Bully: An Adventure With Teddy Roosevelt

Jerome Alden’s play, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt is set in the year 1912. It follows Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. In 1912, he attempted to run for a third term as President. The play is split into two acts: in the first, Roosevelt reminisces about his past life and political career; the second follows him through his presidential campaign of 1912 and afterward.

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In the play, Roosevelt mentions the socioeconomic conflicts between the rich and the poor. His response to the coal strike of 1902 illustrates this, as he reminisces about supporting workers’ rights1. Furthermore, he says that he considers the rich’s ability to manipulate politicians unjust. He goes on to explain that in fighting for the poor laborers, he is contributing to the future of the nation as a whole2. Thus, the play takes a side supporting the working class.

Another theme present in the story is that of the relationship between generations. In Roosevelt’s case, he is proud of his sons and daughter. This pride is expressed often in the second act, such as when he approves of his son Quentin’s grades3. Later, he is grateful to his son Kermit for ignoring his pleas to leave him behind after his injury in the Brazilian expedition and carrying him4 Moreover, he describes this expedition as his “last chance to be a boy.”5 This shows that even though there is no conflict of generations, his children, and youth in general, are critical to Theodore Roosevelt’s character.

The 1912 election is the central domestic political issue of the play. Roosevelt is shown to be reluctant at first, but eagerly joins the political race once others show support of him. He is largely motivated by his disapproval of the current president, Howard Taft. Even though he chose him as successor, he views him as a weak an indecisive “pussyfooted flubdub”6, whose “non-leadership”7 is unacceptable. After the campaign, he has a similar view of the new President Woodrow Wilson as overly cautious or cowardly for delaying to enter into World War I8. Most foreign policies are only mentioned in passing, but arguably the one with the most emphasis is the President’s part in regulating the Russo-Japanese war, as he reminisces about it after he loses the election.

Theodore Roosevelt is presented as fairly arrogant in the play. He expresses his arrogance when he says he never cared about what people thought, but what they “ought to think, and then did [his] best to get them to think it.”9 However, he also acts altruistically on many occasions, such as when he urges the rest of his expedition in Brazil to proceed without him after he injures his foot and deems himself a burden10. At the end, he finds himself regretting not putting enough efforts, or at least not having the time, to work on his projects like the simplification of the English language or his writing.

Personally, I think the play is interesting, showing an important historical character as a human, above all else. However, I would not recommend it to a friend, unless he or she already had an interest in history and at least a passing familiarity with Roosevelt and the period in general. The play would probably be difficult to understand without such knowledge. Finally, if I could talk to Roosevelt, I would ask him about his corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.

Bibliography

Alden, Jerome. Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt. New York: Crown Publishers, 1979.

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Footnotes

  1. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 41.
  2. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 41.
  3. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 53.
  4. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 52.
  5. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 52.
  6. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 42.
  7. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 39.
  8. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 59.
  9. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 13.
  10. Jerome Alden, Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (New York: Crown Publishers, 1979), 52.
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StudyCorgi. (2021, June 21). Bully: An Adventure With Teddy Roosevelt. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/bully-an-adventure-with-teddy-roosevelt/

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1. StudyCorgi. "Bully: An Adventure With Teddy Roosevelt." June 21, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/bully-an-adventure-with-teddy-roosevelt/.


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StudyCorgi. "Bully: An Adventure With Teddy Roosevelt." June 21, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/bully-an-adventure-with-teddy-roosevelt/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Bully: An Adventure With Teddy Roosevelt." June 21, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/bully-an-adventure-with-teddy-roosevelt/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Bully: An Adventure With Teddy Roosevelt'. 21 June.

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