President Roosevelt: Steward of the People

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Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States and made a huge impact on the world. Not only was he the youngest President at age 42, but he was also a greatly respected war hero (Theodore Roosevelt). He was also the first US President to win the Nobel Peace Prize (Theodore Roosevelt - Biography). As President, Roosevelt looked at the role of President as a “steward of the people” (Theodore Roosevelt). Theodore Roosevelt was not only known to be the first modern President but also as a man who worked hard for the people of the United States, an international relationship builder, and the everyday type of person who people liked to be around (Roosevelt).

Theodore Roosevelt was born on October 27th, 1858 in New York, New York. He was the son of Theodore Roosevelt Sr., a flourishing merchant, and Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, a Georgia native with an aristocratic background. Theodore was not a very outgoing type of child, but rather a “sickly, puny, nearsighted lad” (Roosevelt). Theodore’s father, who worried about his son, always told him, "You have the mind but not the body and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must make your body" (Roosevelt). Theodore took his father’s words to heart and began to work on his body by exercising, boxing and wrestling (Roosevelt).

Theodore received his early education at home with private tutors. He later finished his education at the Harvard University where they graduated him with honors in 1880. He then entered Columbia University Law School in search of being a lawyer, but the lure of historical writing and politics were too strong for him to resist, and he dropped the idea of being a lawyer (Roosevelt). President Roosevelt recalled in his autobiography that although his friends were against it, he decided to enter politics instead of finishing law school (Roosevelt). They considered politics as a cheap, gaudy profession only fit for the lower class (Roosevelt). In 1881, voters elected Theodore to the New York State assembly as a Republican (Roosevelt). Theodore’s promising career in politics came to a grinding stop in 1884. During the presidential election campaign that year, he separated himself from many of his fellow reformers by supporting the candidacy of Republican James G. Blaine, whose name had been dirtied by charges of illegal behavior in a business-related scandal (Cooper). What had an even bigger blow was the death of his much-loved wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, whom he had married after graduating from Harvard and also the death of his mother (Roosevelt; Cooper). He then left politics and spent the next two years on his cattle ranch in the Dakota Territory (Cooper). His attempt to reenter public life was unsuccessful as he was defeated in a bid to become mayor of New York City in 1886 (Cooper). Theodore still remained active in politics by battling corruption as a member of the U.S. Civil Service Commission and the President of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners (Cooper). Later in 1889, President Benjamin Harrison named him to the three-member Civil Service Commission (Roosevelt). Theodore began a steady stream of speechmaking, championing honesty and morality in both the government and politics. In 1895, the New York Mayor, William Strong, made Theodore commissioner of the city's police force (Roosevelt). After Theodore’s two years as commissioner he went to work for President William McKinley as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Roosevelt). In April 1898, Theodore resigned from his government post and organized the first volunteer cavalry (Roosevelt; Cooper). They were known as the “Rough Riders,” a daredevil band of cowboys and aristocrats like himself (Roosevelt). They became national heroes as a result of the well-exposed exploits in the battle of San Juan Hill (Roosevelt). Theodore’s popularity again made him an attractive political candidate. As a result, Tom Platt, a...
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