Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. Known for his exuberant “cowboy” personality, he is the youngest president ever sworn in at 42. He’s also the first of three sitting presidents to have won the Nobel peace Prize. Throughout his life, Roosevelt suffered from epilepsy, prone to epileptic seizures, but that didn’t stop him from his convictions.

Teddy Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858 in New York City. Sickly and asthmatic as a child, Roosevelt developed his lifelong interest in zoology at seven, creating his own “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History” with taxidermy techniques he learned himself.

Theodore Roosevelt | 1858 - 1919

Theodore Roosevelt
To combat his poor health, he began boxing as a teenager. Homeschooled until college, Teddy attended Harvard in 1876. During his second year, his father died, which caused him to focus harder, studying biology. While at Harvard, Roosevelt was active in rowing, boxing, as well as the editor of The Harvard Advocate. Upon graduating magna cum laude in 1880, he entered Columbia Law School, but dropped out in 1881 to run for the New York Assembly where he served from 1882 to 1884, writing more bills than any other New York state legislator. Deciding to retire from politics after the tragic deaths of his mother and wife, which occurred on the same day, he built two ranches in North Dakota where he learned to ride western style, rope, and hunt. From his experiences he published three books about frontier life, also becoming a deputy sheriff.

Returning to New York in 1886, Roosevelt placed third in the New York City mayorship. This didn’t stop him however, as he then became a civil service commissioner, then a New York City police commissioner, and the U.S. Navy assistant secretary under President William McKinley. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt left his post to organize a volunteer cavalry known as the Rough Riders. Upon the end of the war, he was elected governor of New York in 1898. Named as Vice President under President McKinley’s re-election in 1901, he assumed the presidency at age 42 after McKinley was assassinated.

Dedicated to abolishing monopolies, one of Roosevelt’s major accomplishments was the Sherman Antitrust Act. Setting out on a public relations effort for the United States, he expedited the completion of the Panama Canal, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his role in negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War. Known for his civil rights records and environmentalism, he supported desegregation and women’s suffrage, as well as the creation of the National Monuments Act which protects wildlife sanctuaries, national forests, and federal game reserves. The term “White House” is also credited to Roosevelt, who had it stamped on his stationary.

Leaving the presidency in 1909, Roosevelt embarked on an African safari, but returned to politics in 1912, running under his own party, the Bull Moose Party. Delivering a speech on the campaign trail, Roosevelt was shot in the chest, but was not wounded as it hit his metal eyeglass case and fifty page speech. Shockingly, he gave his 90 minute speech before seeing a doctor. He lost the election to Woodrow Wilson in a close popular vote.

Roosevelt published twenty-six books in his lifetime on various subjects including history, biology, geography, and philosophy. He also published a biography and an autobiography. He died in his sleep on January 6, 1919 after suffering a heart attack.