Author: Daniel Boone, Theodore Roosevelt had numerous similarities
DICKINSON, N.D. When people think about Theodore Roosevelt's contribution to conservation in the nation they rarely consider the impact a man who died 38 years before his birth had on the 26th president's view of the wild. Daniel Boone, the legen...
When people think about Theodore Roosevelt's contribution to conservation in the nation they rarely consider the impact a man who died 38 years before his birth had on the 26th president's view of the wild.
Daniel Boone, the legendary frontiersman, was the topic of conversation at Dickinson State University's third annual symposium, entitled, "Theodore Roosevelt: The Conservationist in the Arena" held at Dorothy Stickney Auditorium Friday morning.
Robert Morgan, who recently finished a biography on Boone, said there are numerous similarities between Boone and Roosevelt.
"One is their personality," Morgan said. "They were very colorful people, very dramatic people. Everybody remembered them. They dressed in costumes appropriate to their persona."
In many ways Boone is a predecessor of Roosevelt's in that he dealt firsthand with what Morgan calls the "conflict of loyalty."
"We love nature, we love the wilderness ... but it's in conflict with our desires for progress and development," Morgan said.
Morgan said Boone dealt with this conflict on a daily basis through his relationships with Native Americans and the white settlers who wished to develop the west.
And Theodore Roosevelt, through his experiences in the wild and by studying the life of Boone and others became the first to deal with the issue.
"It was Theodore Roosevelt who finally figured out how to address this contradiction in American culture. Through conservation and reclamation, it's one of the many reasons Theodore Roosevelt is so important to American history," Morgan said. "It's part of the genius of Theodore Roosevelt. He thought about and understood those deep contradictions in our culture."
Dr. Gary Cummisk said the connection between Roosevelt's thinking and Boone's life was the reason he asked Morgan to come and speak at the symposium.
"Since Boone was so pivotal a figure in the thinking of Roosevelt, the Boone and Crockett Club being an example, it seemed there was a nice confluence," Cummisk said. "Roosevelt is such a complex figure that he had multiple influences of course and I think Boone was one of them."
Morgan and Cummisk said Roosevelt was influenced by several historical frontiersmen and outdoorsmen, which make up the man we remember.
"He transforms himself through mythology into what he wants to be, this rugged frontiersman, diplomat, naturalist and indeed he does embody all those characteristics," Cummisk said.
Those characteristics and the man who embodies them have made our country what it is today Morgan said.
"It's incredible if you go down the list of things he did," Morgan said. "So much of what we have is what Roosevelt just did. ... Can you imagine the country without that?"
Other events at the symposium Friday included Dr. Donald Worster, Dr. Douglas Brinkley, Clay Jenkinson and a conservation panel, which was held in the afternoon.
Friday's events finished with scenes from "Old Four Eyes" a drama originally presented in 1958 at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre in Medora.
The symposium continues today with participants travelling to Medora to witness firsthand the area which helped shape much of Roosevelt's western experience.