The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

Ken Burns: The Roosevelts: An Intimate History


The Roosevelts: An Intimate History is a 2014 American documentary film directed and produced by Ken Burns. It covers the lives and times of the Roosevelt family, including Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican and the 26th President of the United States; Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat and the 32nd President of the United States, a cousin of Theodore; and Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, a niece of Theodore who had wed Franklin. As a result of the influence of Theodore and Franklin as Presidents, as well as Eleanor as First Lady, a modern democratic state of equal opportunity was begun in the United States. The documentary film begins with the birth of Theodore in 1858 and ends with the death of Eleanor in 1962
Comment: We missed the 1st episode but then watched episodes 2 through 7. Then last night we watched the 1st episode. I learned so much and heartedly recommend it. I was especially impressed with the coverage of FDR's handicap (we have something in common ... weak legs!). I probably would not have voted for FDR but he was a real leader and he was the President of the whole nation, not just the Democrats. The link between the two family lines was Eleanor who was Theodore Roosevelt's niece (from his brother) and FDR's 5th cousin.Meanwhile the Republicans could learn something from this family: For Republicans, a Democratic Policy Playbook - The Party of Lincoln should take a page from the Party of Roosevelt and Kennedy.

Republicans thinking about an agenda for the future may want to borrow some ideas from an unlikely source—the Democrats of the past. Bill Clinton’s welfare reform and North American Free Trade Agreement. John F. Kennedy’s tax cuts. President Carter’s deregulation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s World War II resolve. Put them together and update them for the current moment, and they are the beginnings of an effective policy program for Republicans in Congress or seeking the White House in 2016. What’s more, talking about them as Democratic ideas could help Republicans capture crossover voters while also reminding them how far today’s Democrats have shifted left. The two most effective Republican politicians of my lifetime, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, both realized this. When Reagan accepted the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, the Gipper quoted FDR’s 1932 acceptance speech: “For three long years I have been going up and down this country preaching that government—federal, state, and local—costs too much. I shall not stop that preaching. As an immediate program of action, we must abolish useless offices. We must eliminate unnecessary functions of government.”

In the final two weeks of George W. Bush’s successful re-election campaign in 2004, Bush cited Roosevelt in 24 speeches, and Kennedy in 17. “The party of Franklin Roosevelt, of Harry Truman, of John Kennedy is rightly remembered for confidence and resolve in times of war and hours of crisis,” Bush said in Dubuque, Iowa. “Many Democrats in this country do not recognize their party anymore.” As Bush and Reagan appreciated, talking about Democrats favorably—at least those of previous generations—is good politics for Republicans. It provides reassurance and emotional comfort for those voters who aren’t in the habit of voting for the GOP. It also serves to distinguish Democratic politicians of the past from those of the present. As Reagan said during a campaign stop in 1984 in Warren, Michigan, “Whenever I talk about Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Harry Truman or John F. Kennedy, my opponents start tearing their hair out. They just can’t stand it. Well of course they can’t, because it highlights how far they, the leadership today of the Democratic Party, have strayed from the strength of the Democratic political tradition.”
Comment on Eleanor: She was no beauty later in life but was stunning in her youth. She had a hard life, an alcoholic father. She lived in the shadow of her mother-in-law, Sara; and lived with a man who was unfaithful to her. My family was touched in many ways by FDR. Dad was drafted under a bill approved by FDR, my Mother worked for the draft board, and Kathee's Father was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Below is a picture of Eleanor in her teens. Source

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