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The Bow Tie in History: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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The history of the bow tie is a long and dapper one. While we could share endlessly of its Eastern European history, we would like to share instead about its American heritage, serving the necks of some of the USA’s most rugged, sophisticated, and brilliant men of modern times. 

Case in point:  Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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Say what you want about his politics, there’s no denying Franklin D. Roosevelt was an extraordinary man with an extraordinary family. His cuz, Teddy, was shot in the chest before a speech and then got rushed to the hospital…After delivering his speech.

With such a legacy, is there any way FDR would mess around with inferior neckwear? Not likely.  He was a true fan of the bow tie.

Roosevelt was paralyze after contracting polio in his late 30s, but this didn't keep him walking and standing during his terms as President. He braced up his legs and swiveled his hips across the Oval Office upright in a bow tie more than once. He delivered entire speeches standing behind the podium - his legs braced and entire body held stable by his arms. It takes some grit to wear a bow tie, and it’s grit that Roosevelt had in spades.

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Some presidents see the world on the brink during their presidency, but FDR saw it pushed over the edge twice. Once during the Great Depression, and once during the Second World War. Unemployment during the Great Depression was nearly 25%, and you can see that times were severe. Roosevelt knew the nation’s confidence in their future was dependent on the confident image he presented. Little wonder he choose a bow tie so many times to convey it.

FDR also helmed the modern world’s most impressive military to victory in the last World War. He was the guy who got the call, “Sir, another country has managed to sneak through the entire Pacific ocean with 6 carriers, 500 planes, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and midget submarines and they have attacked a city… here in America, one of our most strategic bases to be exact.” And you thought your job was stressful. Handle it in a bow tie, and no one will see you sweat.

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The history of FDR is as rich as the history of the bow tie. We haven't even discussed the Dust Bowl, his almost three-terms as President, or his political prowess at Yalta. Anyway you look at, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is an American icon. His bow tie represents America at its finest.

Steady under pressure and sophisticated even with our backs against the wall.

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