The Bully Pulpit Book Summary By Doris Kearns Goodwin

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The Bully Pulpit (2013) is a captivating exploration of American history.

It delves into the life of President Theodore Roosevelt, the rise of progressive investigative journalists, and the complex relationship between Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

Each of these threads are carefully interwoven to tell a compelling story about the political and social landscape at the turn of the century.

From Teddy Roosevelt's unyielding pursuit of progressivism to Taft's struggle with reconciling his own politics with the nation's, The Bully Pulpit explores powerful themes that remain relevant today.

Book Name: The Bully Pulpit (Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism)

Author(s): Doris Kearns Goodwin

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: Book Summaries

Author Bio

Doris Kearns Goodwin is an esteemed historian and political commentator, who has achieved worldwide acclaim with her bestselling presidential biographies.

Her works have been beloved by readers around the world, and her most critically acclaimed book, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, even won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for History.

Her latest work, The Bully Pulpit, promises to be equally noteworthy.

In this new book, Doris Kearns Goodwin offers a comprehensive look at Theodore Roosevelt's presidency and his use of the "bully pulpit" to advance his agenda.

With her meticulous research and engaging storytelling style, Doris Kearns Goodwin is sure to bring readers a unique perspective on this influential president!

In The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin Explores The Relationship Between Theodore Roosevelt And William Howard Taft And How It Impacted Journalism In The Early 20Th Century

In The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin brings to life the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft.

Through her research, she provides an insight into how these two former presidents used their positions to influence public opinion and tackle the issues of political corruption and miscarriages of justice.

For example, you’ll learn about how Roosevelt earned his nickname “The trust-buster” by tackling big business monopolies during his presidency.

You’ll also gain an understanding of why their friendship eventually grew stale over the years.

Moreover, you will also get an in-depth look at how they interacted with the press and used their bully pulpit as a way to further their respective agendas and even to defend themselves against charges of wrongdoings or misconduct.

In short, this book offers a unique glimpse into the way both former Presidents used their office to shape history.

Theodore Roosevelt Redefined The American Economy And Brought Justice To Its People

Theodore Roosevelt, the 25th President of the United States, was widely popular and enacted great changes for our country.

When he took office in 1901 at the age of 42, becoming our nation’s youngest president to date, he faced a serious challenge: Corporations had been allowed to expand rapidly after the Industrial Revolution, at the expense of the people.

Without regulations on safety or payment, workers suffered in dangerous conditions with long hours and little pay.

Resources were plundered without concern for conservation or sustainability.

In response, Roosevelt sought to set up an ethical framework for America’s economy where businesses would be more fairly regulated and consumers and workers would benefit.

In 1905 his attorney general filed a suit that broke apart a beef trust that had been holding families down by rigging prices of meat so that families could not afford it.

He strengthened labor rights by limiting workday lengths and in 1906 Congress passed both the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food & Drug Act which protect consumers from spoiled or dangerous goods.

With these great changes instigated by Theodore Roosevelt during his presidency, it’s no wonder why he was a beloved president of America!

How Roosevelt Overcame Adversity And Shaped His Character Through Determination

Roosevelt was born into a privileged environment, in New York in 1858.

His father was a wealthy and well-connected glass merchant and Roosevelt had access to an excellent education as he grew up.

Despite his fortunate start in life, however, Roosevelt wasn’t able to escape the challenges of early adulthood unscathed.

He suffered from severe attacks of asthma and even had to be homeschooled at one point due to his poor health; on top of this, he had to contend with the devastating losses of both his wife and mother when he was only 22.

In order to try and overcome his weakened physical condition, Roosevelt kept himself on a strict training regime for years in an attempt to get stronger.

Little did Roosevelt know at the time that these difficult experiences would ultimately shape him into the strong and determined figure we know today – an inspiration for so many of us who have faced our own battles in life.

The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt: Fighting Corruption And Winning Respect

When Roosevelt left Harvard, he wasn’t sure what to do with his life.

Eventually, he chose to study law at Columbia and started attending Republican meetings – and it was there that he found his true passion: fighting injustice.

Just eight months after first attending these meetings, he dropped out of law school and became the youngest New York State Assembly member.

In this role, he fought corruption head-on – beginning with investigations into railroad tycoon Jay Gould and a New York Supreme Court Justice – and quickly earned respect from both his colleagues and constituents alike.

He was even elected assembly minority leader after just one term!

He continued in his efforts to expose corruption, earning himself appointments to more prestigious posts in the process.

From US civil service commissioner to president of the board of the New York City Police Commission, Roosevelt spent much of his career fighting for justice.

He revealed police misconduct ranging from protection money collection to officers being drunk on duty, while also advocating for promotions based on merit rather than political affiliation.

A New Leader Emerges: How Theodore Roosevelt’S Fight Against Corruption Led To The U

Ironically, it was the infighting within Theodore Roosevelt’s own Republican Party that helped propel his career forward.

Before becoming governor of New York, he had a strong reputation for battling corruption and faced very little opposition from conservative leaders.

This allowed him to pass measures such as better working conditions for children and protective legislation for forested areas.

This all changed when Roosevelt discovered how the Party was granting lucrative franchises to corporations, granting them exclusive access to state telephone and street railway networks without having to pay revenue taxes.

In order to prevent Roosevelt from exposing this illicit arrangement, they nominated him as Vice President to William McKinley in 1900—essentially attempting to neutralize him politically by making him part of the President’s administration.

When McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States – ultimately winning the next election by an overwhelming majority, which remains one of the largest in presidential elections history.

All thanks, ironically enough, to his party’s inner conflicts helping further his career!

The Power Of The Press: How Journalists Helped Theodore Roosevelt Reach His Goals

Throughout his life and career, Theodore Roosevelt had a unique relationship with progressive journalists.

Beyond just winning their admiration or earning favorable coverage, he actively sought out the counsel and advice of the professionals in the field.

Roosevelt already had a successful writing career long before he turned to politics, having published over 45 books and 1000 articles.

This pre-existing rapport meant that he had many journalist friends he would turn to for both anecdotal advice and input on important political matters.

For instance, when preparing messages for Congress, Roosevelt would often meet with journalists in his library so they could offer him feedback or criticism.

Additionally, Roosevelt made himself available to the press by allowing private meetings with individual reporters as well as holding frequent press conferences.

He was even known to invite various press members along with him during trips across the country.

The close relationship between Roosevelt and progressive journalists provided him both support towards his plans and goals while also quite literally providing him a “bully pulpit” from which to disseminate information about past actions or campaign announcements.

In this way, Roosevelt’s strong relationship ensured that the public was kept up-to-date on all of his activities — an element largely responsible for its success and high approval ratings throughout its tenure in office.

Roosevelt Fights Against Big Business And Wins With Cunning Strategies

At the turn of the century, trusts had tremendous power, controlling prices and trading conditions in major industries like steel, railways and sugar.

Theodore Roosevelt knew he had to do something about this and fought hard against trusts that threatened public interests.

He used legal means to file against 44 trusts and also became known as ‘trust buster’ for successfully taking on Northern Securities, an umbrella company uniting several major railroad companies.

But getting Republican senators onboard was difficult as they prefered laissez-faire over interventionism.

That’s when Roosevelt employed an ingenious strategy with the help of press agencies – outling that John D.

Rockefeller had sent telegrams to corrupt Senators who opposed the Bureau of Corporations investigation into internal practices at companies.

This news soon made headlines, forcing the Conservative Senators to back down for fear of damage to their reputation in light of what consequently caused public outrage.

This is a prime example of why Roosevelt is rightly remembered as one who sought to diminish the power of trusts with clever maneuvers involving media coverage and popular support.

Teddy Roosevelt Leveraged The Progressive Press And His Contacts To Overcome Lobbyism

When Theodore Roosevelt took office, corruption was rampant in the US.

Lobbyism and politicians who received bribes from special interest groups had a big influence on government policies.

This was true of both the Senate and other areas of the government.

Even Republican Party leaders weren’t always on board with progressive reforms that would benefit everyday Americans.

Roosevelt needed help in taking on this power of the deep state, and he turned to both the progressive press and his connections in the Republican party.

The press provided support for Roosevelt’s efforts to pass bills that were beneficial to citizens rather than special interests with their reporting and coverage of his political actions.

This helped sway public sentiment in his favor, causing representatives to vote in line with what their constituents wanted rather than what they were paid or threatened to do by

Beyond The Bathtub: William Howard Taft’S Legacy Of Accomplishments

William Howard Taft was an outstanding lawyer and a popular politician.

At 30 years old, he was appointed as judge of Ohio Superior Court, making him the youngest judge in the entire state.

Two years later, he became the youngest ever Solicitor General – representing state cases to the Supreme Court.

Taft also had an impressive career as a political leader.

After being appointed by President McKinley to lead a commission that aimed to institute civilian government in the Philippines, he became its first Governor General in 1901.

During his time in office, Taft created a new constitution and improved infrastructure such as healthcare facilities and schools – all which served to make him popular among Filipinos at the time.

In fact 8,000 Filipinos demonstrated in front of the palace before his return back home – requesting him to stay for another year!

In 1921 he returned after he was inaugurated as Chief Justice of Supreme Court of United States, become the only person with ability to serve both president and judicial service at once!

Theodore Roosevelt And William Howard Taft’S Unlikely Friendship Benefited The Us

The friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft was instant.

Even though they had very different personalities, the men bonded over their shared political vision.

They exchanged over 400 letters throughout their lives, and Roosevelt said of Taft,”One loves him at first sight”.

Taft was also a great source of advice for Roosevelt and supported his endeavors.

He not only supervised the construction of the Panama Canal, but mediated in several conflicts between Congress and the executive branch.

Even more impressively, Roosevelt chose Taft to run as his successor in the 1908 presidential election, believing that he would continue with the same political agenda.

He called on his own allies to support Taft’s campaign and even edited some of his notoriously long speeches.

All in all, this showed how close their friendship was and how much confidence Roosevelt had in Taft’s abilities.

Taft And Roosevelt: The Fall Of A Once-Great Friendship

When Roosevelt endorsed his close ally William H.

Taft for president in 1908, he hoped that Taft’s cabinet would continue to support his progressive reforms.

Unfortunately, when Taft took office, things changed and many of Roosevelt’s allies were left out of his cabinet.

Even worse, Secretary of Interior Richard Ballinger enacted policies opposed by conservationists like Gifford Pinchot that ran counter to Roosevelt’s attempts to protect public wilderness lands from corporate developers.

And with the lawsuit against J.P Morgan’s United Steel Production, the rift between onetime friends Taft and Roosevelt further deepened.

As “the trust-buster” who only opposed trusts if they were harmful to the American people, Roosevelt felt he owed a debt of gratitude to J.P.

Morgan for helping the economy during 1907’s financial panic.

So it was no surprise that by this time, Kenney clearly saw that Roosevelt had become deeply disappointed with Taft’s policy decisions as president For sure it has been true ever since then – this episode goes down in the history books as one of most sorrowful eras in US politics from a friendship perspective..

A Tale Of Disagreement: Roosevelt And Taft’S Struggle For Power Diverts From The Call For Progressive Reforms

When Roosevelt was president, he had a difference in opinion with Taft when it came to politics.

So much of a difference that he saw Taft as his enemy and felt personally betrayed by him.

But in reality, it wasn’t so much the politics that caused this separation, but more so a problem in character: Taft strongly believed in the letter of the law while Roosevelt was known to twist laws to get his desired result.

Taft also did not perform as well as Roosevelt when trying to pass progressive reforms due to lack of public support.

Sinceresly attempting to protect land legally (by first obtaining congressional legislation) surely hurt him politically; meanwhile, Roosevelts method of rallying people with reform through press mobilization seemed more successful.

Despite all these differences, both men wrapped up their feud shortly before Roosevelt’s death in 1919 when they were able reconcile.

Meeting up at a hotel dining room one day, their warm courtesies resulted in everyone else standing and applauding them for putting the past behind them.

Wrap Up

The Bully Pulpit explores the events, people and ideas from a transformative era of political progressivism in America.

Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the “golden age of journalism” all help to tell this story.

Roosevelt relied on progressive reporters to rally public support for his reforms, which were necessary to fix endemic corruption and loosely regulated capitalism.

Taft became president after Roosevelt largely due to what he had accomplished in his political career.

Though the two estranged soon after, they reconciled shortly before Roosevelt passed away.

This book provides an interesting insight into how this time period shaped our nation’s history and economics today.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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