Jane Addams and Theodore Roosevelt met and became friends in the early 1900s. Roosevelt visited the Hull house during its operation to help and support Addams cause. Roosevelt enjoyed attending the Hull house as he would meet with boy scouts and viewed performances by band members. In 1912 Roosevelt decided to run as a third team as part of the Progressive Party. He stated the importance of women suffrage, child labor laws and other labor laws. Addams came out in support of Roosevelt and campaigned with him making speeches and raising awareness about the problems plaguing the country women and youth. Roosevelt lost the election but this campaign gained support for reform on these issues. Addams and Roosevelt were friends but this would soon change when World War I began.
Addams became greatly concerned about World War I and did not want the United States to join the war. Addams formed the Women’s Peace Party and held a conference in 1915 where over 3,000 women attended. Addams later founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom where Addams was elected the leader. Throughout World War I she wrote multiple letters to congress and even testified in front of the United States House of Representatives to promote peace. Addams was a pacifist and wanted the United States to stay out of World War I as she believed it was best for the United States.
Roosevelt was a war hawk and wanted the United States to enter World War I. Roosevelt attacked Wilson as a coward for not going to war after the Germans sunk the Lusitania, one of the United States navy boats. Roosevelt would write letters to Wilson stating that the United States should enter the war before they are attacked. In March of 1916 the United States found out about the Zimmermann Telegram, which stated for Mexico to ally with Germany and attack the United States. This forced the United States to enter the war as they didn’t want to be attacked on their homeland. Roosevelt was happy and wanted to fight in the war but Wilson did not allow him too.
Roosevelt and Addams had different positions on World War I and their relationship was hurt because of it. They did not talk during the war but would talk about one another negatively to other people. Roosevelt believed that she was a pacifist who would get herself into conversations she shouldn’t be in. Addams believed that Roosevelt was over aggressive and to willing to go into war. In a newspaper article by the United Press Addams stated about Roosevelt “He is ready to fight at the drop of the hat and far be it from me to defend him. And I do not believe that he speaks for any larger body of people.” Roosevelt and Addams disagreed vehemently on World War I and this brought an end to their relationship.
Roosevelt and Addams were great friends and worked together well before World War I. Roosevelt was fond of Addams work with the Hull House and Addams viewed Roosevelt as a tool to help promote equality between women and men. The two diverged during World War I as Roosevelt wanted the United States to be involved in the war and Addams wanted the United States to stay out of the war. Roosevelt and Addams are two very passionate people and their relationship is important one to note in history.
Felner, Talia. “Jane Addams Done with T.R.” New Castle Herald, January 16, 1916. AccessedApril 11, 2018.