Theodore Roosevelt as the 26th president of the United States and also the youngest president ever elected, Theodore Roosevelt faced many challenging decisions, but he knew how to handle them. He fought for what he believed and never backed down from that belief. Theodore Roosevelt faced challenging circumstances while growing up which made many consider him to be frail and not likely to succeed; however, he came to be known as a notable statesman, military leader, governor, vice-president of the United States, and finally the most powerful leader in the free world, President of the United States of America.
This biography covers Roosevelt’s life from birth until he gains the presidency. Early in life young Theodore, Teedie, Roosevelt suffers from a variety of illnesses. His father admonishes him that physical activity serves as the surest cure. Against doctor’s orders, Roosevelt embarks on a physical regimen that in fact strengths him, mind and body. Roosevelt moves on to Harvard, where he meets and marries Alice Lee. He quickly gains access to politics as a young New York state assemblyman. He enjoys moderate success in the assembly, though he suffers, at once, the loss of his wife and mother.
His father dies while Roosevelt attends Harvard. Feeling alone, Roosevelt travels west. Time in the west broadens Roosevelt’s desire for expansion, both personal and national. He gains acquaintances that prove valuable later in life. As a child, Theodore developed a passion for the natural sciences. This passion remained constant in his life through college where he planned to study to become a scientist at Harvard University. During college, Theodore Roosevelt met his first wife, Alice Lee, who he married in 1880.
Tragically, Alice died from Bright’s disease, on Valentines Day in 1884 only days after the birth of their first daughter. Even worse, his mother also died on the same day from a typhoid fever. These events caused much heartache for Theodore Roosevelt causing him to bury himself into his work. Already a member of the state assembly at this point, Theodore Roosevelt created a bill known as The Reform Charter Bill. This bill helped to eliminate corruption, changing political procedure altogether. In addition, he began to serve as a delegate for the National Republican Convention.
This task helped him compensate much of his time, helping him cope with the grief caused by the loss of his wife and his mother. After serving at the Republican National Convention, Theodore Roosevelt moved out West to North Dakota, where he lived as a ranchman for several years. These experiences helped to offset the public opinion of Theodore Roosevelt, proving that just because he was raised in a wealthy and privileged family didn’t mean that he wasn’t a hard worker. Eventually, he grew tired of working on the ranch and moved back home to pursue his political goals.
Upon his return to New York, Theodore Roosevelt moved to his house located in Oyster Bay where he married his second wife, Edith Carow. Theodore Roosevelt’s family ancestors were successful Dutch glass importers that were one of New York’s leading families in the late 1800s. His father, also named Theodore, pursued a life of civic and charitable activities. Theodore senior founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. Theodore Roosevelt became governor of New York in 1898 and the Vice President of the U. S. A. soon after.
He also led the conservative movement that contested to preserve the use of natural resources. Theodore Roosevelt was also a Lieutenant Colonial of the Rough Rider Regiment. After achieving these goals, he became the youngest president in the history of the U. S. A. Theodore Roosevelt became president in September 1901 after the assassination of William McKinley. Although he had been vice president under McKinley, Roosevelt did not share McKinley’s conservative, pro-business policies. Instead, as president, Roosevelt advanced aggressive political reforms, including the heavy regulation of business.
Known as the “trust-buster,” Roosevelt was the first president to successfully invoke the Sherman Antitrust Act against monopolies and continued to restrict businesses throughout his presidency. His reforms greatly influenced economic, environmental, and international affairs as well. Roosevelt’s platform became known as the “Square Deal” because he vowed not to favor any group of Americans but to be fair to all. Within weeks of arrival in Washington, TR causes a nationwide sensation by becoming the first President to invite a black man to dinner in the White House.
Next, he launches his famous prosecution of the Northern Securities Company, and follows up with landmark antitrust legislation. He liberates Cuba, determines the route of the Panama Canal, mediates the great Anthracite Strike, and resolves the Venezuela Crisis of 1902-1903 with such masterful secrecy that the world at large is unaware how near the United States and Germany have come to war. During an epic national tour in the spring of 1903, TR’s conservation philosophy (his single greatest gift to posterity) comes into full flower.
He also bestows on countless Americans the richness of a personality without parallel–evangelical and passionate, yet lusty and funny; adroitly political, winningly natural, intellectually overwhelming. The most famous father of his time, he is adored by his six children (although beautiful, willful “Princess” Alice rebelled against him) and accepted as an honorary member of the White House Gang of seditious small boys. Theodore Rex, full of cinematic detail, moves with the exhilarating pace of a novel, yet it rides on a granite base of scholarship.
TR’s own voice is constantly heard, as the President was a gifted letter writer and raconteur. Also heard are the many witticisms, sometimes mocking, yet always affectionate, of such Roosevelt intimates as Henry Adams, John Hay, and Elihu Root. (“Theodore is never sober,” said Adams, “only he is drunk with himself and not with rum. “) TR’s speed of thought and action, and his total command of all aspects of presidential leadership, from bureaucratic subterfuge to manipulation of the press, make him all but invincible in 1904, when he wins a second term by a historic landslide.
Surprisingly, this victory transforms him from a patrician conservative to a progressive, responsible between 1905 and 1908 for a raft of enlightened legislation, including the Pure Food and Employer Liability acts. Even more surprising, to critics who have caricatured TR as a swinger of the Big Stick, is his emergence as a diplomat. He wins the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing about an end to the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Interspersed with many stories of Rooseveltian triumphs are some bitter episodes-notably a devastating lynching-that remind us of America’s deep prejudices and fears.
Theodore Rex does not attempt to justify TR’s notorious action following the Brownsville Incident of 1906–his worst mistake as President-but neither does this resolutely honest biography indulge in the easy wisdom of hindsight. It is written throughout in real time, reflecting the world as TR saw it. By the final chapter, as the great “Teddy” prepares to quit the White House in 1909, it will be a hard-hearted reader who does not share the sentiment of Henry Adams: “The old house will seem dull and sad when my Theodore has gone. ”
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