Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt
(1858 - 1919)
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, became the youngest president in the nation's history upon the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley. “T.R.,” as he was known, had served as Governor of New York before running as McKinley’s Vice-Presidential pick in the 1900 campaign.
Although home-schooled, Roosevelt entered Harvard College in 1876, graduating in 1880. Roosevelt attended law school at Columbia University, but because he found the study of the law frustrating he left to enter politics. In 1881, Roosevelt became the youngest New York State Assemblyman where he ultimately served as Speaker of the minority assembly. Roosevelt’s reputation as an anti-corruption leader began to grow.
After his first wife and mother died on the same day in 1884, Roosevelt stepped away from politics and moved to his Dakota Territory ranch where he authored several books. After serving as the U.S. Civil Service Commissioner, Roosevelt became the Police Commissioner of New York City. Roosevelt served in the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War, and was elected Governor of New York after his return. In 1900, Roosevelt ran as William McKinley's vice-presidential candidate, and campaigned for him throughout the country. In 1895, Roosevelt became the Commissioner of the New York Police Department, which was rife with political corruption and nepotism. Roosevelt transformed the New York City Police Department into a modern force, for which he received national attention.
In 1897, Roosevelt was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President McKinley, but resigned to join the calvary. Roosevelt formed the “Rough Riders” which fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American war. After returning from the war, he was elected Governor of New York. In 1900, Roosevelt ran as William McKinley's vice-presidential candidate, and campaigned for him throughout the country. After President McKinley was assassinated in September, 1901, Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States. Roosevelt was known as a "trust buster," who tried to promote fairness in banking, railroads and manufacturing. Roosevelt brought forty-five anti-trust lawsuits to dissolve business monopolies. Among
Roosevelt's greatest legacies were the founding of the National Park System and the completion of the Panama Canal. Roosevelt established 230 million acres of public land.
In 1904, Roosevelt was re-elected for a second term as President. Roosevelt mediated the end of the Japanese-Russian War; holding meetings in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The Treaty of Portsmouth was signed on September 5, 1905; Roosevelt won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work ending the war.
Roosevelt's penchant for big game hunting and exploratory expeditions often overshadow his great developments as president; he traveled to and hunted in Africa, South America, and other countries, writing books about the countries and the wildlife. He died at his home in Oyster Bay, New York at the age of sixty.
"The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena."Theodore Roosevelt