Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. popularly known as Teddy Roosevelt was born in New York on the 27th of October 1858. He was the first son and second child of his parents Martha Bullock and Roosevelt Snr. Teddy Roosevelt as a child was sickly and suffered illnesses like Asthma, heart condition and many more. Story has it that these sicknesses made him sleep in a sitting position to avoid dying while unconscious. Those who knew Teddy Roosevelt growing up would never have predicted that he would grow to become a great politician, leader, writer, conservationist and one of America’s most respected and loved President. Teddy while growing up had the characteristics of a leader,a strong man, a man with the lion heart, in fact everyone who lived in his neighbourhood attested to that. This got to the point where his Father Roosevelt Snr. had to approach him and said, Son you have the mind but not the body. His father Roosevelt Snr.did not stop at that but went ahead to set up a routine to get Teddy fit. He started by setting up a gym in his house for Teddy to train and constantly motivated him to overcome his weaknesses.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr’s. family was members of Death Reformed Church but Teddy as a young boy had the opportunity to kiss the hand of Pope Pius IX in one of his family’s trip to Europe. Teddy was a lover of animals and would cut small animals at home and dissected them. He also studied insects and wrote a book about insects titled “The Natural History of Insects” at age 9. Teddy Roosevelt grew up overcoming his weaknesses and was accepted into Harvard University at age 18, in the year 1876 to be precise.


While in Harvard University, Teddy Roosevelt majored in science. He was not just active in his studies but also active in sports especially boxing and other social activities. Teddy met Alice Hathaway Lee in Campus and they eventually started dating. It was reported that Alice and one of Teddy’s Professors saw the leadership potential in this vibrant young man and urged him to turn his attention to Politics instead of Science. Despite the death of his father in 1878, two years into Teddy’s studies, he still went ahead to graduate with Magna Cum Laude in 1880.

Immediately after his graduation from Harvard University, Teddy went ahead to study law in Columbia Law School. While in Columbia Law School, Teddy wrote and published his first official book “The Naval War of 1812” which was published in 1882; a book that covers the naval battles and technology used during the war of 1812. Though Teddy attended Columbia Law School in 1880. In 1881 Theodore Roosevelt committed himself to politics and quit Law School. He was nominated by the local Republican club to run for a seat in the National Assembly election which he won to serve in the New York State Assembly making him the youngest State Representative in the history of New York at age 23. He would have graduated in 1882 following the Law School Curriculum which was two years long at the time. He was awarded an honorary LL.D. in 1899


Theodore Roosevelt married Alice Hathaway Lee, a daughter of a renowned New England banking family who he met in Harvard University in the year 1880. After which, he took her for a tour in Europe for their honeymoon. Unfortunately Alice died of Bright’s disease on February the 14th in 1884, two days after the birth of her only child Alice Roosevelt Longworth. It was this same day February 14th 1884 that Theodore’s mother died. Alice Hathaway Roosevelt was buried in The Green-Wood Cemetery, New York, United States.

Teddy Roosevelt went ahead to marry Edith Kermit Carow who was his friend from infancy till the time he was admitted into Harvard. Edith was born in Connecticut in 1861 and was a quiet girl who loved to read books. Edith attended Teddy’s wedding with Alice Hathaway Lee in 1880 and never came in contact with him until 1885. Teddy’s marriage with Edith took place in London in December 1886. They lived in his house at Sagamore Hill, at Oyster Bay where he and Alice had five children Theodore, Kermit, Ethel, Archibald, and Quentin. Edith never meted Alice with ill treatment but raised her as one of her own. They raised their children at Sagamore Hill before they later moved to the White House.


Teddy Roosevelt began his political career at age 23. Having won the seat at New York State Assembly. Teddy wowed people with his eloquence and grandeur oratory skills. He also demonstrated capacity, truthfulness and endeared himself in the hearts of many after being the point man in the exposure of the Railroad magnet Jason Gould bribery and New York manipulation of the New York State Supreme court Justice. He eventually became the Republican Leader of the New York House. Teddy was returned the second time, and during his second tenure, he was appointed the youngest speaker of the New York State House.

In 1886 he ran as the Republican candidate for Mayor of New York. He came in 3rd of the three candidates. After this incident, Teddy Roosevelt thought his political career was over and resorted to writing professionally. Things turned around for him after marrying his childhood sweetheart in December 2, 1886. Teddy Roosevelt later campaigned vigorously for the then Republican Presidential candidate Benjamin Harrison who eventually won and awarded him a seat in the Civil Service Commission. There again he stood out by fighting government and big business corruption.

In 1895, when the Mayor of New York offered him a position on the New York Police Commission, he resigned from his position in the Civil Service Commission and began serving in this new assignment where he fought corruption among Law Enforcement. He later became the President of the Commission and brought huge reformation in the way things were done in the New York law enforcement. He introduced physical fitness test for all new officers, phones in all police stations, bicycle patrols and revised promotion of officers. Story also has it that he would sneak around at night hoping to catch officers who were not behaving in a good manner deemed of an officer.

After two years in the Police Commission, President William McKinley appointed him the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. It was not long after the appointment, precisely on the February 15th, 1898; a mysterious explosion destroyed American Ship in Cuba that killed all that were in the ship. This eventually led to a war between America and Spain and Roosevelt’s ideas and bravery was handy to America’s victory.


In 1899, after the end of the war between American and Spain, Teddy Roosevelt had already earned massive media publicity which was accompanied by huge popularity. This made a good candidate to run for Governorship under the Republican Party. He was finally offered nomination for the Governorship of New York which he ended winning. Teddy later earned the animosity of his party leaders as they felt disappointed in his fierce fight to weed out political corruption. In the bid to make him powerless, the party nominated him for the position of Vice President. He became the running mate to the incumbent President William McKinley and they won the Presidential election of 1900. The big turnaround moment happened to Teddy Roosevelt when President William McKinley was shot by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York on the 6th September 1901. President William Mckinley died eight days later.


After the death of President William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in as the 26th President of the United States of America. He began his Administration by weeding out corruption in the political and government ranks. He also took on the big insincere business monopolists. Teddy Roosevelt was a strong crusader of Social and Industrial Justice and an Apostle of Peace. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt stepped in, mediated and resolved the coal strike. This strike by the United Mine Workers of America in the anthracite coalfields of eastern Pennsylvania threatened to shut down the winter fuel supply to major American cities, and that would have affected the American economy in a bad way. This was the first time the Government would get involved in a labour strike.

During his second tenure, President Teddy Roosevelt’s attention was caught by Upton Sinclair’s book “The Jungle”; a book that portrayed the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities, and at the same time the book mirrored the meat industry and its working conditions that was unsatisfactory at the time. He swung into action which eventually led to the Meat Inspection Act of 1906, U.S. legislation, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt on June 30, 1906, the American law that criminalized and prohibited adulterated or misbranded meat and meat products to be sold as food ensuring that livestock were slaughtered and processed under regulated and sanitary conditions. The law reformed the meatpacking industry, giving power to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to inspect all animals prior and after they were slaughtered and processed for consumption. This Act empowered and authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to inspect and disapprove any meat and livestock product found to be unhealthy for human consumption. This demand also applied to imported products, which must be inspected under the same strict similar equivalent foreign inspection routines.

Theodore Roosevelt had a very close relationship with his children and though being the President of the United States of America, never gave up his physical and strenuous social lifestyle. He played tennis, hiked, went hunting, and even boxed. An accident during a boxing match in the White house caused him sight in one eye. Theodore Roosevelt gave up boxing but maintained many other of his loved physical activities.

He believed in equality and was the first American President to host a black American to a dinner in White House. President Theodore Roosevelt dined with Booker T. Washington; an educator, author, orator, advertiser and the dominant leader in the African American community and of the contemporary black elite on one occasion. Teddy spoke against race discrimination. Nonetheless, President Roosevelt at one time dishonorably discharged an entire black infantry troop that was wrongfully accused of several crimes including murder, an action which caused him much resentment from the Black Community.

President Roosevelt was known as an apostle of peace and negotiated the Portsmouth Peace Treaty between Russia and Japan in 1905 which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize the next year. He was the first American ever to be awarded by the Prize. Teddy Roosevelt also swung in 1907 when San Francisco schools tried to segregate all Asian students. His response and mediation diffused the tense situation and stopped San Francisco schools from segregating the students.

Known to be a passionate Conservationist, President Roosevelt focus was also channeled in this arena. He initiated the first Land and River Reclamation Act and signed the 1906 Antiquities Act, and also created many Conservation and Wild life oriented pursuits. He established 51 bird reserves, 150 National Forests, and many National Parks and Monuments including the Devils Tower, Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon.

He protected the Americas from the European Powers who would come to forcibly collect payment on loans given to countries in the Americas. He would rather have USA run custom houses until the loan is repaid. This incident occurred with Venezuela and Dominican Republic. Theodore Roosevelt in fact made the United States of America the Police force of the Western Hemisphere. At one time, the Nicaraguan dictator Jose Santos Zelaya threatened to give Japan the authority to build a canal across his country that will compete directly with the Panama Canal, Teddy Roosevelt sent in US marines that went in and overthrew Jose Santos Zelaya.


Having decided not to run for Presidency anymore, Teddy Roosevelt designated William Howard Taft as his successor hoping he would continue with his legacy and went on a trip to Africa with his son. But when he returned and realized that Taft had gone contrary to his progressive legacies Teddy decided to run against him in the Republican primaries but lost. Teddy went ahead to create a new party called The Progressive Party and ran for Presidency on this platform.

Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest in Milwaukee Wisconsin when he was preparing to give a campaign speech. Instead of allowing to be treated immediately he went on to deliver a 90 minute speech to a huge crowd. When he was to be treated afterwards, the doctors decided not to remove the bullets as it was lodged in a danger area in his chest and its removal could cause Roosevelt’s death. This he carried inside him throughout his entire life. Roosevelt finally lost the 1912 election but his vote from many Republican followers caused William Taft from being re-elected. The Democrat candidate Woodrow Wilson ended up winning the election.

Theodore moved on with his expedition in Brazil where he sustained a leg injury that he dealt with for the rest of his life which many think may have contributed to his death. Roosevelt lost his favourite son Quentin in the US World War and this broke his heart.

Teddy Roosevelt finally died of inflammatory rheumatism and malaria while sleeping in his home in 1919.

Conclusively Teddy Roosevelt remains one of the loved American Presidents, a leader who will always be remembered probably till eternity. His selflessness, truthfulness, uprightness and love for his country is worth of emulation and will not be forgotten in a hurry.

Image source: Biography.com & Politico

Modest Nwawudu

Mr. Modest is a serial entrepreneur with deep understanding in the business landscape. His experience spans through Commodity Trade, Real Estate, Hospitality, Project Management, Internet of Things (IoT), Business development, Digital marketing, and Ecommerce. Mr. Modest is the founder and Chairman of zimbooz.com a subsidiary of Icorp Global Partners limited. His love for identifying and creating businesses of great value and impact stands him out as an entrepreneur per excellence. He possesses the rolodex of entrepreneurship with the know-how, capacity and drive for results.

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