Teddy Roosevelt’s Visit

MGTV Elementary Lesson Plan Activities for the 100th Anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt’s Address

May 31, 1907: President Theodore Roosevelt Addresses a Joint Session of the Michigan Legislature May 31, 2007: TR Does it Again!

MGTV Elementary Lesson Plan Activities for the 100th Anniversary of TR’s Address

Introduction:
In 1907, Michigan Agriculture College (later to become Michigan State University) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its opening. In honor of the event, MAC President Jonathan L. Snyder invited President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt to speak to the graduating class. Roosevelt accepted. Prior to delivering MAC’s commencement address, he spoke to a joint session of the Michigan Legislature, becoming the first president to do so.

Ninety years later, President Bill Clinton also spoke to a join session of the Michigan legislature. Clinton’s remarks about TR’s visit provide many opportunities for reflection and inquiry.

Below you will find some suggested activities to use in conjunction with the MGTV’s video recording of the reenactment of President Roosevelt’s speech to the Michigan Legislature.

Learning Outcome Defined

Although the Grade Level Content Expectations were in draft form during the development of these lesson plan activities, we were confident the final draft approved by the State Board of Education would include the purpose of these activities. The purpose of these activities is for students to use primary and secondary sources to compare Michigan’s economic past with the present.

Instructions:

Inform students what is Michigan Government Television (MGTV) and what it does for the citizens of Michigan. Refer to http://www.mgtv.org/mission.html.

Have your students view all or parts of the reenactment of Roosevelt’s speech recorded by MGTV, and then share with them excerpts from President Clinton’s speech included with these activities.

Select a suggested activity below keeping in mind the purpose is for students to use primary (speeches) and secondary sources (identified in each activity) to compare Michigan’s past with the present.

Elementary Activities:

Elementary Activity 1: Create a Timeline

Roosevelt mentioned “…questions of securing proper control of corporations, especially of those great corporations doing interstate business…”

Using information from Michigan Historical Museum Website athttp://www.sos.state.mi.us/history/museum/explore/museums/hismus/prehist/manufac/index.htmland information from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth 21st Century Industry Sector Analysis report for the region of your state at http://www.milmi.org/?PAGEID=205, provide students with a list of about five economic activities from each era.

Have students create a timeline and ask the follow questions:

1. How did economic activity in Michigan change between 1907 and 1997?

2. What do you think could have caused those changes?

3. What kind of corporations do you think President Roosevelt was referring to? Why?

4. What was life like in Michigan during the early 1900s considering what President Clinton said in his speech about President Roosevelt’s visit to Michigan?

5. What do you think is the biggest difference between life in 1907 and life today in Michigan? Why?

Elementary Activity 2: Communication and Transportation

Review with students the portion of President Clinton’s speech in which he references the State Capital Building being wired for electricity and the “newfangled contraption”.  Information and a picture of a REO Automobile can be found at http://jliptrap.us/Reo.htm.

1. Why do you think President Clinton referred to the Reo automobile as a newfangled contraption?

2. What would you consider a newfangled contraption today?

3. How do you think the REO automobile impacted life back in 1907?

4. How does the newfangled contraption you identified impact life today?

Elementary Activity 3: Oral History

Thoedore Roosevelt was famous for the popularizing the West African proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.” What does the proverb mean to you?  Ask your parents, grandparents or another older person what it means to them. Also ask them to remember other political slogans, who said them and what effect they had.

Lesson plans prepared by:
Roy Sovis
Coordinator for Instruction – Social Studies
Genesee Intermediate School District
David Barr
Education Consultant
Michigan Government Television

MGTV High School Lesson Plan Activities for the 100th Anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt’s Address

May 31, 1907: President Theodore Roosevelt Addresses a Joint Session of the Michigan Legislature May 31, 2007: TR Does it Again!
MGTV High School Lesson Plan Activities for the 100thAnniversary of TR’s Address

Instructions:
In 1907, Michigan Agriculture College (later to become Michigan State University) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its opening. In honor of the event, MAC President Jonathan L. Snyder invited President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt to speak to the graduating class. Roosevelt accepted. Prior to delivering MAC’s commencement address, he spoke to a joint session of the Michigan Legislature, becoming the first president to do so.

Ninety years later, President Bill Clinton also spoke to a join session of the Michigan legislature. Clinton’s remarks about TR’s visit provide many opportunities for reflection and inquiry.

Have your students view the reenactment of Roosevelt’s speech, and then share with them excerpts from President Clinton’s speech (See “Clinton Speech” link under Resources)

Learning Outcome Defined
The Grade Level Content Expectations were in draft form during the development of these lesson plan activities; however, we were confident the final draft approved by the State Board of Education would include the “transferable knowledge” identified in the purpose of these activities. The purpose of these activities is for students to analyze historical events and describe the impact on subsequent events.

Instructions:
Inform students what is Michigan Government Television (MGTV) and what it does for the citizens of Michigan. Refer to http://www.mgtv.org/mission.html.

Have your students view the reenactment of Roosevelt’s speech recorded by MGTV, and then share with them excerpts from President Clinton’s speech included with these activities.

Conduct a discussion of the historical context for Roosevelt’s remarks. See the resources that accompany this lesson for more detail on TR’s Lansing trip and life.

Select a suggested activity below keeping in mind the purpose is for students to analyze historical events and describe the impact on subsequent events.

Secondary Activities

Secondary Activity 1: Defining the American Century

President Clinton referred to the period between 1907 and 1997 as the “American Century.”  What were the most significant political, social, economic, and scientific events or achievement of the American Century? Develop a PowerPoint presentation that explains how one of those events or achievements impacted the future of the country, and how a current event or achievement of your choosing will impact the future of the county.

Secondary Activity 2: Addressing the Legislature

If you had the opportunity to speak to a joint session of the state legislature, what two topics would you most want to address? President Roosevelt chose “election promises” and “securing proper control of corporations.” President Clinton chose “education reform” and “welfare reform.” Draft an address to the Michigan Legislature trying to influence it to your point of view on the two issues you choose and include an explanation of how your ideas will impact the future of Michigan and/or the United States.

Secondary Activity 3: Advocating for the common good

Has America achieved Roosevelt’s progressive goals of “securing proper control of corporations”? What is “proper” control of corporations under our system of government and enterprise? What mechanisms aside from government can get a corporation to change a practice that threatens some segment of the population or its interests?

Identify a corporation and write a letter to the president urging them to change a policy or improve business practice that will positively impact the economic opportunities for workers.

Lesson plans prepared by:
Roy Sovis
Coordinator for Instruction – Social Studies
Genesee Intermediate School District
David Barr
Education Consultant
Michigan Government Television

President Theodore Roosevelt’s Address to the Joint Convention of the Michigan State Legislature, May 31, 1907, at 10:30 a.m. in the House Chamber:Mr. Governor, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Michigan Legislature, and you, my friends, all of you: No man could fail to be most deeply touched by such a welcome as you have just given me, by such a welcome as the state of Michigan has been extending to me; and he would be but a poor American, but a poor public official, who did not leave the state, as I shall leave it, with a more resolute hope and purpose than ever to try to do all that in me lies to serve your interests while I am President of the United States. (Applause)

Perhaps I can speak with peculiar ease and freedom to a legislative body of a state, for I have been a member for three terms of my own Legislature in New York, and I know just the kind of work that you have to do. I know the great difficulties, the temptations, the responsibilities, and I know how often very faithful service is not thoroughly appreciated outside. (Laughter and applause.) I am speaking of legislatures and not of presidents (Laughter), because you have greeted me today in a way that showed it was more than a just appreciation of my services and I deeply appreciate and deeply feel it.

There is one thing I would speak about to men in public life, which I cannot sufficiently emphasize, not only for them, but for the people back of them,–on the one hand, let the public man be extremely careful to make no promise that he cannot keep; and on the other hand—and this is just as important—let the public be on its side more than careful not to try to exact a promise that cannot be kept. (Applause) There is not anything easier than to make any kind of temptation to which a strong and just man should be careful not to yield. I want always to have a man judged by the promises he makes before election plus his performances after election. (Laughter and applause.) And also judge a man by whether or not you think it is really possible for him to reduce to legislative and administrative action the things that he says on the “stump.”

Now, take the great questions that we have to grapple with at the present day, the questions of securing proper control of corporations, especially of those great corporations doing an interstate business; we have to deal on the one hand with a group of very wealthy citizens and of those who reflect their ideas, who are just exactly as good citizens as we are, but who, I think, are tempted by their position to take a somewhat erroneous view of the situation. (Laughter and applause.) We have to deal with them on the one side, and on the other we have to deal with the often entirely well-meaning man who promises you the millennium immediately if you will adopt his ways of solving the problem. Now, gentlemen, we are a good many thousand years short of the millennium yet, and if you make the mistake of committing yourselves to a program that promises too much, you will be very apt to find that that is corrected by a performance that does nothing. It is not the man who promises most freely who can be trusted to perform most accurately what he promises. We wish to face the problem with the resolute determination to solve it on the one hand; with the resolute determination not to be daunted, not to be misled by those foolish conservatives, the foolish reactionaries, who fail to see that we are the real conservatives, the real friends of property when we try to do away with the abuse of property. (Loud applause).

We must not be misled by them on the one hand. Nor must we be misled by those—I want to use exactly the right phraseology—by those often well-meaning men who let a vague, general desire to reform everything supplant the place of exact thinking in their minds and who therefore either promise loosely what could not possibly be performed or else indulge in a general declamation against the evils, without pointing out how those evils are to be cut out. Just outside I addressed a crowd of veterans of the Civil War. There are some veterans of the Civil War in here. They will remember how, shortly after Sumpter was fired on, a large number of enthusiastic people who were not themselves going into the army began to shout, “On to Richmond.” and to say that Richmond should fall in sixty or ninety days. It did not fall in sixty or ninety days. It took four long and weary years; and the same people who in 1861 had shouted, “On to Richmond, the war must be ended at once,” in 1862 wished to declare the war a failure and voted to abandon it because it had not been ended at once. Perhaps some of the older gentlemen remember that, don’t you? (Yes! Yes!) Exactly. The hope of the nation then lay, not with the men who expected the immediate impossible, nor yet with the men who were cowed and did not believe that you could put the war through, but with the men who recognized the difficulty of the struggle, who recognized that they had a most stubborn and gallant enemy to fight, and who went in and enlisted for a three years’ war and saw the war through. (Applause)

Now, it is just the same way now; in the war against the abuses of great individuals, and especially of great corporate wealth, we need to show absolute unflinching resolution, and yet to combine that with sanity as well as with courage. We need to show, too, the very reverse of any vindictive spirit. The minute you begin to legislate in a spirit of revenge, or to administer the laws in a spirit of revenge, you are starting to invoke trouble and ultimately a reaction. We need to show the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, his sanity and his broad and kindly charity, and yet his resolute determination that the evil shall be done away with. (Applause)

You have been very kind in alluding to certain things that I have done or tried to do. My power to do them depended entirely upon the support that I have received from the representatives in Congress from Michigan and all our other states. (Applause)

We have taken certain steps, some good long steps, in the line of securing a better administration of justice as between man and man without regard to whether a man is rich or poor and we have taken certain steps, some of them long steps, towards securing better laws for the supervision and control of the great fortunes, especially great corporate fortunes used in business. We are going steadily forward along those lines (Applause), and the only party allusion I shall make today is to say that the Republican party in 90 per cent of its make up and in all its highest thought, is essentially the party of Abraham Lincoln’s plain people, and shall continue to be such (Applause) and there will be not one backward step along the course which we have marked out to follow.

I ask you to judge of present promises by past performances, and to request from your representatives, from your public men, not promises of the impossible, but promises of certain things that can be done, which will not bring about a complete solution of the difficulties that confront us, but which will be another long stride toward that complete solution; and finally, above all things, to approach the problem in a proper spirit, in the Lincoln spirit, not to be misled by the demagogue on one side, or the reactionary on the other. Let us set our faces like flint against predatory wealth, but also against predatory poverty,–put the emphasis on the predatory. We are against the wealthy man when we ought to be against him, not because he is wealthy, but because he has misused his wealth, and we are against any man, rich or poor, if he does wrong. This is an age of great industrial combination, combinations of capital and combinations of labor. Our purpose must be to favor both, so long as they do well, and to set our faces against either if it does ill. (Loud and prolomged applause)


Theodore Roosevelt Addresses the Michigan Legislature: A 100th Anniversary Reenactment

MGTV Presents: Theodore Roosevelt Addresses the Michigan Legislature: A 100th Anniversary Reenactment Teacher Resources: Press coverage of Roosevelt’s 1907 Visit to Lansing

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was a remarkably accomplished man by anyone’s standard. He was just 42 when he assumed the presidency on September 14, 1901, after the assassination of William McKinley. He’d already been Governor of New York, an admired historian and naturalist, as well as a lawyer and commander of the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment—the famous Rough Riders. As president, he championed the causes of progressivism and conservation. He was also the first American to be awarded a Nobel Prize for Peace (1906).

In 1907, President Roosevelt visited Lansing, stopping to address the Michigan Legislature prior to delivering the commencement speech at Michigan Agricultural College—soon to become Michigan State University.

Lansing went wild for the president. (He would note in a letter that Michigan had always been particularly friendly to him.) Following are excerpts from stories that appeared in the Lansing Journal between May 30 and June 4, 1907. (Please note that punctuation and capitalization are as they appeared in the original texts.)

“Theodore Roosevelt, president of the United States, received every degree of honor in Lasing and at the Michigan Agricultural college today.

Turning out grandly, the people of the capital city and the other throngs representing all parts of Michigan, cheered the popular executive in strenuous fashion. Opportunity to see the famous man with whom most people felt already acquainted was afforded by a parade on the main thoroughfares, in addresses at the capitol and a formal speech on the college grounds. Officially, the president was received by the state, city, college and military authorities, including the legislature, distinguished guests of the college and alumni. It was a busy, complete, well-rounded day. . . .”

“It was worth any trial of public life to receive the welcome the president acknowledged on the way to the capitol. Nearly everybody got a fair sight of him and numerous kodaks and cameras were working in the windows. It was a thoroughly American crowd of the rich and poor, tall, short, married, hope-to-be married, and the old and the young. All races could be counted up along any half square.  .  .  .”

“President Roosevelt not only rode in a Lansing made machine when he was here Friday but he journeyed through the multitudes in a car driven by the inventor of the auto car and the best authority on autos. The trip form the capitol to the college was made in a Reo car, driven by R. E. Olds who is credited historically as well as in the trade with being the father of the automobile.  . . .

The automobile feature of the Roosevelt day was strong. The local manufacturers and owners were free with their machines, and the fact that this is ‘the Auto City’ was emphasized. Not many towns of this size could get up such an array of automobiles . . .

Returning from the college to the to the Lake Shore [train] station, the president rode in an Oldsmobile driven by Frederick L. Smith vice president of the Olds Motor works and prominent in the automobile world . . .”

“Come again, Mr. Roosevelt. The most strenuous day that Lansing has ever known is a memory now—the day on which everybody hollered himself hoarse for Theodore Roosevelt, president of the united States of America, better known as ‘Teddy.’

It was a great big day for the town, and it is to be hoped that Mr. Roosevelt was de-lighted. If he wasn’t, he is an undesirable citizen. But he was satisfied, [j]udging by the way he waved his hand and smiled from the rear step of his special as the train pulled out.”

Online Theodore Roosevelt resources:

Brief biography, with emphasis on his presidency:http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/tr26.html

Biography and a wide variety of resources related to TR. The Theodore Roosevelt Association is the premier national organization devoted to preserving his legacy:http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/index.htm

Lesson plans (grades 5-12) prepared by the Theodore Roosevelt Association:http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/research/curriculum5to12.htm

Transcript of the nomination speech and TR’s subsequent Nobel Lecture on International Peace: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1906/roosevelt-acceptance.html

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