“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest man to ever be President. Maybe that’s why he was so adventurous. Roosevelt once swam with sharks to explore a shipwreck. He went on expeditions to Africa and the jungles of Brazil. He joined a boxing program in college.
But Roosevelt hadn’t always been a thrill seeker. As a child he was weak and sickly. He spent a lot of time in bed. His father finally recommended physical activity as a cure for his poor health. It worked. Roosevelt graduated from Harvard University, ready to take on the world.
- Teddy Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858 in New York, New York.
- He came from a wealthy family and he was homeschooled.
- Roosevelt’s mother and wife died on the same day in 1884. His wife died only two days after giving birth to their only child, Alice. Roosevelt was grief stricken. He moved to the West where he worked as a cowboy. He gained the other cowboys’ respect because of his honesty and courage.
- Roosevelt moved back to the East Coast and married Edith Kermit Carrow. He became a member of the New York City Police Board and worked as McKinley’s assistant secretary of the Navy.
- The Roosevelts had five children.
- During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt gathered his old friends – cowboys, Native Americans, and New York City police officers — to fight. His group was known as the “Rough Riders.”
- After the war, Roosevelt served as governor of New York and then became McKinley’s Vice President. When McKinley was assassinated, Roosevelt became President.
- During his Presidency, Roosevelt continued work on the Panama Canal. He made laws for safer food and medicines. He set aside millions of acres of land for conservation.
- Roosevelt also broke up monopolies, or powerful companies that controlled whole industries. These companies were too powerful. They could demand whatever prices they wanted. Roosevelt said this wasn’t fair.
- Roosevelt believed that the U.S. had a responsibility to protect the Western Hemisphere. He said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” This meant that when dealing with other countries, it was best to be diplomatic, but be prepared to use force when necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Did Roosevelt have children in the White House?
Answer: Yes. He was a playful, devoted father and husband. The children sometimes got into trouble with White House staff for making messes or causing mischief.
Visit the TR Site to learn more about Theodore Roosevelt.