Theodore Roosevelt: The Naval War Of 1812

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Naturalist John Burroughs once said of his friend Theodore Roosevelt, "Roosevelt was a many-sided man and every side was like an electric battery. Such versatility, such vitality, such thoroughness, such copiousness, have rarely been united in one man.” While many people know Roosevelt the war hero, Roosevelt the President, or Roosevelt the naturalist, his contributions as an author/historian shouldn’t take a back seat to T.R.’s numerous other accomplishments. In The Naval War of 1812, Roosevelt aims to craft the complete unbiased work on the naval combat between the United States of America and Great Britain from 1812-1815. When it was published in 1883 it became an instant sensation in the academic world. Colleges used it as a textbook and every American naval vessel was required to carry a copy on board. Today, over …show more content…

decide to focus his energies specifically on the naval battles of the War of 1812? According to Roosevelt the accounts of the topic were subpar, he stated “none of these works can be regarded as giving satisfactory full or impartial accounts of the war” (XXV). In typical Roosevelt style, he doesn’t pull any punches critiquing the other prominent works on the war. While he applauds Lt. George Emmons’ History of the United States Navy for the depth of its information, he calls it “not interesting to the average reader” (13). His harshest criticism is pointed towards British author William James. T.R. found James’ Naval History of Great Britain to be far from impartial, referring to it as “a piece of special pleading by a bitter and not over-scrupulous partisan” (XXV). Roosevelt will spend a lot of ink “correcting” what he believes are James’ mistakes. Thus Roosevelt’s aims are clear- write an exhaustive account that lacked the nationalistic slant of previous works. But wrapped in the war’s history Roosevelt also makes his case for the military preparedness, especially the importance of maintaining a first-class

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