BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston-based historian Doris Kearns Goodwin says Theodore Roosevelt lived in turbulent times much like our own.
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt came into office at the turn of the 20th Century as the youngest president in U.S. history at the age 42. Kearns Goodwin says he was the man for the moment.
"As I think about that time, what he was able to do was to cut through socialism on the one side and right-winged conservatism on the other and form a progressive center that could get rational centrist reform and get the country knitted together as a whole," she said.
Kearns Goodwin applauded Roosevelt, saying his diverse background made him relatable to many people in the country. He led the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War, was a cattle rancher in North Dakota, a statesman in New York, and a staunch conservationist. He was also a man of privilege with a Harvard education.
"So, I think people felt connected to him from the East and the West, and the North and the South; from the working class to the privileged," Kearns Goodwin said. "And that's what made him so able to lead the country in a direction of common purpose."
She also shared Roosevelt's most lasting achievement.
"I think the most important thing he did and it has such relevance today, was to insist that what the country needed was a square deal for all — for the capitalist and the wage worker, for the rich man and the poor man," she said.
Part one premiered Monday night and part two will air Tuesday, May 31, at 8 p.m. on The History Channel.
WBZ's Laurie Kirby (@LaurieWBZ) reports: