Optional Family Post


Both my mother’s side of the family, and my father’s side of the family have very deep roots here in the United States. We are most notoriously known for William Kelsey who was closely associated with Reverend Thomas Hooker. Kelsey and Hooker came to  America with a group of first settlers and created “New Towne” (Cambridge) in 1632, and then later was part of original group to settle Hartford, Connecticut (where my family is from). We are also known for Governor Jonathan Law, Governor of Connecticut (in office 1741-50). Needless to say, my mother’s side of the family were stanch Northern Republicans until (as my Grandmother proudly says), President Kennedy.

As for my father’s side of the family, most of them came from Donegal Ireland and immigrated over the past several hundred years. However, on my Dad’s Mom’s side of the family were the Hays’. Most famously known for my Great Great Great Grandfather Alexander Hays born in Pennsylvania. As my grandmother likes to brag, he was a close friend to Ulysses S. Grant and became a second lieutenant in the 8th U.S Infantry and did a lot of brave things during the Civil War and lots of other wars- (thanks Wikipedia). After the Civil War, most of my Dad’s side of the family became architects and engineers and helped create the infrastructure that is Pittsburg, today.

According to my Mom’s side of the family, they believe that it would be more than likely that they would have voted Republican for all major Presidential elections before and after the turn of the century. As for my Dad’s side of the family, it is not certain but they believe that chances are that they would have voted Democrat because of their occupations, and the fact that a lot of them were immigrants from Ireland.

FDR’s 1936 Speech


After listening to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech, what I found to be most compelling was his directness towards those who opposed him and his policies. In today’s politics, there is also direct opposition, but in most cases the Presidential candidate will remain mum about such negative remarks, or perhaps defend them in a less direct way- such as in a political ad. I did find FDR’s speech very convincing. He spoke with such passion and enthusiasm. When I picture Franklin D. Roosevelt, I think of his Fire Side Chats. Though his “chats” were very effective and enabled thousands of American’s to become more engaged in what was happening in America politically, they were greatly different than the FDR who was giving the 1936 speech.



In his speech, he tackles monopolies and big banks, and forces American citizens to stop to see how they could be considered the “enemy”. He claimed that a lot of the governmental and economic problems stemmed from big business bullying the government and having too much involvement in affairs. FDR’s bold claims can be considered extremely controversial, and some would argue that he was in a great position to be saying these things. He was still in office and running again, but at the same time his New Deal was not as successful in helping the economy as it was anticipated to.

All in all, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech was lively, passionate and made a large impact on the American people. It showed a side of FDR that most people do not think of and proves that he can stand up for himself and not just be a quiet, policy making President. But instead, he was a President who knew how to fight, and asked the American people to believe in him and to give him another chance to finish what he had started.

The Redistribution of Wealth And The Notion Of Chance


In “What Social Classes Owe Each Other”, Sumner introduces the familiar dialogue surrounding redistribution of wealth and class inequality during the early days of the nineteen hundreds.  William Graham Sumner was not a man of the Monopoly, but instead a man of the academic. He taught Sociology at Yale and believed in Social Darwinism and how it was prevalent in American society. Sumner goes on to explain that the American people try to claim that there was no such thing as social “classes”, when indeed he argues there is no way around the distinction of class in society.

Unlike many people like Andrew Carnegie, who commented on the ideas of social and economic inequality and the importance of the “trickle down affect” from the wealthy to the lower class; Sumner believed that this ideal served as an injustice to America’s economy as a whole. Sumner was not keen on the idea of the super rich handing out money to the poor, because of the potential implications it could serve. Engaging with the ideas of Social Darwinism, to Sumner it was more important to see every citizen do their best, and to strive to work as hard as they could with what they had . To Sumner, the redistribution of wealth would not benefit the economy, but rather enhances class distinctions and perpetuates this idea of the haves and have nots within the class system.

Both Carnegie and Sumner believe strongly in the idea that every man should have the right to pursue their happiness however, Sumner’s thoughts are unique in the way that he was so harshly opposed to the American’s wealthy elites frivolously handing money to the poor, and rather finding ways to motivate the lower classes to want to strive to achieve the successes of the upper classes.

Optional Assignment – Christian Cherau


I used Ancestry.com to do research into my Mom’s side of the family, given that I know they have been in the Americas for many generations. My father’s father side of the family came over from France in early 1900s, and my father’s mother from Sweden about the same time. From my mother’s side, I know her father’s family has a long history in the Fairfield County, Connecticut area, however I found difficulty coming up with linked census records there. I know most about my mother’s mother’s family, which I managed to trace back many generations. My grandmother was born in 1936 in Madawaska, ME. I knew from her that her family had been established potatoes farmers in the Madawaska area for generations. Using census records, I actually managed to trace her line back to France. The family was living in Madawaska as of 1800, with prior generations living outside of Quebec City, Quebec. Prior to that, the family births/deaths can be traced to the Arcadia region of Nova Scotia. My quest ended with Etienne Hebert, who was born in the Lorraine Region of France in 1625, and died in about 1670 in Arcadia, Nova Scotia. It was very, very cool for me to realize that I can trace my family back 350 years on the American continent.

For this assignment, I have decided to zero in on the 1912 election and my great great grandfather, Fortuna Hebert. Fortuna was born in 1878, in Madawaska Maine at the family farm. The 1910 Census records shows Fortuna at 32, married to wife Marie, and with 4 children, ages ranging from newborn to 3. My great-grandfather was born in 1912, therefore was a newborn during that election.

For the election, I am fairly confident that Fortuna Hebert would have voted for Theodore Roosevelt. I based this inference off of several factors: (1) Aroostook County, ME, where Madawaska is located, is a largely agrarian county. With very little industrial penetration to the very northernmost reaches of Maine, the economy was (and still is) based on farming and lumbering. Much of that farming was for subsistence. (2) I know from my grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s stories that the Heberts were, and some still are, potato farmers. My grandmother continually attributes her bad knees to many childhood years spent digging potatoes. (3) Election results show the state of Maine casting their electoral votes for Wilson, with Wilson winning the more populated and urban Southern counties of Maine, including the cities of Portland, Lewiston, and Augusta. The Northern Counties are noted as voting for Roosevelt in electoral maps, and as a whole the state of Maine voted 39% for Wilson and 37% for Roosevelt. Taft garnered 20% of the vote. Roosevelt was the candidate who took on the populist and farmer’s platform in the 1912 election, while Wilson ultimately appealed to more urban sentiments. Therefore, this dispersion of votes in Maine makes remarkable sense, with the north end of the state, including Madawaska, historically being agricultural while Portland, Auburn, and Lewiston especially making the southern part of the state much more industrialized.

Christian Cherau Response to Berle and Hoover

I found it interesting how Hoover harkened to the virtue of freedom so extensively in his brief rebuttal to the ideas of the New Deal, however Berle does indeed acknowledge the need to preserve an idea of freedom in his opines on the New Deal and its potential. Berle’s ideal New Deal would see government taking a much increased role in the operations of the nation’s economy and industries, with that increased involvement wrapping up the American citizens as well. Berle references the chef who could potentially be forced to cook for others in order to get his hypothetic “food card” and support himself, even if he thoroughly dislikes being a servant for others. Berle admits that this nearly communist system would be “substantially the same as imposing sentence of death” if the worker does not enjoy his job. Most importantly, Berle admits that under his system of heavy government involvement, “a great deal of the grace of life and human values which we all of us hold dear, might very easily go out.” Berle basically concedes that while on paper, a plan that involves government involvement in every industry would be wonderful, in all reality government involvement in business has been observed to not exactly be a profitable venture, see the Berle referenced US Post Office or the ever in the red Amtrak.

These concerns are largely shared by Herbert Hoover in his rebuttal to the New Deal, who voices his concerns over the “economic planning” used to “regiment and coerce the farmer,” with the repeated concern that many New Deal programs would “shackle free men.” However, Hoover may be taking things to the opposite extreme, losing his point through too much use of metaphor at the conclusion. Man-made, or governmental, machines may not be the sole solution, as Hoover understands, however Hoover needs to acknowledge that some sort of government machinery is necessary by the government in order for the economy to be pulled back from palling into further recession. Total liberty and laissez-faire policies, as Hoover is desperate to return to, may not be the best policy as history should have taught him, however Berle himself admits that the high level of government intervention he champions may break down when confronted with human nature.

Optional Catchup

The Steinz family, of which I am a descendant, came to the United States from Hamburg Germany in the very early 1800’s. They settled mainly in the area of western North Carolina, specifically the area in and around Marshall, NC, fairly close to the state of Tennessee.

My great grandfather Jake Stines, (the name changed from Steinz to Stines over time because people started spelling it like it sounded), was born in 1830 in the town of Marshall, NC. He met and married Julia Wallen. Julia was actually born on the boat coming from Germany to the U.S.

They had four sons, Loy the oldest, Jake, the second son and my grandfather Wres, and his twin brother Wras. They were born in 1907. From what I understand they were called Wres and Wras because their mom couldn’t think of anything else to call them.

I have spoken to my aunt and uncle who are the only older living relatives that are still alive from either side of my grandparents’ family. My uncle who is 87 assures me that the whole family from my great grandfather to my grandfather and all of his brothers were staunch southern Democrats who were very religious, and it would have been looked at as being sinful to vote any other way than that.

The only exception to that might have been my great uncle Loy Stines who was not the type to support the government or its laws, especially the ones pertaining to the transportation of alcohol. He was a notorious moonshine maker/ runner, constantly running from revenuers out of North Carolina. That is how half of our family ended up in Tennessee.

Even though they were Democrats at that time, I believe they would be very far right-leaning Republicans today.

Roosevelt’s 1936 Speech

Roosevelt’s 1936 election speech, his resolve and anger against his opponents are very clear. In his speech he describes them as “the old enemies of peace: business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism and war profiteering.” His statement about the these forces that were aligning against him prove his anger when he said, “They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred.” That statement was very blunt and I wonder how such a statement like that would be taken in today’s political arena. It is no secret that today’s Democrat and Republican parties have no love for one another, but I don’t believe the president would use such strong words in a reelection speech today.

Roosevelt was in a very strong political position which gave him some latitude on how aggressive he could be while giving his speech and how he planned to keep up the fight on the country’s economic recovery along with his continued implementation of more new deals.

Roosevelt clearly had much animosity for his opponents who viewed him as working against the working class Americans. The main thing that I took from this speech was the fact that Roosevelt felt so strongly about what he was saying that he would lose all political correctness and put his personal feelings and emotions in the rail against those who opposed him.

FDR’s 1936 Speech

I can’t imagine anyone who heard this speech to not want to vote for Roosevelt as soon as he finished! I even want to vote for him right now! His way of talking about the troubles of the Depression really instilled confidence not only that the government was there to help people, but that it could and had been doing so for the past 4 years. This is particularly interesting because the New Deal programs hadn’t in fact done much for the economy, from the workers’ perspective.

However, he did make promises of the programs to come: minimum wage, shorter working hours, and many more of his second New Deal programs that ended up being passed into law while touting successes from the first New Deal. Interestingly, I thought, he spent particular time on Social Security, even though this was just a reaction to the Townsend Plan for retirement insurance. He was sure to tout the benefits to workers and how much the plan relied on contributions from employers more than contributions from workers. And he made a very convincing argument that business was conspiring to deceive American workers into voting against FDR’s anti-business policies.

Roosevelt was quick to blame the business influence in politics on the Republicans’ opposition to him and his policies, which according to him reached the level of hatred. This is a concern that is still a very real concern to this day, and I found it interesting to hear how he talked about how essentially newsletters were circulating in opposition of his policies only because they hurt business. This is similar to how businesses and wealthy individuals give to political campaigns and parties (with the same bias towards the GOP that was apparently still existent then) to convince workers and middle-class that liberal and anti-business policies hurt them. The fact that the parties are on the same “side” of this issue, with Republicans and business interests aligning and the Democrats and workers’ interests aligning, speaks to Roosevelt’s role in realigning the party system, which is still prevalent in today’s politics, even though some historians and political scientists believe that we may be in another party system.

Optional Catch-up Assignment- Joe Robinson


For this assignment, I used ancestry.com to find a picture of Walter Raymond Robinson, my great grandfather on my dad’s side.  Walter was born on December 17, 1891 in Gloucester, MA.  The above picture was taken in 1908 when he was 17 years old, making him ineligible to vote in that year’s presidential election.  I believe that in the following two elections we’ve covered in class (1912 and  1920), my great grandfather would have probably voted for the Republican candidates.

Both Walter and his wife, my great grandmother Ruth Warren Tarr, were descendants of English immigrants who first arrived in America around 1700.  One of their ancestors, Richard Tarr, founded the town of Rockport, MA in 1690.  Like other Americans of early European descent, I think Walter would have been more conservative in his views.  Although his family wasn’t rich, they did own a successful grocery store during his childhood.  After graduating school, Walter went to work for the Gloucester National Bank, where he remained for most of his professional career.

Walter’s upbringing, along with his career in the financial world, leads me to believe that he would have voted for Taft and Harding in the 1912 and 1920 elections, respectively.  Although Wilson won in Massachusetts in 1912, I think his supporters would have come from the more industrial areas such as Boston, Lawrence/Lowell, and Springfield where there were larger immigrant populations.  I don’t think the people of Gloucester necessarily fit his supporter base.  As for the landslide 1920 election, I think Walter would have joined the rest of the nation in its desire to “return to normalcy” and would have voted for Harding.

Paul Carey’s Response to Leuchtenberg

I thought that Leuchtenberg’s quote about the need to appeal to the masses of the world is actually a very interesting concept. This is an issue that we still deal with today. He hits upon various negative aspects of Communism, Fascism, and Capitalism all at separate times. Though in the quote on page 39, it doesn’t necessarily matter what political system is implemented. What matters it the fact that the people that are ruled by this system can live a life that they determined is worthy of living. Each different system has its perks and disadvantages, and ultimately make them the enemies. Though from Leuchtenberg’s quote, I feel as though he believes it isn’t a matter of what you believe is right, its is a principle of what the people who are witnessing it believe.

Leuchtenberg does make a good point in showing the perks and negatives of capitalism. While capitalism does have its obvious issues, such as the repetitive issues of inflation, supply, demand, and employment, there are ways of getting around such issues. There are multiple arguments that can be made for the individual programs that were created for the New Deal. Though in theory, the combination of all the above is what truly helped the United States recover from the economic crash.