Theodore Roosevelt



Number President 26th President
Terms Served 2 Term Served
Dates Served 1901-1909
Party Republican
State Represented New York
Married to / First Lady Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt
Born October 27, 1858 in New York, New York
Died January 6, 1919 in Oyster Bay, New York
Age Theodore Roosevelt would be 150 years old this year


An intrepid explorer, hunter, soldier, writer, historian, rancher and conservationist, Theodore Roosevelt wore a lot of hats effortlessly and was one of America’s most outstanding Presidents. He was born in a rich New York family in 1858 but was hampered by a weak body. Encouraged by his father, he began to work on his body and by the time he was an adult, he set an example of physical and mental toughness which was to stand him in good stead later on in life. An advocate of education, he had remarked that “a man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but, if he has a university education he may steal the whole railroad”.

He attended Harvard University, while simultaneously pursuing a law degree. He served three terms in the New York Assembly and was also the Police Commissioner of New York. It was as a police commissioner that he built up his reputation as a reformer by ordering sweeping changes in the system. He also served as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and it was while he was holding these positions that he showed honesty in the office. This upset the party people who expected him to favor party politics above the law.

The death of his first wife and mother on the same day left him so devastated that he tried to immerse himself in ranching. But, he had poor aptitude for making money and lost a huge amount of capital in ranching. But, the men he met there were to subsequently become a part of his famous Rough Riders which was a major reason behind his political success. In 1886 he married Edith Carrow who was one of the few people to be able to manage Roosevelt.
As governor of New York, he asserted his independence which led the party bosses to “kick him upstairs” giving him the vice-presidency so as to curb his progressive policies. But, McKinley was assassinated in 1901 making his vice-presidency tenure brief and Roosevelt became the President of the United States. In 1904 he got elected to the Presidency in his own right.

As President, he strove to give a better life to American citizens. He called for reforms in the American work place and took steps for welfare legislation and regulation of industry by the government. His “Square Deal” programme was a reflection of his reformist policies. Though he never actually challenged big business, believing that it was a natural evolution of the country’s economy, he did believe that business had to be regulated by the government so that the general public did not suffer. Always ahead of his time, he was the country’s first environment-conscious President, reserving almost 200million acres of land for wildlife parks and national forests and reserves.

Roosevelt embarked on a dynamic foreign policy, wanting to make America a leading power in world politics. An unapologetic nationalist, he unhesitatingly became involved in Latin America and fought hard for the creation of the Panama Canal which was a feat of engineering marvel at that time. He played a big hand in establishing America’s reputation as “policeman” of the Western Hemisphere. He used his influence to settle disputes in Venezuela and Santo Domingo.

Roosevelt had firm belief in the theory that countries should settle disputes through diplomacy rather than wars and he used his Presidency to that extent often. He also had the vision to work with both Congress and the US Navy to deter potential attacks on the country. He was the first President to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to him for the role he played in the Russo-Japanese Treaty.

Roosevelt was a dynamic leader and he increased executive powers believing that the President, rather than the political parties or the Congress should be at the forefront of American politics. He challenged individualism and pushed for regulation of business, the growth of a welfare state and strongly felt that racial discrimination was wrong.

A present of a stuffed toy bear to him in 1903 led to him affectionately being referred as ‘Teddy’ and toy bears were popularly called ‘Teddy’ bears. Roosevelt’s far-sighted progressive policies left a lasting legacy and were a part of nearly every ideal of later progressive Presidents.




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