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Theodore Roosevelt

— 26th President of the United States —

View full portraits at:
National Portrait Gallery or the White House Presidential Portrait Gallery

 

ELECTED FROM: New York
POLITICAL PARTY:
Republican
TERM:
September 14, 1901 to March 3, 1909

BORN: October 27, 1858
BIRTHPLACE:
New York City, New York
DIED:
January 6, 1919, Oyster Bay, New York
OCCUPATION:
Public official, lawyer
MARRIED:
Alice Lee, 1880;
Edith Carow, 1886
CHILDREN:
Alice, Theodore Jr., Kermit, Ethel, Archibald, Quentin

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt loved the outdoors. Along with nature, he developed an early love for animals. With the aid of his two cousins, he established what he called the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History, which was a collection of large and small animals that he exhibited in his home. This interest in nature was demonstrated when he set aside the area now known as Yellowstone as a national park for the use of all the people.

Exercise remained an important part of Roosevelt's daily life even after he entered politics. As governor of New York, he wrestled regularly with a middleweight champion. As president, he boxed often with sparring partners until he suffered a severe eye injury. After that, he took up jujitsu. Other favorite sports included horseback riding, tennis, hiking, and even swimming in the icy waters of the Potomac River.

An avid reader, Roosevelt particularly liked the works of Charles Dickens and wrote numerous books himself.

Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1898 when he resigned to fight in the Spanish-American War with the "Rough Riders."

At 42, Roosevelt was the youngest man ever to become president. Roosevelt's main platforms were the enforcement of fair business practices, wilderness conservation, and the prohibition of alcohol. His leadership was the driving force behind construction of the Panama Canal, which provided an important route for shipping traffic. But he may be most famous as the namesake for the "Teddy Bear," which was coined from a political cartoon that showed his kindness to some bear cubs.

Roosevelt won reelection to the presidency in 1904, then declined his party's nomination in 1908. However, he decided to run again in 1912 against William Howard Taft. When he lost the Republican nomination, he formed the Bull Moose party. This action split the Republican forces, and allowed Woodrow Wilson to win.

He later retired to his home on Long Island, New York where he died on January 6, 1919 after suffering on and off for many years from malaria, which he contracted while traveling through Brazil.


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