Theodore Roosevelt, the second of four children, was born in New York, New York on October 27, 1858. He was part Dutch, English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, French, and German. Because of Roosevelt’s poor health, he suffered from asthma and defective vision. He had great energy, curiosity, and determination like his father. “Teedie” as his family would call him, loved books and the outdoors. He combined these interests into nature study. When he was ten and again when he was fourteen, Teedie went with his family on yearlong trips to Europe and the Middle East. His father built a gymnasium in his house so he could exercise regularly. His father said that he would need a strong body to give his mind a chance to develop fully. Over time, Roosevelt overcame his asthma and built up unusual physical strength.
On October 27, 1880, Roosevelt married Alice Hathaway. They were a happily married couple for about 3 years until she died on February 13, 1884, following a baby girl the next day named, Alice Roosevelt’s mother died on the same day as Theodore’s wife. Baby Alice survived, and was subsequently married in a lavish White House ceremony to Nicholas Longworth.
Meanwhile, Roosevelt married his childhood sweetheart, Edith Kermit Carow, in London. She was an intelligent, sensitive and cultivated woman. Resignedly, she accepted many of her husband’s most disruptive decisions, such as his break with the Republican Party in 1912. She gave four sons—Theodore, Jr.; Archibals; Quentin; and a daughrt Ethel. The energetic kids in the Roosevelt family were the liveliest group of children to live in the White House.
September 14, 1901 Roosevelt took the oath of office at Buffalo and became the twenty-sixth President of the United States. At age 42, he was the youngest man to hold that office. In May of 1902, Crater Lake National Park was established. Other National Parks established by Roosevelt are Windy Cave National Park, South Dakota; Sullys Hill, North Dakota; Platt National Park, Oklahoma; and Mesa Verde National Park. In November of 1903, Roosevelt signed the Treaty with Panama for building the Panama Canal.
In November of 1904, Theodore Roosevelt was reelected president over Democrat Alton B Parker. The first major achievement of Roosevelt’s second term was the Hepburn Act of 1906, which gave the Interstate Commerce Commission power to fix railroad rates and to prohibit discrimination among shippers. During the last two years of Roosevelt’s presidency, Republican leaders defied him almost continuously. Finally on January 31, 1908, Roosevelt lashed back in one of the most bitter and radical presidential messages on record. He said that the representatives of “predatory wealth” were thwarting his program.
In 1902, Roosevelt gave his support to the Democratic-sponsored Newlands Act. Under his authority 30 immigration projects, inculding Roosevelt Damn in Arizona, were begun or completed during his presidency. In October of 1912, Roosevelt was shot and wounded in an assassination attempt during a characteristically aggressive campaign. But Democratic governor of New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson, received 42% of the popular votes and won overpowering in the Electoral College.
Early Jobs / Career Goals Prior to Presidency
When Theodore was 23, he was elected to serve his first term in the New York State Assembly. As the leader of a minority of reform-minded Republicans, he pushed through a number of “good government” bills.
From 1884 to 1886, Roosevelt took up his lonely time by writing history and by operating a cattle ranch in the Dakota Territory, where he earned the respect of cowhands and ranchers. In the fall of 1886, he returned east to run for mayor of New York against Congressman Abram S. Hewitt and the economist Henry George. Hewitt won decisively, while Roosevelt finished a poor third.
In 1887, Roosevelt was named Assistant Secretary of the Navy by President William McKinley. With this important job, Roosevelt worked behind the scenes for war against Spain. In 1878, Roosevelt resigned to accept a lieutenant colonelcy in the 1st U.S. Volunteer Calvary – the “Rough Riders”. He led the Rough Riders in a heroic charge up Kettle Hill in the battle for San Juan.
As head of the commission, Roosevelt was being lead by the belief that the spoils system was a “fruitful source of corruption” that kept “decent men” out of politics. The business community’s resentment of Roosevelt’s tax and other programs prompted “Boss” Platt to try to ease him out of the state. Platt tried to talk Roosevelt into running for vice-president on the ticket with President McKinley in 1900. The office of vice-president had been vacant because of the death of Vice President Garret Hobart in 1899. Roosevelt didn’t sound amused about running for vice president because he liked being governor and he viewed the position as unchallenging. Roosevelt’s good friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge encouraged him to take the vice presidency as a possible stepping stone to the presidency. Finally, Roosevelt ran for vice president. Because he was so popular throughout the nation, he was nominated easily.
Roosevelt campaigned strenuously and was sept into the vice presidency by the McKinley landslide. Six months into his second term, McKinley was assassinated at Buffalo, New York.
In the summer of 1898, Roosevelt returned to New York to run for governor. He won by fewer than 20,000 votes. Roosevelt became the best governor of New York at that time because of enthusiasm and support by a public opinion. While governor, Roosevelt upgraded teachers’ salaries, spurred passage of a bill to outlaw racial discrimination in public schools, and made a stab at arresting the blight of the slums. Finally, he took steps to preserve the wildlife, forests and natural beauty of his state.
Roosevelt studied under tutors until he entered Harvard University at the age of 18. He taught himself how to ride, box, and shoot. He began to work on a book of scholarly Merit, The Naval War of 1812, which was published two years after he received his B.A. degree in 1880.
Final Analysis of Effectiveness during Presidency
Some of Theodore’s most effective achievements were in conservation. He added tremendously to the national forests in the West, reserved land for public use, and fostered great irrigation projects, in foreign affairs. He led us into the arena of international power politics. He expanded the powers and responsibilities of the presidential office. He reversed the traditional federal policy of laissez-faire, and sought to bring order, social justice, and fair dealings to American industry and commerce.
Recurring bouts with malarial fever took Roosevelt’s strength during his last years. He was also hospitalized with rheumatism. On January 6, 1919, Theodore Roosevelt died at home in his sleep. He was buried without eulogy, music, or military honors in a plain oak casket at Sagamore Hill.
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