Theodore Roosevelt

President Theodore Roosevelt


Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Jr. was a well developed man, a governor, military leader,  environmental activist, warrior, as well as a United States President. He was born on October 27, 1858, in New York City. He grew up within a well-off family due to their successful plate-glass importing business. Growing up, Theodore Roosevelt was homeschooled because he had bad asthma. This caused him to become extremely close with his family. His nickname from his family growing up was “Teedie”. He wanted to impress his father, therefore, he followed his father’s encouragement in his teen years and started weightlifting and boxing.

After being homeschooled, he went to Harvard College. During his second year of school his father passed away, which made him work harder, and he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1880. After this, he furthered his education and went to Columbia Law School, which he gave up on quite quickly. At this time, he married Alice Hathaway Lee, who was from Massachusetts.

Theodore Roosevelt joined the New York State Assembly as a representative from New York City; he was the youngest person to ever serve in that position. Holding that office inspired him to also serve in many other public offices, such as Captain of the National Guard and the minority leader of the New York State Assembly.

Tragically, Theodore Roosevelt’s life soon took a turn for the worst. His mother and wife died on the same day, February 14, 1884. After this, he left his young daughter to his sister and left New York for the Dakota Territory, where he lived.

Two years later he returned to his political life, but it did not go the way he planned, especially in the New York City mayoral election in 1886.  He married his second wife at this time, whose name was Edith Kermit Carow. After this he returned to public work, first as a Civil Service commissioner, then as the New York City Police Commissioner, and finally as Assistant U.S. Navy Secretary under President William McKinley.

During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt organized and led a volunteer cavalry unit, nicknamed the “Rough Riders,” who fought in the Battle of San Juan Hill. He was a hero because of this and his leadership in the Spanish-American War, and was nominated for the Medal of Honor. Some believe this is part of the reason why he was elected Governor of New York that same year, in 1898. Roosevelt served as the Vice President under President McKinley during his second term, but shortly after the election, McKinley was assassinated.

In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became the youngest man to serve as President of the United States. As President, he was dedicated to prosecuting monopolies under the Sherman Antitrust Act. He created the “Square Deal,” which was “a domestic program that embraced reform of the American workplace, government regulation of industry and consumer protection, with the overall aim of helping all classes of people.” He initiated a massive public relations effort “engaging his unofficial policy of ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick,’ Roosevelt bulked up the U.S. Navy and created the ‘Great White Fleet,’ sending it on a world tour as a testament to U.S. military power.” He helped expedite completion of the Panama Canal by providing tacit approval and support of the independence movement in Panama. Roosevelt was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his role in negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War. He was also the first environmentalist president, and he signed the National Monuments Act which protected places such as the Grand Canyon.

“Theodore Roosevelt supported desegregation and women’s suffrage, [but] his administration took an often passive, sometimes contradictory approach to improving civil rights. He defended Minnie Cox, who experienced racial discrimination in the South while working as a postmaster, and strongly supported a woman’s right to vote in 1912. Roosevelt was also the first president to entertain an African-American, Booker T. Washington, as a guest at the White House. However, the political backlash from the event was so severe that he never invited Washington back again.” Here he shows partial support for what Jane Addams was fighting for. 

Theodore Roosevelt lived a active lifestyle and put his heart into everything he did. Outside of politics, he published over 25 books and led numerous research expeditions.

He passed away in his sleep on January 6, 1919 at his Long Island estate. He was 60 years old, and was buried at Youngs Memorial Cemetery in New York.