Theodore Roosevelt was a uniquely gifted figure. A man of great intellect and physicality, the New York patrician captured the imagination of the American people with his engaging personality and determination to give all citizens regardless of race, color, or creed the opportunity to achieve the American dream.
While Roosevelt employed his abilities to rise from unknown New York legislator to become the youngest man ever to assume the presidency in 1901, that rapid success would not have occurred without the assistance of the powerful New Englander, Henry Cabot Lodge.
Eight years older than Roosevelt, from a prominent Massachusetts family, Lodge, was one of the most calculating, combative politicians of his age. From 1884 to 1919 Lodge and Roosevelt encouraged one another to mine the greatness that lay within each of them. As both men climbed the ladders of power, Lodge, focused on dominating the political landscape of Massachusetts, served as the future president’s confidant and mentor, advising him on political strategy while helping him obtain positions in government that would eventually lead to the White House.
Despite the love and respect that existed between the two men, their relationship eventually came under strain. Following Roosevelt's ascension to the presidency, T. R.’s desire to expand the social safety net—while attempting to broaden the appeal of the Republican Party—clashed with his older friend's more conservative, partisan point of view. Those tensions finally culminated in 1912. Lodge's refusal to support the former president's independent bid for a third presidential term led to a political break-up that was only repaired by each man's hatred for the policies of Woodrow Wilson.
Despite their political disagreements, Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge remained devoted friends until the Rough Rider took his final breath on January 6, 1919.
Laurence Jurdem, Ph.D., is currently an adjunct professor of history at Fairfield University and Fordham College’s Lincoln Center campus. Mr. Jurdem is also the author of Paving the Way for Reagan: The Influence of Conservative Media on U.S. Foreign Policy. A frequent writer on American politics, his articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in Connecticut.
Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Summer Country and Band of Sisters, as well as the RITA Award–wining Pink Carnation series. She’s also co-written three popular historical novels with Beatriz Williams and Karen White. An alumna of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband, two young children, and lots and lots of coffee.
Can't make it to the event? You can still get a signed & personalized copy of The Rough Rider and the Professor.