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by James Hajik
One of the most colorful Presidents of the United States was Teddy Roosevelt. Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858, in New York City. His parents were Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and Martha Bulloch. "Teedie," as his close friends and family called him, was the second child of four. As he grew up he developed a love of natural history and reading, as well as hunting, boxing, and wrestling. He was educated in expensive private elementary and high schools.
Teddy at his College Graduation
Roosevelt went to Harvard from 1876 to 1880, where his hard work led him to the Columbia University Law School. During his Harvard years, he met Alice Lee, whom he married after his graduation. They settled in New York, where he wrote a book entitled The Naval War of 1812. Eventually, he came to the world of politics, and in 1881, was elected as a Republican to the New York State Assembly. Here, he worked with members of both parties, but did not run again in 1884 because of family problems.
Roosevelt as a Rancher
In 1889, Roosevelt became the New York Civil Service Commissioner after speaking in favor of hiring government workers based on skills, not party preference. Here, Roosevelt gained public interest after exposing weaknesses in the patronage system. Then, in 1894, he returned to New York City as the President of the Police Board. He fought against such things as police corruption, which gave him experience and a better view to the public.
An romantic artist’s rendition of Teddy Roosevelt at the Charge on San Juan Hill.
(Actually the Rough Riders fought on foot alongside a troop of American Black troops)
Soon after returning home, he ran for Governor of New York and won. Although many people disliked his attitudes about certain political aspects, the Republican Party liked him, and he was nominated to run as Vice President under William McKinley. After the election, on September 6, 1901, McKinley was assassinated, making Roosevelt the youngest President in American history at the age of 42.
Roosevelt as a Rough Rider
As President, he led his visitors on running, climbing, and swimming adventures, which many Americans viewed as an expression of their spirit. He kept McKinley’s cabinet, but controversy when he threatened Army intervention during a violent 5-month long coal miner’s strike. The miners eventually received a 10% pay increase and they only had to work nine hour days.
Roosevelt as President of the United States
Roosevelt was a strong supporter of economic imperialism. His idea on foreign affairs, which is still used today, was "Speak softly and carry a big stick." He made many treaties that would help American business in foreign trade. Under Roosevelt, the military was significantly strengthened. He exercised his military might by threatening to send troops to Venezuela to protect it if any country sent in armed forces to collect money owed them. Many countries agreed with him, and ruled that it is improper to use force for collection of debts. This was added to the Monroe Doctrine as "the Roosevelt Corollary."
A "Vote for Teddy" Pin
In 1908, Roosevelt decided not to run. William Taft, also a Republican, was nominated to run until 1912. But after the election, Roosevelt began to dislike Taft, and in the Election of 1812 formed his own political party called the Bull Moose Party. It was during this Presidential race that an assassination attempt was made on Roosevelt. But, even after being shot, he continued his speech, simply saying, "I will deliver this speech or die."
"Theodore Roosevelt" @ http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/, 5/31/00
Encarta Encyclopedia 99 (CD-ROM) Microsoft Corporation, 1999
Student Handbook. Vol. 2. USA:Southwestern Company, 1982.
American Odyssey. Columbus, Ohio: MacMillan/ McGraw Hill, 1992.
Picture #1 - "Theodore Roosevelt" from: http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/
Picture #2 - "Teddy at his Graduation" from: http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/
Picture #3 - "Roosevelt as a Rancher" from: Encarta Encyclopedia 99
Picture #4 - "An Artists Rendition of Teddy Roosevelt Charge at San Juan Hill" from: Encarta Encyclopedia 99
Picture #5 - "Roosevelt as a Rough Rider" from: http://theodoreroosevelt.org/
Picture #6 - "Roosevelt as President of the United States" from: Encarta Encyclopedia 99
Picture #7 - "A ‘Vote for Teddy’ Pin" from: http.//www.theodoreroosevelt.org/
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