Theodore Roosevelt

president of the United States from 1901 to 1909

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Theodore Roosevelt
Portrait c. 1904
26th President of the United States
In office
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
Vice President
Preceded byWilliam McKinley
Succeeded byWilliam Howard Taft
25th Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1901 – September 14, 1901
PresidentWilliam McKinley
Preceded byGarret Hobart
Succeeded byCharles W. Fairbanks
33rd Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1899 – December 31, 1900
LieutenantTimothy L. Woodruff
Preceded byFrank S. Black
Succeeded byBenjamin Barker Odell Jr.
5th Assistant Secretary of the Navy
In office
April 19, 1897 – May 10, 1898
PresidentWilliam McKinley
Preceded byWilliam McAdoo
Succeeded byCharles Herbert Allen
President of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners
In office
May 6, 1895 – April 19, 1897
Appointed byWilliam Lafayette Strong
Preceded byJames J. Martin
Succeeded byFrank Moss
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 21st district
In office
January 1, 1882 – December 31, 1884
Preceded byWilliam J. Trimble
Succeeded byHenry A. Barnum
Personal details
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

(1858-10-27)October 27, 1858
New York City, U.S.
DiedJanuary 6, 1919(1919-01-06) (aged 60)
Oyster Bay, New York, U.S.
Resting placeYoungs Memorial Cemetery, Oyster Bay
Political partyRepublican (1880–1912, 1916–1919)
Other political
Progressive Party (1912–1916)
RelativesRoosevelt family
Alma mater
Civilian awardsNobel Peace Prize (1906)
SignatureCursive signature in ink
Military service
  • TR
  • Teddy
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service
Commands1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry
Military awardsMedal of Honor (posthumous, 2001)

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an American politician and statesman. He was the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. Before becoming president, he was the 25th vice president under William McKinley from March to September 1901. Roosevelt is often ranked as one of the greatest presidents in American history.[1] He earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906, making him the first president & American to do so, for setting the Russo-Japanese War.

Early life change

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was born on October 27, 1858, in New York City. He was curious as a child, so he took up studying animals.[2] He also took up boxing. He went to college at Harvard. He married twice, first to Alice Hathaway Lee and later to Edith Kermit Carow. He had six children: Alice, Theodore Jr., Kermit, Ethel, Archie and Quentin.

In politics change

After spending time in North Dakota, Roosevelt was elected into the New York State Legislature, and served, as a Civil Service Commissioner and New York City police commissioner (a non-police officer who is in charge of making the police department run smoothly). In 1897, he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy, but gave up on that to fight in the Spanish American War.

Roosevelt became Governor of New York, then vice-president. After William McKinley was shot and killed, he became President of the United States.

Soldier change

Roosevelt joined the US Army in the Spanish-American War. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry. These horsemen were called the "Roughriders".[3]

For his actions during the war, Roosevelt was recommended for the Medal of Honor.[4]

In 2001, Theodore Roosevelt became the first President to receive the Medal of Honor.[4]

Medal of Honor change

Roosevelt's Medal of Honor recognized his conduct in frontline fighting in Cuba in 1898.[4]

The words of Roosevelt's citation explain:

Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt distinguished himself by acts of bravery on 1 July 1898, near Santiago de Cuba, Republic of Cuba, while leading a daring charge up San Juan Hill. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt, in total disregard for his personal safety, and accompanied by only four or five men, led a desperate and gallant charge up San Juan Hill, encouraging his troops to continue the assault through withering enemy fire over open countryside. Facing the enemy's heavy fire, he displayed extraordinary bravery throughout the charge, and was the first to reach the enemy trenches, where he quickly killed one of the enemy with his pistol, allowing his men to continue the assault. His leadership and valor turned the tide in the Battle for San Juan Hill. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.[4]

Presidency change

As president, Roosevelt worked to make the U.S. a world power, one of the most powerful countries in the world. Before, it had been the richest country in the world, but not a significant military power. Roosevelt's foreign policy was described by an African proverb as "speak softly and carry a big stick", meaning you do not have to make war, but should give that impression if you are to be respected. He increased the size of the United States' navy and sent all of the ships across the world to demonstrate to other countries that the United States was strong and could fight if needs be.

He continued the Monroe Doctrine and used the country's military might to influence Latin American politics. He had the Panama Canal built (which allowed ships to travel in less time by taking a shortcut). In doing so, he created the independent country of Panama, which before was part of Colombia, by invading it. He also took a part for the United States, which is where the canal was built. It was not turned over to Panama until 1999. As president, he was interested in what happened in other countries. In 1905, he helped to end the war between the Russian and Japanese empires. Everybody thought Russia would defeat Japan, but the result was the opposite. Roosevelt met both parties and convinced them to sign a peace treaty. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for this work in 1906. He was the first president of any country to win the prize.

At home, Roosevelt fought for all Americans having a "Square Deal", meaning an equal chance for all Americans to become successful. As part of his Square Deal, he regulated big businesses called trusts, and forced several of them to split up in several smaller companies. This should support competition, which he thought was important. Roosevelt supported labor laws for the working class, required meat and drugs to be inspected, and protected the environment. He created several nature reserves. These ideas would influence later presidents to expand the government's role in the economy and to help ordinary workers. Many in the Republican party opposed him because of this, however.

After being president change

Roosevelt did not run for president in 1908, as he had the office for nearly eight years. He wanted his Solicitor General, William Howard Taft to run for president instead. Taft was chosen, and Roosevelt went to Africa to hunt big game. However, when he came back, he thought Taft was not doing a good job and taking too little actions against so-called trusts. Taft was also more conservative and he did not continue all of Roosevelt's progressive policies. He decided to challenge Taft for the Republican nomination in 1912. He failed, but many Republicans preferred Roosevelt, and instead he launched his own party, the Progressive party. While running for president and holding a speech, he was shot, but lived and even finished his speech. Because the Republican voters split between Roosevelt and Taft, they both lost to Woodrow Wilson. Roosevelt also thought Wilson was not doing a good job, either, and wanted the U.S. to enter World War I after it broke out. He prepared to run again, for the third time, in 1920. Nobody had served more than eight years at the time. Roosevelt died, however, on January 6, 1919 of a Blood Clot in his sleep. Because he was so strong, a newspaper commented that "death had to take Roosevelt asleep", because if he had been awake there would have been a fight between him and death.

Other Information change

Besides being president, Roosevelt was an author and historian. He wrote 35 books about politics, ships, and hunting. He is thought to be one of America's presidents who read the most. He owned a large ranch in North Dakota. He also hunted large animals throughout the world and was active with the Boy Scouts of America.

Legacy change

Roosevelt is one of four Presidents to be carved in stone on Mount Rushmore. Historians consider him one of the best U.S. presidents.

Namesake change

Theodore Roosevelt is the namesake of many American schools. He has a national park in North Dakota named after him, a type of elk, as well as river in Brazil. The popular stuffed animal doll, the Teddy bear, was named after Roosevelt.[5]

Two US Navy ships are named after him:

  • USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600), a submarine that was in commission from 1961 to 1982
  • USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), an aircraft carrier that has been in the Atlantic Fleet since 1986

References change

Medal of Honor
  1. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. "TR's Legacy—The Environment" Archived 2008-12-24 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 6, 2006.
  3. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), "Compiled military service record of Theodore Roosevelt, documenting service in the 1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders) during the Spanish American War., 05/01/1898 - 09/30/1898"; retrieved 2012-12-7.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Theodore Roosevelt Association, "Medal of Honor"[permanent dead link]; retrieved 2012-12-7.
  5. "Teddy bears are 100 years old," BBC. 25 August 2002; retrieved 2012-12-4.


  1. Roosevelt was vice president under McKinley and became president upon McKinley's assassination in 1901. This was prior to the adoption of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967, and a vacancy in the office of vice president was not filled until the next election and inauguration.

Other websites change