Theodore Roosevelt: American Hero
Although many people at the time disagreed with the actions of Teddy Roosevelt, he played a very important role in the Spanish-American war by not only preparing the navy, but on the front lines of combat as well. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States of America, had a huge impact on the Spanish-American war in many ways. The war also had a huge impact on Theodore Roosevelt’s political career in many ways, and some would say helped him become president. Theodore Roosevelt's actions as assistant secretary of the navy were vital to the quick success of the American Navy in the Spanish-America war; he basically single-handedly prepared the navy for war. Theodore urged President McKinley to war, he felt as though it was America's duty to stand up for Cuba. And once the Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, Teddy went war crazy. After he had finished preparing the navy for what seemed to an inevitable war, Theodore Roosevelt resigned as the assistant secretary to the navy to go fight on the front lines. He was 2nd in command of a legendary regiment nicknamed "The Rough Riders." The regiment was a part of many battles including the battle of San Juan Hill, having a huge impact on the front lines.
Theodore Roosevelt could not have had such a huge impact on the war if it were not for his position as assistant secretary of the navy. He was offered the position by President McKinley in 1897, and accepted the job due to his inactivity in New York and his lifelong fascination of naval history. Roosevelt strongly believed that the US needed to upkeep a strong modern navy in order to protect its interests in the growing world. Due to the inactivity of the acting secretary of the navy, John D. Long, Theodore Roosevelt basically had control over the navy. Teddy spent many months before the war with Spain broke out preparing the navy. He ran drills, ordered ammunition, and even asked congress to recruit as many sailors as needed. Theodore Roosevelt credited alot of his ideas for naval preparation to a national security document called "War with Spain" written by Lieutenant William Wirt Kimball. (The Wilderness Warriors pg. 310) "Kimball's plan, as Teddy called it, was in his opinion an was a blueprint of war preparedness. (The Wilderness Warrior pg 310) Theodore thought Kimball's analysis was spot on, and admired his description of each of the spanish ships, and it greatly resembled Roosevelt's own book, Naval War of 1812. On February 15, 1898 the battleship U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana Harbor killing 260 American Sailors (spanamwar.com.) although the cause of the explosion was unknown, Theodore’s feelings towards war strengthened even more, he felt that prevention of war was now impossible. That day secretary of the navy John D. Long decided to take the day off leaving Theodore in charge while he was gone. He instructed Theodore not to "take any such step affecting the policy of the Administration without consulting with the President or myself...my intention was to have you look after the routine of the office..." Theodore however had other plans, he sprang into action ordering ammunition, the moving of coal, repairs of various ships, and gave Admiral Dewey his objectives. Theodore Roosevelts actions angered Long, however he did nothing to rescind any of Theodore's orders. Teddy had made it known to McKinley and many others that if war broke out, he wanted to leave his position as assistant secretary of the navy and fight the war on the front lines. When war was finally declared Theodore Roosevelt stated that he had the navy in good condition, and it was according to Edmund Morris. He stated that "never before had it been so strategically deployed and; never was it so ready for instant action" (spanamwar.com).
Theodore was offered his own regiment in the war but turned it down due to his...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document