Tags: theodore roosevelt | family | edith | shaped | politics

Theodore Roosevelt Family: How Edith Shaped Her Husband's Politics

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 04:16 PM

As first lady, Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt disliked the public spotlight but directed a full social schedule, redesigned the White House to accommodate her large family, and quietly served as an unofficial adviser to her husband, helping to shape Theodore Roosevelt’s politics.

Edith Roosevelt met with her husband each morning to discuss government affairs and offer advice, according to the Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University.

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The first lady was regarded as a good judge of character and acted as a diplomatic go-between for her husband with the U. S. Ambassador to England, Whitelaw Reid. Cecil Spring-Rice, a British government representative, exchanged information about the conflict between Japan and Russia with the president by writing the first lady, who then passed along the correspondence to her husband, according to the National First Ladies’ Library. In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating peace in the Russo-Japanese war.

Edith Roosevelt edited her husband’s speeches and writings, often urging him to take a more conciliatory tone, according to the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

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Always concerned about her husband’s safety, Edith Roosevelt purchased a cabin in rural Virginia as a refuge and arranged for Secret Service to protect the president there without his knowledge.

Edith Roosevelt established the White House as a social center, hosting dinner parties in an enhanced state dining room and hiring the first White House Social Secretary. She displayed portraits of former first ladies along with china from past administrations for guests to see. Highlights of her social engagements included the wedding of her stepdaughter, Alice, to Nicholas Longworth, and the social debut of her daughter, Ethel.

White House renovations under Edith Roosevelt’s oversight also included remodeling the East Wing to accommodate her large family, building a new West Wing for executive offices, and furnishing all public state rooms, transforming the White House into a showpiece.

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As first lady, Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt disliked the public spotlight but directed a full social schedule, redesigned the White House to accommodate her large family, and quietly served as an unofficial adviser to her husband, helping to shape Theodore Roosevelt's politics.
theodore roosevelt, family, edith, shaped, politics
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2014-16-02
Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 04:16 PM
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