Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
T Roosevelt.jpg
Roosevelt in 1915
26th President of the United States
In office
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
Vice PresidentNone
Charles Warren Fairbanks
Preceded byWilliam McKinley, Jr.
Succeeded byWilliam Howard Taft
25th Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1901 – September 14, 1901
PresidentWilliam McKinley, Jr.
Preceded byGarret Augustus Hobart
Succeeded byCharles Warren Fairbanks
33rd Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1899 – December 31, 1900
LieutenantTimothy Lester Woodruff
Preceded byFrank Swett Black
Succeeded byBenjamin Barker Odell, Jr.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy
In office
April 19, 1897 – May 10, 1898
PresidentWilliam McKinley, Jr.
Preceded byWilliam McAdoo
Succeeded byCharles Herbert Allen
Personal details
Born(1858-10-27)October 27, 1858
New York City
DiedJanuary 6, 1919(1919-01-06) (aged 60)
Cove Neck, New York
Resting placeYoungs Memorial Cemetery
Oyster Bay, New York
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Alice Hathaway Lee
(m. 1880—1884; her death)
Edith Kermit Carow
(m. 1886—1919; his death)
ParentsTheodore Roosevelt, Sr.
Martha Stewart Bulloch
Alma materHarvard College
Columbia Law School
  • Politician
  • Author
  • Historian
  • Explorer
  • Conservationist
ReligionDutch Reformed
SignatureCursive signature in ink
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1898
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Commands1st United States Volunteer Cavalry
Battles/warsSpanish–American War
 • Battle of Las Guasimas
 • Battle of San Juan Hill
AwardsNobel Peace Prize (1906)
Medal of Honor (Posthumously; 2001)
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Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
T Roosevelt.jpg
Roosevelt in 1915
26th President of the United States
In office
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
Vice PresidentNone
Charles Warren Fairbanks
Preceded byWilliam McKinley, Jr.
Succeeded byWilliam Howard Taft
25th Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1901 – September 14, 1901
PresidentWilliam McKinley, Jr.
Preceded byGarret Augustus Hobart
Succeeded byCharles Warren Fairbanks
33rd Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1899 – December 31, 1900
LieutenantTimothy Lester Woodruff
Preceded byFrank Swett Black
Succeeded byBenjamin Barker Odell, Jr.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy
In office
April 19, 1897 – May 10, 1898
PresidentWilliam McKinley, Jr.
Preceded byWilliam McAdoo
Succeeded byCharles Herbert Allen
Personal details
Born(1858-10-27)October 27, 1858
New York City
DiedJanuary 6, 1919(1919-01-06) (aged 60)
Cove Neck, New York
Resting placeYoungs Memorial Cemetery
Oyster Bay, New York
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Alice Hathaway Lee
(m. 1880—1884; her death)
Edith Kermit Carow
(m. 1886—1919; his death)
ParentsTheodore Roosevelt, Sr.
Martha Stewart Bulloch
Alma materHarvard College
Columbia Law School
  • Politician
  • Author
  • Historian
  • Explorer
  • Conservationist
ReligionDutch Reformed
SignatureCursive signature in ink
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1898
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Commands1st United States Volunteer Cavalry
Battles/warsSpanish–American War
 • Battle of Las Guasimas
 • Battle of San Juan Hill
AwardsNobel Peace Prize (1906)
Medal of Honor (Posthumously; 2001)
The coat of arms of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt bookplate.jpg
A contemporary book plate used by Roosevelt for his personal library[1]
Date of origin17th century
ShieldArgent upon a grassy mound a rosebush bearing three roses gules barbed and seeded proper proper.
Crest and mantleUpon a torse argent and gules, Three ostrich plumes each per pale gules and argent, the mantling gules doubled argent.
MottoQui plantavit curabit, Latin for "he who has planted will preserve".[1]

Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. (/ˈrzəvɛlt/ ROH-zə-velt)[2] (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an American author, naturalist, explorer, historian, and politician who served as the 26th President of the United States. He was a leader of the Republican Party (the "GOP") and founder of the Progressive Party. He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity.[3]

Born into a wealthy family in New York City, Roosevelt was a sickly child who suffered from asthma. To overcome his physical weakness, he embraced a strenuous life. Home-schooled, he became an eager student of nature. He attended Harvard College where he studied biology, boxed, and developed an interest in naval affairs. He entered politics in the New York state legislature, determined to become a member of the ruling class. In 1881, one year out of Harvard, he was elected to the New York State Assembly, where he became a leader of the reform faction of the GOP. His book The Naval War of 1812 (1882) established him as a learned historian and writer.

When his first wife Alice died two days after giving birth in February 1884, he was heartbroken and in despair; he temporarily left politics and became a rancher in the Dakotas. When blizzards destroyed his cattle he returned to New York City politics, running and losing a race for mayor. In the 1890s he took vigorous charge of the city police as Commissioner. By 1897 Roosevelt was in effect running the Navy Department. He called for war against Spain and when the Spanish–American War broke out in 1898 he helped form the famous Rough Riders, a combination of wealthy Easterners and Western cowboys. He gained national fame for his courage in battle in Cuba, then returned to be elected governor of New York. He was the GOP nominee for Vice President with William McKinley, campaigning successfully against radicalism and for prosperity, national honor, imperialism (regarding the Philippines), high tariffs and the gold standard.

Roosevelt became President after McKinley was assassinated. He attempted to move the GOP toward Progressivism, including trust busting and increased regulation of businesses. In November 1904 he was reelected in a landslide against conservative Democrat Alton Brooks Parker. Roosevelt called his domestic policies a "Square Deal", promising a fair deal to the average citizen while breaking up monopolistic corporations, holding down railroad rates, and guaranteeing pure food and drugs. He was the first president to speak out on conservation, and he greatly expanded the system of national parks and national forests. By 1907 he propounded more radical reforms, which were blocked by the conservative Republicans in Congress. His foreign policy focused on the Caribbean, where he built the Panama Canal and guarded its approaches. There were no wars, but his slogan, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" was underscored by sending the greatly expanded Navy—the Great White Fleet—on a world tour. He negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

At the end of his second term, Roosevelt supported his close friend William Howard Taft for the 1908 Republican nomination. After leaving office, he toured Africa and Europe, and on his return in 1910 he broke with President Taft on issues of progressivism and personalities. In the 1912 election Roosevelt tried but failed to block Taft's renomination. He then launched the Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party that called for progressive reforms, splitting the Republican vote. That allowed Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win the White House and Congress, while the Taft conservatives gained control of the GOP for decades. Roosevelt then led a major expedition to the Amazon jungles and contracted several illnesses. From 1914 to 1917 he campaigned for American entry into World War I, and reconciled with GOP leadership. He was seen as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in the 1920 election, but his health collapsed and he died in 1919.

Roosevelt has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.[4] His face adorns Mount Rushmore alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

Early life and family

Theodore Roosevelt at age 11

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. was born on October 27, 1858, in a four-story brownstone at 28 East 20th Street, in the modern-day Gramercy section of New York City to businessman/philanthropist Theodore "Thee" Roosevelt, Sr. and socialite Martha Stewart "Mittie" Bulloch. He had an older sister named Anna ("Bamie"), a younger brother named Elliott, and a younger sister named Corinne. Elliott was the father of First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thee was of Dutch and Welsh descent while Mittie had Scottish, English, and French ancestry. Thee was the fifth son of businessman Cornelius Van Schaack "C.V.S." Roosevelt and Margaret Barnhill. Thee's fourth cousin businessman James Roosevelt I was the father of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Mittie was the younger daughter of Major James Stephens Bulloch and Martha P. "Patsy" Stewart.[5]

Roosevelt's youth was in large part shaped by his poor health and his need to overcome severe asthma, with debilitating impact on the body and the personality. He experienced recurring sudden nightime asthma attacks that caused near death-like experiences of being smothered to death, terrifying the boy and his parents. Doctors had no cure.[6] Nevertheless he was energetic and mischievously inquisitive.[7] His lifelong interest in zoology began at age seven when he saw a dead seal at a local market - after obtaining the seal's head, Roosevelt and two cousins formed what they called the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History". Having learned the rudiments of taxidermy, he filled his makeshift museum with animals that he killed or caught, then studied and prepared for display. At age nine, he codified his observation of insects with a paper entitled "The Natural History of Insects".[8]

Thee had a significant influence on him. Theodore Jr. later wrote: "My father, Theodore Roosevelt, was the best man I ever knew. He combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness. He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfulness." Family trips abroad, including tours of Europe in 1869 and 1870, and Egypt in 1872, also had a lasting impact.[9] Hiking with his family in the Alps in 1869, he found he could actually keep pace with his father. He had discovered the significant benefits of physical exertion to minimize his asthma and bolster his spirits.[10][11] With encouragement from his father, he then began a heavy regime of exercise. After being manhandled by two older boys on a camping trip, a boxing coach was added, to strengthen a weakened body and psyche.[12][13]

Roosevelt later articulated the abiding influence of the courageous men he found in his reading as well as in his family: "I was nervous and timid. Yet from reading of the people I admired - ranging from the soldiers of Valley Forge and Morgan's riflemen, to the heroes of my favorite stories - and from hearing of the feats of my southern forefathers and kinsfolk and from knowing my father, I felt a great admiration for men who were fearless and who could hold their own in the world, and I had a great desire to be like them."[14]


Roosevelt's taxidermy kit[15]

Young Theodore was mostly home schooled by tutors and his parents. Biographer Brands opined: "The most obvious drawback to the home schooling Roosevelt received was uneven coverage of the various areas of human knowledge."[16] He was solid in geography, from self study during travels, and bright in history and biology, French, and German; however, he struggled in mathematics and the classical languages.

He entered Harvard University in September 1876. After recovering from devastation over his father's death on February 9, 1878, Roosevelt redoubled his activities. He did well in science, philosophy, and rhetoric courses but continued to struggle in Latin and Greek. He studied biology intently and was already an accomplished naturalist and published ornithologist; he read prodigiously with an almost photographic memory.[17] While at Harvard, Roosevelt was active in rowing and boxing; he was runner-up in a Harvard boxing tournament. Roosevelt was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi literary society, the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and the Porcellian Club; he also was an editor of The Harvard Advocate. Roosevelt graduated Phi Beta Kappa (22nd of 177) from Harvard with an A.B. magna cum laude in 1880.

He underwent a physical examination after graduation – his doctor diagnosed him with heart problems and recommended he avoid strenuous activity, advice which he spurned.[18] He entered Columbia Law School, but showed little interest in a legal career; he spent much of his time writing a book on the War of 1812. When asked to run for the New York Assembly as a Republican in 1881, he dropped out of law school to pursue his new goal, saying later "I intended to be one of the governing class." He was elected, and overnight became prominent in state politics, and an influential member of the Republican Party (the "GOP").[19]

First marriage and widowhood

On his 22nd birthday, Roosevelt married Alice Hathaway Lee, daughter of George Cabot Lee and Caroline Watts Haskell. They had one daughter, Alice Lee Roosevelt on February 12, 1884. Alice died two days after their daughter was born from an undiagnosed case of kidney failure (in those days called Bright's disease), which had been masked by the pregnancy. In his diary, Roosevelt wrote a large 'X' on the page and then, "The light has gone out of my life." His mother Mittie died of typhoid fever on the same day, at 3:00 am, some eleven hours earlier, in the same house. The distraught Theodore left baby Alice in the care of his sister Bamie in New York City while he took time to grieve; he assumed custody of his daughter when she was three.

For the rest of his life, he rarely spoke of his wife Alice and did not write about her in his autobiography. When Roosevelt was working with Joseph Bucklin Bishop on a biography that included a collection of his letters, Roosevelt did not mention either of his marriages.[20]

The Naval War of 1812

While at Harvard, Roosevelt began a systematic study of the role played by the nascent US Navy in the War of 1812, largely completing two chapters of a book he published after graduation.[21][22] Assisted by two uncles, he scrutinized original source materials and official US Navy records. Roosevelt's carefully researched book, published in 1882, was comparable to modern doctoral dissertations, complete with drawings of individual and combined ship maneuvers, charts depicting the differences in iron throw weights of cannon shot between American and British forces, and analyses of the differences between English and American leadership down to the ship-to-ship level. Published after Roosevelt's graduation from college, The Naval War of 1812 was praised for its scholarship and style, and demonstrated Roosevelt as a scholar of history.[23] One modern naval historian wrote: "Roosevelt's study of the War of 1812 influenced all subsequent scholarship on the naval aspects of the War of 1812 and continues to be reprinted. More than a classic, it remains, after 120 years, a standard study of the war."[23] Roosevelt summarized one of the primary morals of the war thus: "It must be but a poor spirited American whose veins do not tingle with pride when he reads of the cruises and fights of the sea-captains, and there grim prowess, which kept the old Yankee flag floating over the waters of the Atlantic for three years, in the teeth of the mightiest naval power the world has ever seen.""[24]

Early political career

Roosevelt as NY State Assemblyman, 1883

State Assemblyman

Roosevelt was a member of the New York State Assembly (New York Co., 21st D.) in 1882, 1883, and 1884. In 1883, he was the Republican ("GOP") minority candidate for Speaker - in 1884, he lost the nomination for Speaker to Titus Sheard by a vote of 41 to 29 in the GOP caucus.[25] He was a GOP activist during his years in the Assembly, writing more bills than any other legislator.

Roosevelt attended the GOP National Convention in 1884 and fought alongside the Mugwump reformers; they lost to the Stalwart faction that nominated James G. Blaine. Refusing to join other Mugwumps in supporting Grover Cleveland, the Democratic nominee, he debated with his friend Henry Cabot Lodge the pros and cons of staying loyal. When asked by a reporter whether he would support Blaine, he replied, "That question I decline to answer. It is a subject I do not care to talk about."[26] Upon leaving the convention, he complained "off the record" to a reporter about Blaine's nomination. In a crucial moment of his budding political career, he resisted the instinct to bolt from the Party that would overwhelm his political sense in 1912. In an account of the convention, another reporter quoted Roosevelt as saying that he would give "hearty support to any decent Democrat." He would later take great pains, considered disingenuous by some, to distance himself from his earlier comment, indicating that while he made it, it had not been made "for publication."[27] Leaving the convention disabused by party politics, Roosevelt said he had no further aspiration but to retire to his ranch in the Badlands of the Dakota Territory, which he had purchased the previous year while on a buffalo hunting expedition.

Return to New York

After the uniquely severe U.S. winter of 1886-1887 wiped out his herd of cattle and those of his competitors, and with it most of his $80,000 investment,[28] Roosevelt returned to the East. In 1885, he had built Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, New York on Long Island, which was his home and estate until his death.

In 1886, Roosevelt was the Republican ("GOP") candidate for mayor of New York City, portraying himself as "The Cowboy of the Dakotas." Based on information spread in the course of the voting, GOP insiders warned voters that the United Labor candidate Henry George was leading and that Roosevelt was likely beat, thus causing a last-minute defection of GOP voters to the Democratic candidate Abram Hewitt. Theodore Roosevelt took third place. The election results showed Hewitt with 90,552 votes, George with 68,110, and Roosevelt with 60,435.[29]

Cowboy in Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt as Badlands hunter in 1885. New York studio photo

Roosevelt built a second ranch named Elk Horn, thirty-five miles (56 km) north of the boomtown of Medora, North Dakota. On the banks of the Little Missouri, Roosevelt learned to ride western style, rope and hunt. He identified himself with the herdsman of history—with the cowboy—a man, he said, who possesses, "few of the emasculated, milk-and-water moralities admired by the pseudo-philanthropists; but he does possess, to a very high degree, the stern, manly qualities that are invaluable to a nation."[30][31] He reoriented, and began writing about frontier life for national magazines, as well publishing three books - Hunting Trips of a Ranchman, Ranch Life and the Hunting-Trail, and The Wilderness Hunter.[32]

As a deputy sheriff, Roosevelt pursued three outlaws who had stolen his riverboat and escaped north up the Little Missouri. He captured them but decided against a vigilante hanging; instead, he sent his foreman back by boat, and conveyed the thieves to Dickinson for trial. He assumed guard over them for forty hours without sleep, while reading Leo Tolstoy to keep himself awake. When he ran out of his own books, he read a dime store western that one of the thieves was carrying.[33] On another occasion, while searching for a group of relentless horse thieves, Roosevelt met Seth Bullock, the famous sheriff of Deadwood, South Dakota. The two would remain friends for life.[34]

Second marriage

On December 2, 1886, he married his childhood and family friend Edith Kermit Carow (August 6, 1861 — September 30, 1948), a daughter of Charles Carow and Gertrude Elizabeth Tyler[35]; the couple married at St George's, Hanover Square in London, England, with Roosevelt's close friend, English diplomat Cecil Arthur Spring Rice, serving as best man.[36] The couple honeymooned in Europe and while there Roosevelt led a group to the summit of Mont Blanc, an achievement that resulted in his induction into the Royal Society of London.[37] They had five children:

Reentering public life

Civil Service Commission

In the 1888 presidential election, Roosevelt successfully campaigned, primarily in the Midwest, for Benjamin Harrison. President Harrison appointed Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission, where he served until 1895, vigorously fought the spoilsmen and demanded enforcement of civil service laws.[38] The New York Sun then described Roosevelt as "irrepressible, belligerent, and enthusiastic"[39] Despite Roosevelt's support for Harrison's reelection bid in the presidential election of 1892, the eventual winner, Grover Cleveland (a Bourbon Democrat), reappointed him to the same post.[40] Roosevelt's close friend and biographer, Joseph Bucklin Bishop, described his assault on the spoils system:

The very citadel of spoils politics, the hitherto impregnable fortress that had existed unshaken since it was erected on the foundation laid by Andrew Jackson, was tottering to its fall under the assaults of this audacious and irrepressible young man..... Whatever may have been the feelings of the (fellow Republican party) President (Harrison) – and there is little doubt that he had no idea when he appointed Roosevelt that he would prove to be so veritable a bull in a china shop—he refused to remove him and stood by him firmly till the end of his term.[39]

Roosevelt as NYPD Commissioner 1895

New York City Police Commissioner

Roosevelt became president of the board of New York City Police Commissioners in 1895 for two years and radically reformed the police force. The New York Police Department (NYPD) was reputed as one of the most corrupt in America; the NYPD's history division records that Roosevelt was "an iron-willed leader of unimpeachable honesty, (who) brought a reforming zeal to the New York City Police Commission in 1895."[41] Roosevelt and his fellow commissioners established new disciplinary rules, created a bicycle squad to enforce New York's traffic laws and standardized the use of .32 Colt Caliber pistols by officers.[42] He further implemented regular inspections of firearms and annual physical exams; he appointed 1,600 recruits based on their physical and mental qualifications, regardless of political affiliation, established Meritorious Service Medals and closed corrupt police hostelries. Also during his tenure a Municipal Lodging House was established by the Board of Charities, and Roosevelt required officers to register with the Board; he as well had telephones installed in station houses.

NYC Police Commissioner Roosevelt walks the beat with journalist Jacob Riis in 1894 – Illustration from Riis' autobiography.

In 1894, Roosevelt met Jacob Riis, the muckraking Evening Sun newspaper journalist who was opening the eyes of New York's rich to the terrible conditions of the city's millions of poor immigrants with such books as How the Other Half Lives. In Riis' autobiography, he described the effect of his book on the new police commissioner:

When Roosevelt read [my] book, he came..... No one ever helped as he did. For two years we were brothers in (New York City's crime-ridden) Mulberry Street. When he left I had seen its golden age..... There is very little ease where Theodore Roosevelt leads, as we all of us found out. The lawbreaker found it out who predicted scornfully that he would "knuckle down to politics the way they all did," and lived to respect him, though he swore at him, as the one of them all who was stronger than pull..... that was what made the age golden, that for the first time a moral purpose came into the street. In the light of it everything was transformed.[43]

Roosevelt made a habit of walking officers' beats late at night and early in the morning to make sure they were on duty.[44] As Governor of New York State before becoming Vice President in March 1901, Roosevelt signed an act replacing the Police Commissioners with a single Police Commissioner.[45]

Emergence as a national figure

Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Roosevelt had demonstrated, through his research and writing, a fascination with naval history; President William McKinley, urged by Roosevelt's close friend Congressman Henry Cabot Lodge, appointed Roosevelt as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897.[46] Secretary of the Navy John D. Long cared more for formalities than functions and left major decisions to Roosevelt. Ten days after the battleship Maine exploded in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, the Secretary left the office and Roosevelt became Acting Secretary for four hours. Roosevelt cabled the Navy worldwide to prepare for war, ordered ammunition and supplies, brought in experts and went to Congress asking for authority to recruit as many sailors as he wanted.[47] Roosevelt was instrumental in preparing the Navy for the Spanish–American War.

Col. Theodore Roosevelt

War in Cuba

Both sides declared war in late April and on April 25, Roosevelt resigned the Navy and together with Army Colonel Leonard Wood, formed the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. The newspapers called them the "Rough Riders." Like many other volunteer units, it was a temporary organization for the duration of the war.[48]

The regiment trained for several weeks in San Antonio, Texas. After securing modern multiple round Krag smokeless carbines, Roosevelt arrived on May 16. The Rough Riders used some standard issue gear and some of their own design, purchased with gift money. Diversity characterized the regiment that included Ivy Leaguers, professional and amateur athletes, upscale gentlemen as well as cowboys, frontiersmen, Indians, hunters, miners, prospectors, former soldiers, tradesmen, sheriffs, and assorted adventurers.

The Rough Riders were part of the cavalry division commanded by the former Confederate general Joseph Wheeler. It was one of 3 divisions in V Corps under Lt General William Rufus Shafter. Roosevelt and his men departed Tampa on June 13 and landed in Daiquiri, Cuba, on June 23, 1898 and marched to Siboney. Wheeler sent elements of the 1st and 10th Regular Cavalry on the lower road northwest and the 1st Volunteers, "Rough Riders," commanded by Wood and Roosevelt on the parallel road running along a ridge up from the beach. To throw off his infantry rival, Wheeler would leave one regiment of his Cavalry Division, the 9th, at Siboney so that he could claim that his move north was only a limited reconnaissance if things went wrong.

Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt was promoted to colonel and took command of the regiment when Wood was moved up to command the brigade.

The Rough Riders had a short, minor skirmish known as the Battle of Las Guasimas. The Rough Riders fought their way through Spanish resistance and together with the Regulars forced the Spaniards to abandon their positions.[49]

Charge of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill depicted by Frederic Remington. In reality, they assaulted San Juan Heights and Kettle Hill
Colonel Roosevelt and the Rough Riders after capturing San Juan Hill

Under his leadership, the Rough Riders became famous for dual charges up Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898. Roosevelt had the only horse, and rode back and forth between rifle pits at the forefront of the advance up Kettle Hill, an advance that he urged in absence of any orders from superiors. He was forced to walk up the last part of Kettle Hill on foot, because of barbed wire entanglement.

Roosevelt as a veteran

In August, Roosevelt and other officers demanded that the soldiers be returned home. Roosevelt always recalled the Battle of San Juan Hill as 'the great day of my life' and 'my crowded hour.' In 2001, Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. He had been nominated during the war but Army officials, annoyed at his grabbing the headlines, blocked it.[50]

After return to civilian life, Roosevelt preferred to be known as "Colonel Roosevelt" or "The Colonel." However, the "Teddy" name remained much more popular with the public, even though Roosevelt strongly disliked it. Men working closely with Roosevelt customarily called him "Colonel" or "Theodore".

Chicago newspaper sees cowboy-TR campaigning for governor
Official White House portrait by John Singer Sargent Click on painting for the story behind the portrait.

Governor of New York

circa 1902

The war hero left the Army, and discovered New York Republicans needed him because their current governor was tainted by scandal and would probably lose. He campaigned vigorously on his war record winning the 1898 state election by a narrow 1%.[51]

Roosevelt learned a great deal as governor, especially about current economic issues and political techniques that proved of value to his presidency. He came to understand the complexities of such issues as the trusts, monopoly, labor relations, and conservation. Chessman argues that Roosevelt's program "rested firmly upon the concept of the square deal by a neutral state." The rules for the Square Deal were "honesty in public affairs, an equitable sharing of privilege and responsibility, and subordination of party and local concerns to the interests of the state at large." [52]

By holding twice daily press conferences—a new innovation—he kept in close touch with his middle-class political base.[53] The governor successfully pushed the Ford Franchise-Tax bill which would tax public franchises issued by the state and controlled by corporations, declaring that "a corporation which derives its powers from the State, should pay to the State a just percentage of its earnings as a return for the privileges it enjoys."[54] He rejected "boss" Tom Platt's worries that this was a kind of Bryanite Socialism, explaining that without it New York voters might get angry and adopt public ownership of streetcar lines and other franchises.[55]

New York state government affected many interests, and the power to make appointments to policy-making positions was a key role for the governor. Platt insisted he be consulted; Roosevelt complied but then made his own decisions. Historians marvel that Roosevelt managed to appoint so many first-rate men with Platt's approval. He even enlisted Platt's help in securing reform, as in spring 1899 when the boss pressured state senators to vote for a civil service bill that the secretary of the Civil Service Reform Association called "superior to any civil service statute heretofore secured in America."[56]

Chessman argues that as governor Roosevelt developed the principles that shaped his presidency, especially

insistence upon the public responsibility of large corporations; publicity as a first remedy for trusts; regulation of railroad rates; mediation of the conflict of capital and labor; conservation of natural resources; and protection of the less fortunate members of society.[57]

Vice President

Roosevelt wanted a second term as governor or a cabinet post such as the War Department; his friends (especially Henry Cabot Lodge) saw that as a dead end. They promoted him for vice president, and no one else of prominence was actively seeking that job. Grass roots opinion in the Party wanted Roosevelt as vice president. His friends were pushing and so were his foes. Roosevelt's reforming zeal ran afoul of the insurance and franchise businesses who had a major voice in the New York GOP. Platt therefore engineered his removal from the state by pushing hard for the governor to accept the GOP nomination as vice president in 1900. McKinley refused to consider Roosevelt as Secretary of War, but saw no risk in making him Vice President. He went along although his campaign manager Mark Hanna thought Roosevelt was too cowboy-like to be president. Indeed President Roosevelt later undercut Senator Hanna's presidential ambitions.[58]

The office of vice president was a powerless sinecure and did not suit Roosevelt's aggressive temperament.[59] However campaigning for it played to his skills. Roosevelt threw himself into the campaign with his accustomed energy, crisscrossing the nation denouncing the radicalism of William Jennings Bryan in contrast to the heroism of the soldiers and sailors who fought and won the war against Spain. Bryan had strongly supported the war itself, but he denounced the annexation of the Philippines as imperialism that would spoil America's innocence. Roosevelt countered with many speeches that argued it was best for the Filipinos to have stability, and the Americans to have a proud place in the world. With the nation basking in peace and prosperity, the voters gave McKinley an even larger landslide then in 1896.[60]

Roosevelt's six months as Vice President (March to September 1901) were uneventful.[61] On September 2, 1901, Roosevelt first publicized an aphorism that thrilled his supporters: "Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far."

Presidency 1901–1909

On September 6, President McKinley was shot by an anarchist acting alone while in Buffalo, New York. Initial reports suggested his condition was improving, so Roosevelt embarked on a vacation. When McKinley's condition worsened Roosevelt rushed back. McKinley died on September 14 and Roosevelt was sworn in at the Ansley Wilcox House.

Roosevelt kept McKinley's Cabinet and promised to continue McKinley's policies. In the November 1904 presidential election, Roosevelt won the presidency in his own right in a landslide victory against Alton Brooks Parker. His vice president was Charles Warren Fairbanks of Indiana.

Domestic policies

One of his first notable acts as president was to deliver a 20,000-word address to Congress[62] asking it to curb the power of large corporations (called "trusts"). For his aggressive use of United States antitrust law he became known as the "trust-buster." He brought 40 antitrust suits, and broke up such major combinations as the largest railroad and Standard Oil, the largest oil company.

Roosevelt resolved a major economic crisis, the Coal Strike of 1902. In May 1902, anthracite coal miners went on strike, threatening a national energy shortage. He set up a fact-finding commission that stopped the strike, and cut a deal with J.P. Morgan that resulted in the workers getting more pay for fewer hours, but with no union recognition.[63][64]

Roosevelt answered public anger over bad conditions in the food industry by pushing Congress to pass the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 and The Pure Food and Drug Act. The Meat Inspection Act of 1906 banned misleading labels and preservatives that contained harmful chemicals. The Pure Food and Drug Act banned food and drugs that are impure or falsely labeled from being made, sold, and shipped. Roosevelt was also served as honorary president of the school health organization American School Hygiene Association from 1907 to 1908, and in 1909 he convened the first White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children.[65]

Foreign policy

In the late 1890s Roosevelt had been an ardent imperialist, and vigorously defended the permanent acquisition of the Philippines in the 1900 election campaign. As president however he came to have his doubts. He focused America's overseas ambitions on the Caribbean, especially locations that had a bearing on the defense of his pet project the Panama Canal. After the rebellion ended in 1901 he largely lost interest in the Philippines and Asian expansion generally. However his Secretary of War, William Howard Taft, moved in the opposite direction. Taft during the 1890s had been dubious, but after serving a term as the top civilian in the Philippines, he came back to Washington convinced that the United States had a long-term moral duty to maintain and modernize the islands.[66][67]

Political cartoon depicting Roosevelt using the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine to keep European powers out of the Dominican Republic.

In 1904, he issued the "Roosevelt Corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine, which allows the United States to "exercise international policy power" so they can intervene and keep smaller countries on their feet.[68]

The Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907 resolved unpleasant racial tensions with Japan. Tokyo was angered over the segregation of Japanese children in San Francisco schools. That was ended but Japan also agreed not to allow unskilled workers to emigrate to the U.S.[69]

Roosevelt and Fairbanks, 1904

He chose not to run for another term in November 1908, and supported Taft for President instead of Fairbanks. Fairbanks withdrew from the race, and would later support Taft for re-election against Roosevelt in November 1912.

The media

Building on McKinley's effective use of the press, Roosevelt made the White House the center of news every day, providing interviews and photo opportunities. After noticing the White House reporters huddled outside in the rain one day, he gave them their own room inside, effectively inventing the presidential press briefing. The grateful press, with unprecedented access to the White House, rewarded Roosevelt with ample coverage.[70]

Roosevelt enjoyed very close relationships with the press, which he used to keep in daily contact with his middle-class base. While out of office, he made a living as a writer and magazine editor. He loved talking with intellectuals, authors, and writers. He drew the line, however, at expose-oriented scandal-mongering journalists who during his term set magazine subscriptions soaring by their attacks on corrupt politicians, mayors, and corporations. Roosevelt himself was not a target, but his speech in 1906 coined the term "muckraker" for unscrupulous journalists making wild charges. "The liar," he said, "is no whit better than the thief, and if his mendacity takes the form of slander he may be worse than most thieves." [71]


Roosevelt standing next to the elephant he shot on safari

In 1910 as ex-president he took his first airplane ride.[72]

Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition (1909–1910)

In March 1909, shortly after the end of his presidency, Roosevelt left New York for the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition, a safari in east and central Africa outfitted by the Smithsonian Institution.[73] Roosevelt's party landed in Mombasa, British East Africa (now Kenya), traveled to the Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) before following the Nile to Khartoum in modern Sudan. Financed by Andrew Carnegie and by his own proposed writings, Roosevelt's party hunted for specimens for the Smithsonian Institution and for the American Museum of Natural History in New York.[74] The group, led by the legendary hunter-tracker R. J. Cunninghame, included scientists from the Smithsonian and was joined from time to time by Frederick Selous, the famous big game hunter and explorer. Among other items, Roosevelt brought with him four tons of salt for preserving animal hides, a lucky rabbit's foot given to him by boxer John L. Sullivan, a Holland and Holland double rifle in .500/450 donated by a group of 56 admiring Britons, a Winchester 1895 rifle in .405 Winchester, an Army (M1903) Springfield in .30-06 caliber stocked and sighted for him, a Fox No. 12 shotgun, and the famous Pigskin Library, a collection of classics bound in pig leather and transported in a single reinforced trunk. Participants on the Expedition included Roosevelt's son Kermit along with Edgar Alexander Mearns, Edmund Heller, and John Alden Loring.

Roosevelt and his companions killed or trapped approximately 11,400[74] animals, from insects and moles to hippopotamuses and elephants. The 1000 large animals included 512 big game animals, including six rare White rhinos. The expedition consumed 262 of the animals. Tons of salted animals and their skins were shipped to Washington, D.C.; the quantity was so large that it took years to mount them all, and the Smithsonian shared many duplicate animals with other museums. Regarding the large number of animals taken, Roosevelt said, "I can be condemned only if the existence of the National Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and all similar zoological institutions are to be condemned."[75]

Although the safari was ostensibly conducted in the name of science, it was as much a political and social event as it was a hunting excursion; Roosevelt interacted with renowned professional hunters and land-owning families, and met many native peoples and local leaders. Roosevelt became a Life Member of the National Rifle Association, while President, in 1907 after paying a $25 fee.[76] He later wrote a detailed account in the book African Game Trails,[77] where he describes the excitement of the chase, the people he met, and the flora and fauna he collected in the name of science.

Republican Party schism

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Excerpts from a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt at Carnegie Hall, March 12, 1912. Recorded August 1912 by Thomas Edison. Duration 4:07.

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Roosevelt declared William Howard Taft to be a "genuine progressive" in 1908, when Roosevelt pushed through the nomination of his Secretary of War for the Presidency. Taft easily defeated three-time candidate William Jennings Bryan. Taft promoted a different progressivism, one that stressed the rule of law and preferred that judges rather than administrators or politicians make the basic decisions about fairness. Taft usually proved a less adroit politician than Roosevelt and lacked the energy and personal magnetism, not to mention the publicity devices, the dedicated supporters, and the broad base of public support that made Roosevelt so formidable. When Roosevelt realized that lowering the tariff would risk severe tensions inside the Republican Party—pitting producers (manufacturers and farmers) against merchants and consumers—he stopped talking about the issue. Taft ignored the risks and tackled the tariff boldly, on the one hand encouraging reformers to fight for lower rates, and then cutting deals with conservative leaders that kept overall rates high. The resulting Payne-Aldrich tariff of 1909 was too high for most reformers, but instead of blaming this on Senator Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich and big business, Taft took credit, calling it the best tariff ever. He again had managed to alienate all sides. While the crisis was building inside the Party, Roosevelt was touring Africa and Europe, to allow Taft to be his own man.[78]

Roosevelt gives Taft care of policies while Loeb carries the "Big Stick", 1909
The battle between Taft and Roosevelt bitterly split the Republican Party; Taft's people dominated the party until 1936.

Unlike Roosevelt, Taft never attacked business or businessmen in his rhetoric. However, he was attentive to the law, so he launched 90 antitrust suits, including one against the largest corporation, U.S. Steel, for an acquisition that Roosevelt had personally approved. Consequently, Taft lost the support of antitrust reformers (who disliked his conservative rhetoric), of big business (which disliked his actions), and of Roosevelt, who felt humiliated by his protégé. The left wing of the Republican Party began agitating against Taft. Senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr. of Wisconsin created the National Progressive Republican League to defeat the power of political bossism at the state level and to replace Taft at the national level. More trouble came when Taft fired Gifford Pinchot, a leading conservationist and close ally of Roosevelt. Pinchot alleged that Taft's Secretary of Interior Richard Ballinger was in league with big timber interests. Conservationists sided with Pinchot, and Taft alienated yet another vocal constituency.

Theodore Roosevelt (center) and his son at a military parade near Berlin with German Emperor Wilhelm II (May, 1910)

Roosevelt, back from Europe, unexpectedly launched an attack on the courts. His famous speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, in August 1910 was the most radical of his career and openly marked his break with the Taft administration and the conservative Republicans. Osawatomie was well known as the base used by John Brown when he launched his bloody attacks on slavery. Taft was deeply upset. Roosevelt was attacking both the judiciary and the deep faith Republicans had in their judges (most of whom had been appointed by McKinley, Roosevelt or Taft). In the 1910 Congressional elections, Democrats swept to power, and Taft's reelection in 1912 was increasingly in doubt. In 1911, Taft responded with a vigorous stumping tour that allowed him to sign up most of the party leaders long before Roosevelt announced.

Election of 1912

Republican primaries

Despite his new doubts about Taft's leadership abilities, Roosevelt still was friendly towards him and was in favor of his re-election. On October 27, 1911, however, the friendship finally collapsed when Taft's administration filed an antitrust suit against US Steel,[79][80] which Roosevelt labeled as a "good trust". Roosevelt now saw himself as the only person who could save the Republican party (the "GOP") from defeat in the upcoming Presidential election and announced himself as a candidate for the GOP nomination.[79] Roosevelt, however, had delayed too long, and Taft had already won the support of most party leaders in the country. Because of LaFollette's nervous breakdown on the campaign trail before Roosevelt's entry, most of LaFollette's supporters went over to Roosevelt, the new progressive GOP candidate.

Roosevelt, stepping up his attack on judges, carried nine of the states that held preferential primaries, LaFollette took two, and Taft only one. The 1912 primaries represented the first extensive use of the presidential primary, a reform achievement of the progressive movement. However, these primary elections, while demonstrating Roosevelt's continuing popularity with the electorate, were not nearly as pivotal as primaries would become later in the century. There were fewer states where a common voter had an opportunity to express a recorded preference. Many more states selected convention delegates at state party conventions, or in caucuses, which were not as open as they later became. While Roosevelt was popular with the public, most GOP politicians and party leaders supported Taft, and their support proved difficult to counter in states without primaries.

Formation of the Bull Moose Party

At the Republican Convention in Chicago, despite being the incumbent, Taft's victory was not immediately assured. After two weeks, Roosevelt, realizing he would not win the nomination outright, asked his followers to leave the convention hall. They moved to the Auditorium Theatre, and then Roosevelt, along with key allies such as Pinchot and Albert Beveridge created the Progressive Party, structuring it as a permanent organization that would field complete tickets at the presidential and state level. It was popularly known as the "Bull Moose Party", which got its name after Roosevelt told reporters, "I'm as fit as a bull moose."[81] At the convention Roosevelt cried out, "We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord." Roosevelt's platform echoed his 1907–1908 proposals, calling for vigorous government intervention to protect the people from the selfish interests.[82]

To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." – 1912 Progressive Party Platform, attributed to him[83] and quoted again in his autobiography[84] where he continues "'This country belongs to the people. Its resources, its business, its laws, its institutions, should be utilized, maintained, or altered in whatever manner will best promote the general interest.' This assertion is explicit..... Mr. Wilson must know that every monopoly in the United States opposes the Progressive party..... I challenge him..... to name the monopoly that did support the Progressive party, whether..... the Sugar Trust, the Steel Trust, the Harvester Trust, the Standard Oil Trust, the Tobacco Trust, or any other..... Ours was the only program to which they objected, and they supported either Mr. Wilson or Mr. Taft.....

Assassination attempt

The bullet-damaged speech and eyeglass case on display at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

While Roosevelt was campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1912, a saloonkeeper named John Flammang Schrank shot him, but the bullet lodged in his chest only after penetrating his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick (50 pages) single-folded copy of the speech he was carrying in his jacket.[85] Roosevelt, as an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he was not coughing blood, the bullet had not completely penetrated the chest wall to his lung, and so declined suggestions he go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt.[86] He spoke for 90 minutes. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."[87] Afterwards, probes and x-ray showed that the bullet had traversed three inches (76 mm) of tissue and lodged in Roosevelt's chest muscle but did not penetrate the pleura, and it would be more dangerous to attempt to remove the bullet than to leave it in place. Roosevelt carried it with him for the rest of his life.[88]

Because of the bullet wound, Roosevelt was taken off the campaign trail in the final weeks of the race (which ended election day, November 5). Though the other two campaigners stopped their own campaigns in the week Roosevelt was in the hospital, they resumed it once he was released. The bullet lodged in his chest caused his rheumatoid arthritis—which he had suffered from for years—to get worse and it soon prevented him from doing his daily stint of exercises; Roosevelt would soon become obese as well.[89] Roosevelt, for many reasons, failed to move enough Republicans in his direction. He did win 4.1 million votes (27%), compared to Taft's 3.5 million (23%). However, Wilson's 6.3 million votes (42%) were enough to garner 435 electoral votes. Roosevelt had 88 electoral votes to Taft's 8 electoral votes. Taft became the only incumbent president to place third in a re-election bid. But Pennsylvania was Roosevelt's only eastern state; in the Midwest, he carried Michigan, Minnesota, and South Dakota; in the West, California, and Washington; he did not win any southern states.

1913–1914 South American Expedition

Roosevelt's popular book Through the Brazilian Wilderness[90] describes his expedition into the Brazilian jungle in 1913 as a member of the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition, co-named after its leader, Brazilian explorer Cândido Rondon. The book describes the scientific discovery, scenic tropical vistas, and exotic flora and fauna experienced during the adventure. A friend, Father John Augustine Zahm, had searched for new adventures and found them in the forests of South America. After a briefing of several of his own expeditions, he persuaded Roosevelt to commit to such an expedition in 1912. To finance the expedition Roosevelt received support from the American Museum of Natural History, promising to bring back many new animal specimens.

The initial party. From left to right (seated): Father Zahm, Rondon, Kermit, Cherrie, Miller, four Brazilians, Roosevelt, Fiala. Only Roosevelt, Kermit, Cherrie, Rondon, and the Brazilians traveled down the River of Doubt.

Once in South America, a new far more ambitious goal was added: to find the headwaters of the Rio da Duvida, the River of Doubt, and trace it north to the Madeira and thence to the Amazon River. It was later renamed Roosevelt River in honor of the former President. Roosevelt's crew consisted of his son Kermit, naturalist Colonel Rondon, George K. Cherrie, sent by the American Museum of Natural History, Brazilian Lieutenant Joao Lyra, team physician Dr. José Antonio Cajazeira, and 16 skilled paddlers and porters (called camaradas in Portuguese). The initial expedition started, probably unwisely, on December 9, 1913, at the height of the rainy season. The trip down the River of Doubt started on February 27, 1914.

During the trip down the river, Roosevelt suffered a minor leg wound after he jumped into the river to try to prevent two of his crew's canoes from smashing against the rocks. The flesh wound he received, however, soon gave him tropical fever that resembled the malaria he contracted while in Cuba fifteen years before.[89] Because the bullet lodged in his chest from the failed assassination attempt in 1912 was never removed, his health worsened from the infection.[91] This weakened Roosevelt so greatly that six weeks into the adventure he had to be attended day and night by the expedition's physician and his son, Kermit. By then he could not walk because of both the infection in his injured leg and an infirmity in his other from a traffic accident a decade earlier. Roosevelt was riddled with chest pains, fighting a fever that soared to 103°F (39°C), and at times so delirious that he would repeat endlessly the opening line from Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan.[92] Regarding his condition as a threat to the survival of the others, Roosevelt insisted he be left behind to allow the by then poorly provisioned expedition to proceed as rapidly as it could. Only an appeal by his son persuaded him to continue.

Despite Roosevelt's continued decline and loss of over 50 pounds (20 kg) of his original 220, Commander Rondon had been repeatedly slowing down the pace of the expedition in dedication to his commission's mapmaking and other geographical goals that demanded regular stops to fix the expedition's position by sun-based survey.

Upon Roosevelt's return to New York, friends and family were startled by his physical appearance and fatigue. Roosevelt wrote to a friend that the trip had cut his life short by ten years. He might not have known just how accurate that analysis would prove. For the rest of his few remaining years he would be plagued by flare-ups of malaria and leg inflammations so severe that they would require surgery.[93][94]

Before Roosevelt had even completed his sea voyage home, doubts were raised over his claims of exploring and navigating a completely uncharted river over 625 miles (1,000 km) long. When he had recovered sufficiently he addressed a standing-room-only convention organized in Washington, D.C. by the National Geographic Society and satisfactorily defended his claims. The River of Doubt later was named the Rio Roosevelt.

World War I

Former President Theodore Roosevelt addressing a crowd of supporters in Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1914.

When World War I began in 1914, Roosevelt strongly supported the Allies and demanded a harsher policy against Germany, especially regarding submarine warfare. Roosevelt angrily denounced the foreign policy of President Wilson, calling it a failure regarding the atrocities in Belgium and the violations of American rights.[95] In 1916, he campaigned energetically for Charles Evans Hughes and repeatedly denounced Irish-Americans and German-Americans who Roosevelt said were unpatriotic because they put the interest of Ireland and Germany ahead of America's by supporting neutrality. He insisted one had to be 100% American, not a "hyphenated American" who juggled multiple loyalties. When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, Roosevelt sought to raise a volunteer infantry division, but Wilson refused.[96]

Roosevelt's attacks on Wilson helped the Republicans win control of Congress in the off-year elections of 1918. Roosevelt was popular enough to seriously contest the 1920 Republican nomination, but his health was broken by 1918, because of the lingering malaria. His family and supporters threw their support to Roosevelt's old military companion, General Leonard Wood, who was ultimately defeated by Taft supporter Warren G. Harding.[97]

His youngest son Quentin, a daring pilot with the American forces in France, was shot down behind German lines in July 1918 at the age of 20. It is said the death of his son distressed him so much that Roosevelt never recovered from his loss.[98]


Despite his health issues, Roosevelt remained active to the end of his life. He was an enthusiastic proponent of the Scouting movement. The Boy Scouts of America gave him the title of Chief Scout Citizen, the only person to hold such title. One early Scout leader said, "The two things that gave Scouting great impetus and made it very popular were the uniform and Teddy Roosevelt's jingoism."[99] On the night of January 5, 1919 at 11:00 PM, he experienced breathing problems. He felt better after treatment from his family physician Dr. George W. Faller and went to bed. Theodore's last words were "Please put out that light, James." to his family servant James Amos.

Between 4:00 AM and 4:15 AM the next morning, Roosevelt died unexpectedly in his sleep at Sagamore Hill from a blood clot detaching itself from a vein and entering his lungs.[100] Upon receiving word of his death, his son Archie telegraphed his siblings simply, "The old lion is dead."[98] Woodrow Wilson's vice president, Thomas R. Marshall, said that "Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight."[101] In addition to sisters Corinne and Bamie and his wife Edith, Theodore was survived by five children and eight grandchildren at the time of his death.

Political positions and speeches

Theodore Roosevelt introduced the phrase "Square Deal" to describe his progressive views in a speech delivered after leaving the office of the Presidency in August 1910. In his broad outline, he stressed equality of opportunity for all citizens and emphasized the importance of fair government regulations of corporate 'special interests'.

Roosevelt was one of the first Presidents to make conservation a national issue. In a speech that Roosevelt gave at Osawatomie, Kansas, on August 31, 1910, he outlined his views on conservation of the lands of the United States. He favored using America's natural resources, but opposed wasteful consumption.[102] One of his most lasting legacies was his significant role in the creation of 5 national parks, 18 national monuments, and 150 National Forests, among other works of conservation. Roosevelt was instrumental in conserving about 230 million acres (930,000 km2) of American soil among various parks and other federal projects.[103]

In the Eighth Annual Message to Congress (1908), Roosevelt mentioned the need for federal government to regulate interstate corporations using the Interstate Commerce Clause, also mentioning how these corporations fought federal control by appealing to states' rights.

Positions on immigration, minorities, and civil rights

In an 1894 article on immigration, Roosevelt said, "We must Americanize in every way, in speech, in political ideas and principles, and in their way of looking at relations between church and state. We welcome the German and the Irishman who becomes an American. We have no use for the German or Irishman who remains such..... He must revere only our flag, not only must it come first, but no other flag should even come second."[104]

Roosevelt took an active interest in immigration, and within months of assuming the presidency had launched an extensive reorganization of the federal immigration depot at Ellis Island. Roosevelt himself "straddled the immigration question,"[105] taking the position that "we cannot have too much immigration of the right sort, and we should have none whatever of the wrong sort."[106] As president, his stated preferences were relatively inclusive, across the then diverse and mostly European sources of immigration:

It is unwise to depart from the old American tradition and discriminate for or against any man who desires to come here and become a citizen, save on the ground of that man's fitness for citizenship..... We can not afford to consider whether he is Catholic or Protestant, Jew or Gentile; whether he is Englishman or Irishman, Frenchman or German, Japanese, Italian, or Scandinavian or Magyar. What we should desire to find out is the individual quality of the individual man.....[107]

Roosevelt was the first president to appoint a Jewish representative to a cabinet position – Secretary of Commerce and Labor, Oscar Solomon Straus, 1906–1909. Straus (who had helped co-found the Immigration Protective League in 1898) became thereby, in 1906, the Roosevelt Administration's cabinet official overseeing immigration, through which appointment he helped secure passage of, and implement, the U.S. Immigration Act of 1907.[108]

In 1886 Roosevelt criticized Native Americans, stating: "I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth. The most vicious cowboy has more moral principle than the average Indian. Turn three hundred low families of New York into New Jersey, support them for fifty years in vicious idleness, and you will have some idea of what the Indians are. Reckless, revengeful, fiendishly cruel, they rob and murder, not the cowboys, who can take care of themselves, but the defenseless, lone settlers on the plains. As for the soldiers, an Indian chief once asked Sheridan for a cannon. 'What! Do you want to kill my soldiers with it?' asked the general. 'No,' replied the chief, 'want to kill the cowboy; kill soldier with a club.'" He later became much more favorable.[109][110]

Regarding African-Americans, Roosevelt said, "I have not been able to think out any solution of the terrible problem offered by the presence of the Negro on this continent, but of one thing I am sure, and that is that inasmuch as he is here and can neither be killed nor driven away, the only wise and honorable and Christian thing to do is to treat each black man and each white man strictly on his merits as a man, giving him no more and no less than he shows himself worthy to have."[111]

Roosevelt appointed numerous African Americans to federal office, such as Walter L. Cohen of New Orleans, Louisiana, a leader of the Black and Tan Republican faction whom he named register of the federal land office.[112]

Contrasting the European conquest of North America with that of Australia, Roosevelt wrote: "The natives [of Australia] were so few in number and of such a low type, that they practically offered no resistance at all, being but little more hindrance than an equal number of ferocious beasts";[113] however, the Native Americans were "the most formidable savage foes ever faced ever encountered by colonists of European stock."[114] He regarded slavery as "a crime whose shortsighted folly was worse than its guilt" because it "brought hordes of African slaves, whose descendants now form immense populations in certain portions of the land."[115] Contrasting the European conquest of North America with that of South Africa, Roosevelt felt that the fate of the latter's colonists would be different because, unlike the Native American, the African "neither dies out nor recedes before their advance", meaning the colonists would likely "be swallowed up in the overwhelming mass of black barbarism."[116]

Starting in 1907 eugenicists in many States started the forced sterilization of the sick, unemployed, poor, criminals, prostitutes, and the disabled. Roosevelt said in 1914: "I wish very much that the wrong people could be prevented entirely from breeding; and when the evil nature of these people is sufficiently flagrant, this should be done. Criminals should be sterilized and feeble-minded persons forbidden to leave offspring behind them."[117]


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A speech by Roosevelt as a former President

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Roosevelt was a prolific author, writing with passion on subjects ranging from foreign policy to the importance of the national park system. Roosevelt was also an avid reader of poetry. Poet Robert Frost said Roosevelt "was our kind. He quoted poetry to me. He knew poetry."[118]

As an editor of Outlook magazine, he had weekly access to a large, educated national audience. In all, Roosevelt wrote about 18 books (each in several editions), including his Autobiography,[119] The Rough Riders[120] History of the Naval War of 1812,[121] and others on subjects such as ranching, explorations, and wildlife. His most ambitious book was the four volume narrative The Winning of the West, which connected the origin of a new "race" of Americans (i.e. what he considered the present population of the United States to be) to the frontier conditions their ancestors endured throughout the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries.

In 1907, Roosevelt became embroiled in a widely publicized literary debate known as the nature fakers controversy. A few years earlier, naturalist John Burroughs had published an article entitled "Real and Sham Natural History" in the Atlantic Monthly, attacking popular writers of the day such as Ernest Thompson Seton, Charles G. D. Roberts, and William J. Long for their fantastical representations of wildlife. Roosevelt agreed with Burroughs' criticisms, and published several essays of his own denouncing the booming genre of "naturalistic" animal stories as "yellow journalism of the woods". It was the President himself who popularized the negative term "nature faker" to describe writers who depicted their animal characters with excessive anthropomorphism.[122]

Roosevelt Family in 1903 with Quentin on the left, TR, Ted, Archie, Alice, Kermit, Edith, and Ethel

Character and beliefs

Roosevelt intensely disliked being called "Teddy," and was quick to point out this fact to those who referred to him as such, though it would become widely used by newspapers during his political career. He attended church regularly. Of including the motto "In God We Trust" on money, in 1907 he wrote, "It seems to me eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements." He was also a member of the Freemasons and Sons of the American Revolution.[123]

Roosevelt had a lifelong interest in pursuing what he called, in an 1899 speech, "The Strenuous Life". To this end, he exercised regularly and took up boxing, tennis, hiking, rowing, polo, and horseback riding. As governor of New York, he boxed with sparring partners several times a week, a practice he regularly continued as President until once being hit so hard in the face he became blind in his left eye (a fact not made public until many years later). Thereafter, he practiced judo attaining a third degree brown belt and continued his habit of skinny-dipping in the Potomac River during winter.[124][125]

Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt's estate

He was an enthusiastic singlestick player and, according to Harper's Weekly, in 1905 showed up at a White House reception with his arm bandaged after a bout with General Leonard Wood.[126] Roosevelt was an avid reader, reading tens of thousands of books, at a rate of several a day in multiple languages. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Roosevelt is often considered the most well read of any American politician.[127]


Historians credit Roosevelt for changing the nation's political system by permanently placing the presidency at center stage and making character as important as the issues. His notable accomplishments include trust busting and conservationism. He is a hero to liberals for his proposals in 1907-12 that presaged the modern welfare state of the New Deal Era, and put the environment on the national agenda. Conservatives admire his "big stick" diplomacy and commitment to military values. Dalton says,"Today he is heralded as the architect of the modern presidency, as a world leader who boldly reshaped the office to meet the needs of the new century and redefined America's place in the world."[128]

However, liberals have criticized him for his interventionist and imperialist approach to nations he considered "uncivilized". Conservatives reject his vision of the welfare state and emphasis on the superiority of government over private action.

Historians typically rank Roosevelt among the top five presidents.[129][130]


In the 21st century, historians have paid renewed attention to President Roosevelt as "The Wilderness Warrior" and his energetic promotion of the conservation movement. Throughout his entire life he was involved with nature, nature study, exploration, and leadership in private organizations to promote and protect the wilderness and its animal life. As president he took official action in terms of establishing national parks, national forests, and other wilderness protections.[131] He collaborated with his chief advisor, Gifford Pinchot, the chief of the Forest Service. Pinchot and Roosevelt scheduled a series of news events that garnered nationwide media attention in magazines and newspapers. They used magazine articles, speeches, press conferences, interviews, and especially large-scale presidential commissions. Roosevelt's goal was to encourage his middle-class reform-minded base to add conservation issues to their repertoire of issues. [132]

Persona and masculinity

1910 cartoon shows Roosevelt's multiple roles from 1899 to 1910

Dalton says Roosevelt is remembered as, "one of the most picturesque personalities who has ever enlivened the landscape."[133] His friend, historian Henry Adams proclaimed

Roosevelt, more than any other man..... showed the singular primitive quality that belongs to ultimate matter—the quality that medieval theology assigned to God—he was pure act.[134]

Recent biographers have stressed Roosevelt's personality. Cooper compared him with Woodrow Wilson, and discovered both of them played both the roles of warrior and priest.[135] Dalton stressed his strenuous life.[136] Sarah Watts examined the desires of the "Rough Rider in the White House."[137] Brands calls Roosevelt "the last romantic," arguing that his romantic concept of life emerged from his belief that "physical bravery was the highest virtue and war the ultimate test of bravery."[138]

TR as the exemplar of American masculinity has become a major theme.[139] As president he repeatedly warned American men that they were becoming too office-bound, too complacent, too comfortable with physical ease and moral laxity, and were failing in their duties to propagate the race and exhibit masculine vigor.[140] French historian Serge Ricard says, "the ebullient apostle of the Strenuous Life offers ideal material for a detailed psycho-historical analysis of aggressive manhood in the changing socio-cultural environment of his era; McKinley, Taft, or Wilson would perhaps inadequately serve that purpose."[141] He promoted competitive sports and the Boy Scouts of America, founded in 1910, as the way forward.[142] Brands shows that heroic displays of bravery were essential to Roosevelt's image and mission:

What makes the hero a hero is the romantic notion that he stands above the tawdry give and take of everyday politics, occupying an ethereal realm where partisanship gives way to patriotism, and division to unity, and where the nation regains its lost innocence, and the people their shared sense of purpose.[143]


Roosevelt was included with Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln at the Mount Rushmore Memorial, designed in 1927 with the approval of Republican President Calvin Coolidge.

For his gallantry at San Juan Hill, Roosevelt's commanders recommended him for the Medal of Honor. In the late 1990s, Roosevelt's supporters again took up the flag for him. On January 16, 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded Theodore Roosevelt the Medal of Honor posthumously for his charge up San Juan Hill, Cuba, during the Spanish–American War. His eldest son Ted received the Medal of Honor for heroism at the Battle of Normandy in 1944. The Roosevelts thus became one of only two father-son pairs to receive this honor (the other pair being Arthur MacArthur, Jr. and Douglas MacArthur).

He was awarded an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) by Yale University in October 1901, during celebrations for the bicentenary of the university.[144]

Roosevelt's face on Mount Rushmore

Roosevelt's legacy includes several other important commemorations. The United States Navy named two ships for Roosevelt: the USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600), a submarine that was in commission from 1961 to 1982; and the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), an aircraft carrier that has been on active duty in the Atlantic Fleet since 1986.

On November 18, 1956, the United States Postal Service released a 6¢ Liberty Issue postage stamp honoring Roosevelt. A second stamp of face value 32¢ was issued on February 3, 1998 as part of the Celebrate the Century stamp sheet series.

The Roosevelt Memorial Association (now the Theodore Roosevelt Association) or "TRA", was founded in 1920 to preserve Roosevelt's legacy. The Association preserved Roosevelt's birthplace, "Sagamore Hill" home, papers, and video film. In 1941, it published the Theodore Roosevelt Cyclopedia, a compendium of Roosevelt's key writings, sayings and conversations, which is available online.

In 2008 Columbia Law School awarded a law degree to Roosevelt, posthumously making him a member of the class of 1882.[145] Among the hundreds of schools and streets named in Roosevelt's honor are Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington, the surrounding Roosevelt neighborhood, the district's main arterial, Roosevelt Way N.E., and Roosevelt Middle School in Eugene, Oregon.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles is named after him, as is the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.

On April 30, 2013, both chambers of the North Dakota Legislative Assembly passed a bill appropriating $6 million to Dickinson State University to award a grant to the Theodore Roosevelt Center for construction of a building to be named the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. To access these funds, the Theodore Roosevelt Center must first raise $3 million from non-state sources.[146] However, Harvard University has his papers and intends to keep them.

In Chicago, the city renamed 12th Street to Roosevelt Road four months after Roosevelt's death.[147] In Philadelphia, Roosevelt Boulevard, also known as U.S. 1, was named in his honor in 1918.

In popular culture

Theodore Roosevelt impersonator Joe Wiegand performs October 27, 2008 in the East Room of the White House, during a celebration of Roosevelt's 150th birthday.

Roosevelt's 1901 saying "Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick" is still quoted by politicians and columnists in different countries—not only in English but also in translation to various other languages.

A quote from Roosevelt's 1912 Progressive Party platform was cited as an epigram by Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, in his 2006 manifesto: "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."[148][149]

Roosevelt's lasting popular legacy, however, is the stuffed toy bears—teddy bears—named after him following an incident on a hunting trip in Mississippi in 1902. Roosevelt famously refused to shoot a defenseless black bear. After the cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman illustrated the President with a bear, a toy maker heard the story and asked Roosevelt if he could use his name on a toy bear. Roosevelt approved, and the teddy bear was born. Bears and later bear cubs became closely associated with Roosevelt in political cartoons thereafter.[150]

President Roosevelt. Pastel study by V. Floyd Campbell after a snapshot photograph. (c. 1903)

On June 26, 2006, Roosevelt made the cover of TIME magazine with the lead story, "The Making of America—Theodore Roosevelt—The 20th Century Express": "At home and abroad, Theodore Roosevelt was the locomotive President, the man who drew his flourishing nation into the future."[151]

In 1905, Roosevelt, an admirer of various western figures, named Captain Bill McDonald of the Texas Rangers, as his bodyguard and entertained the legendary Texan in the White House. Ironically, in the 1912 campaign, McDonald was Woodrow Wilson's bodyguard. Wilson thereafter named the Democrat McDonald as U.S. Marshal for the Northern district of Texas.[152]

Roosevelt has been portrayed many times in film and on television. The actor Karl Swenson played him in the 1967 western picture Brighty of the Grand Canyon, the story of a real-life burro who guided Roosevelt on a hunting trip to find mountain lions.[153]

Brian Keith portrayed Roosevelt in the 1975 film The Wind and the Lion, a dramatization of the Perdicaris incident of 1904.

In the play Arsenic and Old Lace, and the 1944 film of the same name, the character Teddy Brewster is convinced he is Roosevelt. He is enlisted in this role by his aunts to bury their victims' bodies in the cellar by asking him to dig "another lock for the Panama Canal", then telling him someone has died of yellow fever and needs to be buried. When he runs up the stairs brandishing an imaginary sword and yelling "Charge!", his aunt Abby Brewster explains to Officer Brophy, "The stairs are always San Juan Hill". His bugle-blowing at all hours is the primary reason the aunts are being pressured to have him committed to a sanitarium.

He was also portrayed by actor Tom Berenger in 1997 for the TNT movie Rough Riders, a made-for-cable film about his exploits during the Spanish–American War in Cuba.[154]

Frank Albertson played Roosevelt in the episode "Rough and Ready" of the CBS series My Friend Flicka."[155]

Peter Breck played Roosevelt in 1961 episode "Yankee Tornado" of the ABC series Bronco.[156]

Robin Williams portrayed Roosevelt in the form of a wax mannequin that comes to life in Night at the Museum and its sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

The Theodore Roosevelt mascot during a Washington Nationals home game.

Roosevelt was portrayed in several episodes of the comic book story The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: the young Scrooge McDuck first meets Roosevelt in his Badlands years, later in a fictional siege of Fort Duckburg and finally in Panama during the construction of the Panama Canal.

George Burroughs Torrey painted a portrait of him.

Famed fictional gunslinger Morgan Kane was Roosevelt's bodyguard when Roosevelt was a general, and Kane worked as a Pinkerton special agent.

Since 2000, Roosevelt has been portrayed by a number of reprisers including historian and Rhodes Scholar, Clay Jenkinson of North Dakota and Joe Wiegand of Tennessee. Wiegand has portrayed Roosevelt in all 50 US states. In 2008, Wiegand portrayed Roosevelt in the White House at a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Roosevelt's birth.

Theodore Roosevelt is an important character in the Southern Victory Series (also known as Timeline-191), an alternate history series by Harry Turtledove. He was a New Yorker who moved to Montana to become a rancher after Alice Hathaway Lee rejects his marriage proposal. He raises and leads his own volunteer cavalry regiment (nicknamed the Unauthorized Regiment) in the Second Mexican War, fighting alongside George Armstrong Custer to repulse the Anglo-Canadian army led by Charles George Gordon. He later becomes the Democratic 28th president of the United States and leads the United States to victory in the Great War on the side of the Central Powers. He runs for a third term as President, but is defeated by Socialist candidate, Upton Sinclair and dies of a brain hemorrhage in 1924. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery as a final insult to the Confederate States of America and is regarded as one of the most esteemed Presidents in United States (alternate) history.


Theodore Roosevelt was one of the first presidents whose voice was recorded for posterity. Several of his recorded speeches survive.[157] A 4.6-minute voice recording,[158] which preserves Roosevelt's lower timbre ranges particularly well for its time, is among those available from the Michigan State University libraries. (This is the 1912 recording of The Right of the People to Rule, recorded by Edison at Carnegie Hall). In what some consider the best example of Roosevelt's animated oratorical style, an audio clip[159] sponsored by the Authentic History Center includes his defense[160] of the Progressive Party in 1912 wherein he proclaims it the "party of the people" in contrast with the other major parties.

Parade for the school children of San Francisco, down Van Ness Avenue
Collection of film clips of Roosevelt



See also


  1. ^ a b McMillan, Joseph. "Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 26th and 32nd Presidents of the United States. American Heraldry Society. No date. October 1, 2010.
  2. ^ His last name is, according to Roosevelt himself, "pronounced as if it was spelled 'Rosavelt.' That is in three syllables. The first syllable as if it was 'Rose.'" Hart, Albert B.; Herbert R. Ferleger (1989). "Theodore Roosevelt Cyclopedia" (CD-ROM). Theodore Roosevelt Association. pp. 534–535. Retrieved June 10, 2007.  ;
    An Audio recording[dead link] in which Roosevelt pronounces his own last name distinctly. To listen at the correct speed, slow the recording down by 20%. Retrieved on July 12, 2007.
    "How to Pronounce Theodore Roosevelt". Retrieved June 10, 2007. 
  3. ^ Douglas Brinkley "TR's Wild Side," American Heritage, Fall 2009.
  4. ^ Robert K. Murray and Tim H. Blessing (2004). Greatness in White House. Pennsylvania State U.P. pp. 8–9, 15. ISBN 9780271024868. 
  5. ^ Carleton Putnam, Theodore Roosevelt: Volume 1 the Formative Years (1958) ch 1-2
  6. ^ For full details on how bad the asthma was see David McCullough (1981). Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Faimly, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt. Simon and Schuster. pp. 93–108. 
  7. ^ Putnam, Theodore Roosevelt: Volume 1 the Formative Years pp 23-27
  8. ^ "TR's Legacy—The Environment".. Retrieved March 6, 2006.
  9. ^ Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography (1913) Chapter I, p. 13.
  10. ^ Putnam, pp 63-70
  11. ^ Brands pp. 25-26.
  12. ^ Brands pp. 31.
  13. ^ Thayer, (1919) Chapter I, p. 20.
  14. ^ Brands p. 28.
  15. ^ Sanabria, Santa (June 26, 2011). "Mounted in New Jersey". The Hudson Reporter.
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  17. ^ Brands p. 62
  18. ^ Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, pg 67
  19. ^ Brands, pp 110-12, 123–33. quote p. 126
  20. ^ Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, pg 232.
  21. ^ Autobiography, pg 35
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  24. ^ Brands T. R. p. 120
  25. ^ MR. SHEARD TO BE SPEAKER in NYT on January 1, 1884
  26. ^ Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, pg 267.
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  32. ^ Brands p. 191.
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  44. ^ Brands ch 11
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  141. ^ Serge Ricard review in The Journal of Military History (2005) 69#2 pp 536-537
  142. ^ Boy Scouts of America (1911). Boy Scouts Handbook: Original 1911 Edition. pp. 374–6. 
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  147. ^ Broden, Scott (19 Feb 1995). "By The Numbers – Where Did Those Street Designations Come From?". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 15 Oct 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-15. "12th Street was changed on May 25, 1919, in recognition of Theodore Roosevelt, who had died the previous January." 
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Full biographies

  • Brands, Henry William. (1997). T.R.: The Last Romantic. New York: Basic Books. full biography OCLC 36954615 ISBN 9780465069583
  • Cooper, John Milton The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. (1983) ISBN 9780674947511, a dual scholarly biography
  • Dalton, Kathleen. Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life. (2002) ISBN 0-679-76733-9, full scholarly biography
  • Gould, Lewis L. Theodore Roosevelt (2012) 105pp, very short biography by leading scholar
  • Harbaugh, William Henry. The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt. (1963), full scholarly biography
  • McCullough, David. Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Faimly, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt (1981), best seller; to 1886
  • Miller, Nathan. Theodore Roosevelt: A Life. (1992)
  • Morris, Edmund The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, to 1901 (1979); vol 2: Theodore Rex 1901–1909. (2001); vol 3: Colonel Roosevelt (2010); Pulitzer prize for Volume 1.
  • Pringle, Henry F. Theodore Roosevelt (1932; 2nd ed. 1956), full scholarly biography
  • Putnam, Carleton Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography, Volume I: The Formative Years (1958), only volume published, to age 28.
  • Ricard, Serge, ed. A Companion to Theodore Roosevelt (2011) excerpt and text search, 28 new essays by scholars; focus on historiography

Personality and activities

  • DiSilvestro, Roger, Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands: A Young Politician's Quest in the American West, Walker & Co, 2011. ISBN 9780802717214
  • Fehn, Bruce. "Theodore Roosevelt and American Masculinity". Magazine of History (2005) 19(2): 52–59. ISSN 0882-228x Provides a lesson plan on TR as the historical figure who most exemplifies the quality of masculinity.
  • Gluck, Sherwin. "T.R.'s Summer White House, Oyster Bay". (1999) Chronicles the events of TR's presidency during the summers of his two terms.
  • Greenberg, David. "Beyond the Bully Pulpit," Wilson Quarterly (2011) 35#3 pp22–29. The president's use of publicity, rhetoric and force of personality
  • Millard, Candice. River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey. (2005); his deadly 1913-1914 trip to the Amazon
  • McCullough, David. Mornings on Horseback, The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt. (2001) popular biography to 1884
  • O'Toole, Patricia. When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House. (2005). 494 pp.
  • Renehan, Edward J. The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War. (Oxford University Press, 1998), examines TR and his family during the World War I period
  • Testi, Arnaldo (1995). "The Gender of Reform Politics: Theodore Roosevelt and the Culture of Masculinity," Journal of American History, Vol. 81, No. 4, pp. 1509–1533. in JSTOR
  • Thompson, J. Lee Theodore Roosevelt Abroad: Nature, Empire, and the Journey of an American President (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 240 pp., ISBN 978-0-2301-0277-4 TR in Africa & Europe, 1909–10
  • Watts, Sarah. Rough Rider in the White House: Theodore Roosevelt and the Politics of Desire. 2003. 289 pp.
  • Yarbrough, Jean M. Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition (University Press of Kansas; 2012) 337 pages; TR's political thought and its significance for republican self-government.

Domestic policies

  • Brinkley, Douglas (2009). The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. New York, N.Y: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-056528-2. 
  • Dorsey, Leroy G. "The Frontier Myth and Teddy Roosevelt's Fight for Conservation". in Myth America: A Historical Anthology, Volume II. 1997. Gerster, Patrick, and Cords, Nicholas. (editors.) Brandywine Press, St. James, NY. ISBN 1-881089-97-5
  • Gould, Lewis L. The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. (2nd ed. 2011), standard history of his domestic and foreign policy as president
  • Keller, Morton, ed., Theodore Roosevelt: A Profile (1967) excerpts from TR and from historians.
  • Murphey, William. "Theodore Roosevelt and the Bureau of Corporation: Executive-Corporate Cooperation and the Advancement of the Regulatory State," American Nineteenth Century History (March 2013) 14#1 pp 73–111.
  • Swanson, Ryan A. "'I Never Was a Champion at Anything': Theodore Roosevelt's Complex and Contradictory Record as America's 'Sports President,'" Journal of Sport History (2011) 38#3 pp 425–446.
  • Zacks, Richard. Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York (2012)


Foreign and military policies

  • Beale Howard K. Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power. (1956). standard history of his foreign policy
  • Hendrix, Henry J. Theodore Roosevelt's Naval Diplomacy: The US Navy & the Birth of the American Century (2009)
  • Holmes, James R. Theodore Roosevelt and World Order: Police Power in International Relations (2006). 328 pp.
  • Jones, Gregg. Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America's Imperial Dream (2012) excerpt and text search
  • Marks III, Frederick W. Velvet on Iron: The Diplomacy of Theodore Roosevelt (1979)
  • McCullough, David. The Path between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870–1914 (1977).
  • Oyos, Matthew. "Courage, Careers, and Comrades: Theodore Roosevelt and the United States Army Officer Corps," Journal of the Gilded Age & Progressive Era (2011) 10#1 pp 23–58. On TR's controversial reforms
  • Ricard, Serge. "The Roosevelt Corollary." Presidential Studies Quarterly 2006 36(1): 17–26.
  • Ricard, Serge. "Theodore Roosevelt: Imperialist or Global Strategist in the New Expansionist Age?" Diplomacy and Statecraft, (2008) 19#4 pp 639–657
  • Rofe, J. Simon. "'Under the Influence of Mahan': Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and their Understanding of American National Interest," Diplomacy and Statecraft, (2008) 19#4 pp 732–745
  • Rofe, J. Simon and John M. Thompson. "'Internationalists in Isolationist times' - Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and a Rooseveltian Maxim," Journal of Transatlantic Studies (2011), 9#1 pp 46–62.
  • Tilchin, William N. and Neu, Charles E., eds. Artists of Power: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Their Enduring Impact on U.S. Foreign Policy. (Praeger, 2006). 196 pp.
  • Tilchin, William N. Theodore Roosevelt and the British Empire: A Study in Presidential Statecraft (1997)

Primary sources

External links