Theodore Roosevelt ( October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), also known as T.R., and to the public (but never to friends and intimates) as Teddy, was the 26th President of the United States. A leader of the Republican Party and of the Progressive Party, he was a Governor of New York and a professional historian, naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, and soldier. He is most famous for his personality: his energy, his vast range of interests and achievements, his model of masculinity, and his "cowboy" image. Originating from a story from one of Roosevelt's hunting expeditions, teddy bears are named after him. As Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt prepared for and advocated war with Spain in 1898. He organized and helped command the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment—the Rough Riders—during the Spanish-American War. Returning to New York as a war hero, he was elected governor. An avid writer, his 35 books include works on outdoor life, natural history, the American frontier, political history, naval history, and his autobiography. In 1901, as Vice President, the 42-year-old Roosevelt succeeded President William McKinley after McKinley's assassination by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. As of 2009, he remains the youngest person to become President. He was a Progressive reformer who sought to move the dominant Republican Party into the Progressive camp. He distrusted wealthy businessmen and dissolved forty monopolistic corporations as a "trust buster". He was clear, however, to show that he did not disagree with trusts and capitalism in principle, but was only against corrupt, illegal practices. His "Square Deal" promised a fair shake for both the average citizen (through regulation of railroad rates and pure food and drugs) and the businessmen. He was the first U.S. president to call for universal health care and national health insurance. As an outdoorsman, he promoted the conservation movement, emphasizing efficient use of natural resources. After 1906 he attacked big business and suggested the courts were biased against labor unions. In 1910, he broke with his friend and anointed successor William Howard Taft, but lost the Republican nomination to Taft and ran in the 1912 election on his own one-time Bull Moose ticket. He beat Taft in the popular vote and pulled so many Progressives out of the Republican Party that Democrat Woodrow Wilson won in 1912, and the conservative faction took control of the Republican Party for the next two decades. Roosevelt negotiated for the U.S. to take control of the Panama Canal and its construction in 1904; he felt the Canal's completion was his most important and historically significant international achievement. He was the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize, winning its Peace Prize in 1906, for negotiating the peace in the Russo-Japanese War, an interesting irony considering his promotion of national warfare as a useful tool. Historian Thomas Bailey, who disagreed with Roosevelt's policies, nevertheless concluded, "Roosevelt was a great personality, a great activist, a great preacher of the moralities, a great controversialist, a great showman. He dominated his era as he dominated conversations....the masses loved him; he proved to be a great popular idol and a great vote getter." His image stands alongside Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore. Roosevelt has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents. Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt were fifth cousins but were close and Theodore gave away his orphaned niece, Eleanor Roosevelt, in marriage to "cousin Franklin" in 1905.
Childhood, education and personal lifeEdit
Theodore Roosevelt 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, the second of four children of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. (1831–1878) and Mittie Bulloch (1835–1884). He had an elder sister Anna, nicknamed "Bamie" as a child and "Bye" as an adult for being always on the go, and two younger siblings—his brother Elliott (the father of future First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt), and his sister Corinne (grandmother of newspaper columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop). The Roosevelts had been in New York since the mid-17th century. Roosevelt was born into a wealthy family; by the 19th century, the family had grown in wealth, power and influence from the profits of several businesses including hardware and plate-glass importing. The family was strongly Democratic in its political affiliation until the mid-1850s, then joined the new Republican Party. Theodore's father, known in the family as "Thee", was a New York City philanthropist, merchant, and partner in the family glass-importing firm Roosevelt and Son. He was a prominent supporter of Abraham Lincoln and the Union effort during the American Civil War. His mother Mittie Bulloch was a Southern belle from a slave-owning family in Roswell, Georgia and had quiet Confederate sympathies. Mittie's brother, Theodore's uncle, James Dunwoody Bulloch, was a United States Navy officer who became a Confederate admiral and naval procurement agent in Britain. Another uncle, Irvine Bulloch, was a midshipman on the Confederate raider CSS Alabama; both remained in England after the war. From his grandparents' home, the young Roosevelt witnessed Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession when it came through New York. Sickly and asthmatic as a youngster, Roosevelt had to sleep propped up in bed or slouching in a chair during much of his early childhood, and had frequent ailments. Despite his illnesses, he was a hyperactive and often mischievous boy. 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 young Roosevelt and two of his cousins formed what they called the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History". Learning the rudiments of taxidermy, he filled his makeshift museum with many animals that he killed or caught, studied, and prepared for display. At age nine, he codified his observation of insects with a paper titled "The Natural History of Insects". To combat his poor physical condition, his father encouraged the young Roosevelt to take up exercise. To deal with bullies, Roosevelt started boxing lessons. Two trips abroad had a permanent impact: family tours of Europe in 1869 and 1870, and of the Middle East 1872 to 1873. Theodore, Sr. had a tremendous influence on his son. Of him Roosevelt 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." Roosevelt's sister, Corinne, later wrote, "He told me frequently that he never took any serious step or made any vital decision for his country without thinking first what position his father would have taken." Young "Teedie", as he was nicknamed as a child, (the nickname "Teddy" was from his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, and he later harbored an intense dislike for it due to her untimely death) was mostly home schooled by tutors and his parents. A leading biographer says: "The most obvious drawback to the home schooling Roosevelt received was uneven coverage of the various areas of human knowledge." He was solid in geography (thanks to his careful observations on all his travels) and very well read in history, strong in biology, French and German, but deficient in mathematics, Latin and Greek. He matriculated at Harvard College in 1876. His father's death in 1878 was a tremendous blow, but Roosevelt redoubled his activities. He did well in science, philosophy and rhetoric courses but fared poorly in Latin and Greek. He studied biology with great interest and indeed was already an accomplished naturalist and published ornithologist. He had a photographic memory and developed a life-long habit of devouring books, memorizing every detail. He was an eloquent conversationalist who, throughout his life, sought out the company of the smartest people. He could multitask in extraordinary fashion, dictating letters to one secretary and memoranda to another, while browsing through a new book. As a young Sunday school teacher at Christ Church, Roosevelt was once reprimanded for rewarding a young man $1 who showed up to his class with a black eye for fighting a bully. The bully had supposedly pinched his sister and the young man was standing up for her. Roosevelt thought this to be honorable, however the church deemed it too flagrant of support of fighting. While at Harvard, Roosevelt was active in rowing, boxing, the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and was a member of the Porcellian Club. He also edited a student magazine. He was runner-up in the Harvard boxing championship, losing to C.S. Hanks. In later years, pondering his largely home-based early education and his college experience in his autobiography, Roosevelt expressed mixed feelings about the its value in preparing him for public service, writing "All this individual morality I was taught by the books I read at home and the books I studied at Harvard. But there was almost no teaching of the need for collective action, and of the fact that in addition to, not as a substitute for, individual responsibility, there is a collective responsibility....The teaching which I received was genuinely democratic in one way. It was not so democratic in another. I grew into manhood thoroughly imbued with the feeling that a man must be respected for what he made of himself. But I had also, consciously or unconsciously, been taught that socially and industrially pretty much the whole duty of the man lay in thus making the best of himself; that he should be honest in his dealings with others and charitable in the old-fashioned way to the unfortunate; but that it was no part of his business to join with others in trying to make things better for the many by curbing the abnormal and excessive development of individualism in a few. Now I do not mean that this training was by any means all bad. On the contrary, the insistence upon individual responsibility was, and is, and always will be, a prime necessity.... But such teaching, if not corrected by other teaching, means acquiescence in a riot of lawless business individualism which would be quite as destructive to real civilization as the lawless military individualism of the Dark Ages. I left college and entered the big world owing more than I can express to the training I had received, especially in my own home; but with much else also to learn if I were to become really fitted to do my part in the work that lay ahead for the generation of Americans to which I belonged." Upon graduating, Roosevelt underwent a physical examination and his doctor advised him that due to serious heart problems, he should find a desk job and avoid strenuous activity. He chose to embrace strenuous life instead. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa (22nd of 177) from Harvard in 1880, and entered Columbia Law School. 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.
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 would publish after graduation. He would later recall that in the middle of Mathematics classes at Harvard, his mind would wander from his lessons to the accomplishments of the infant US Navy. Reading through literature on the subject, Roosevelt found both American and British accounts heavily biased and that there had been no systematic study of the tactics employed in the war. Although a challenge for a young man with no formal military or naval education, but helped in part by his two former Confederate naval officer Bulloch uncles, he did his own research using original source materials and official US Navy records. Unlike previous American and British books that ignored quantifiable facts to push a specific agenda, Roosevelt's carefully researched book was akin to today's modern doctoral dissertations, complete with carefully researched drawings depicting 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 British and American leadership down to the ship-to-ship level. It is today considered one of the first modern American historical works. Published after Roosevelt's graduation from Harvard, "The Naval War of 1812" was immediately accepted by reviewers who praised the book’s scholarship and style. The newly established Naval War College adopted it for study, and the Department of the Navy ordered a copy placed in the libraries of every capital ship in the Fleet. This book would help establish Roosevelt's reputation as a serious historian. Roosevelt brought out a subsequent edition including questions and answers from both scholars and critics. 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."
First marriage and response to catastropic lossEdit
Alice Hathaway Lee (July 29, 1861 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts – February 14, 1884 in Manhattan, New York) was the first wife of Theodore Roosevelt and mother of their child, Alice. Roosevelt's wife, Alice died of an undiagnosed (since it was camouflaged by her pregnancy) case of kidney failure called, in those days, Bright's disease at 2 pm two days after Alice Lee was born. Theodore Roosevelt's mother had died of typhoid fever in the same house, on the same day, at 3 am, some eleven hours earlier. After the near simultaneous deaths of his mother and wife, Roosevelt left his daughter in the care of his sister, Anna "Bamie/Bye" in New York City. In his diary he wrote a large X on the page and wrote "the light has gone out of my life." (See diary photo). A short time later, Roosevelt also wrote a short tribute to his wife published privately. To the immense disappointment of his wife's namesake and daughter, Alice, he would not speak of his wife publicly or privately for the rest of his life and made no mention of her in his autobiography. A letter written at that time to a young female friend of Roosevelt's sister Corinne, who had lost a loved one, demonstrated Roosevelt's method of dealing with catastrophic loss. After his death, in her memoirs, his sister Corinne described this letter as "full of a certain quality — what perhaps I might call call a righteous ruthlessness specially characteristic of Theodore Roosevelt," because he had written, "I hate to think of her suffering; but the only thing for her to do now is to treat it as past, the event as finished and out of her life; to dwell on it, and above all to keep talking of it with any one, would be both weak and morbid. She should try not to think of it; this she cannot wholly avoid, but she CAN avoid speaking of it. She should show a brave and cheerful front to the world, whatever she feels; and henceforth she should never speak one word of the matter to any one. In the long future, when the memory is too dead to throb, she may, if she wishes, speak of it once more, but if wise and brave, she will not speak of it now." Roosevelt would later indicate that this was his only method of dealing with a such a debilitating loss, indicating to a grieving friend, "There is nothing more foolish and cowardly than to be beaten down by a sorrow which nothing we can do will change." or, in the words of his biographer, Edmund Morris, "Like a lion obsessively trying to drag a spear from its flank, Roosevelt set about dislodging Alice Lee from his soul. Nostalgia, a weakness to which he was abnormally vulnerable, could be indulged if it was pleasant, but if painful it must be suppressed, 'until the memory is too dead to throb.'"
Early political careerEdit
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 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." Upon leaving the convention, he complained "off the record" to a reporter about Blaine's nomination. But, in probably the most crucial moment of his young political career, he resisted the very instinct to bolt from the Party that would overwhelm his political sense in 1912. In an account of the Convention, another reporter quoted him as saying that he would give "hearty support to any decent Democrat." He would later take great (and to some historical critics such as Henry Pringle, rather disingenuous) pains to distance himself from his own earlier comment, indicating that while he made it, it had not been made "for publication." Leaving the convention, his idealism quite disillusioned by party politics, Roosevelt indicated that he had no further aspiration but to retire to his ranch in the wild Badlands of the Dakota Territory that he had purchased the previous year while on a buffalo hunting expedition.
Life in BadlandsEdit
Roosevelt built a second ranch, which he 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 rebuilt his life and began writing about frontier life for Eastern magazines. As a deputy sheriff, Roosevelt hunted down three outlaws who stole his river boat and were escaping north with it up the Little Missouri. Capturing them, he decided against hanging them (apparently yielding to established law procedures in place of vigilante justice), and sending his foreman back by boat, he took the thieves back overland for trial in Dickinson, guarding them forty hours without sleep and reading 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." While working on a tough project aimed at hunting down a group of relentless horse thieves, Roosevelt came across the famous Deadwood Sheriff, Seth Bullock. The two would remain friends for life. After the uniquely severe U.S. winter of 1886-1887 wiped out his herd of cattle and his $60,000 investment (together with those of his competitors), he returned to the East, where in 1885 he had built Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, New York. It would be his home and estate until his death. Roosevelt ran as the Republican candidate for mayor of New York City in 1886 as "The Cowboy of the Dakotas"; he came in third. Second marriage Following the election, he went to London in 1886 and married his childhood sweetheart, Edith Kermit Carow. They honeymooned in Europe, and Roosevelt led a party to the summit of Mont Blanc, a feat which resulted in his induction into the British Royal Society. They had five children: Theodore Jr., Kermit, Ethel Carow, Archibald Bulloch "Archie", and Quentin.
Roosevelt's definitive 1882 book The Naval War of 1812 was the standard work on the topic for two generations and is still extensively quoted. Roosevelt undertook extensive and original research, computing British and American man-of-war broadside throw weights. However, his biographies Thomas Hart Benton (1887) and Gouverneur Morris (1888) are considered hastily-written and superficial. His four-volume history of the frontier titled The Winning of the West (1889–1896) had a notable impact on historiography, as it presented a highly original version of the frontier thesis elaborated upon by his friend Frederick Jackson Turner in 1893. Roosevelt argued the frontier conditions created a new race: the American people that replaced the "scattered savage tribes, whose life was but a few degrees less meaningless, squalid, and ferocious than that of the wild beasts with whom they held joint ownership." He believed, "the conquest and settlement by the whites of the Indian lands was necessary to the greatness of the race and to the well-being of civilized mankind." His many articles in upscale magazines provided a much-needed income. He was later chosen president of the American Historical Association.
Return to public lifeEdit
In the 1888 presidential election, Roosevelt campaigned in the Midwest for Benjamin Harrison. President Harrison appointed Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission, where he served until 1895. In his term, Roosevelt vigorously fought the spoilsmen and demanded enforcement of civil service laws. In spite of 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.[citation Roosevelt became president of the board of New York City Police Commissioners in 1895. During his two years in this post, Roosevelt radically reformed the police department. The police force 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." Roosevelt and his fellow commissioners established new disciplinary rules, created a bicycle squad to police New York's traffic problems, and standardized the use of pistols by officers. Roosevelt implemented regular inspections of firearms and annual physical exams, appointed 1,600 new recruits based on their physical and mental qualifications and not on political affiliation, established meritorious service medals, and closed corrupt police hostelries. During his tenure, a Municipal Lodging House was established by the Board of Charities, and Roosevelt required officers to register with the Board. He also had telephones installed in station houses. Always an energetic man, he made a habit of walking officers' beats late at night and early in the morning to make sure they were on duty. He became caught up in public disagreements with Commissioner Parker, who sought to negate or delay the promotion of many officers put forward by Roosevelt. 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.
Roosevelt had always been fascinated by naval history. Urged by Roosevelt's close friend, Congressman Henry Lodge, President William McKinley appointed a delighted Roosevelt to the post of Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897. (Because of the inactivity of Secretary of the Navy John D. Long at the time, this basically gave Roosevelt control over the department.) Roosevelt was instrumental in preparing the Navy for the Spanish-American War] and was an enthusiastic proponent of testing the U.S. military in battle, at one point stating "I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one".
War in CubaEdit
Upon the 1898 Declaration of War launching the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt resigned from the Navy Department. With the aid of U.S. Army Colonel Leonard Wood, Roosevelt found volunteers from cowboys from the Western territories to Ivy League friends from New York, forming the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. The newspapers called them the "Rough Riders." Originally Roosevelt held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and served under Colonel Wood. In Roosevelt's own account, The Rough Riders, "after General Young was struck down with the fever, and Wood took charge of the brigade. This left me in command of the regiment, of which I was very glad, for such experience as we had had is a quick teacher." Accordingly, Wood was promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteer Forces, Roosevelt was promoted to Colonel and given command of the Regiment.] Under his leadership, the Rough Riders became famous for dual charges up Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898 (the battle was named after the latter "hill," which was the shoulder of a ridge known as San Juan Heights). Out of all the Rough Riders, Roosevelt was the only one with a horse, and used it to ride back and forth between rifle pits at the forefront of the advance up Kettle Hill; an advance which he urged in absence of any orders from superiors. However, he was forced to walk up the last part of Kettle Hill on foot, due to barbed wire entanglement and after his horse, Little Texas, became tired.
For his actions, Roosevelt was nominated for the Medal of Honor which was subsequently disapproved. As historian John Gable wrote, "In later years Roosevelt would describe the Battle of San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898, as 'the great day of my life' and 'my crowded hour.'.... (but) Malaria and other diseases now killed more troops than had died in battle. TR and other officers demanded that the soldiers be returned home. The famous "round robin letter," and a stronger letter by Roosevelt, were leaked to the press by the commanding general, enraging Secretary of War, Russell Alger and President McKinley. TR believed that it was this incident that cost him the Medal of Honor." In September 1997, Congressman Rick Lazio, representing the 2nd District of New York, sent two award recommendations to the U.S. Army Military Awards Branch. These recommendations, addressed to Brigadier General Earl Simms, the Army's Adjutant General, and Master Sergeant Gary Soots, Chief of Authorizations, would prove successful in garnering the much sought after award. Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001 for his actions. He was the first and, as of 2008, the only President of the United States to be awarded with America's highest military honor, and the only person in history to receive both his nation's highest honor for military valor and the world's foremost prize for peace. (His oldest son Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. would also posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Normandy on June 6, 1944.) After his return to civilian life, Roosevelt preferred to be known as "Colonel Roosevelt" or "The Colonel." As a moniker, "Teddy" remained much more popular with the general public; however, political friends and others working closely with Roosevelt customarily addressed him by his rank.
Governor and Vice-PresidentEdit
On leaving the Army, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York in 1898 as a Republican. He made such a concerted effort to root out corruption and "machine politics" that Republican boss Thomas Collier Platt forced him on McKinley as a running mate in the 1900 election, against the wishes of McKinley's manager, Senator Mark Hanna. Roosevelt was a powerful campaign asset for the Republican ticket, which defeated William Jennings Bryan in a landslide based on restoration of prosperity at home and a successful war and new prestige abroad. Bryan stumped for Free Silver again, but McKinley's promise of prosperity through the gold standard, high tariffs, and the restoration of business confidence enlarged his margin of victory. Bryan had strongly supported the war against Spain, but 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. Roosevelt's six months as Vice President (March to September 1901) were uneventful. On September 2, 1901, at the Minnesota State Fair, Roosevelt first used in a public speech a saying that would later be universally associated with him: "Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far."
At the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, on September 6, 1901, President McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgosz Roosevelt had been at a luncheon of the Vermont Fish and Game League on Lake Champlain when he learned the news. He rushed to Buffalo, but after being assured the President would recover, he went on a planned family camping and hiking trip to Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks. In the mountains, a runner notified him McKinley was on his death bed. Roosevelt pondered with his wife, Edith, how best to respond, not wanting to show up in Buffalo and wait on McKinley's death. Roosevelt was rushed by a series of stagecoaches to North Creek train station. At the station, Roosevelt was handed a telegram that said President McKinley died at 2:30 AM that morning. Roosevelt continued by train from North Creek to Buffalo. He arrived in Buffalo later that day, accepting an invitation to stay at the home of Ansley Wilcox, a prominent lawyer and friend since the early 1880s when they had both worked closely with New York State Governor Grover Cleveland on civil service reform. Roosevelt took the oath of office in the Ansley Wilcox House at Buffalo, borrowing Wilcox's morning coat. Roosevelt did not swear on a Bible, in contrast to the usual tradition of US presidents. Expressing the fears of many old-line Republicans, Mark Hanna lamented "that damned cowboy is president now." Roosevelt was the youngest person to assume the presidency, at 42, and he promised to continue McKinley's cabinet and his basic policies. Roosevelt did so, but after winning election in 1904, he moved to the political left, stretching his ties to the Republican Party's conservative leaders.
Anthracite coal strike of 1902Edit
A national emergency was averted in 1902 when Roosevelt found a compromise to the anthracite coal strike by the United Mine Workers of America that threatened the heating supplies of most urban homes. Roosevelt sent the Army in to secure the mine and work it until he could call the mine owners and the labor leaders to the White House and negotiate a compromise. Miners were on strike for 163 days before it ended; 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.
Square Deal and regulation of industryEdit
Roosevelt promised to continue McKinley's program, and at first he worked closely with McKinley's men. His 20,000-word address to the Congress in December 1901 asked Congress to curb the power of trusts "within reasonable limits." They did not act but Roosevelt did, issuing 44 lawsuits against major corporations; he was called the "trust-buster". Roosevelt's presidency marked a transfer of regulation from the states to the federal government. Roosevelt firmly believed: "The Government must in increasing degree supervise and regulate the workings of the railways engaged in interstate commerce." Inaction was a danger, he argued: "Such increased supervision is the only alternative to an increase of the present evils on the one hand or a still more radical policy on the other." His biggest success was passage of the Hepburn Act of 1906, the provisions of which were to be regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The most important provision of the Act gave the ICC the power to replace existing rates with "just-and-reasonable" maximum rates, with the ICC to define what was just and reasonable. Anti-rebate provisions were toughened, free passes were outlawed, and the penalties for violation were increased. Finally, the ICC gained the power to prescribe a uniform system of accounting, require standardized reports, and inspect railroad accounts. The Act made ICC orders binding; that is, the railroads had to either obey or contest the ICC orders in federal court. To speed the process, appeals from the district courts would go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The limits on railroad rates depreciated the value of railroad securities, a factor in causing the panic of 1907. In response to public clamor (and due to the uproar caused by Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle), Roosevelt pushed Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, as well as the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. These laws provided for labeling of foods and drugs, inspection of livestock, and mandated sanitary conditions at meatpacking plants. Congress replaced Roosevelt's proposals with a version supported by the major meatpackers who worried about the overseas markets, and who did not want small unsanitary plants undercutting their domestic market.
Election in 1904Edit
Main article: United States presidential election, 1904
Theodore Roosevelt was the fifth Vice President to succeed to the office of President, but the first to win election in his own right. (Millard Fillmore ran and lost on a third-party ticket four years after leaving office, and Chester Arthur was denied nomination by his party in 1884). After Senator Mark Hanna, McKinley's old campaign manager, died in February 1904, there was nobody in the Republican Party to oppose Roosevelt, and he easily won the nomination. When an effort to draft former president Grover Cleveland failed, the Democrats were without a candidate and finally settled on obscure New York judge Alton B. Parker. The outcome was never in doubt. Roosevelt crushed Parker 56%-38% in the popular vote and 336-140 in the Electoral College, sweeping the country outside the perennially Democratic Solid South. Socialist Eugene Debs got 3%. The night of the election, after his victory was clear, Roosevelt promised not to run again in 1908. He later regretted that promise, as it compelled him to leave the White House at the age of only fifty, at the height of his popularity.
In Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Panama Canal Zone, Roosevelt used the Army's medical service, under Walter Reed and William C. Gorgas, to eliminate the yellow fever and install a new regime of public health. The Philippines saw the U.S. Army for the first time using a systematic doctrine of counter-insurgency. Despite the ad hoc nature of the force deployed by Roosevelt the Army was able to end the insurgency by 1902.
The Great White FleetEdit
Roosevelt (on the 12" gun turret at right) addresses the crew of USS Connecticut (BB18) in Hampton Roads, Virginia, upon her return from the Fleet's cruise. As Roosevelt's administration drew to a close, the president dispatched a fleet consisting of four US Navy battleship squadrons and their escorts, on a worldwide voyage of circumnavigation from December 16, 1907 to February 22, 1909. With their hulls painted white (except for the beautiful gilded scrollwork) and red, white, and blue banners on their bows, these ships would come to be known as the Great White Fleet. Roosevelt wanted to demonstrate to his country and the world that the US Navy was capable of operating in a global theater, particularly in the Pacific. This was extraordinarily important at a time when tensions were slowly growing between the United States and Japan. The latter had recently shown its navy's competence in defeating the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War, and the US Navy fleet in the west was relatively small. As a mark of the mission's success, the Atlantic Fleet battleships only later came to be known as the "Great White Fleet." When the real Great White Fleet sailed into Yokohama, Japan, the Japanese went to extraordinary lengths to show that their country desired peace with the US. Thousands of Japanese school children waved American flags, purchased by the government, as they greeted the Navy brass coming ashore. In February 1909, the fleet returned home to Hampton Roads, Virginia, and Roosevelt was there to witness the triumphant return. His appearance indicated that he saw the fleet's long voyage as a fitting finish for his administration. Roosevelt said to the officers of the Fleet, "Other nations may do what you have done, but they'll have to follow you." This parting act of grand strategy by Roosevelt greatly expanded the respect for, as well as the role of, the United States in the international arena. However, the visit of the Great White Fleet to Tokyo also encouraged Japanese militarists. They had always argued for an even more aggressive Japanese ship building and naval expansion program, and the recent show of force by the U.S. convinced enough of their countrymen that they were right. In a real sense, this set in motion the chain of events leading to the U.S. and Japan confronting each other 30 years later - during World War II.
Roosevelt puts Lincoln on the centEdit
Roosevelt thought American coins and currency were common and uninspiring. He had the opportunity to pose for a young Lithuanian-born sculptor, Victor David Brenner, who since arriving nineteen years earlier in the United States had become one of the nation's premier medalists. Roosevelt had learned of Brenner's talents in a settlement house on New York City's Lower East Side and was immediately impressed with a bas-relief that Brenner had made of Lincoln, based on the early Civil War era photographer Mathew Brady's photograph. Roosevelt, who considered Lincoln the savior of the Union and the greatest Republican President and who also considered himself Lincoln's political heir, ordered the new Lincoln cent to be based on Brenner's work and that it be ready just in time to commemorate Lincoln’s 100th birthday in 1909. The likeness of President Lincoln on the obverse of the coin is an adaptation of a plaque Brenner executed several years earlier and which had come to the attention of President Roosevelt in New York. The new Lincoln cent replaced the Indian Head cent.
Life in the White HouseEdit
Roosevelt took Cabinet members and friends on long, fast-paced hikes, boxed in the state rooms of the White House, romped with his children, and read voraciously. In 1908, he was permanently blinded in his left eye during one of his boxing bouts, but this injury was kept from the public at the time. His many enthusiastic interests and limitless energy led one ambassador to wryly explain, "You must always remember that the President is about six."
Republican Party riftEdit
Roosevelt certified 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 had 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 Aldrich and big business, Taft took credit, calling it the best tariff ever. Again he had managed to alienate all sides. While the crisis was building inside the Party, Roosevelt was touring Africa and Europe, so as to allow Taft to be his own man.
Election of 1912Edit
Main article: U.S. presidential election, 1912
Late in 1911, Roosevelt finally broke with Taft and LaFollette and announced himself as a candidate for the Republican nomination. But Roosevelt 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 Republican candidate. Roosevelt, stepping up his attack on judges, carried nine of the states with 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 popularity with the electorate, were in no ways as important as primaries became later in the century. Firstly, there were fewer states where the common voter was given a forum to express himself, such as a primary. Many more states selected convention delegates either at party conventions, or in caucuses, which were not as open as caucuses later became. While Roosevelt was popular with the public, most professional Republican politicians were supporting Taft, and they proved difficult to upset in non-primary states. Formation of the Bull Moose Party At the Republican Convention in Chicago, despite being the incumbent, Taft's victory was not immediately assured. But after two weeks, Roosevelt, realizing he would not be able to 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." At the convention Roosevelt cried out, "We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord." Roosevelt's platform echoed his 1907–08 proposals, calling for vigorous government intervention to protect the people from the selfish interests.
Later years and deathEdit
Roosevelt angrily complained about the foreign policy of President Wilson, calling it "weak." This caused him to develop an intense dislike for Woodrow Wilson. When World War I began in 1914, Roosevelt strongly supported the Allies of World War I and demanded a harsher policy against Germany, especially regarding submarine warfare. 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. 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 son Quentin, a daring pilot with the American forces in France, was shot down behind German lines in 1918. Quentin was his youngest son and probably his favorite. It is said the death of his son distressed him so much that Roosevelt never recovered from his loss.He died inn 1919.