In 1858 a boy named Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York, New York. His mother, Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, along with his father, Theodore Roosevelt Sr., not only challenged but inspired Roosevelt to become one of our country’s most reformative presidents. As a child Roosevelt was fascinated by nature and history.
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His father advised Roosevelt “”You have the mind but not the body and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must make your body,”” so Roosevelt began to practice boxing, wrestling, and jujitsu. He believed keeping his body fit allowed him to maintain a fighting edge.
Roosevelt was always a curious student and excelled academically. He decided to continue his education at Harvard University, originally, intending to become a scientist. With his father’s death in 1878 Roosevelt had a change in heart and decided to attend Columbia University where he found his passion in politics and historical writing. After marrying his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, Roosevelt began his political career as a republican in the New York State Assembly in 1881. He quickly became known as a reformer due to his opposition in corruption.
His political career took a break after his wife died only days after giving birth to his first-born daughter, Alice, along with his mother dying the same day. Heartbroken, Roosevelt moved out to Dakota where he spent the next couple years hunting and writing. It was during this time that Roosevelt found his passion for nature. In 1886 Roosevelt moved back home to New York and married Edith Kermit Carow.
It wasn’t until several years later that Roosevelt’s military interests unveiled when President William McKinley appointed him as assistant secretary to the navy. Roosevelt pushed to strengthen the fleet and fight the war against Spain. When war finally began Roosevelt resigned his position to join Colonel Wood in organizing a volunteer cavalry of men know as the Rough Riders’. A group best remembered for their valiant efforts against Spain in the battle of San Juan. Roosevelt’s name was once again anticipated in politics.
In 1900, delegates secured Roosevelt’s nomination as vice president for McKinley’s party. Roosevelt didn’t want to run because vice president usually meant the end of a man’s political career. Nonetheless, McKinley- Roosevelt defeated William Jennings Bryan. Just one year later, in September of 1901 an assassination attempt was made on McKinley who died a week later from an infection. Roosevelt then became the youngest President of the United States.
As a president, Roosevelt made movements against big corporations he felt were attempting to monopolize an industry, he soon became known as the Trustbuster. He also pushed businesses to improve labor conditions, implementing workers compensation and child labor laws. In 1906 Roosevelt passed the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. All these regulations remain in place today, but it was Roosevelt’s conservationist movements that he is most remembered for. He became the first president to speak out against the exploitation of our natural resources and claimed 150 million acres of land to be used as national parks. In 1906, Roosevelt became the first American to win a Nobel Peace Prize due to his efforts in acting as a mediator in the midst of the Russian- Japanese war.
When election time came in 1904 Roosevelt’s Square Deal policy to the common man allowed him to easily defeat his democratic opponent Alton B. Parker. Roosevelt then announced he would not run again next election and chose William Howard Taft as his successor, who won in 1908. Roosevelt spent the next year traveling the world but couldn’t seem to stay away from politics. In 1912 Roosevelt ran against Taft as the republican nominee but after losing he abandoned the republican party and created the progressive party, a party that promoted strong government regulation over businesses. Roosevelt ultimately defeated Taft but came in second to Woodrow Wilson.
In the election of 1916 Roosevelt rejected the progressive party when they nominated him to run against Wilson. Roosevelt’s motivation died with his son’s passing in World War I. His health soon began to decline and in January 1st of 1919 Roosevelt passed away in his sleep in Oyster Bay, New York. He later on joined George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln when he was enshrined on Mount Rushmore.
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