Ken Burns’s seven-part documentary weaves the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. The 14-hour series marks the first time their individual stories have been woven into a single narrative.
Theodore Roosevelt is revered for his conflict resolution skills. No other incident further exemplifies these skills than his settling of the Portsmouth Treaty during the Russo-Japanese War over Manchuria and Korea, for which Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the first American to be awarded any Nobel Prize.
The First World War liberated Eleanor Roosevelt and her potential for service. In addition to organizing the Roosevelt household, she also volunteered at the Red Cross. Soon, the organization asked her to inspect St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a mental facility filled with sailors and Marines suffering in the aftermath of battle. The experience had a profound effect on her.
Theodore Roosevelt invites Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House. Both men respected each other and wanted each other’s support. The dinner went well, but the political backlash took Roosevelt by surprise. Note: This video includes strong or potentially offensive language. Viewer discretion is advised.
At this point in history, a victor of war is a victor of the public sphere. Theodore Roosevelt's success in the Spanish-American War opened every political door for his future. And his Easterner turned Westerner persona allowed him to appeal to most every aspect of American life at the time.
As a young man, Theodore Roosevelt was weak, had a poor heart, and was not expected to live a very long life. Yet during his years at Harvard, he rose to popularity among the university's most prestigious clubs, fought for the lightweight boxing championship, was among the top of his class, and even fell in love.