SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT














Theodore Roosevelt, by names Teddy Roosevelt and TR, (born October 27, 1858, New York, New York, U.S.—died January 6, 1919, Oyster Bay, New York), the 26th president of the United States (1901–09) and a writer, naturalist, and soldier. He expanded the powers of the presidency and of the federal government in support of the public interest in conflicts between big business and labour and steered the nation toward an active role in world politics, particularly in Europe and Asia. He won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1906 for mediating an end to the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05), and he secured the route and began construction of the Panama Canal (1904–14). (For a discussion of the history and nature of the presidency, see presidency of the United States of America.)

MAY QUOTE OF THE MONTH

AMERICANISM.

.“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American … There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag … We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

Elected as a Republican to the New York State Assembly at 23, Roosevelt quickly made a name for himself as a foe of corrupt machine politics. In 1884, overcome by grief by the deaths of both his mother and his wife on the same day, he left politics to spend two years on his cattle ranch in the badlands of the Dakota Territory, where he became increasingly concerned about environmental damage to the West and its wildlife. Nonetheless, he did participate as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1884. His attempt to reenter public life in 1886 was unsuccessful; he was defeated in a bid to become mayor of New York City. Roosevelt remained active in politics and again battled corruption as a member of the U.S. Civil Service Commission (1889–95) and as president of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners. Appointed assistant secretary of the navy by President William McKinley, he vociferously championed a bigger navy and agitated for war with Spain. When war was declared in 1898, he organized the 1st Volunteer Cavalry, known as the Rough Riders, who were sent to fight in Cuba. Roosevelt was a brave and well-publicized military leader. The charge of the Rough Riders (on foot) up Kettle Hill during the Battle of Santiago made him the biggest national hero to come out of the Spanish-American War..

From what he called the presidency’s “bully pulpit,” Roosevelt gave speeches aimed at raising public consciousness about the nation’s role in world politics, the need to control the trusts that dominated the economy, the regulation of railroads, and the impact of political corruption.

Above all, Roosevelt relished the power of the office and viewed the presidency as an outlet for his unbounded energy. He was a proud and fervent nationalist who willingly bucked the passive Jeffersonian tradition of fearing the rise of a strong chief executive and a powerful central government. “I believe in a strong executive; I believe in power,” he wrote to British historian Sir George Otto Trevelyan. “While President, I have been President, emphatically; I have used every ounce of power there was in the office.…I do not believe that any President ever had as thoroughly good a time as I have had, or has ever enjoyed himself as much.”