Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was born on the 27 October 1858 in New York City, New York to businessman Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and socialite Martha Stewart Bulloch. Theodore Jr. had a hard childhood riddled with poor health as a result of serious asthma. He eventually overcame these issues in later life through his outdoor and active lifestyle.
Theodore Roosevelt was a very successful author and historian, writing 45 books between 1882 and 1919, and this increased his reputation across America. He joined the United States Army in 1882 and worked his way up to the rank of Colonel. He fought in the Spanish-American War in 1898, commanding the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, also known as the Rough Riders, at the age of 40.
Throughout his time in the United States Army, Roosevelt also held governmental positions in New York such as being a Member of the New York State Assembly from the Manhattan 21st District, and he became the Minority Leader of the Assembly in 1883. In 1895 he became the President of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners and left in 1897 to work for President William McKinley as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Keen to see battle, Roosevelt left this position in order to set up the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment (Rough Riders) in the Spanish-American War despite many of his family members begging him to remain in the position given to him by President McKinley. On his return from the Cuba, where he was fighting in the Spanish-American War, he ran for Governor of New York as a Republican, beating Democrat Augustus Van Wyck by only 1%; he served in this post until December 1900 as his eye was on a Presidential run in 1904.
After the death of McKinley’s Vice President, Garret Hobart, the position as the running-mate of the Republican Nomination (William McKinley) for the 1900 Presidential Election was open. Despite not wanting the job of Vice President due to it being powerless, saying publicly that he would not accept the nomination, and he was told that he was not being considered for the role, he was nominated and put on the ticket. The Republicans eventually won the election in 1900 and Theodore Roosevelt became Vice President in March 1901 until McKinley’s assassination on 6 September 1901, which resulted in the President’s death on the 14th; in this time he did almost nothing and presided over the Senate for only 4 days.
Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as 26th President of the United States at the age of 42 years and 322 days, making him the youngest President in US history. His Presidency is often held in high regard and was seen as a Progressive reformer; he sought to increase the power of the Interstate Commerce Commission by passing the Hepburn Act, giving them more regulatory powers. His domestic program, the “Square Deal” regulated railroad rates and pure food and drugs. He was very popular amongst the people. His foreign policy saw the upholding of the Monroe Doctrine, which was the principle to protect the Americas from outside influence. It also saw the creation of the Panama Canal and in 1906, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt served as President until 1909, choosing not to run for a third term.
Theodore Roosevelt was a lover of animals and nature and during his presidency, he promoted the conservation of nature. He massively increased the number of national parks and forests in the United States and promoted the efficient use of natural resources. He met with famous naturalists John Muir to further his knowledge in the conservation movement.
William Howard Taft, Roosevelt’s favored choice, became President in 1909 after beating Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the 1908 Presidential Election. Theodore traveled around Africa for the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition, trapping or killing over 11,400 animals including elephants and white rhinos, and afterwards traveled around Europe meeting with European leaders such as Kaiser Wilhelm II, King George V of the United Kingdom and Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. Roosevelt returned to America and in 1912, he founded the Progressive Party and ran in the 1912 Presidential Election, losing to Democrat Woodrow Wilson. He traveled around South America between 1913 and 1914. Roosevelt never truly left politics, being very influential amongst the Republican Party and the public. He would often speak out against or in favor of political decisions until his death on 5 January 1919 at the age of 60.