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Theodore Roosevelt

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Category: American History

Autor: anton 03 March 2011

Words: 2090 | Pages: 9

Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt was born at 28 East 20th Street in the modern-day Gramercy section of New York City on October 27, 1858(cite), he was the second of four children of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. and Martha Bulloch. He had an older sister named Anna, and two younger siblings which were his brother Elliot and his sister Corinne. The Roosevelt’s had been in New York since the mid 17th century and had grown with the emerging New York commerce class after the American Revolution. Until the birth of the Republican Party, just before the Civil War, the family was strongly Democratic in its political outlook. By the 18th Century, the family was upper class, growing in wealth, power and influence from the profits of several businesses including hardware and plate-glass importing. Theodore's father was a New York City philanthropist, merchant, and partner in the family glass-importing firm Roosevelt and Son. Martha Bulloch, Theodore’s mom, was a Southern belle from a slave-owning family in Savannah, Georgia and had Confederate sympathies. As a child Theodore had asthma so he had to sleep propped up in bed or slouching in a chair during much of his early childhood, and had many sicknesses. Despite his illnesses he was a very mischievous and curious child (cite). His lifelong interest in zoology was formed at age seven upon seeing a dead seal at a local market. After obtaining the seal's head, the Theodore and two of his cousins formed what they called the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History. He filled his makeshift museum with many animals that he caught, studied, and prepared for display. At age nine, he codified his observation of insects with a paper titled "The Natural History of Insects(cite)." To combat his poor physical condition, Theodore Sr. insisted Teddy to do some form of exercising. To deal with bullies, Roosevelt started to learn how to box. His Father had a tremendous influence on Theodore and he always looked up to him. One time Teddy 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 (Theodore Roosevelt)."

Theodore was home schooled and taught by his parents; this was a common practice at the time of his youth. He matriculated at Harvard College in 1876, graduating magna cum laude. His father's death in 1878 was a tremendous blow to him, but Theodore redoubled his activities. He still continued to do well in all of his classed besides Latin and Greek (Theodore Roosevelt). He studied biology with great interest and indeed was already an accomplished naturalist and published ornithologist. He had a very good photographic memory and made a habit of flying through books but still retain all the information (Theodore Roosevelt). He was an unusually eloquent conversationalist who, throughout his life, was smart and wanted to be around only the smartest and bright men and women. He was very good at multi-tasking, calling this person reading a book talking to a secretary est.… doing it like its nothing. By now you can probably tell how brilliant and full of knowledge Theodore Roosevelt was.

When Theodore was attending Harvard he was in many clubs, including Delta Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Delta Phi fraternities. While he was there Theodore also edited a student magazine, and was runner-up in the Harvard boxing championship, losing to C.S. Hanks (site).After graduating from Harvard, Theodore underwent a physical examination because his doctor noticed serious heart problems. The doctor said, he should find a desk job and avoid strenuous activity. Theodore didn’t want to leave the adventurous life he embraced so he ignored the doctor’s advice.

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Harvard in 1880 , and entered Columbia Law School. At Columbia, Roosevelt researched and wrote his first big book, "The Naval War of 1812", in 1882, which still is considered the only comprehensive history on the subject. When offered a chance to run for New York Assemblyman in 1881, he dropped out of law school to pursue his new goal of entering public life. Assemblyman is a person in the New York State Assembly, which is the lower house in the New York Legislature body.

Roosevelt was a Republican activist during his years in the Assembly, writing more bills than any other New York state legislator. Already a major player in state politics, he attended the Republican 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 Democrat Grover Cleveland, the Democratic nominee, he stayed loyal to the party and supported Blaine (cite).

When Theodore was 22 he got married for the first time to Alice Hathaway Lee, on October 27, 1880, at the Unitarian Church in Brookline, Massachusetts (cite). The couple first met in 1878. They announced their engagement on Valentine's Day 1880. Alice sadly died exactly four years later and only 2 days after there first child was born. It was a girl also named Alice. To make matters two times worse on the same day, Theodore Roosevelt's mom tragically died of typhoid fever.

During the 1888 presidential election, Roosevelt did a lot of campaigning for Benjamin Harrison in the Midwest. President Harrison appointed Theodore Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission, which is what he served on until 1895. While serving his term, he fought hard and demanded the enforcement of civil service laws. Even though Theodore Roosevelt supported Benjamin Harrison reelection bid in the presidential election of 1892, the eventual winner, Grover Cleveland, gave him the same post.

In 1895, he became president of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners. While he held the post as a commissioner he dramatically changed the way the Police Department was run. The police force was given the title as one of the most corrupt forces in America (cite). With the help of his fellow commissioners Roosevelt established new disciplinary rules, created a bicycle squad to police New York's traffic problems and implemented standardized 32 caliber pistol practice. Teddy Roosevelt put into effect regular inspections of firearms, annual physical exams, appointed 1,600 new recruits appointed not on the basis of political affiliation but solely for their physical and mental qualifications.(cite)." Roosevelt required his officers to be registered with the Board. He also had telephones installed in station houses. Always an operational man, he made a habit of walking officers' beats late at night and early in the morning to make sure that they were on duty.

When war was declared in 1898 that would be known as the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt resigned from the Navy Department and, with the aid of U.S. Army Colonel Leonard Wood, organized the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment out of a mixed squadron that ranged from cowboys from the Western territories to Ivy League friends from New York. The newspapers called them the "Rough Riders." At First Roosevelt held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and served under Colonel Wood, but after Wood was promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteer Forces, Teddy was promoted and got the job as a colonel, which gave him control of the Regiment. Under his leadership, the Rough Riders became famous for their dual charges up Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill in July 1898.

When Theodore came back from Cuba, He re-entered New York state politics and was elected governor of New York in 1898. He made such a strenuous effort to root out corruption that Republican boss Thomas Collier Platt forced him to run with Presidential candidate William McKinley as his vice president in the 1900 election. McKinley and Roosevelt won the presidential election in 1900, defeating William Jennings Bryan and Adlai E. Stevenson I(cite). Roosevelt found his six months in the vice-presidency unfulfilling. He thought it was boring and he did not do anything worth mentioning while he was serving under President William McKinley.

President William McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901, when McKinley died on September 10, 1901 that gave the right to Roosevelt to become President. He took the oath of office in the Ansley Wilcox House at Buffalo, New York(cite). He was the youngest person to undertake the presidency, and he promised to continue McKinley's cabinet and his basic policies. Roosevelt did so, but after reelection in 1904, he moved to the political left, stretching his ties to the Republican Party's conservative leaders.

While President Theodore Roosevelt he did some notable things that effected America. The First good thing he did while he was serving as president was avert a national emergency in 1902. Theodore Roosevelt found a compromise in the anthracite coal strike by the United Mine Workers of America that threatened the heating supplies of most urban homes. Roosevelt called the mine owners and the labor leaders to the White House and negotiated a compromise. The strike of the miners lasted 163 days before it ended in an agreement. They were granted a 10% pay increase and a 9-hour day (from the previous 10 hours), but the union was not officially recognized and the price of coal went up.

Theodore and his administration was marked by an active approach to foreign policy. Roosevelt saw it as the duty of more developed ("civilized") nations to help the underdeveloped ("uncivilized") world move forward. To eliminate the yellow fever menace and install a new regime of public health in Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Panama Canal Zone. He used the Army's medical service, under Walter Reed and William C. Gorgas. Theodore also used the army to build up the infrastructure of the new possessions, building railways, telegraph and telephone lines, and upgrading roads and port facilities.

President Roosevelt also gained international praise for helping negotiate the end of the Russo-Japanese War, for his efforts he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt later mediated a dispute between France and Germany over the division of Morocco. Historians over the years have argued that these two actions helped in a small way to avert a world war.

Roosevelt's most famous foreign policy initiative was the construction of the Panama Canal, which upon its completion shortened the route of freighters between San Francisco, California and New York City by 8,000 miles (13,000 km).

Colombia first proposed the canal in their country as opposed to rival Nicaragua, and Colombia signed a treaty for an agreed-upon sum. At that time, Panama was a province of Colombia. According to the treaty, in 1902, the U.S. was to buy out the equipment and excavations from France, which had been attempting to build a canal since 1881. While the Colombian negotiating team had signed the treaty, ratification by the Colombian Senate became problematic (cite). Realizing that the Colombian Senate was no longer bargaining in good faith, Theodore Roosevelt grew tired of the last second attempts by the Colombians to cheat the French out of their entire investment.

Roosevelt thought it would be best, with the encouragement of Panamanian business interests, to help Panama declare independence from Colombia in 1903. On November 3, 1903, the Republic of Panama was created, with its constitution written in advance by the United States. Shortly thereafter, a treaty was signed with Panama. The U.S. paid $10 million to secure rights to build on and control the Canal Zone. Construction began in 1904 and was completed in 1914(cite).

Also while in office, Roosevelt became a "trust buster" by forcing the great railroad combination in the Northwest to break apart. As President, Roosevelt saw himself a representative of all the people, including farmers, laborers, white collar workers, and businessmen. Roosevelt therefore was focused on bringing big business under stronger regulation so that he could effectively serve all the people he represented. He sought to regulate, rather than dissolve, most trusts. Efforts continued over the next several years, to reduce the control of "big business" over the U.S. economy and workers. Earlier Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 to maintain economic liberty, and to eliminate restraints on trade and competition. This act came into play during Roosevelt's trust busting activities (cite).

During Theodore’s Presidency he was very much liked by the public. He solved many international problems. He had a firm hand on domestic affairs and became known for his famous "walk softly and carry a big stick" attitude of running the country. Which meant just let your actions talk for you, do not be all talk and don’t do anything about it.

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