We invite you to join us on Wednesday, June 19th, as Roosevelt House welcomes Dan Abrams—best-selling author and chief legal affairs correspondent for ABC News—to discuss his latest book. Abrams’ new work, Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense, is a page-turning account of a long-forgotten episode: ex-President Theodore Roosevelt’s extraordinary 1915 legal fight against an unlikely, unseemly libel charge in upstate Syracuse.
Roosevelt House often hosts programs about Eleanor Roosevelt’s “Uncle Ted” (Franklin’s cousin)—but this event promises to be special. Once again, as he did in his riveting Lincoln’s Last Trial, Abrams has wrenched a little-known legal event from the dustbin of history and transformed it into a riveting account of an American hero coming face to face with the American legal system. As Abrams reveals, FDR himself testified at the sensational 1915 trial—ironically, while serving as U. S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy under the man who had defeated TR for the presidency: Woodrow Wilson.
In 1915, Republican party boss William Barnes brought a libel action against TR over a newspaper account in which the ex-President not only accused Barnes of corruption, but vowed to continue fighting until the “alliance between crooked business and crooked politics is rooted out of the government system.” Barnes sued for $50,000—and Abrams shows that the trial represented not only a battle over free expression, but over TR’s own reform legacy.
In addition to his ABC work, Dan Abrams, a Columbia Law graduate, hosts Live PD on the A&E Network, and The Dan Abrams Show: Where Politics Meets the Law for Sirius XM Radio. He will be in conversation with Harold Holzer, the award-winning historian who serves as the Jonathan F. Fanton Director of Roosevelt House.
Roosevelt House is grateful to History Channel for co-sponsoring tonight’s lecture and reception.