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Theodore Roosevelt
President Roosevelt - Pach Bros (cropped).jpg
Portrait by the Pach Brothers, c. 1904
26th President of the United States
In office
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
Vice President
Preceded by William McKinley
Succeeded by William Howard Taft
25th Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1901 – September 14, 1901
President William McKinley
Preceded by Garret Hobart
Succeeded by Charles W. Fairbanks
33rd Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1899 – December 31, 1900
Lieutenant Timothy L. Woodruff
Preceded by Frank S. Black
Succeeded by Benjamin Barker Odell Jr.
5th Assistant Secretary of the Navy
In office
April 19, 1897 – May 10, 1898
President William McKinley
Preceded by William McAdoo
Succeeded by Charles Herbert Allen
President of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners
In office
May 6, 1895 – April 19, 1897
Appointed by William Lafayette Strong
Preceded by James J. Martin
Succeeded by Frank Moss
Commissioner of the United States Civil Service Commission
In office
May 7, 1889 – May 6, 1895
Appointed by Benjamin Harrison
Preceded by John H. Oberly
Succeeded by John B. Harlow
Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly
In office
January 1, 1883 – December 31, 1883
Preceded by Thomas G. Alvord
Succeeded by Frank Rice
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 21st district
In office
January 1, 1882 – December 31, 1884
Preceded by William J. Trimble
Succeeded by Henry A. Barnum
Personal details
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

(1858-10-27)October 27, 1858
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died January 6, 1919(1919-01-06) (aged 60)
Oyster Bay, New York, U.S.
Resting place Youngs Memorial Cemetery, Oyster Bay
Political party Republican (1880–1912, 1916–1919)
Other political
Progressive "Bull Moose" (1912–1916)
  • Theodore Roosevelt Sr.
  • Martha Bulloch Roosevelt
Relatives Roosevelt family
Alma mater Harvard University (AB)
Columbia University
  • Author
  • conservationist
  • explorer
  • historian
  • naturalist
  • police commissioner
  • politician
  • soldier
  • sportsman
Civilian awards Nobel Peace Prize (1906)
Signature Cursive signature in ink
Military service
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service
  • 1882–1886 (New York National Guard)
  • 1898
Rank Colonel
Commands 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry
Military awards Medal of Honor (posthumous, 2001)

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( roh--velt; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or by his initials, T. R., was an American politician, statesman, soldier, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He previously served as the 25th vice president under President William McKinley from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900.

Roosevelt became President after McKinley's assassination. He became the leader of the Republican Party and the driving force for anti-trust and Progressive policies.

Early life

TR Age 11 Paris
Theodore Roosevelt at age 11

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was born on October 27, 1858, at 28 East 20th Street in Manhattan, New York City. He was the second of four children born to socialite Martha Stewart Bulloch and businessman and philanthropist Theodore Roosevelt Sr.

As a boy, Roosevelt was very sick with asthma. He repeatedly experienced sudden nighttime asthma attacks that terrified both Theodore and his parents. Doctors had no cure. Nevertheless, he was energetic and mischievously inquisitive. His lifelong interest in zoology began at age seven when he saw a dead seal at a local market. After obtaining the seal's head, Roosevelt and two cousins formed what they called the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History". Having learned the rudiments of taxidermy, he filled his makeshift museum with animals that he killed or caught; he then studied the animals and prepared them for exhibition. At age nine, he recorded his observation of insects in a paper entitled "The Natural History of Insects".

Roosevelt's father influenced him greatly. He was a prominent leader in New York's cultural affairs; he helped to found the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and had been especially active in mobilizing support for the Union during the American Civil War. Roosevelt said, "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."

Lincoln Funeral Procession Roosevelt Mansion Broadway
6-year-old Theodore and 5-year-old Elliott watch Lincoln's funeral procession from the second-floor window of their grandfather's mansion (at top left, facing the camera), Manhattan, April 25, 1865.

Roosevelt's family traveled a lot. Their trips abroad includув tours of Europe in 1869 and 1870, and Egypt in 1872. Hiking with his family in the Alps in 1869, Roosevelt found that he could keep pace with his father. He had discovered that physical exerсise helped minimize his asthma. Roosevelt began to exercise heavily. After being manhandled by two older boys on a camping trip, he found a boxing coach to teach him to fight and strengthen his body.


Roosevelt was homeschooled, mostly by tutors and his parents. He was solid in geography and bright in history, biology, French, and German; however, he struggled in mathematics and the classical languages.

When he entered Harvard College on September 27, 1876, his father advised: "Take care of your morals first, your health next, and finally your studies." His father's sudden death on February 9, 1878, devastated Roosevelt, but he eventually recovered and doubled his activities. He did well in science, philosophy, and rhetoric courses but continued to struggle in Latin and Greek. He studied biology intently and was already an accomplished naturalist and a published ornithologist.

While at Harvard, Roosevelt participated in rowing and boxing; he was once runner-up in an intramural boxing tournament. Roosevelt was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi literary society (later the Fly Club), the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and the prestigious Porcellian Club; he was also an editor of The Harvard Advocate.

In 1880, Roosevelt graduated Phi Beta Kappa (22nd of 177) from Harvard with an A.B. magna cum laude.

After his father's death, Roosevelt had inherited $65,000 (equivalent to $1,971,069 in 2022), enough wealth on which he could live comfortably for the rest of his life. Roosevelt gave up his earlier plan of studying natural science and decided to attend Columbia Law School instead, moving back into his family's home in New York City. Although Roosevelt was an able law student, he often found law to be irrational. He spent much of his time writing a book on the War of 1812. The book established his reputation as a learned historian and popular writer.


In politics

After spending time in North Dakota, Roosevelt was elected into the New York State Legislature, and served, as a Civil Service Commissioner and New York City police commissioner (a non-police officer who is in charge of making the police department run smoothly). In 1897, he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy, but gave up on that to fight in the Spanish American War.

Roosevelt became Governor of New York, then Vice-President. After William McKinley was shot and killed, he became President of the United States.


Roosevelt joined the US Army in the Spanish-American War. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry. These horsemen were called the "Roughriders".

For his actions during the war, Roosevelt was recommended for the Medal of Honor.

In 2001, Theodore Roosevelt became the first President to receive the Medal of Honor.


As President, Roosevelt worked to make the U.S. a world power, or one of the most powerful countries in the world. His foreign policy was described by an African proverb as "Speak softly and carry a big stick". He increased the size of the United States' navy and sent all of the ships across the world to demonstrate to other countries that the United States is now a world power.

He continued the Monroe Doctrine and used the country's military might to influence Latin American politics. He had the Panama Canal built (which allowed ships to travel in less time by taking a shortcut). As president, he was interested in what happened in other countries. In 1905, he helped end the war between the Russian and Japanese empires. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for it in 1906.

At home, he fought for all Americans having a "Square Deal", meaning an equal chance for all Americans to become successful. As part of his Square Deal, he regulated big businesses called trusts, supported labor laws for the working class, required meat and drugs to be inspected, and protected the environment. These ideas would influence later presidents to expand the government's role in the economy.

After being president

Roosevelt did not run for President in 1908, and wanted William Howard Taft to be President instead. Taft was chosen, and Roosevelt went to Africa to hunt big game. However, when he came back, he thought Taft was not doing a good job. He ran against Taft for President in 1912. While running for President, he was shot, but lived. Both Roosevelt and Taft lost to Woodrow Wilson. Roosevelt also thought Wilson was not doing a good job, either, and wanted the U.S. to enter World War I years before they did. Roosevelt died on January 6 1919 of a pulmonary embolism and heart attack.


Theodore and Edith Roosevelt Grave
Theodore and Edith Roosevelt's Grave at Youngs Memorial Cemetery

On the night of January 5, 1919, Roosevelt suffered breathing problems. After receiving treatment from his physician, Dr. George W. Faller, he felt better and went to bed. Roosevelt's last words were "Please put out that light, James" to his family servant James E. Amos. Between 4:00 and 4:15 the next morning, Roosevelt died at the age of 60 in his sleep at Sagamore Hill after a blood clot detached from a vein and traveled to his lungs.

Upon receiving word of his death, his son Archibald telegraphed his siblings: "The old lion is dead." Woodrow Wilson's vice president, Thomas R. Marshall, said that "Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight."

Following a private farewell service in the North Room at Sagamore Hill, a simple funeral was held at Christ Episcopal Church in Oyster Bay. Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, Charles Evans Hughes, Warren G. Harding, Henry Cabot Lodge, and William Howard Taft were among the mourners. The snow-covered procession route to Youngs Memorial Cemetery was lined with spectators and a squad of mounted policemen who had ridden from New York City. Roosevelt was buried on a hillside overlooking Oyster Bay.

Personal life

In 1880, Roosevelt married socialite Alice Hathaway Lee. Their daughter, Alice Lee Roosevelt, was born on February 12, 1884. Two days later, the new mother died of undiagnosed kidney failure that the pregnancy masked. His mother, Martha, had died of typhoid fever eleven hours earlier at 3:00 a.m., in the same house on 57th Street in Manhattan. Distraught, Roosevelt left baby Alice in the care of his sister Bamie while he grieved; he assumed custody of Alice when she was three.

After the deaths of his wife and mother, Roosevelt focused on his work. For the rest of his life, he rarely spoke about his wife Alice and did not write about her in his autobiography.

Smithsonian - NPG - Roosevelt - NPG 81 126
Theodore Roosevelt and family. From left to right: Ethel Kermit Carow, Kermit, Quentin, Edith Kermit Carow, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Theodore Roosevelt, Archibald Bulloch, Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth, Nicholas Longworth

On December 2, 1886, Roosevelt married his childhood friend, Edith Kermit Carow. Roosevelt felt deeply troubled that his second marriage had taken place very quickly after the death of his first wife and he also faced resistance from his sisters. Nonetheless, the couple married at St George's, Hanover Square, in London, England.

The couple had five children:

  • Theodore "Ted" III in 1887,
  • Kermit in 1889,
  • Ethel in 1891,
  • Archibald in 1894, and
  • Quentin in 1897.

They also raised Roosevelt's daughter from his first marriage, Alice, who often clashed with her stepmother.

The story of the teddy bear

The teddy bear was named after Roosevelt.

In 1902, Roosevelt participated in a bear-hunting trip in Mississippi. During the trip, he refused to kill a bear that had been captured, declaring the behavior of the other hunters "unsportsmanlike." As news of the hunting trip spread, many newspapers around the country featured political cartoons starring "Teddy" and "the bear."

A shop owner named Morris Michtom saw one of the cartoons and had an idea. Michtom and his wife created plush, stuffed bears and placed them in the front window of their shop. With permission from Roosevelt, Michtom named the bears "Teddy bears." They were an instant success, and the name stuck.

Character and beliefs

Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt's Long Island estate

Roosevelt had a lifelong interest in pursuing what he called, in an 1899 speech, "The Strenuous Life". He exercised regularly and took up boxing, tennis, hiking, rowing, polo, and horseback riding. He also continued his habit of skinny-dipping in the Potomac River during the winter. As governor of New York, he boxed with sparring partners several times each week, a practice he regularly continued as president until being hit so hard in the face he became blind in his left eye (a fact not made public until many years later).

As president, he practiced judo for two 2-month periods in 1902 and 1904, not attaining any rank. Roosevelt began to believe in the utility of jiu-jitsu training after training with Yoshitsugu Yamashita. Concerned that the United States would lose its military supremacy to rising powers like Japan, Roosevelt began to advocate for jiu-jitsu training for American soldiers.

Roosevelt was an enthusiastic singlestick player and, according to Harper's Weekly, showed up at a White House reception with his arm bandaged after a bout with General Leonard Wood in 1905.

Interesting facts about Theodore Roosevelt

  • Roosevelt was a sickly child, suffering from asthma. He overcame his health problems as he grew by embracing a strenuous lifestyle.
  • His paternal grandfather was of Dutch descent; his other ancestry included primarily Scottish and Scots-Irish, English and smaller amounts of German, Welsh, and French.
  • Theodore's fourth cousin, James Roosevelt I, was the father of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
  • A 6-year-old Roosevelt witnessed the funeral procession of Abraham Lincoln from his grandfather Cornelius's mansion in Union Square, New York City.
  • Roosevelt had an almost photographic memory.
  • His first wife and mother died on the same night, which devastated him psychologically.
  • Roosevelt assumed the presidency at age 42, and remains the youngest person to become president of the United States.
  • His successful efforts to broker the end of the Russo-Japanese War won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize, making him the first American to ever win a Nobel Prize.
  • On October 14, 1912, Roosevelt was shot in his chest by a delusional saloonkeeper named John Flammang Schrank. He survived the assassination as the bullet had stuck in his chest mussle. Doctors concluded that it would be less dangerous to leave it in place than to attempt to remove it, and Roosevelt carried the bullet with him for the rest of his life.
  • When asked if the shooting would affect his election campaign, he said to the reporter "I'm fit as a bull moose." The bull moose became a symbol of both Roosevelt and the Progressive Party, and it often was referred to as simply the Bull Moose Party.
  • Roosevelt was a prolific author. In all, Roosevelt wrote about 18 books (each in several editions), including his autobiography, The Rough Riders, History of the Naval War of 1812, and others on subjects such as ranching, explorations, and wildlife.
  • He owned a large ranch in North Dakota. He also hunted large animals throughout the world and was active with the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Roosevelt was an avid reader, reading tens of thousands of books, at a rate of several per day in multiple languages. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Roosevelt was the most well-read of all American presidents.
  • Roosevelt intensely disliked being called "Teddy", despite the widespread public association with said moniker, and was quick to point out this to those who referred to him as such, though it would become widely used by newspapers during his political career.
  • Roosevelt attended church regularly and was a lifelong adherent of the Reformed Church in America, the American affiliate of the Dutch Reformed Church.
  • He was an active Freemason and member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
  • In 1913-1914, Roosevelt led a four-month expedition to the Amazon basin where he nearly died of tropical disease.
  • Polls of historians and political scientists rank him as one of the greatest presidents in American history.
T Rooosevelts writings
Part of the Works of Theodore Roosevelt


Roosevelt's conservation ethic has become his legacy, and he is widely regarded as a pioneering conservationist. During his presidency, he set aside 240 million acres of public land as national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife refuges.

Roosevelt was a progressive social reformer who lent the prestige of the White House to welfare legislation, government regulation, and the conservation movement. He believed in making society more fair and equitable, with economic possibilities for all Americans.

Roosevelt also revolutionized foreign affairs, believing that the United States had a global responsibility and that a strong foreign policy served American interests. He was instrumental in the construction of the Panama Canal, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Russo-Japanese War.

Roosevelt's legacy is complicated, however, as he held views that are now considered racist and advocated for eugenics. Nonetheless, he is still remembered as a man of his time who made significant contributions to American society and politics.

Roosevelt's legacy is still relevant today, particularly in the realm of conservation. His basic philosophy of protecting natural resources for future generations is still widely embraced.

Theodore Roosevelt quotes

  • “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
  • “Believe you can and you're halfway there.”
  • “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
  • “When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.”
  • “The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.”
  • “Knowing what's right doesn't mean much unless you do what's right.”
  • “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.”
  • “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength.”
  • “I am a part of everything that I have read.”

Memorials and cultural depictions

Theodore Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore (second from right)
A close-up of Roosevelt's face

Roosevelt was included with Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln at the Mount Rushmore Memorial, designed in 1927 with the approval of Republican President Calvin Coolidge.

For his gallantry at San Juan Hill, Roosevelt's commanders recommended him for the Medal of Honor. However, the initial recommendation lacked any eyewitnesses, and the effort was eventually tainted by Roosevelt's own lobbying of the War Department. On January 16, 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded Theodore Roosevelt the Medal of Honor posthumously for his charge on San Juan Hill. He is the only president to have received the Medal of Honor.

The United States Navy named two ships for Roosevelt: the USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600), a submarine that was in commission from 1961 to 1982, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), an aircraft carrier that has been on active duty in the Atlantic Fleet since 1986.

On November 18, 1956, the United States Postal Service released a 6¢ Liberty Issue postage stamp honoring Roosevelt. A 32¢ stamp was issued on February 3, 1998, as part of the Celebrate the Century stamp sheet series. In 2008, Columbia Law School awarded Roosevelt a Juris Doctor degree, posthumously making him a member of the class of 1882.

Roosevelt's "Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick" ideology is still quoted by politicians and columnists in different countries—not only in English, but also in translations to various other languages. Another lasting, popular legacy of Roosevelt is the stuffed toy bears—teddy bears—named after him following an incident on a hunting trip in Mississippi in 1902.

Roosevelt has been portrayed in films and television series such as Brighty of the Grand Canyon, The Wind and the Lion, Rough Riders, My Friend Flicka, and Law of the Plainsman. Robin Williams portrayed Roosevelt in the form of a wax mannequin that comes to life in Night at the Museum and its sequels Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. In 2017, it was announced that Leonardo DiCaprio will portray Roosevelt in a biopic to be directed by Martin Scorsese. Additionally, Roosevelt appears as the leader of the American civilization in the 2016 Firaxis Games-developed video game Civilization VI.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the state of North Dakota is named after him. The America the Beautiful Quarters series features Roosevelt riding a horse on the national park's quarter.

Asteroid 188693 Roosevelt, discovered by astronomers with the Catalina Sky Survey in 2005, was named after him. The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on November 8, 2019 (M.P.C. 118221). Robert Peary named the Roosevelt Range and Roosevelt Land after him.

For eighty years, an equestrian statue of the former president, sitting above a Native American and an African American, stood in front of New York's American Museum of Natural History. In January 2022, after years of lobbying by activists, the statue was removed. Museum president Ellen V. Futter said the decision did not reflect a judgment about Roosevelt but was driven by the sculpture's "hierarchical composition".

Audiovisual media

  • Theodore Roosevelt was one of the first presidents whose voice was recorded for posterity. Several of his recorded speeches survive. A 4.6-minute voice recording, which preserves Roosevelt's lower timbre ranges particularly well for its time, is among those available from the Michigan State University libraries (this is the 1912 recording of The Right of the People to Rule, recorded by Thomas Edison at Carnegie Hall). The audio clip sponsored by the Authentic History Center includes his defense of the Progressive Party in 1912, wherein he proclaims it the "party of the people" – in contrast with the other major parties.
  • Roosevelt goes for a ride in Arch Hoxsey's plane in October 1910
Theodore Roosevelt and Archibald Hoxsey (1910)
Theodore Roosevelt and pilot Hoxsey at St. Louis, October 11, 1910

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Theodore Roosevelt para niños

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