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Saturday, April 18, 2009

American President: Theodore Roosevelt, and Much More

American President: Theodore Roosevelt, and Much More

The words, American President: Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919,) conjure up images of the 26th president of the U.S. who, during the Spanish-American War, earned lasting fame as the colonel who led the Rough Rider Regiment’s foot charge at San Juan Heights, Cuba.

But limiting this versatile leader’s legacy to those two events is like painting the Grand Canyon in black & white.

What other American leader wrote more than 35 books; served as police commissioner of New York City, governor of New York state, and assistant secretary of the Navy; gave a 90-minute speech with a fresh bullet in his chest before seeking medical assistance; won the Nobel Peace Prize; and negotiated a treaty that led to the construction of the Panama Canal?

Facts, dates, and events concerning the life of Theodore Roosevelt include:

* Born October 27, 1858 in New York City

* 1880 Graduates from Harvard magna cum laude

* 1881 Youngest man ever elected to New York State Assembly

* 1882 Publishes first book, The Naval War of 1812, which becomes required reading at Naval Academy

* February 14, 1884 Both mother and wife die same day, separate illnesses

* 1895 Becomes police commissioner of New York City

* 1897 Appointed assistant secretary of the Navy

* July 1, 1898 Battle of San Juan Heights; leads the charge on foot

* November 8, 1898 Elected governor of New York

* 1900 Elected U.S. vice president

* 1901 Age 42, Roosevelt becomes youngest U.S. president when McKinley dies of gunshot wound

* 1903 Signs treaty with Panama to build Panama Canal five days after Panama secedes from Colombia

* 1905 Establishes National Forest Service

* 1905 Gives away deceased brother’s daughter, Eleanor Roosevelt, in marriage to her distant cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt

* November 8-26, 1906 Becomes first U.S. president to leave country while in office; visits Panama Canal project

* December 10, 1906 Wins Nobel Peace Prize for role in ending Russo-Japanese War

* 1909 Leads Smithsonian hunting expedition to Africa

* 1912 Delivers 90-minute speech in Milwaukee before seeking aid following assassination attempt that permanently left bullet in his chest

* 1919 At age 60, dies in sleep from blood clot

Roosevelt’s credits go on and on like those flashed on the big screen after Gandhi or Gone With the Wind.

He founded the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Boone and Crocket Club, wrote in excess of 150,000 letters, and expanded the powers and responsibilities of the presidency. In addition, Theodore Roosevelt, who reportedly hated being called “Teddy,” help transition the U.S. from a stance of political isolationism to one geared toward bringing order and social justice to American industry and commerce.

Theodore Roosevelt also is heralded by historians as a man who successfully mediated international disputes involving Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Morocco.

Toss this man’s resume in one place, and it’s evident that the phraseology, American President: Theodore Roosevelt, fails to capture the true essence of this multi-talented man.

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