Dream for future generations of the unborn, the stakes could not be higher. This great crisis may only signal the next important step forward --- progress in the pursuit of happiness. Or perhaps the task of completing our great unfinished business is destined to be mankind’s final stand.

The successful individual marvels at the folly of an ordinary citizen to believe that a society is capable of change to reach new heights in both moral and material progress.  He deploys a campaign of fear to distort the message.  He rues an ordinary citizen’s determination, which is sustained by the search for truth as an imperative duty.  That search views the twin pillars of reason (science and materialism) and faith (spirituality and duty) as coefficients, working together, in the promotion of human welfare and the quest for progress.

The ordinary citizen has no army but is an apostle of enlightenment.  His path embraces the symbol of hope, and the principles of balance and harmony within nature’s law.  He respects property, but he understands that the creature of man’s making must be the servant and not the master of the man who made it.  And he knows that the ultimate reward of a richer, fuller existence contemplates the discharge of a duty of service which is faith in action.  It is marked by adherence to an incorruptible, disinterested ethical obligation that distinguishes the unselfish citizen from the mere hoarder of gold.

Nothing real can be owned.  Nothing gained, withheld. In the end, we take nothing home --- the place where forgiveness begins.  While it is not ours to judge, sharing and giving back hardly bring to the table any new ideas.

-Michael D'Angelo

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Compulsive “Ethical Obligation” (Part Four)

(Editors note:  This is the fourth and final segment in a four part series under title of The Search for Truth in a Reverent Spirit.  The underlying series theme features the clash between reason and matters of the spirit which defy rigid limitations of scientific calculation, as best told through the political transformation of Theodore Roosevelt.)

What is the mystery food that distinguishes the unselfish citizen from the mere hoarder of gold?

Special Message to Congress, intellectual plaudit and lofty speech on New Nationalism aside, the heart of Theodore Roosevelt’s political transformation occurs in December 1910, when he chooses to publish an extraordinary essay, The Search for Truth in a Reverent Spirit.  It is, for him, almost a religious confession.

To measure the progress of social advances and the elusive search for truth, rigid materialistic standards in science that reject the imaginative or metaphysical are simply too regressive.  Reason, as in evolutionary science, and the accompanying blunt physical force of materialistic pursuits, is alone insufficient.

T.R. has seen that rigid theories, or dogmas, no matter how provable they seemed in the marketplace at a given time, are typically swept away by the currents of historical change.  In other words, today’s “law” might be tomorrow’s superstition, and vice versa.

Important factors such as, for example, the human emotion of love, and common sense, are not sufficiently accounted for.  Similarly, there can be no advancement of knowledge absent the part of wisdom to accept the teachings of experience, and practice humility in the process.  For the first essential requires the willingness of men to say ‘We do not know.”

Moreover, where experience has plainly proven that the intellect has reasoned incorrectly, true wisdom requires that the teachings of experience be accepted.  In such case reason must be humbled --- just under like conditions experience would require theology to be humble.

T.R. feels that any steady scientific or social advance has to give way to “bolder, more self-reliant spirits … men whose unfettered freedom of soul and intellect yields complete fealty only to the great cause of truth, and will not be hindered by any outside control on the search to attain it.”

He is saying that wider recognition must be given to faith, the spiritual qualities inherent in “the narrowness of a shut-in materialism.”  This permits the opening up of a new theory that the principle of group development in human beings is as instinctive and organic as that in biological evolution.  The embrace of both faith and reason is necessary for a person of “conscience” in searching for truth, as something entirely practical, yet divine.

Faith and reason are seen as coefficients, not opposites, in the quest for progress.  Superior wisdom understands “that outside the purely physical lies the psychic, and that the realm of religion stands outside even the purely psychic.”

Those who profess faith while allowing materialism to persuade them are not having philosophy both ways.  On the contrary, they are “in a position of impregnable strength,” rightly holding that religion itself is evolutionary and has to adapt as it progresses.

To them Christianity, the greatest of the religious creations which humanity has seen, rests upon what Christ himself teaches: for, … the performance of duty is faith in action, faith in its highest expression, for duty gives no other reason, and need give no other reason, for its existence than ‘its own incorruptible disinterestedness.’

T.R. sums up his argument concerning duty and the notion of an ethical obligation:

Surely we must all recognize the search for truth as an imperative duty; and we ought all of us likewise to recognize that this search for truth should be carried on not only fearlessly, but also with reverence, with humility of spirit, and with full recognition of our own limitations both of the mind and the soul.    To those who deny the ethical obligation implied in such a faith we who acknowledge the obligation are aliens; and we are brothers to all those who do acknowledge it, whatever their creed or system of philosophy.

All the books he has consulted concern progress from one state of held beliefs to another over the course of history.   All try in vain to deny, and have accepted, that faith (belief) is as transformative a force as reason (materialism), as well as a necessary catalyst.  After a lifetime of rejecting spiritual speculation, in favor of the body electric and the physics of (military) power, T.R. concedes the vitality of faith --- not necessarily Bible-thumping, but at least the compulsive “ethical obligation” that distinguishes the unselfish citizen from the mere hoarder of gold.

lincoln+cartoon.jpg (400×282)If nothing else, T.R. is now sure that whatever he does with the rest of his life will have to have moral purpose.  His efforts will reach an apex with the captivating presidential election of 1912, in which T.R. challenges the democratic process to higher ideals.  With the 2016 election looming, this will be the subject of upcoming articles.

-Michael D’Angelo

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Search for Truth in a Reverent Spirit (Part Three)

(Editors note:  This is the third segment in a continuing series featuring the clash between reason and matters of the spirit which defy rigid limitations of scientific calculation.  The previous segment - Part Two - identifies Theodore Roosevelt’s political transformation as one which neatly highlights this distinction.)

What is the essence of any struggle for healthy liberty and human betterment?  How can we measure the central condition of progress?

Try as he will, Theodore Roosevelt is unable to deny the spiritual qualities inherent in all materialistic pursuits, from science to business to politics.  With the ink barely dry on his 1908 Special Message to Congress, by 1910 T.R. boldly envisions a New Nationalism.  Some label his words “Communistic,” “Socialistic” and “Anarchistic” in various quarters.  Others hail “the greatest oration ever given on American soil.”

T.R. reflects that there have been “two great crises in our country’s history: first, when it was formed, and then, again, when it was perpetuated … .”  The third great crisis is upon us, the struggle “to achieve in large measure equality of opportunity.”

In every wise struggle for human betterment one of the main objects, and often the only object, has been to achieve in large measure equality of opportunity.  In the struggle for this great end, nations rise from barbarism to civilization, and through it people press forward from one stage of enlightenment to the next.  One of the chief factors in progress is the destruction of special privilege.  The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows. 

At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress.  In our day it appears as the struggle of freeman to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will.  At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth.  That is nothing new.

New Nationalism envisions “practical equality of opportunity for all citizens” as the socially desirable result.  This will permit every man to

have a fair chance to make of himself all that lies in him; to reach the highest point to which his capacities, unassisted by special privilege of his own and unhampered by the special privilege of others, can carry him, and to get for himself and his family substantially what he has earned.  Second, equality of opportunity means that the commonwealth will get from every citizen the highest service of which he is capable.  No man who carries the burden of the special privileges of another can give to the commonwealth that service to which it is fairly entitled.

Its central tenet is government protection of property rights, the traditional approach.  But New Nationalism elevates human welfare, the second critical component, to a higher priority and the critical measure of any presidential administration.

T.R. insists that only a powerful federal government can regulate the economy and guarantee social justice, to protect the laboring men, women and children from exploitation.  He supports graduated income and inheritance taxes, a social security system, a national health service, a federal securities commission and the direct election of US senators.  The platform also supports the democratic principles of initiative, referendum and recall as means for the people to exert more direct control over government.  In short, it is a platform which inspires much of the social agenda of the future New Deal a generation later:

The man who wrongly holds that every human right is secondary to his profit must now give way to the advocate of human welfare, who rightly maintains that every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it.

New Nationalism further admits “the right to regulate the terms and conditions of labor, which is the chief element of wealth, directly in the interest of the common good.”  Wages must be “more than sufficient” to cover the cost of living and hours “short enough” to permit the worker the “time and energy to … help in carrying the general load.”

Moreover, New Nationalism prohibits the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes and strictly regulates political lobbyists which is to be “thoroughly enforced.”  Sentiments of this nature will tend to put the political world on notice, if not take it by storm.

 (Editor’s note:  To be continued.  Part Four in the series arrives at the heart of T.R.’s political transformation to spiritual icon …)

 -Michael D'Angelo

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Search for Truth in a Reverent Spirit (Part Two)

(Editors note:  This is the second segment in a new series.  The first segment introduces readers to the fork in the road caused by the clash between proven scientific principles with matters of the spirit which defy the rigid limitations of scientific calculation ...)

In a land of plenty, something still appears to be missing?  What is it?

Thomas Jefferson aims at the pursuit of happiness, with virtue as its foundation.  Alexander Hamilton, by contrast, envisions the physical greatness of the state as being above the happiness of its citizens.  To the extent that the two are at odds, Hamilton would choose the former, and happiness will follow.  Resolving the dispute among his two top cabinet members, President George Washington decides in Hamilton’s favor.  For better or worse, the course is set.  America is constructed on this foundation. 

But although physical greatness does expand to levels unprecedented, the ordinary citizen’s “something is missing from life” experience continues to gather its own inexorable momentum.  The elusive ingredient involves a search for Truth.  Scientists reject any “new” principle which cannot be scientifically proven.  Spirit guided intuition, on the other hand, allows for the potential of a broader understanding and a higher trajectory.

In American History, a study of Theodore Roosevelt’s political transformation typically flies under the radar.  But it neatly highlights the above distinction.  T.R. has spent a lifetime of rejecting spiritual speculation, in favor of the body electric and the physics of (military) power --- from the land prizes of the Spanish American War --- to the construction of the Panama Canal --- to re-building the US Navy, almost from scratch, to a military size befitting the ability to successfully prosecute a two ocean war --- which he foresees 40 years in advance.  At the dawn of the 20th century, his presidency cements his reputation as the Republican heir to Abraham Lincoln’s grand old party and as the champion of Progressive Era domestic reform.

But T.R., too, feels the hunger pangs of the something that’s missing phenomenon.  With his successor botching T..R.’s progressive agenda and becoming the nation’s top reactionary, T.R. contemplates a return to political life as the calendar turns to 1912.  At the same time a political transformation is taking place within him.  He would begin to argue for wider recognition of the spiritual qualities inherent in all materialistic pursuits, from science to business to politics.

The roots of this transformation can be traced to several sources.  The first dates back to T.R.’s presidency (1901-1908), specifically the delivery of a Special Message to Congress in January 1908, his last year in office.  It argues for automatic compensation for job-related (industrial) accidents and federal scrutiny of corporate boardroom operations.  It campaigns “against privilege, part of the campaign to make the great class of property holders realize that property has its duties no less than its rights.”  It also campaigns against “predatory wealth --- of the wealth accumulated on a giant scale by all forms of iniquity.”  It is to be a war “against successful dishonesty.”

The issue T.R. raises in this message, perhaps more than any other utterance in his career, convinces Wall Street that “Theodore the Sudden” is a dangerous man.

But T.R. scoffs at this criticism, stating that it is “fundamentally an ethical movement:”

The opponents of the measures we champion single out now one, and now another measure for especial attack, and speak as if the movement in which we are engaged was purely economic.  It has a large economic side, but it is fundamentally an ethical movement.  It is not a movement to be completed in one year, or two or three years; it is a movement which must be persevered in until the spirit which lies behind it sinks deep into the heart and the conscience of the whole people.

Followed quickly on its heels is the publication of Herbert Croly’s The Promise of American Life, which becomes the bible of the new social movement.  The book argues the need for a strong central government (Hamiltonian), calling for a war on indiscriminate individualism (Jefferson) and unearned privilege (Jacksonian).  And it also calls for T.R. as the only leader in America capable of encompassing both aims.

But after completing two presidential terms featuring a progressive agenda of activist reform, T.R. upholds the tradition of George Washington and declines to run for a third term.  By 1909, T.R. is now a former president --- still relatively young by historical standards at age 51 --- but nonetheless outside the political power structure looking in.  With his spiritual evolution continuing, T.R. begins to plot his future course.

(Editor’s note:  To be continued.  The next segment (Part Three) will continue to explore the underpinnings of T.R.’s political transformation to spiritual icon …)

-Michael D’Angelo