Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Trojan President

Many presidents have drawn off of Greek thought for the basis of our country. Jefferson's designs for the architecture of our nations capital was heavily influenced by the columns found in temple of the Mediterranean Sea and the very basis of democracy has origins in Greek history.

So it shouldn't be surprising that our nation's presidents, even used Greek mythology for our battle tactics. Teddy Roosevelt was perhaps the one to use this to most effective means during the Spanish-American War. President James Buchanan once tried using the fabled "Greek Fire" when a brief war began between the US and Britain after a pig was shot in the Oregon Territory on San Juan Island in Washington State. 

During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt had a number of craftsman create a wooden model of himself riding a horse. The decoy was to be used to lure the Spanish Army into a sense of calm as they were to accept this as a gift from the American Soldiers. The irony of the unfortunate Greek Fire incident in the Straights of Juan De Fuca on the Island of San Juan was not lost on Roosevelt as the only time this device was deployed was at the Battle of San Juan Hill.

It was this cunning display and use of the Trojan Teddy that helped win the battle. Stories of this success filled the New York papers and eventually he became Governor. The rest is what you read in the history books.

The Trojan Teddy was never forgotten though…When the future president went off on his big game safari's in Africa, he would bring this wooden decoy along with him to lure out lions and other carnivorous beasts. A compartment in the hind quarter of the wooden horse's leg was typically filled carrion to draw in additional scavengers so the Rough Rider could select his trophies with more skill. 

There were a few other presidents who tried with mix success to use similar use Greek Lore in their campaigns. Nixon and Reagan had secret plans in place that involved a golden fleece, falafel recipes, and gorgon blood. But the lack of success has been lost to history.

The Trojan Teddy is the last remaining relic of this era of Greco-Inspired combat era. 
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