December 22, 2011, 12:00 - 2:00 PM - Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C. Headquarters
Osawatomie: Then and Now
Thursday, December 22 - 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Hudson Institute - Betsy and Walter Stern Conference Center
Event highlights are below. For the full video and audio, click on the orange button in the upper right of the event page.
Bradley Center events are streamed live online at www.hudson.org/watchlive.
“In 1910, Teddy Roosevelt came here, to Osawatomie, and laid out his vision for what he called a New Nationalism. ‘Our country,’ he said, ‘...means nothing unless it means the triumph of a real democracy...of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him.’ For this, Roosevelt was called a radical, a socialist, even a communist. But today, we are a richer nation and a stronger democracy because of what he fought for in his last campaign: an eight-hour work day and a minimum wage for women; insurance for the unemployed, the elderly, and those with disabilities; political reform and a progressive income tax.”
So spoke President Barack Obama on a visit to Osawatomie, Kansas, earlier this month, in a speech that many believe was intended to lay the philosophical groundwork for his re-election campaign in 2012. (Osawatomie already had deep historical significance in Roosevelt’s time, as the site of a battle between Kansas “free staters” led by abolitionist John Brown and pro-slavery raiders.)
Schambra, Dionne, Milkis, Ceaser, Halpin, and Spalding
Why did President Obama choose to link his political fate to the Osawatomie tradition? How did his speech, in form and content, stack up against the Rooseveltian original? What can we learn about the enduring themes of American politics from this comparison?
Six prominent scholars and writers – all knowledgeable about the Progressive Era as well as the contemporary political scene – discussed this question on Thursday, December 22nd. The panel included Matthew Spalding of The Heritage Foundation; Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress John Halpin; and University of Virginia professors James Ceaser and Sidney Milkis. Hudson Institute Senior Fellow William Schambra and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. co-moderated the discussion.
Osawatomie speech by President Theodore Roosevelt
Osawatomie speech by President Barack Obama
"Obama's Osawatomie offensive," by E.J. Dionne Jr.
Program and Panel
James Ceaser, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia
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