(Played by Epaminondas)
Family History Edit
The Root's are a nationally known and respected bourgeoisie family. Their wealth stems from the financial genius of Henry Root's great grandfather, George Root, who in the space of 25 years (1870-1895) transformed his small New York city bank into an international financial powerhouse. One hundred years after its ascension to world class status, Root Financial Enterprises remains a leader in the banking industry. The successive Root generations did much to build upon this foundation. Thomas Root, Henry's grandfather and an accomplished civil engineer, used Root Financial Enterprises to bankroll his Root Development Inc. which is a large project construction company. Due to the close friendship between Thomas's cousin Elihu and Theodore Roosevelt, Root Development Inc. was awarded the contract to develop the Panama canal in 1903. Thomas's son Martin, who is the father of Henry, came of age as a businessman during the Great Depression in the 1930's. Martin used the family's wealth to buy property all over New York city at low prices which were the result of the depressed economic conditions. This real estate he developed with Root Development Inc. and then sold large portions of it at great profit during the 1940's when economic conditions had improved. Along with being a successful business family, the Roots are great philanthropists. Throughout their hometown of New York City libraries, theaters and charitable organization bear their name.
Early Life Edit
Born to Martin and Catherine Root in 1934, Henry Root attended Harvard University where he took a degree in Literature. After his graduation he followed the family tradition of serving a term in the Army and received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. During this time he was stationed in the Philippines where his courageous service in the quelling of a rebellion on Mindanao earned him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart (for a bullet wound to his left leg) in 1958. Leaving the Army at the rank of Captain, Henry returned home to New York City. Integrating his love of literature with his families business prowess, Henry founded a publishing house Root Publishing. The first pages off the presses were those of Henry's own novel based on his experiences in the Philippines. A critical and commercial success, Henry's "Infamous Isles" was a symbolic vote of support for continued US control of the Philippines. The year of 1960 saw the book on the New York Times Bestseller List for 20 consecutive weeks. As the 1960's wore on, Henry expanded Root Publishing into Root Media Corporation by founding a political opinion journal and a TV Broadcast Station. These outlets, in line with Henry's political views, became influential sources of conservative thought and the home of the backlash against the "flower children" of the 1960's and 1970's.
Political Career Edit
When a senate seat in New York was vacated in 1975, Henry mounted a campaign to win it. As a conservative, Henry Root ran as Unionist in the election and defeated his Progressive Party opponent 58% to 41% in 1976. As a Senator, Henry became the face of the pro-business movement and argued passionately against the "senseless restriction of private enterprise plaguing our country" and "government's regulatory mindset that constricts economic growth and prevents job creation." Henry's star quickly rose in the Senate and within the Unionist Party and in 1983 he became the Party's obvious choice for the 1984 Presidential election. Running on a campaign of deregulation, lower taxes, and "a focus on the home front without forgetting to look after our allies and interests abroad", Henry Root won the election 52% to 47%.
Root's base is what is commonly referred to as the "Old Guard" of American politics. In other words, traditional Unionists, wealthy businessmen, the upper crust, and of course those of the upper middle class who are striving to become wealthy. During the campaign his status as war hero and his promises to "reform the industry of agriculture as it is practiced today" made him popular with the rural folk of the American heartland. Nevertheless, Root is not popular with all Americans. Hard leftists and union leaders are among Root's most vocal detractors. The intellectual establishment is split on Root. He is liked by sober minded types at the university whereas the more "warm and fuzzy" types find his free market zealotry distasteful.
Political Positions Edit
Root is a committed free marketer. An oft quoted quip from the then presidential candidate is "I intend to use every lawful power of the presidency to "abolish as much as is prudent of the regulatory apparati which serve only to clog and congest the nation's economic engine." The man abhors regulation for free enterprise as he sees economic freedom as inextricably linked to political liberty. "The notion of radical collectivists," he is fond of stating, "that in a society where a man is denied the fruits of his own hard labor is still a free society has the whole thing backwards." As such, Root advocates lower taxes and deregulation.
In order to maintain a balanced budget while cutting taxes Root plans to roll back the nation's welfare system. "Protection of the mentally unsound along with the very old and very young is a national duty. However, the subsidization and institutionalization of unearned lives of leisure lived by the those best known as the "welfare class" is the paramount crime of the federal government against our people. Nothing is so hurtful to a nation as the creation of a system whereby he who works hard fares no better than he who does no work at all.
A new plank for the Unionist party is Root's social program which he calls the "Square Deal". It is intentionally set as a contrast to the redistributivist "New Deal" of the well known former Progressive President, Franklin Roosevelt. Roots plan is to give a fair chance to every citizen who is willing to work hard. This means that any sort of legally condoned favoritism will be eliminated. It also means that education will be a major focus as a good education is an absolute necessity for a fair chance in life. The essence of this plan is to ensure that people who work hard, regardless of their station, can earn a decent living and have the chance to rise. However, it is necessary that they are willing to work hard. Root does not stand for, and will do everything to eradicate, "that sort of citizen who eschews the strenuous life of hard work and honest toil for the government subsidized life of leisure."
During the campaign Root committed himself to the promotion of the interests of rural, small share farmers against the encroach of agribusiness. This he intends to do. Yet not in a way that compromises his free market principles. Instead he advocates the elimination of agricultural subsidies which go disproportionately to agribusinesses and serve only to widen the gap between such entities and small farmers. Consistent with his square deal he will level the playing field.
Detractors call Root a jingo. The truth is that he is a man that refuses to back down from any challenge to US interests. In the 1940's the US was caught off guard by the Japanese which is something that Root will not allow to happen again. The Philippines must be fortified against incursion due to their strategic importance. Furthermore, the canal Root's grandfather built (the Panama canal) must also be protected. Root intends to maintain a close relationship with the United States of Central America and help them in their quest toward modernization. Furthermore, Root pledged to remain close to America's "newest friend" the Australians. "The Aussies took a big risk coming to our aid and spurning the Brits and I will never forget that courage. They are a good people and a true republic; our support for them is total."
Root will not back down, but he does not intend to start trouble either. So long as the USA and her allies are not threatened, Root would just assume let the world handle its own affairs. An example of this is his view on the CSA. He has suggested searching for a lasting peace agreement and will not be asking for the return of southern Pennsylvania as many predecessors have tried.
In matters of international trade Root vacillates between protectionism and free trade. He supports free trade among allies of the United States, but sees no reasons why "neutrals and worse should be allowed to undercut domestic producers with their products".
Who is Henry Root the man? He is much more than just a super successful businessman, author, and politician. No, behind the impressive resume is a real man with real flaws.
The wound he sustained on Mindanao has remained a problem for him throughout his life and has left him with a slight limp. Cold weather and age further aggravate the injury. Living in constant pain has taken its toll on Root and has left him with a real short fuse. Many an aide has suffered the experience of Root enraged and some of those have even had to dodge flying objects! Henry is generally able to control himself in public situations or when at odds with powerful rivals. This means that the general public is mostly unaware of his occasional rages. Close friends and associates, though, wonder whether Root's temper may cause a problem when dealing with foreign leaders.
Henry is an exceptional human being and a member of an exceptional family. Throughout history great men have risen and created impressive families. However, few great families have included great members in four consecutive generations. Root is well aware of this fact and has developed quite the high impression of himself. He calls it the proper pride of a great man while his opponents call it hubris. Only time will tell. At any rate, his high opinion of himself has led to a general low opinion of the hoi polloi or "the unproductive underclasses" as he calls them. This feeling extends to what Root calls the "low nations" (aka the developing world). Again, he has been largely able to keep this to himself.
Though he has a short fuse and a bit of a pompous attitude, Root is not without many positive characteristics. For one thing, he is able to keep certain aspects of himself personal while always projecting a perfect image. The public image of Root is of a benevolent patron and this exists largely because of Root's effort in cultivating it. He has a shrewd political sense that few are able to match. Furthermore, Root is a man of a near fanatic loyalty to his causes and the people he cares for. This loyalty was the root cause of his military service as well as his devotion to the continued management of all Root businesses. He has bailed out many friends who have come upon financial trouble and he is prone to giving money to people with the surname "Root" regardless of family affiliation. Root is also an extremely hard worker. His record is a testament to that fact.
When all is said and done, Root is an amazingly confident and ambitious man. His life has thus far been the tale of an unending pursuit of high achievement and the presidency is without a doubt the high point of his career.