Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Teddy Roosevelt And The Surprising Roots Of The National Governors Association

We take annual conferences of the National Governors Association for granted, but nobody had ever thought of bringing America’s governors together until Theodore Roosevelt galloped onto the national stage in 1901, ascending to the presidency after the assassination of William McKinley in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sept. 14 of that year. It’s not hard to imagine Roosevelt, a strong Hamiltonian nationalist who essentially invented the modern presidency, calling the …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Big News For The Bad Lands

(This article first appeared in the February-March issue of Dakota Country magazine, which should be on the newstands now.) I’d like you to take five minutes to read about two nonprofit organizations that are doing important work for the North Dakota Bad Lands. Hey, it’s February. It’s cold outside. Get a cup of coffee and sit down. The two organizations …


CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — A Trillion Here, A Trillion There: Omnibus Legislation In American History

President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better plan (originally pegged at $3 trillion) may be dead, but Democrats say key provisions of the bill are still likely to be approved — especially those addressing inflation, education, child care and workforce training. It is worth remembering that in November, Congress passed a $1.2 trillion precursor infrastructure bill. Between these …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Presidential Transitions And The Vagaries Of America’s History

The Nov. 3, 2020, election is seven weeks behind us. After more than 50 legal challenges to the fairness and legality of the election have been exhausted, and now that the Electoral College has performed its constitutional duty in certifying the election, it is a matter of real constitutional significance that the current President of the United States continues to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Public Lands Under Attack In Trump’s Final Days

In their agony, deep in the death throes of the Trump administration, America’s public lands managers are scrambling to put their final stamp on the worst conservation, environmental and public lands record in our country’s history. At risk are millions of acres of wildlife habitat and pristine recreational areas across America’s West, including the last remaining undeveloped roadless areas in …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — What Happens When A Sitting President Is Stricken?

We all woke up Friday to the news that the president and first lady had tested positive for COVID-19. In a year of wild and enormously disruptive events, things just got crazier. Just what the president’s health crisis will mean for the election, and for a nation fighting its way through several profound challenges, is unclear. It is too early …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — James Earle Fraser And The Legacy Of His ‘Vanishing Indian’

The American Museum of Natural History’s recent decision to remove the statue of Theodore Roosevelt from its Central Park entrance gives us all the opportunity to revisit and rethink a wide range of things we have taken for granted in American history and American memory. Although the Roosevelt debate has largely focused on the statue group’s depiction of him as …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Theodore Roosevelt, His Statue And The Problem Of The Past

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City decided recently to take down the statue of Theodore Roosevelt that has been displayed in front of the museum on Central Park West since 1940. It’s actually a statue group of three men. Roosevelt is high on horseback dressed like a cowboy or Rough Rider. Flanking him, on foot, are …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Is Absolutely Everything For Sale?

If you agree that we should not throw up a bridge in the North Dakota Badlands within a few miles of Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch Site, please write to Secretary Elaine Chou asap, and please share my letter to your network of friends. Talk about Last Best Places! The question we have to ask is — is absolutely everything for …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — My Heart Friend, Bart

Wednesday’s April blizzard gifts me with the time to sit down and write about my heart friend, Bart Koehler. Bart came to be my friend by the actions of my friend and colleague at Dickinson State University, Steve Robbins. Steve was a charter member of Badlands Conservation Alliance  and his brain is always problem-solving, generating bright ideas. BCA was in …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — A Tale of Two Presidents, 100 Years Apart

This is the Thomas Jefferson Hour. Why are we talking about Theodore Roosevelt today? Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States. He took office 100 years after Thomas Jefferson became the third president. They are condemned to spend eternity on Mount Rushmore together. Right next to each other, in fact. There is no way that Jefferson could …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — Farewell To Edmund Morris

I want to take a moment to lament the passing of one of the finest scholar-biographers of our time Edmund Morris. The great biographer of Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt died May 24. He was 78 years old. Morris was born in Kenya on May 27, 1940, to South African parents. He moved to Britain in 1964. Without a college …

CLAY JENKINSON: In Search Of America — Traveling With Each Of My Characters

UNDER TWIN PEAKS, NEAR ASPEN, Colo. — What would each of my characters think of this trip? Starting with John Steinbeck: He would be amazed at how much more comfortable pickup trucks are now, with tilting steering wheels, heated seats, air conditioning, better shocks, tinted glass, etc. And how much more convenient a truck camper is. The one I stepped into the other day …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — The Zen Master At Table

I’m trying to imagine a dinner party hosted by Thomas Jefferson. Perfect food, cooked in the avant-garde French fashion, and a flight of fine wines. And Jefferson presiding, a man of perfect manners who seems to have no discernible ego. He does not hold forth about anything. There is nothing boisterous about him. He never calls attention to himself. In …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — North Dakota Politics

Every legislative session, there should be kiosks in the malls to sell Lisinopril because Lord knows my blood pressure sure goes up. In North Dakota, any maniac can propose a bill. Well, not just any maniac off the street — elected maniacs. Take, for instance, Senate Bill 2136, sponsored by Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, that would force schools to offer …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Centennial Of Theodore Roosevelt’s Death

The Old Lion is Dead Jan. 6, 2019 — Theodore Roosevelt died 100 years ago today. He was just 60 years old. As he said when he determined to run South America’s River of Doubt against the stern warnings of the American Museum of Natural History, “Tell Osborn I have already lived and enjoyed as much of life as any nine other men I know; I have had my full share, and …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — If You’re Going To Talk Like Teddy Roosevelt, You Better Act Like Teddy Roosevelt

I’ve listened to a few State of the State speeches by North Dakota governors — probably somewhere between 15 and 20 — and even had a hand in writing a few of them, so I think I’m qualified to offer a few comments on the one Doug Burgum gave Thursday to the North Dakota Legislature. As they go, his was …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘I So Declare It!’

My day started out OK this morning. My pillbox told me it was Thursday — it’s always nice to know what day of the week it is right away in the morning. I had a pretty good bowel movement — for you young readers, that‘s pretty important for someone my age. I got my belt through every belt loop but …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Theodore Roosevelt: The Naturalist In The Arena TR Symposium 2017

As I sit down to write this, I’m listening to thunder and hoping that regular rain will return to the northern Plains. Today I’m reflecting on the Theodore Roosevelt: the Naturalist in the Arena Symposium that Jim and I attended at nearby at Dickinson (N.D.) State University last week, the 12th annual. We attended the first and several others in the intervening …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Death Of Decorum In The White House

As a scholar not a partisan, I have been trying to think if any president in American history has behaved in a less presidential way than Donald Trump. Andrew Jackson was a frontier ruffian in some respects, a loud populist, and during his inauguration March 4, 1829, his rural supporters trashed the White House. Theodore Roosevelt called his enemies colorful …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of Cougars, Dipshits And Teddy Roosevelt

When was the last time someone called you a dipshit? I swear, I hadn’t heard that word in 20 years, or maybe 30 or 40, until this week, when somebody called me that in a comment at the bottom of my blog. I remember it as a word we used back in the 1950s or ’60s, to describe someone we …

CLAY JENKINSON: Theodore Roosevelt, John Steinbeck, and Pinnacles National Monument

The other day, our Steinbeck cultural tour made the journey from Monterey, Calif., to Pinnacles National Park. There is no clear and obvious Steinbeck connection, except that the National Park is part of the Gabilan Mountain system, and that range marked the eastern boundary of the Salinas River Valley, sacred to Steinbeck and the source location of several of his …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Camping At The Elkhorn, Part 2

I’ve spent a lot of nights sleeping within spitting distance of the Little Missouri River. God willing, I’ll spend a lot more. I’m pretty sure I’ve slept there in every month on the calendar. Some nights — and some months — were better than others. I’ve slept there alone, I’ve slept there with canoeing buddies, I’ve slept there with wives,  …

CLAY JENKINSON: American Podium —Clay Jenkinson As President Theodore Roosevelt

Watch history come alive when scholar Clay Jenkinson appears in costume and character as President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt served seven years, 171 days as the 26th president of the United States. He was an accidental president, “kicked upstairs” into the vice presidency in 1900, ascending to the presidency on Sept. 14, 1901, after President William McKinley died of gunshot …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Boone, Crockett, Roosevelt And A New National Monument For North Dakota

“Any discussion of proposed actions on the Elkhorn Ranchlands should harken back to a conversation held over pizza in the small community of Medora, ND, in 2000. Ranchers Ken and Norma Eberts carried a vision of theirs to then-Theodore Roosevelt National Park Superintendent Noel Poe for what is now the Elkhorn Ranchlands. That meeting pivoted on expanded protection for the …