American Studies/ Roosevelt, Teddy term paper 13274

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He first tried the law profession by enrolling in Columbia University. He did

not enjoy it and soon left school. He published his first book in 1882 it was

entitled “The Naval War of 1812”. He had begun work on it while still at

Harvard. Then Teddy decided that he would try a career in politics. His first

position was on the state assembly in the state of New York. He ran as a

republican and won the position easily. At this position he did two major

things: first he exposed a corrupt judge and secondly he learned to work with

men from both parties. Instead of going for a second term of legislature he

decided that he would go to the Republican National Convention in Chicago.

He went as the chairman for the New York delegation.

While Roosevelt’s professional life was flourishing his personal life was

not in very good shape. In 1884 both his wife and mother died. His wife died

while giving birth to their daughter, Alice. Roosevelt would take a break from

politics and form the Elkhorn ranch on the Little Missouri River in the Dakota

Territory. On his ranch he led the life of a cowboy. He would round up cattle

and ride horses all day. It was a good break for Roosevelt. One story tells of

Roosevelt capturing three thieves and holding them at gun point for 6 days

until they reached the proper authorities. Also during this time Roosevelt

wrote 2 more books (Hunting Trips of a Ranch Man and Thomas Hart Benton)

and fell in love with Edith Kermit Carow. On December 2, 1886 Roosevelt and

Carow went to London to be married. When they returned to the United

States Roosevelt set his mind back on politics.

He was very active in the presidential campaign of 1888 when Benjamin

Harrison defeated Grover Cleveland. Roosevelt believed in hiring government

workers on their skills not based on their party affiliation. At the time the

winner of the race would hire every one that had helped them win the race

even if they were not qualified for the position. Harrison would award his

efforts by appointing him the U.S. Civil Services Commissioner. As

commissioner he would continue to challenge “patronage”. He did such a

good job that when Cleveland beat Harrison for reelection he kept him as Civil

Services Commissioner. In 1895 Roosevelt would return to New York City to

take the position of Police Commissioner. He would battle police corruption

and try to reform the police department in his years as commissioner. He

would then become Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

In 1898 after the U.S. had declared war on Spain Roosevelt resigned

from his position so he could form what would become known as the Rough

Riders. While in Cuba Teddy would gain fame in the papers for his daring

and intelligence in battle. After the war he would be elected governor of New

York. Soon afterward New York Senator Thomas Platt would convince him to

run with McKinley as Vice President. McKinley won but eight days later he

was shot and Roosevelt became President of the United States.


One of the major things Roosevelt did as President was come up with

what he called the “Square Deal”. In this “Square Deal” he planned that

everyone would be treated the same and that the rich should not be given

special privileges that the poor were not given. One of Roosevelt’s more

famous quotes was “Speak softly but carry a big stick”. The big stick was the

threat of war on forgein countries.

Another major accomplishment of Roosevelt’s administration was the

building of the Panama Canal which he would supervise during his time in

office. In 1904 he would be elected to his second term in office. He defeated

Alton B. Parker, a judge who was from New York. During his second term in

office he would establish the Pure Food and Drug Act which prevented food

that could potential harm you from being sold. He also started major

conservation projects to help save forest land and also establish National


In the election of 1908 Roosevelt would not run for the Presidency

because he earlier had promised not to run for a third term. This left the

Republican slot for president open. It was filled with William Taft who with

Roosevelt’s backing would wind the presidency.


Later in 1912 after Taft had enraged him, Roosevelt decided to run for

the presidency again. On his campaign tour while in Milwaukee someone

attempted to assassinate him. He survived and pressed on but he would lose

the race to democrat Woodrow Wilson. He spent most of the rest of his life

campaigning and helping the Republican party. He did take a break to go on

a journey down the Amazon River. This would contribute to his failing health

and he would die in his sleep at his home in Oyster Bay.



Whitney, David C. The American Presidents. Doubleday, 6th ed., 1986.

Great Lives from History: American Series. Ed. by Frank N. Magill. 5v.

Salem, 1987.

Encarta ‘98 “Teddy Roosevelt”.

Word Count: 830


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