The shadows cast by great men change shape over time depending on the angle of illumination, diminishing in harsh overhead light or expanding in the glow of distant perspective.
He transformed the 20th century; no, he overextended the 19th. He was a progressive trust buster; no, an imperialist demagogue. He was a defender of liberty; no, a power-hungry mountebank — a pioneer environmentalist, a bloodthirsty hunter; a farseeing visionary, an energetic clerk.
With Saturday’s reopening of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial at the American Museum of Natural History on Roosevelt’s birthday, with the museum’s remounting of celebratory murals honoring him, its creation of a new exhibition devoted to his achievements, and its restoration of one of the museum’s finest spaces — the Hall of North American Mammals — our perspective is shifting yet again. An immense legacy is arrayed before us, at least in one of his many enterprises. But we also see the traces of something else — something avoided, perhaps, a reluctance to explore the man fully while paying him tribute.
Great article I fund on the New York Times, read the rest here!