The Roosevelts


The Roosevelts (2014) weaves together the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. 

  • President Theodore Roosevelt: Foreign Policy Statesman or Bully? | The Roosevelts

    Evaluate Theodore Roosevelt's legacy in foreign affairs with this lesson plan associated with Ken Burns' The Roosevelts. Students will analyze the U.S. Constitution as it pertains to the powers of the president to formulate and implement foreign policy, and debate Theodore Roosevelt's legacy using primary and secondary sources, including the video clips from The Roosevelts in this Media Gallery.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Evolution of the Presidency: Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt | The Roosevelts

    Examine the powers of the Executive Branch in this lesson plan associated with Ken Burns' The Roosevelts. First, students read Article II of the Constitution and learn how past presidents exercised this power in practice. Then, students view the video clips below to examine how Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt carried out their executive duties during their respective terms in office. In the final activity, students produce a documentary examining one of the Roosevelt president's execution of power during a crucial time in history. See "Activity" below for the lesson plan.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights | The Roosevelts

    In this lesson, students analyze the impact of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Eleanor Roosevelt's influence on it through the video clips from The Roosevelts below, and other online resources. They then develop technology-rich persuasive presentations in an effort to create a "Universal Declaration of Student Human Rights."

    Grades: 7-12
  • Theodore Roosevelt's Childhood | The Roosevelts

    Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York City in 1858 to a family of wealth and privilege. He was a boy when the Civil War broke out. The legacy TR's family history during the Civil War and the young boy's fragile health affected various aspects of TR's character that influenced his foreign policy throughout his life.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Theodore Roosevelt: Warmonger | The Roosevelts

    Theodore Roosevelt understood early on that the United States' bid to become a world power would depend upon her commitment to building a strong navy. Thus when William McKinley was elected president, Roosevelt lobbied to be appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy. When the U.S. battleship Maine was blown up in Havana, Roosevelt seized the opportunity to put the American Navy to the test.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Alone in Cuba | The Roosevelts

    When the United States declared war on Spain in 1898, Theodore Roosevelt saw it as an opportunity to test US might, as well as his own. At age 39 he left his wife and children to recruit and lead an all-volunteer cavalry division known as the Rough Riders. They were shipped to Cuba where they were to fight the Spanish colonizers in an effort to liberate Cuba and prove American power.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Speak Softly | The Roosevelts

    Theodore Roosevelt establishes the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. To gain control of the unfinished Panama Canal project, he supported the Panamanian revolution with funds and a blockade preventing Colombian troops from regaining control of their territory.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Theodore Roosevelt and the Panama Canal | The Roosevelts

    After the Spanish American War, American territory extended further into both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, making it increasingly important to build a canal that would bridge the two seas.  The French, who had successfully overseen the building of the Suez Canal (1869) had tried and failed to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama - at that time part of Colombia.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Theodore Roosevelt Wins the Nobel Peace Prize | The Roosevelts

    Theodore Roosevelt is revered for his conflict resolution skills. No incident exemplifies these skills more 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.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Theodore Roosevelt and WWI | The Roosevelts

    Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt had been an early critic of neutrality, a proponent of military preparedness, and critical of Woodrow Wilson's reluctance to declare war against Germany. Not until 1917, when Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare on all vessels at sea, and - in the Zimmermann Telegram invited Mexico to attack the United States - did Wilson ask Congress to declare war.

    Grades: 6-12

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