Theodore Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858, in New York City. He was curious as a child, so he took up studying animals. He also took up boxing. He went to college at Harvard. He married twice, first to Alice Hathaway Lee and later to Edith Kermit Carow. He had six children: Alice, Theodore Jr., Kermit, Ethel, Archie and Quentin.
After spending time in North Dakota, Roosevelt was elected into the New York State Legislature, and served, as a Civil Service Commissioner and New York City police commissioner (a non-police officer who is in charge of making the police department run smoothly). In 1897, he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy, but gave up on that to fight in the Spanish American War.
For his actions during the war, Roosevelt was recommended for the Medal of Honor.
In 2001, Theodore Roosevelt became the first President to receive the Medal of Honor.
Medal of Honor
The words of Roosevelt's citation explain:
Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt distinguished himself by acts of bravery on 1 July 1898, near Santiago de Cuba, Republic of Cuba, while leading a daring charge up San Juan Hill. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt, in total disregard for his personal safety, and accompanied by only four or five men, led a desperate and gallant charge up San Juan Hill, encouraging his troops to continue the assault through withering enemy fire over open countryside. Facing the enemy's heavy fire, he displayed extraordinary bravery throughout the charge, and was the first to reach the enemy trenches, where he quickly killed one of the enemy with his pistol, allowing his men to continue the assault. His leadership and valor turned the tide in the Battle for San Juan Hill. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
As President, Roosevelt worked to make the U.S. a world power, or one of the most powerful countries in the world. His foreign policy was described by an African proverb as "Speak softly and carry a big stick". He increased the size of the United States' navy and sent all of the ships across the world to demonstrate to other countries that the United States is now a world power.
He continued the Monroe Doctrine and used the country's military might to influence Latin American politics. He had the Panama Canal built (which allowed ships to travel in less time by taking a shortcut). As president, he was interested in what happened in other countries. In 1905, he helped end the war between the Russian and Japanese empires. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for it in 1906.
At home, he fought for all Americans having a "Square Deal", meaning an equal chance for all Americans to become successful. As part of his Square Deal, he regulated big businesses called trusts, supported labor laws for the working class, required meat and drugs to be inspected, and protected the environment. These ideas would influence later presidents to expand the government's role in the economy.
After being president
Roosevelt did not run for President in 1908, and wanted William Howard Taft to be President instead. Taft was chosen, and Roosevelt went to Africa to hunt big game. However, when he came back, he thought Taft was not doing a good job. He ran against Taft for President in 1912. While running for President, he was shot, but lived. Both Roosevelt and Taft lost to Woodrow Wilson. Roosevelt also thought Wilson was not doing a good job, either, and wanted the U.S. to enter World War I years before they did. Roosevelt died on January 6 1919 of a pulmonary embolism and heart attack.
Besides being president, Roosevelt was an author and historian. He wrote 35 books about politics, ships, and hunting. He is thought to be one of America's presidents who read the most. He owned a large ranch in North Dakota. He also hunted large animals throughout the world and was active with the Boy Scouts of America.
Roosevelt is one of four Presidents to be carved in stone on Mount Rushmore. Historians consider him one of the best U.S. presidents.
Theodore Roosevelt is the namesake of many American schools. He has a national park in North Dakota named after him, a type of elk (big deer), as well as river in Brazil. The popular stuffed animal doll, the Teddy bear, was named after Roosevelt.
Two US Navy ships are named after him:
- USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600), a submarine that was in commission from 1961 to 1982
- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), an aircraft carrier that has been in the Atlantic Fleet since 1986
- A Chronology. Theodore Roosevelt Association online Accessed December 2, 2018
- "TR's Legacy—The Environment". Retrieved March 6, 2006.
- U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), "Compiled military service record of Theodore Roosevelt, documenting service in the 1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders) during the Spanish American War., 05/01/1898 - 09/30/1898"; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- Theodore Roosevelt Association, "Medal of Honor"; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- "Teddy bears are 100 years old," BBC. 25 August 2002; retrieved 2012-12-4.
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