Theodore Roosevelt: Biography, Facts & Accomplishments

Theodore Roosevelt: Biography, Facts & Accomplishments
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  • 0:04 A Fighter With a Tough Start
  • 1:45 Return to Politics
  • 2:26 A President and a Square Deal
  • 3:45 Making the U.S. a World Power
  • 4:32 After His Presidency
  • 5:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Thomas Davis

Thomas has taught high school age students for 34 years, undergraduate 12 years, and graduate courses for the last 8 years. He has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University in Evanston, Illinois.

War hero, statesmen, and politician, Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States from 1901-1909. Roosevelt is considered to be the first modern president. His administration expanded the power and control of the executive branch.

A Fighter With a Tough Start

Theodore Roosevelt led our country with the same charisma as he lived his life. His progressive ideals created a 'Square Deal' to benefit all of the citizens of the United States. His foreign policy, 'Roosevelt Corollary,' made the U.S. the policemen of the Western Hemisphere. Our enforcement officers patrolled the world in our 'Great White Fleet.' In this lesson, we will examine the life and accomplishments of our youngest and perhaps our most energetic president, Theodore Roosevelt.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was born on October 27, 1858, in New York City. He was the son of Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and Martha Bulloch. He was the second oldest of four children: Anne (older sister), Corinne (younger sister), and Elliot (younger brother). The Roosevelt family owned a plate-glass import business. As young man Teddy, as he was known, was schooled at home because he was sick often and suffered from asthma. His father encouraged him to fight this condition with a strict regimen of weightlifting and boxing.

Roosevelt graduated from Harvard with honors in 1880. He lost his father during college, so to honor his father, he worked as hard as he could to be successful. After graduating, he went to Columbia Law School. At this point in his life, he got married to Alice Hathaway Lee from Massachusetts. Roosevelt decided not stay in law school and was immediately elected as a representative in the New York State Assembly.

On February 14, 1884, he lost his wife and mother on the same day. Filled with sorrow, Roosevelt left New York and went to the Dakota Territory for two years. He lived as a cowboy and cattle rancher.

Return to Politics

In 1886, he returned to New York politics and ran for mayor. After he lost, he became Police Commissioner of New York City. Shortly after that, he was named Assistant U.S. Navy Secretary for President McKinley. He married Edith Carow when he returned, and the couple had five children; Theodore III, Kermit, Ethel Carow, Archibald Bulloch, and Quentin.

When the Spanish American War broke out, he resigned from government service and organized a volunteer cavalry called the Rough Riders. They gained their fame in the famous charge up San Juan Hill. Roosevelt was nominated for the Medal of Honor for his valor. When he returned from war, he was elected governor of New York in 1898.

A President and a Square Deal

Roosevelt was too progressive for his Republican Party. The leaders decided to quiet him by running Theodore for vice president, a relatively powerless position. That backfired when McKinley was assassinated shortly after being elected. Theodore Roosevelt was put into the most powerful position in the U.S. Roosevelt had two major goals: one was to eliminate monopolies, and the other was to build the U.S. into a world power.

The youngest president in our history at 42, Roosevelt was not afraid of anything. To take on the monopolies, President Roosevelt planned to use the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. He wanted to give everyone in the country a 'Square Deal.' He could improve the working man's lives if government could regulate industry. Using the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, his administration forced the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railroads to end their manipulation of prices. With the momentum from that victory, Roosevelt continued his campaign to stop any small groups or individual's control over competitors. For his successes, Theodore Roosevelt became known as the 'trust buster.'

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