Category: Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States (1901-1909), was an immensely dynamic figure whose influence extended beyond his presidential tenure.

Born on October 27, 1858, in New York City, Roosevelt’s life was characterized by his boundless energy, vast intellect, and relentless drive.

Early Life and Challenges

Roosevelt grew up in a wealthy family but faced health challenges, primarily asthma. These early adversities steeled his determination, leading him to adopt his lifelong mantra, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” He was home-schooled and developed a voracious appetite for reading, particularly in natural history.

Harvard and Early Career

Attending Harvard University, Roosevelt excelled both academically and athletically. After graduation, he briefly attended Columbia Law School but dropped out to pursue public service. Roosevelt’s political career started as a New York State Assemblyman, where his reputation as a reformer began.

Personal Tragedies

In 1884, tragedy struck. Roosevelt’s mother and his wife, Alice, died on the same day. Devastated, he left politics and retreated to the Badlands of North Dakota. Here, he lived as a cattle rancher, which fostered his love for the American West and conservation.

Return to Politics

Roosevelt returned to New York and re-entered public service, serving on the U.S. Civil Service Commission and later as the New York City Police Commissioner. In 1897, he became the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, laying the groundwork for America’s future naval power.

Spanish-American War

Roosevelt’s national fame was cemented during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Resigning from the Navy, he helped form the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry regiment. Their victorious charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba became legendary, turning Roosevelt into a national hero.

Governorship and Vice Presidency

After the war, Roosevelt became the Governor of New York, where he continued his reforms. His rising stardom in the Republican Party led to his nomination as William McKinley’s vice president in 1900. They won, but McKinley’s assassination in 1901 thrust Roosevelt into the presidency.


As President, Roosevelt’s energetic approach transformed the U.S.’s role on the global stage and domestically. Key facts include:

  1. Conservation: Roosevelt was a staunch conservationist. He established the U.S. Forest Service, signed the Antiquities Act, and created numerous national parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges.
  2. Trust-Busting: He believed in regulating, not dismantling, big corporations. His administration sought to break up monopolies that harmed public interest.
  3. Foreign Policy: Roosevelt expanded the U.S. Navy and projected American power abroad. His role in brokering the end of the Russo-Japanese War won him a Nobel Peace Prize.
  4. Panama Canal: Understanding its strategic and economic importance, Roosevelt championed the construction of the Panama Canal.
  5. Square Deal: This domestic program aimed to ensure fair play under the law for all citizens. It emphasized conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection.

Post-Presidential Life

After his second term, Roosevelt initially stepped away from politics. During this time, he undertook an ambitious expedition in Africa and the Amazon. However, dissatisfied with his successor, William Howard Taft, Roosevelt ran for president again in 1912 as a Progressive Party candidate. Though he lost, his campaign greatly influenced American politics.

Death and Legacy

Roosevelt died in his sleep on January 6, 1919, from a heart attack. He was 60 years old. His legacy, however, lived on. Often cited among the greatest U.S. presidents, Roosevelt’s impact on American foreign policy, conservation, and the broader scope and power of the presidency remains profound.