The Big Stick is Back? Teddy and Sarah!

Posted by on September 1, 2008


“‘Working women have the same need to protection that working men have; the ballot is as necessary for one class as to the other; we do not believe that with the two sexes there is identity of function; but we do believe there should be equality of right.'”

–Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore R. Association)


Ok….I’ve always strived to make this history blog non-political as much as possible.  I will continue this policy as much as I can, HOWEVER, from a historical standpoint, I’ve been interested to see the eerie similarities between John McCain’s choice for VP, Sarah Palin, and the great man who also started out as VP:  Theodore Roosevelt.  This has been echoed by others including Free Republic.  Let’s take a closer look, including some historical resources that gives background and depth of information.

Here’s why.


Much has been made of Sarah Palin’s age and political inexperience.  Many pundits make cutting remarks about this, assuming the presidency is obtained this fall and something should happen to McCain during his time in office.  Using the now famous line of “one-heartbeat away”, they fail to realize that Theodore Roosevelt was only 42 when he assumed the Presidency from McKinley, who was put down by an assassin’s bullet. In the magazine American Cowboy, we hear:

“After William McKinley was elected President in 1901, Hannah reminded his fellow Ohioan what would happen if he should die in office: “Look what we’ve got! That damned cowboy is President of the United States!’…” (2)


Hailing from Alaska, Palin is a lifelong resident of this still untamed and under-populated state. While I’m not sure it’s an official “frontier”, one has think that it contains elements of that in the vast and rolling landscapes.  In the same way, Theodore Roosevelt also went to the frontier and his travels, ranch and associated adventures have become legend and part of his public persona. Says Roosevelt:

“We knew toil and hardship and hunger and thirst…but we felt the beat of hardy life in our veins, and ours was the glory of work and the joy of living…” (3)

Sarah Palin’s love of the outdoor life, noted since the suprise announcement last Friday, parallels that of TR.  Hunting, fishing, snowmobiles and shooting are all things she has been noted for.  In the same way, Theodore Roosevelt’s love of the outdoors and the “strenuous life” has become legend.  This love of nature and biology extended throughout Teedie’s life as well.


While it is well known that Palin has 5 children, including a newborn, and has expressed her views on family life, Theodore Roosevelt also had many children, five by his second wife and one by his first.  He loved being with them and taking part in their growing up.  Said Roosevelt:

“…’There are many kinds of success in life worth having,’ Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his autobiography.  ‘It is exceedingly interesting and attractive to be a successful business man, or railroad man, or farmer, or a successful lawyer, or doctor, or a writer, or a president, or a ranchman, or the colonel of a fighting regiment…..But for unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison’…” (4)



Politics:  Roosevelt too was Governor, and fought interests, both external and internal to the Republican party, interests that to him were more important than the party line.  This is not to say he or anyone else is perfection achieved, but if we examine his life, his values, his actions, over time, we see a track record emerge.  In the same way, Palin has seemingly fought the Republican party for what she sees is wrong, in particularly ethics and ethics reform.


As usual, there is more to say, but lack of space on the post precludes me from including more.  In that respect, then, take a look at the links below.  Regardless of your political affiliations, thoughts about today’s blog post, or my ideas, you have to admit TR was a great man, president, and dad.  You might find, like myself, the similarities are shocking…..

Have a great day!


Theodore Roosevelt Association

Wikipedia: Theodore Roosevelt

Wikipedia: Sarah Palin

People Magazine: John McCain, Sarah Palin Interview

Theodore Roosevelt Collection: Harvard


(1)Theodore Roosevelt Association.

(2) American Cowboy

(3) Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt-An Autobiography. (Google Book Search) pgs. 103-104

(4) “A Great New Yorker” (website)

(5) Don Young: Congressman Photo Gallery

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