Theodore Roosevelt was the twenty-sixth President of the United States.
Served as President: 1901 to 1909.
Born: New York City in 1858.
Both his Mother and his first wife, Alice Lee Roosevelt, died on the same day.
Later, he married Edith Carow in 1886.
Served as Governor.
AS President, Roosevelt ensured the construction of the Panama Canal.
Won the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese War.
Later, on the campaige trail in Milwaukee, he was shot.
Roosevelt soon recovered.
Died: January 6, 1919, Oyster Bay, New York.
Theodore Roosevelt Biography:
A leader of the Republican Party and of the Progressive Party, he was a Governor of New York and a professional historian, naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, and soldier. He is most famous for his personality: his energy, his vast range of interests and achievements, his model of masculinity, and his "cowboy" image. Originating from a story from one of Roosevelt's hunting expeditions, Teddy bears are named after him. As Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt prepared for and advocated war with Spain in 1898. He organized and helped command the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regimentthe Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. Returning to New York as a war hero, he was elected governor. An avid writer, his 35 books include works on outdoor life, natural history, the American frontier, political history, naval history, and his autobiography. In 1901, as Vice President, the 42-year-old Roosevelt succeeded President William McKinley after McKinley's assassination by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. He was a Progressive reformer who sought to move the dominant Republican Party into the Progressive camp. He distrusted wealthy businessmen and dissolved forty monopolistic corporations as a "trust buster". He was clear, however, to show he did not disagree with trusts and capitalism in principle but was only against corrupt, illegal practices. His "Square Deal" promised a fair shake for both the average citizen (through regulation of railroad rates and pure food and drugs) and the businessmen. He was the first U.S. president to call for universal health care and national health insurance. As an outdoorsman, he promoted the conservation movement, emphasizing efficient use of natural resources. After 1906 he attacked big business and suggested the courts were biased against labor unions. In 1910, he broke with his friend and anointed successor William Howard Taft, but lost the Republican nomination to Taft and ran in the 1912 election on his own one-time Bull Moose ticket. He beat Taft in the popular vote and pulled so many Progressives out of the Republican Party that Democrat Woodrow Wilson won in 1912, and the conservative faction took control of the Republican Party for the next two decades. Roosevelt negotiated for the U.S. to take control of the Panama Canal and its construction in 1904; he felt the Canal's completion was his most important and historically significant international achievement. He was the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize, winning its Peace Prize in 1906, for negotiating the peace in the Russo-Japanese War, an interesting irony considering his promotion of national warfare as a useful tool.
Theodore Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858, in a four-story brownstone at 28 East 20th Street, in the modern-day Gramercy section of New York City, the second of four children of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. (1831-1877) and Mittie Bulloch (1835-1884). He had an elder sister Anna, nicknamed "Bamie" as a child and "Bye" as an adult for being always on the go, and two younger siblings, his brother Elliott (the father of future First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt), and his sister Corinne (grandmother of newspaper columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop). The Roosevelts had been in New York since the mid-17th century. Roosevelt was born into a wealthy family; by the 19th century, the family had grown in wealth, power and influence from the profits of several businesses including hardware and plate-glass importing. The family was strongly Democratic in its political affiliation until the mid-1850s, then joined the new Republican Party. Theodore's father, known in the family as "Thee", was a New York City philanthropist, merchant, and partner in the family glass-importing firm Roosevelt and Son. He was a prominent supporter of Abraham Lincoln and the Union effort during the American Civil War. His mother Mittie Bulloch was a Southern belle from a slave-owning family in Roswell, Georgia and had quiet Confederate sympathies. Mittie's brother, Theodore's uncle, James Dunwoody Bulloch, was a United States Navy officer who became a Confederate admiral and naval procurement agent in Britain. Another uncle, Irvine Bulloch, was a midshipman on the Confederate raider CSS Alabama; both remained in England after the war. From his grandparents' home, a young Roosevelt witnessed Abraham Lincoln's funeral in New York. Sickly and asthmatic as a youngster, Roosevelt had to sleep propped up in bed or slouching in a chair during much of his early childhood, and had frequent ailments. Despite his illnesses, he was a hyperactive and often mischievous boy. His lifelong interest in zoology was formed at age seven upon seeing a dead seal at a local market. After obtaining the seal's head, the young Roosevelt and two of his cousins formed what they called the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History". Learning the rudiments of taxidermy, he filled his makeshift museum with many animals that he killed or caught, studied, and prepared for display. At age nine, he codified his observation of insects with a paper titled "The Natural History of Insects". To combat his poor physical condition, his father encouraged the young Roosevelt to take up exercise. To deal with bullies, Roosevelt started boxing lessons. Two trips abroad had a permanent impact: family tours of Europe in 1869 and 1870, and of the Middle East 1872 to 1873. Theodore, Sr. had a tremendous influence on his son. Combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness. He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfulness." He was solid in geography (thanks to his careful observations on all his travels) and very well read in history, strong in biology, French and German, but deficient in mathematics, Latin and Greek. He matriculated at Harvard College in 1876. His father's death in 1878 was a tremendous blow, but Roosevelt redoubled his activities. He did well in science, philosophy and rhetoric courses but fared poorly in Latin and Greek. He studied biology with great interest and indeed was already an accomplished naturalist and published ornithologist. He had a photographic memory and developed a life-long habit of devouring books, memorizing every detail. He was an eloquent conversationalist who, throughout his life, sought out the company of the smartest people. He could multitask in extraordinary fashion, dictating letters to one secretary and memoranda to another, while browsing through a new book. While at Harvard, Roosevelt was active in rowing, boxing, the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and was a member of the Porcellian Club. He also edited a student magazine. He was runner-up in the Harvard boxing championship, losing to C.S. Hanks. Upon graduating, he underwent a physical examination and his doctor advised him that due to serious heart problems, he should find a desk job and avoid strenuous activity. He chose to embrace strenuous life instead. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa (22nd of 177) from Harvard in 1880, and entered Columbia Law School. When offered a chance to run for New York Assemblyman in 1881, he dropped out of law school to pursue his new goal of entering public life.
While at Harvard, Roosevelt began a systematic study of the role played by the nascent US Navy in the War of 1812. He would later recall that in the middle of Mathematics classes at Harvard, his mind would wander from his lessons to the accomplishments of the infant US Navy. Reading through literature on the subject, Roosevelt found both American and British accounts heavily biased and that there had been no systematic study of the tactics employed in the war. Although a challenge for a young man with no formal military or naval education, but helped in part by his two uncles, he did his own research using original source materials and official US Navy records. Unlike previous American and British books that ignored quantifiable facts to push a specific agenda, Roosevelt's carefully researched book was akin to today's modern doctoral dissertations, complete with carefully researched drawings depicting individual and combined ship maneuvers, charts depicting the differences in iron throw weights of cannon shot between American and British forces, and analyses of the differences between British and American leadership down to the ship-to-ship level. It is today considered one of the first modern American historical works. Published after Roosevelt's graduation from Harvard, "The Naval War of 1812" was immediately accepted by reviewers who praised the book’s scholarship and style. The newly established Naval War College adopted it for study, and the Department of the Navy ordered a copy placed in the libraries of every capital ship in the Fleet. This book would help establish Roosevelt's reputation as a serious historian. Roosevelt brought out a subsequent edition including questions and answers from both scholars and critics.
Roosevelt was a Republican activist during his years in the Assembly, writing more bills than any other New York state legislator. Already a major player in state politics, he attended the Republican National Convention in 1884 and fought alongside the Mugwump reformers; they lost to the Stalwart faction that nominated James G. Blaine. Refusing to join other Mugwumps in supporting Democrat Grover Cleveland, the Democratic nominee, he debated with his friend Henry Cabot Lodge the pros and cons of staying loyal. Upon leaving the convention, he complained "off the record" to a reporter about Blaine's nomination. But, in probably the most crucial moment of his young political career, he resisted the very instinct to bolt from the Party that would overwhelm his political sense in 1912. In an account of the Convention, another reporter quoted him as saying that he would give "hearty support to any decent Democrat." He would later take great pains to distance himself from his own earlier comment, indicating that while he made it, it had not been made "for publication." Leaving the convention, his idealism quite disillusioned by party politics, Roosevelt indicated that he had no further aspiration but to retire to his ranch in the wild Badlands of the Dakota Territory that he had purchased the previous year while on a buffalo hunting expedition.
Roosevelt built a second ranch, which he named Elk Horn, thirty-five miles (56 km) north of the boomtown of Medora, North Dakota. On the banks of the Little Missouri, Roosevelt learned to ride, rope, and hunt. He rebuilt his life and began writing about frontier life for Eastern magazines. As a deputy sheriff, Roosevelt hunted down three outlaws who stole his river boat and were escaping north with it up the Little Missouri. Capturing them, he decided against hanging them (apparently yielding to established law procedures in place of vigilante justice), and sending his foreman back by boat, he took the thieves back overland for trial in Dickinson, guarding them forty hours without sleep and reading Tolstoy to keep himself awake. While working on a tough project aimed at hunting down a group of relentless horse thieves, Roosevelt came across the famous Deadwood Sheriff, Seth Bullock. The two would remain friends for life. After the uniquely severe U.S. winter of 1886-1887 wiped out his herd of cattle and his $60,000 investment (together with those of his competitors), he returned to the East, where in 1885 he had built Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, New York. It would be his home and estate until his death. Roosevelt ran as the Republican candidate for mayor of New York City in 1886 as "The Cowboy of the Dakotas"; he came in third.
Following the election, he went to London in 1886 and married his childhood sweetheart, Edith Kermit Carow. They honeymooned in Europe, and Roosevelt led a party to the summit of Mont Blanc, a feat which resulted in his induction into the British Royal Society.
Roosevelt's definitive 1882 book The Naval War of 1812 was standard history for two generations. Roosevelt undertook extensive and original research, computing British and American man-of-war broadside throw weights. However, his biographies Thomas Hart Benton (1887) and Gouverneur Morris (1888) are considered hastily-written and superficial. His four-volume history of the frontier titled The Winning of the West (1889-1896) had a notable impact on historiography, as it presented a highly original version of the frontier thesis elaborated upon by his friend Frederick Jackson Turner in 1893.
In the 1888 presidential election, Roosevelt campaigned in the Midwest for Benjamin Harrison. President Harrison appointed Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission, where he served until 1895. In his term, Roosevelt vigorously fought the spoilsmen and demanded enforcement of civil service laws. Roosevelt became president of the board of New York City Police Commissioners in 1895. During his two years in this post, Roosevelt radically reformed the police department. The police force was reputed as one of the most corrupt in America. Always an energetic man, he made a habit of walking officers' beats late at night and early in the morning to make sure they were on duty.
Roosevelt had always been fascinated by naval history. Urged by Roosevelt's close friend, Congressman Henry Cabot Lodge, President William McKinley appointed a delighted Roosevelt to the post of Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897. (Because of the inactivity of Secretary of the Navy John D. Long at the time, this basically gave Roosevelt control over the department.) Roosevelt was instrumental in preparing the Navy for the Spanish-American War and was an enthusiastic proponent of testing the U.S. military in battle. Upon the 1898 Declaration of War launching the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt resigned from the Navy Department. With the aid of U.S. Army Colonel Leonard Wood, Roosevelt found volunteers from cowboys from the Western territories to Ivy League friends from New York, forming the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. The newspapers called them the "Rough Riders." Originally Roosevelt held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and served under Colonel Wood. Wood was promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteer Forces, Roosevelt was promoted to Colonel and given command of the Regiment. Under his leadership, the Rough Riders became famous for dual charges up Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898 (the battle was named after the latter "hill," which was the shoulder of a ridge known as San Juan Heights). Out of all the Rough Riders, Roosevelt was the only one with a horse, and used it to ride back and forth between rifle pits at the forefront of the advance up Kettle Hill; an advance which he urged in absence of any orders from superiors. However, he was forced to walk up the last part of Kettle Hill on foot, due to barbed wire entanglement and after his horse, Little Texas, became tired.
For his actions, Roosevelt was nominated for the Medal of Honor which was subsequently disapproved. Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001 for his actions. He was the first and, as of 2008, the only President of the United States to be awarded with America's highest military honor, and the only person in history to receive both his nation's highest honor for military valor and the world's foremost prize for peace. After his return to civilian life, Roosevelt preferred to be known as "Colonel Roosevelt" or "The Colonel." As a moniker, "Teddy" remained much more popular with the general public; however, political friends and others working closely with Roosevelt customarily addressed him by his rank.
On leaving the Army, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York in 1898 as a Republican. He made such a concerted effort to root out corruption and "machine politics" that Republican boss Thomas Collier Platt forced him on McKinley as a running mate in the 1900 election, against the wishes of McKinley's manager, Senator Mark Hanna. Roosevelt was a powerful campaign asset for the Republican ticket, which defeated William Jennings Bryan in a landslide based on restoration of prosperity at home and a successful war and new prestige abroad. Bryan stumped for Free Silver again, but McKinley's promise of prosperity through the gold standard, high tariffs, and the restoration of business confidence enlarged his margin of victory. Bryan had strongly supported the war against Spain, but denounced the annexation of the Philippines as imperialism that would spoil America's innocence. Roosevelt countered with many speeches that argued it was best for the Filipinos to have stability, and the Americans to have a proud place in the world. Roosevelt's six months as Vice President (March to September 1901) were uneventful.
At the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, on September 6, 1901, President McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgosz (Zol-gash). Roosevelt had been at a luncheon of the Vermont Fish and Game League on Lake Champlain when he learned the news. He rushed to Buffalo, but after being assured the President would recover, he went on a planned family camping and hiking trip to Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks. In the mountains, a runner notified him McKinley was on his death bed. Roosevelt pondered with his wife, Edith, how best to respond, not wanting to show up in Buffalo and wait on McKinley's death. Roosevelt was rushed by a series of stagecoaches to North Creek train station. At the station, Roosevelt was handed a telegram that said President McKinley died at 2:30 AM that morning. Roosevelt continued by train from North Creek to Buffalo. He arrived in Buffalo later that day, accepting an invitation to stay at the home of Ansley Wilcox, a prominent lawyer and friend since the early 1880s when they had both worked closely with New York State Governor Grover Cleveland on civil service reform. Roosevelt took the oath of office in the Ansley Wilcox House at Buffalo, borrowing Wilcox's morning coat. Roosevelt did not swear on a Bible, in contrast to the usual tradition of US presidents. Expressing the fears of many old-line Republicans, Mark Hanna lamented "that damned cowboy is president now." Roosevelt did so, but after winning election in 1904, he moved to the political left, stretching his ties to the Republican Party's conservative leaders.
A national emergency was averted in 1902 when Roosevelt found a compromise to the anthracite coal strike by the United Mine Workers of America that threatened the heating supplies of most urban homes. Roosevelt sent the Army in to secure the mine and work it until he could call the mine owners and the labor leaders to the White House and negotiate a compromise. Miners were on strike for 163 days before it ended; they were granted a 10% pay increase and a 9-hour day (from the previous 10 hours), but the union was not officially recognized, and the price of coal went up.
Roosevelt promised to continue McKinley's program, and at first he worked closely with McKinley's men. His 20,000-word address to the Congress in December 1901 asked Congress to curb the power of trusts "within reasonable limits." They did not act but Roosevelt did, issuing 44 lawsuits against major corporations; he was called the "trust-buster". His biggest success was passage of the Hepburn Act of 1906, the provisions of which were to be regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The most important provision of the Act gave the ICC the power to replace existing rates with "just-and-reasonable" maximum rates, with the ICC to define what was just and reasonable. Anti-rebate provisions were toughened, free passes were outlawed, and the penalties for violation were increased. Finally, the ICC gained the power to prescribe a uniform system of accounting, require standardized reports, and inspect railroad accounts. The Act made ICC orders binding; that is, the railroads had to either obey or contest the ICC orders in federal court. To speed the process, appeals from the district courts would go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The limits on railroad rates depreciated the value of railroad securities, a factor in causing the panic of 1907. In response to public clamor (and due to the uproar caused by Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle), Roosevelt pushed Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, as well as the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. These laws provided for labeling of foods and drugs, inspection of livestock, and mandated sanitary conditions at meatpacking plants.
Theodore Roosevelt was the fifth Vice President to succeed to the office of President, but the first to win election in his own right. After Senator Mark Hanna, McKinley's old campaign manager, died in February 1904, there was nobody in the Republican Party to oppose Roosevelt, and he easily won the nomination. When an effort to draft former president Grover Cleveland failed, the Democrats were without a candidate and finally settled on obscure New York judge Alton B. Parker. The outcome was never in doubt. Roosevelt crushed Parker 56%-38% in the popular vote and 336-140 in the Electoral College, sweeping the country outside the perennially Democratic Solid South. Socialist Eugene Debs got 3%. The night of the election, after his victory was clear, Roosevelt promised not to run again in 1908. He later regretted that promise, as it compelled him to leave the White House at the age of only fifty, at the height of his popularity.
Roosevelt worked closely with early conservationists such as Gifford Pinchot, pictured above, with whom he organized the first National Governors Conservation Conference at the White House in 1908 Roosevelt was the first American president to consider the long-term needs for efficient conservation of national resources, winning the support of fellow hunters and fishermen to bolster his political base. He was the last trained observer to ever see a passenger pigeon, and on March 14, 1903, Roosevelt created the first National Bird Preserve, (the beginning of the Wildlife Refuge system) on Pelican Island, Florida. He recognized the imminent extinction of the American Bison and co-founded the American Bison Society (with William Temple Hornaday) in 1905. Roosevelt worked with the major figures of the conservation movement, especially his chief adviser on the matter, Gifford Pinchot. Roosevelt urged Congress to establish the United States Forest Service (1905), to manage government forest lands, and he appointed Gifford Pinchot to head the service. Roosevelt set aside more land for national parks and nature preserves than all of his predecessors combined, 194 million acres (785,000 km²). In all, by 1909, the Roosevelt administration had created an unprecedented 42 million acres (170,000 km²) of national forests, 53 national wildlife refuges and 18 areas of "special interest", including the Grand Canyon. The Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands commemorates his conservationist philosophy.
In 1903, Roosevelt toured the Yosemite Valley with John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, but, unlike Muir, Roosevelt believed in the more efficient use of natural resources by corporations such as lumber companies. In 1907, with Congress about to block him, Roosevelt hurried to designate 16 million acres (65,000 km²) of new national forests. In May 1908, he sponsored the Conference of Governors held in the White House, with a focus on the most efficient planning, analysis and use of water, forests and other natural resources. During his presidency, Roosevelt promoted the nascent conservation movement in essays for Outdoor Life magazine. To Roosevelt, conservation meant more and better usage and less waste, and a long-term perspective. Roosevelt's conservationist leanings also impelled him to preserve national sites of scientific, particularly archaeological, interest. The 1906 passage of the Antiquities Act gave him a tool for creating national monuments by presidential proclamation, without requiring Congressional approval for each monument on an item-by-item basis.
Roosevelt dramatically increased the size of the navy, forming the Great White Fleet, which toured the world in 1907. This display was designed to impress the Japanese. However, the ships were almost forced to return because of the inadequacy of American ports in the Pacific. Roosevelt also added the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, which stated that the United States and only the United States could intervene in Latin American affairs when corruption of governments made it necessary. Roosevelt's foreign policy is often referred to as the "Big Stick" policy which was mainly in respect to Roosevelt's ideas of negotiation. He also created the Roosevelt Reservation, a sixty foot wide strip of land along the United States-Mexico Border to prevent smuggling. Roosevelt gained international praise for helping negotiate the end of the Russo-Japanese War, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt later arbitrated a dispute between France and Germany over the division of Morocco. Some historians have argued these latter two actions helped in a small way to avert a world war.
Roosevelt's most famous foreign policy initiative, following the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, was the construction of the Panama Canal, which upon its completion shortened the route of freighters between San Francisco, California and New York City by 8,000 miles (13,000 km). Colombia first proposed the canal in that country as opposed to rival Nicaragua, and Colombia signed a treaty for an agreed-upon sum. At the time, Panama was a province of Colombia. According to the treaty, in 1902, the U.S. was to buy out the equipment and excavations from France, which had been attempting to build a canal since 1881. While the Colombian negotiating team had signed the treaty, ratification by the Colombian Senate became problematic. The Colombian Senate balked at the price and asked for ten million dollars over the original agreed upon price. When the U.S. refused to re-negotiate the price, the Colombian politicians proposed cutting the original French company that started the project out of the deal and giving that difference to Colombia. Roosevelt decided in 1903 to support Panamanian separation from Colombia. On November 3, the Republic of Panama was created, with its constitution written in advance by the United States. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. signed a protection treaty with Panama. And after the signing of the treaty, a man named Nathan Johnson Forest assisted Panama with the initial planning phases for the canal. The U.S. then paid ten million to secure rights to build on, and control, the Canal Zone. Construction began in 1904 and was completed in 1914. It took a long time to build the Panama Canal because of the rampant spread of tropical diseases. Over 200 workers died of yellow fever and malaria, spread by mosquitoes. Roosevelt initiated work on clearing swamps and other areas in which the insects bred. As the health threat finally receded, this greatly facilitated the canal's construction.
Roosevelt thought American coins and currency were common and uninspiring. He had the opportunity to pose for a young Lithuanian-born sculptor, Victor David Brenner, who since arriving nineteen years earlier in the United States had become one of the nation's premier medalists. Roosevelt had learned of Brenner's talents in a settlement house on New York City's Lower East Side and was immediately impressed with a bas-relief that Brenner had made of Lincoln, based on the early Civil War era photographer Mathew Brady's photograph. Roosevelt, who considered Lincoln the savior of the Union and the greatest Republican President and who also considered himself Lincoln's political heir, ordered the new Lincoln cent to be based on Brenner's work and that it be ready just in time to commemorate Lincoln’s 100th birthday in 1909. The likeness of President Lincoln on the obverse of the coin is an adaptation of a plaque Brenner executed several years earlier and which had come to the attention of President Roosevelt in New York. The new Lincoln cent replaced the Indian Head cent.
Roosevelt took Cabinet members and friends on long, fast-paced hikes, boxed in the state rooms of the White House, romped with his children, and read voraciously.
During his presidency, Roosevelt tried but did not succeed to advance the cause of spelling reform as advocated by the Simplified Spelling Board. He issued an executive order requiring the use of the reformed spelling system in August 1906. Roosevelt tried to force the federal government to adopt the system, sending an order to the Public Printer to use the system in all public federal documents. The order was obeyed, and among the documents thus printed was the President's special message regarding the Panama Canal. The reform annoyed the public, forcing him to rescind the order. Literary critic Brander Matthews, a friend of Roosevelt and one of the chief advocates of the reform as Chairman of the Spelling Reform Board, remonstrated with him for abandoning the effort. Roosevelt's contribution to the White House was the construction of the original West Wing, which he had built to free up the second floor rooms in the residence that formerly housed the president's staff. He and Edith also had the entire house renovated and restored to the federal style, tearing out the Victorian furnishings and details (including Tiffany windows) that had been installed over the previous three decades.
On August 25, 1905 he became the first U.S. President to ride in a military submarine when he boarded the USS Plunger and ran submerged in it for 55 minutes. He was the first President to travel outside the country, when he visited Panama. He was the first President to ride in an automobile.
In March 1909, shortly after the end of his second term, Roosevelt left New York for a safari in east and central Africa. Roosevelt's party landed in Mombasa, British East Africa (now Kenya), traveled to the Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) before following the Nile up to Khartoum in modern Sudan. Financed by Andrew Carnegie and by his own proposed writings, Roosevelt's party hunted for specimens for the Smithsonian Institution and for the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Among other items, Roosevelt brought with him four tons of salt for preserving animal hides, a lucky rabbit's foot given to him by boxer John L. Sullivan, an elephant-rifle donated by a group of 56 admiring Britons, and the famous Pigskin Library, a collection of classics bound in pig leather and transported in a single reinforced trunk. All told, Roosevelt and his companions killed or trapped over 11,397 animals, from insects and moles to hippopotamuses and elephants. 512 of the animals were big game animals, including six rare white rhinos. 262 of these were consumed by the expedition. Tons of salted animals and their skins were shipped to Washington; the quantity was so large that it took years to mount them all, and the Smithsonian was able to share many duplicate animals with other museums.
Unlike Roosevelt, Taft never attacked business or businessmen in his rhetoric. However, he was attentive to the law, so he launched 90 antitrust suits, including one against the largest corporation, U.S. Steel, for an acquisition that Roosevelt had personally approved. Consequently, Taft lost the support of antitrust reformers (who disliked his conservative rhetoric), of big business (which disliked his actions), and of Roosevelt, who felt humiliated by his protégé. The left wing of the Republican Party began agitating against Taft. Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin created the National Progressive Republican League (precursor to the Progressive Party (United States, 1924)) to defeat the power of political bossism at the state level and to replace Taft at the national level. More trouble came when Taft fired Gifford Pinchot, a leading conservationist and close ally of Roosevelt. Pinchot alleged that Taft's Secretary of Interior Richard Ballinger was in league with big timber interests. Conservationists sided with Pinchot, and Taft alienated yet another vocal constituency. Roosevelt, back from Europe, unexpectedly launched an attack on the federal courts, which deeply upset Taft. Roosevelt was attacking both the judiciary and the deep faith Republicans had in their judges (most of whom had been appointed by McKinley, Roosevelt or Taft.) In the 1910 Congressional elections, Democrats swept to power, and Taft's reelection in 1912 was increasingly in doubt. In 1911, Taft responded with a vigorous stumping tour that allowed him to sign up most of the party leaders long before Roosevelt announced.
The battle between Taft and Roosevelt bitterly split the Republican Party; Taft's people dominated the party until 1936.
Late in 1911, Roosevelt finally broke with Taft and LaFollette and announced himself as a candidate for the Republican nomination. But Roosevelt had delayed too long, and Taft had already won the support of most party leaders in the country. Because of LaFollette's nervous breakdown on the campaign trail before Roosevelt's entry, most of LaFollette's supporters went over to Roosevelt, the new progressive Republican candidate. Roosevelt, stepping up his attack on judges, carried nine of the states with preferential primaries, LaFollette took two, and Taft only one. The 1912 Primaries represented the first extensive use of the Presidential Primary, a reform achievement of the progressive movement. However, these primary elections, while demonstrating Roosevelt's popularity with the electorate, were in no ways as important as primaries became later in the century. Firstly, there were fewer states where the common voter was given a forum to express himself, such as a primary. Many more states selected convention delegates either at party conventions, or in caucuses, which were not as open as caucuses later became. While Roosevelt was popular with the public, most professional Republican politicians were supporting Taft, and they proved difficult to upset in non-primary states. Formation of the Bull Moose Party At the Republican Convention in Chicago, despite being the incumbent, Taft's victory was not immediately assured. But after two weeks, Roosevelt, realizing he would not be able to win the nomination outright, asked his followers to leave the convention hall. They moved to the Auditorium Theatre, and then Roosevelt, along with key allies such as Pinchot and Albert Beveridge created the Progressive Party, structuring it as a permanent organization that would field complete tickets at the presidential and state level. Roosevelt's platform echoed his 1907-08 proposals, calling for vigorous government intervention to protect the people from the selfish interests.
While Roosevelt was campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1912, a saloonkeeper named John Schrank shot him, but the bullet lodged in his chest only after penetrating both his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick (50 pages) single-folded copy of the speech he was carrying in his jacket. Roosevelt, as an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he wasn't coughing blood the bullet had not completely penetrated the chest wall to his lung, and so declined suggestions he go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt. He spoke for ninety minutes. Afterwards, probes and X-ray showed that the bullet had traversed three inches (76 mm) of tissue and lodged in Roosevelt's chest muscle but did not penetrate the pleura, and it would be more dangerous to attempt to remove the bullet than to leave it in place. Roosevelt carried it with him for the rest of his life. Due to the bullet wound, Roosevelt was taken off the campaign trail in the final weeks of the race (which ended election day, November 5). Though the other two campaigners stopped their own campaigns in the week Roosevelt was in the hospital, they resumed it once he was released. The overall effect of the shooting was uncertain. Roosevelt for many reasons failed to move enough Republicans in his direction. He did win 4.1 million votes (27%), compared to Taft's 3.5 million (23%). However, Wilson's 6.3 million votes (42%) were enough to garner 435 electoral votes. Roosevelt had 88 electoral votes to Taft's 8 electoral votes. (This meant that Taft became the only incumbent President in history to actually come in third place in an attempt to be re-elected.) But Pennsylvania was Roosevelt's only Eastern state; in the Midwest he carried Michigan, Minnesota and South Dakota; in the West, California and Washington; he did not win any Southern states. Although he lost, he won more votes than former presidents Martin Van Buren and Millard Fillmore who also ran again and also lost. More important, he pulled so many progressives out of the Republican party that it took on a much more conservative cast for the next generation.
Roosevelt barely survived an expedition in 1913 into the Amazonian rain forest to trace the River of Doubt later named the Rio Roosevelt. During the trip down the river, Roosevelt contracted malaria and a serious infection resulting from a minor leg wound. These illnesses so weakened Roosevelt that, by six weeks into the expedition, he had to be attended day and night by the expedition's physician, Dr. Cajazeira, and his son, Kermit. By this time, Roosevelt considered his own condition a threat to the survival of the others. At one point, Kermit had to talk him out of his wish to be left behind so as not to slow down the expedition, now with only a few weeks rations left. Roosevelt was having chest pains when he tried to walk, his temperature soared to 103 °F (39 °C), and at times he was delirious. He had lost over fifty pounds (20 kg). Without the constant support of his son, Kermit, Dr. Cajazeira, and the continued leadership of Colonel Rondon, Roosevelt would likely have perished. Despite his concern for Roosevelt, Rondon had been slowing down the pace of the expedition by his dedication to his own map-making and other geographical goals that demanded regular stops to fix the expedition's position via sun-based survey. Upon his return to New York, friends and family were startled by Roosevelt's physical appearance and fatigue. Roosevelt wrote to a friend that the trip had cut his life short by ten years. He might not have really known just how accurate that analysis would prove to be, because the effects of the South America expedition had so greatly weakened him that they significantly contributed to his declining health. For the rest of his life, he would be plagued by flareups of malaria and leg inflammations so severe that they would require hospitalization. When Roosevelt had recovered enough of his strength, he found that he had a new battle on his hands. In professional circles, there was doubt about his claims of having discovered and navigated a completely uncharted river over 625 miles (1,000 km) long. Roosevelt would have to defend himself and win international recognition of the expedition's newly-named Rio Roosevelt. Toward this end, Roosevelt went to Washington, D.C., and spoke at a standing-room-only convention to defend his claims. His official report and its defense silenced the critics, and he was able to triumphantly return to his home in Oyster Bay.
Despite his weakened condition and slow recovery from his South America expedition, Roosevelt continued to write with passion on subjects ranging from foreign policy to the importance of the national park system. As an editor of Outlook magazine, he had weekly access to a large, educated national audience. In all, Roosevelt wrote about 18 books (each in several editions), including his Autobiography, Rough Riders and History of the Naval War of 1812, ranching, explorations, and wildlife. His most ambitious book was the 4 volume narrative The Winning of the West, which attempted to connect the origin of a new "race" of Americans (i.e. what he considered the present population of the United States to be) to the frontier conditions their ancestors endured in throughout the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries.
Roosevelt angrily complained about the foreign policy of President Wilson, calling it "weak." This caused him to develop an intense dislike for Woodrow Wilson. When World War I began in 1914, Roosevelt strongly supported the Allies of World War I and demanded a harsher policy against Germany, especially regarding submarine warfare. In 1916, he campaigned energetically for Charles Evans Hughes and repeatedly denounced Irish-Americans and German-Americans who Roosevelt said were unpatriotic because they put the interest of Ireland and Germany ahead of America's by supporting neutrality. He insisted one had to be 100% American, not a "hyphenated American" who juggled multiple loyalties. When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, Roosevelt sought to raise a volunteer infantry division, but Wilson refused. Roosevelt's attacks on Wilson helped the Republicans win control of Congress in the off-year elections of 1918. Roosevelt was popular enough to seriously contest the 1920 Republican nomination, but his health was broken by 1918, because of the lingering malaria. His son Quentin, a daring pilot with the American forces in France, was shot down behind German lines in 1918.
Despite his debilitating diseases, Roosevelt remained active to the end of his life. He was an enthusiastic proponent of the Scouting movement. The Boy Scouts of America gave him the title of Chief Scout Citizen. On January 6, 1919, Roosevelt died in his sleep at Oyster Bay of a coronary embolism, preceded by a 2 1/2-month illness described as inflammatory rheumatism, and was buried in nearby Youngs Memorial Cemetery. Upon receiving word of his death, his son, Archie, telegraphed his siblings simply, "The old lion is dead."
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