Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt became president following the assassination of President McKinley. He would run again in 1912 as an independent candidate. He gained national

Teddy Roosevelt

fame when he served as a Rough Rider during the Spanish-American War.

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. was born on October 27, 1858 in New York City, New York. He was the second of four children born to Theodore and Martha “Mittie” Stewart Bulloch Roosevelt, Sr. His younger brother, Elliot, was the father of future first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Theodore was a distant cousin of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The name Roosevelt is Dutch and means rose field.

As a child, Theodore, also known as Teddy, experienced bouts of poor health and debilitating asthma, but was also inquisitive and energetic.

He grew up with his next door neighbor, Edith Carrow, and she attended school with Teddy and his siblings. The young people were all taught by tutors and their parents in the home.

As a teenager, Teddy learned how to box, which strengthened his weaker body. He also began a lifelong interest in taxidermy.

In Fall 1876, he began his studies at Harvard College. His father died suddenly on February 9, 1878. He graduated from college in 1880 as a Phi Beta Kappa. He then went on to study at Columbia Law School, but did not always enjoy it. He began writing a book on the War of 1812.

Teddy Roosevelt

His interest in politics began and he began to immerse himself in the Republican party. Roosevelt decided to drop out of law school, later saying, “I intended to be one of the governing class.”

In 1882, he published his book The Naval War of 1812 which “was praised for its scholarship and style, and it showed Roosevelt to be a scholar of history. It remains a standard study of the war.”

On his 22nd birthday, he married Alice Hathaway Lee. Their daughter, Alice Lee Roosevelt, was born on February 12, 1884. Two days later his mother, Mittie, died of typhoid fever. Eleven hours later his wife, Alice, died. “In his diary, Roosevelt wrote a large ‘X’ on the page and then, “The light has gone out of my life.” The distraught widower left his infant daughter in the care of his sister.

He rarely spoke of his first wife, could not look at her pictures and did not mention her in his autobiography.

He immersed himself into work to deal with his pain. In 1882, he was elected as a New York State Assemblyman. He served for the next three years in this office and “wrote more bills than any other legislature”.

From 1882-1886, he served in the New York National Guard. He left service as a captain and company commander.

During the 1884 election, he began to gain a national reputation as a “key person in New York State”.

Teddy Roosevelt

Afterward, he decided to retire from politics and moved to North Dakota, where he built a second ranch named Elk Horn. ” On the banks of the Little Missouri, Roosevelt learned to ride western style, rope and hunt; though he earned the respect of the authentic cowboys, they were not overly impressed…He reoriented, and began writing about frontier life for national magazines; he also published three books.”

In North Dakota, he became a deputy sheriff and began to pursue outlaws. He returned East, after the severe winter of 1886-87 wiped out his herds.

On December 2, 1886, he married his childhood friend, Edith Kermit Carow in London, England. While honeymooning in Europe, “Roosevelt led a group to the summit of Mont Blanc, an achievement that resulted in his induction into the Royal Society of London.”

Teddy and Edith Roosevelt raised his daughter, Alice, from his first marriage. His wife and daughter are often said to have clashed. Edith Roosevelt would give him five children, Theodore “Ted” III in 1887, Kermit in 1889, Ethel in 1891, Archibald in 1894, and Quentin in 1897.

He returned to politics when he ran for Mayor of New York City, but he was defeated. He wrote The Winning of the West, which earned him favorable reviews.

Teddy Roosevelt dressed as a rough rider

President Benjamin Harrison appointed Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission, where he served until 1895. Roosevelt vigorously fought the spoils men and demanded enforcement of civil service laws. Roosevelt made a habit of walking officers’ beats late at night and early in the morning to make sure that they were on duty.

Roosevelt was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897. After attempting to buy Cuba, McKinley asked Congress to declare war upon Spain, beginning the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt resigned from his post and formed the First US Volunteer Calvary Regiment. He and his unit became known as the Rough Riders in the press. They became famous for their charge on Kettle Hill on July 1, 1898. He became known as Colonel Roosevelt and hated when he was referred to as Teddy. However, once he became president, his name would inspire the teddy bear.

Upon leaving service, Roosevelt was elected as Governor of New York in 1898. He took office in early January 1899.

In November 1899, Vice President Garret Hobart died and President McKinley needed a new running mate. Roosevelt won the nomination unanimously and became Vice President on March 4, 1901. On September 2, 1901, Roosevelt first publicized an aphorism that thrilled his supporters at the Minnesota State Fair: “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.”

Teddy Roosevelt

On September 5, President McKinley was shot while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He died on September 14th. Roosevelt traveled to Buffalo, where he was sworn in.

In 1902, he dealt with the coal strike and became the “first president to effectuate the negotiated settlement of a labor dispute”.

In 1904, he was elected as president in his own right.

He was not afraid to prosecute misconduct, set up the Interstate Commerce Commission, pass the Pure Food and Drug Act, pass the Meat Inspection Act, deal with the Panic of 1907, built the Panama Canal and dealt with a variety of other issues. “Of all Roosevelt’s achievements, he was proudest of his work in conservation of natural resources, and extending federal protection to land and wildlife…Roosevelt was the first President to issue over 1,000 Executive Orders…Roosevelt issued almost as many executive orders as all of his predecessors combined.”

He also believed that following the Spanish-American War, the United States had emerged as a world power. He helped to strengthen ties with Great Britain. He also settled terms on the Alaskan boundary dispute.

Teddy Roosevelt

“Roosevelt made the White House the center of news every day, providing interviews and photo opportunities. After noticing the reporters huddled outside the White House in the rain one day, he gave them their own room inside, effectively inventing the presidential press briefing.”

Roosevelt debated running for a third term in 1908 and had mixed feelings. However, he eventually threw his support to his Secretary of War, William Howard Taft. Taft would win the election.

He left office on March 3, 1909 and before the end of the month had set out on an African Expedition with his sons. He was supported by the Smithsonian Institution and financed by Andrew Carnegie. He hunted for specimens for the Smithsonian and American Museum of Natural History, killing or trapping approximately 11,400 animals. Of these 1,000 were large animals and 512 big game animals. Roosevelt had become a life member of the National Rifle Association in 1907.

In a 1910 speech he introduced the phrase Square Deal.

Once he was finished with his African safari, he toured Europe extensively.

By 1912, he was disappointed in his heir, President Taft, and decided to run for election in 1912. He ran against President Taft and Governor Woodrow Wilson, essentially splitting the Republican vote. Wilson won the election.

On October 14, 1912, while campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Roosevelt was shot by a saloonkeeper named John Flammang Schrank. Instead of going to the

Teddy Roosevelt

hospital, he delivered his scheduled speech. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Afterwords, probes and an x-ray showed that the bullet had lodged in Roosevelt’s chest muscle, but did not penetrate the pleura, and it would be less dangerous to leave it in place. Roosevelt carried the bullet with him for the rest of his life.The bullet lodged in his chest exacerbated his rheumatoid arthritis and prevented him from doing his daily stint of exercises; Roosevelt soon became obese.

From 1913-1914, Roosevelt undertook an expedition to South America.

In May 1914, he returned to the United States. He was recovering from malaria and turned down an opportunity to run for Governor of New York.

On July 14, 1918, his son Quentin, was killed when his aircraft was shot down while serving in France during the Great War {World War I}.

On January 5, 1919, Roosevelt suffered problems breathing. After treatment from his physician, he went to bed. Roosevelt’s last words were “Please put out that light, James” to his family servant James Amos. He died in his sleep.

Upon receiving word of his death, his son Archibald telegraphed his siblings: “The old lion is dead.

Woodrow Wilson’s vice president, Thomas R. Marshall, said that “Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.”

He was buried on a hillside overlooking Oyster Bay.


26th President of the United States
(September 14, 1901 to March 3, 1909)

Nicknames: “TR”; “Trust-Buster”; “Teddy”

Born: October 27, 1858, in New York, New York
Died: January 6, 1919, in Oyster Bay, New York

Father: Theodore Roosevelt
Mother: Martha Bulloch Roosevelt
Married: Alice Hathaway Lee (1861-1884), on October 27, 1880; Edith Kermit Carow (1861-1948), on December 2, 1886
Children: Alice Lee Roosevelt (1884-1980); Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (1887-1944); Kermit Roosevelt (1889-1943); Ethel Carow Roosevelt (1891-1977); Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt (1894-1979); Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918)

Religion: Dutch Reformed
Education: Graduated from Harvard College (1880)
Occupation: Author, lawyer, public official
Political Party: Republican

  • Member of New York State Assembly, 1882-84
  • Member of Civil Service Commission, 1889-95
  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1895-97
  • Governor of New York, 1898-1900
  • Vice President, 1901

Presidential Salary: $50,000/year

Theodore Roosevelt Timeline: Presidential Timeline of Important Events
1901 His inauguration as 26th President of the United States on September 14, 1901, aged 42, following the assassination of President William McKinley.
1902 The Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902 began in Pennsylvania and spread to all coal miners of the United Mine Workers of America protesting against their low wages, long hours, and poor working conditions.
1902 The Venezuela Crisis of 1902 – 1903: The Venezuela Crisis was a naval blockade imposed against Venezuela by Britain, Germany and Italy due to Venezuela’s inability to pay its debts..
1902 The Wright brothers invented the first plane that was not powered by wind. Orville Wright flew the gas motored plane for 12 seconds over a beach in North Carolina.
1904 The Spooner Act in which the building of the Panama Canal was authorized and rights were acquired
1904 The “Square Deal” domestic policy was adopted by the President in which he pledged not to favor any group of Americans but to be fair to all. He supported aggressive political reforms, including the heavy regulation of business
1904 Victory in the legal case against the company owned by J.P. Morgan, James J. Hill and E.H. Harriman gave President Roosevelt the name of “trustbuster”
1904 The Russo-Japanese War (8 February 1904 – 5 September 1905) was a conflict that grew out of the rival aspirations of Russia and Japan on Manchuria and Korea.
1904 The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine asserted the right of the US to intervene to “stabilize” the economic affairs of small states in Central America and the Caribbean if they were unable to pay their international debts
1905 The President establishes the National Forest Service
1905 June: The Antiquities Act of 1906, aka the National Monuments Act was aimed at the Preservation of American Antiquities. The President Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower in Wyoming as the first of many National Monuments on September 24, 1906.
1906 The San Francisco Earthquake, and the resulting fire, was one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the US. The San Francisco earthquake was caused by a rupture on the San Andreas Fault
1906 The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Roosevelt for brokering a peace between Russia and Japan
1906 The Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act
1907 The Panic of 1907 aka the Bankers’ Panic or Knickerbocker Crisis was a US financial crisis that took place when the New York Stock Exchange fell nearly 50% from its peak in the previous year.
1907 The Immigration Act of 1907 which increases the immigration ‘head tax’, restricts Japanese immigration and establishes the Dillingham Commission due to growing immigration problems
1907 November: Oklahoma is admitted to the Union as the 46th state on November 16, 1907
1908 The “Model T” automobile is introduced by Henry Ford enabling affordable, mass produced cars for the average American
1908 January: The President designates the Grand Canyon, Arizona as a national monument.
1909 His presidency and term in office ends on March 4, 1909. The next US President was William H. Taft


1858 Theodore Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858 in New York

1876 Battle of Little Bighorn

1877 Nez Perce War

1880 Married on October 27, 1880, to his first wife Alice Hathaway Lee (1861–1884)

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and European Restriction Act

1882-84 Member of New York State Assembly, 1882-84

1886 Married his second wife, Edith Kermit Carow (1861–1948), on December 2, 1886

1889-95 Member of Civil Service Commission, 1889-95

1890 Yosemite National Park created
Wounded Knee Massacre

1895-97 Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1895-97

1896 Gold discovered in the Yukon’s Klondike

1898 Spanish-American War. Theodore Roosevelt served in the Spanish-American War.

1898-1900 Governor of New York, 1898-1900

1901 Vice President, 1901 (under McKinley)

1901 1901 Theodore Roosevelt became the President of the United States of America

1904 Panama Canal Rights Acquired (1904)
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (1904-1905)

1905 The “Square Deal” domestic program
Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905)

1906 Pure Food and Drug Act (1906)
San Francisco Earthquake (1906)
Theodore Roosevelt won Nobel Peace Prize (1906)

1907 Panic of 1907

1908 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) established

1909 1909 The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt ended

1917 US enters World War I

1919 Theodore Roosevelt died in his sleep from a heart attack on January 6, 1919 in Oyster Bay, New York. Theodore Roosevelt was buried in Youngs Memorial Cemetery, New York.



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