Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt 1858-1919

  • President of the United States – September 14, 1901, until March 4, 1909
  • Vice President of the United States – March 4, 1901, until September 14, 1901
  • Governor of New York January 1, 1899, until December 31, 1900
  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy April 19, 1897, until May 10, 1898
  • Colonel US Army – 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders) – Spanish American War

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and tghe boss drives.

Theodore Roosevelt is one of the most interesting and unique people that has ever been president of the United States of America. He was truly an individual. Serving in the military serving both in his home state and then in the federal Government, the man known as Teddy is credited with coining the phrase: “Walk tall but carry a big stick.” Walk tall he did and he proved that he was able to carry that big stick as well.

Theodore Roosevelt - Harvard Days

Born in New York City in 1858, Theodore Roosevelt grew up in a socialite family but with a father that shaped his life and beliefs. According to Roosevelt himself: “My father, Theodore Roosevelt, was the best man I ever knew. He combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness. He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfulness.”

Homeschooled until college, Roosevelt explored all of the pastimes of any boy his age and a few that were not normal. He learned how to taxidermy animals and formed what he and two cousins called the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History. When he came of age, he was accepted to and attended Harvard in 1876. While at Harvard, Roosevelt was on the rowing team and was a boxer of some note. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard in 1880. After college, Roosevelt enrolled in Columbia law school and started his political career.

Theodore Roosevelt - Rough RiderRoosevelt was put forth by the Republican party as a candidate for a house seat in New York – his first elected position. Roosevelt anti-corruption efforts helped him win re-election in 1882. During the presidential campaign os 1884, Roosevelt supported Edmunds of Vermont as the Republican candidate. Edmunds lost and the election and over time, Roosevelt lost the support of the reformers in the Republican party. He retired from politics and moved to North Dakota.

Building a second ranch in North Dakota, called Elkhorn, learned to rope, ride and hunt the land in the west. During this time, Roosevelt wrote three books and even became a deputy sheriff. It is thought, that Roosevelt’s time in the west removed the stigma he gained earlier in his political career as an intellectual that might have hindered his political career.

Heading back to the east, Roosevelt became first Police Commissioner of New York and then Governor of New York State. As governor, in the 1896 presidential race, Roosevelt backed Thomas Brackett Reed but William McKinley won te nomination. With McKinley in the White House, he appointed Roosevelt to the position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy. One of Roosevelt’s main project as Assistant Secretary of the Navy trying to keep Spain out of Cuba. When the Maine exploded on February 15, 1898, Roosevelt moved ships into place and we were prepared for the war when McKinley urged congress to declare war – starting the Spanish-American War.

Battle of San JuanThe United States and Spain declared war on each other in April of 1898. Roosevelt resigned from his post as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and formed the 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment along with Army Colonel Leonard wood. Roosevelt and Wood announced this new regiment and applications flooded in from all over the country. The regiment was referred to as the Rough Riders by the press and was one of several groups formed just for the duration of the war. The Rough Riders became famous for their charge at Kettle Hill, which Roosevelt ed himself. On this battle, Roosevelt committed:

“The only way to get them to do it in the way it had to be done was to lead them myself.”

Theodore Roosevelt

After Leaving Cuba in August of 1898, Roosevelt was asked to run for the poisiton of Governor of New York State. It is this post that made him a potential candidte for president. During his time as Givernor, Roosevelt gained many of the skills he would need to use as president. When President McKinley’s vice president died in office, Roosevelt found himself first being talked about as a potential VP and then becoming Vice President. Roosevelt would only serve six months as vice president however.

President McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, New York. When McKinley succumbed to the gunshot wound on September 15th, 1901. Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th president of the United States. As President, Roosevelt is known for the following:

  • Developed the Square Deal
  • Started the process of placing land under federal protection
  • Dissolved 44 corporations functioning as monopolies
  • Passed the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act
  • Negotiated US control of the construction on the Panama Canal
  • Won the Nobel Prize for ending the Russo-Japanese War