Dafato Team | Jun 7, 2022
Table of Content
- Childhood and family
- Education and training
- First marriage
- Second marriage
- Member of the New York State Assembly (1882-1884)
- Retreat in Dakota (1884-1885)
- Candidate for mayor of New York (1886)
- Member of the government commission on federal officials (1888-1895)
- Chief of the New York Police Department (1894-1895)
- Assistant Secretary of the Navy and war against Spain in Cuba (1895-1898)
- Governor of the State of New York (1899-1900)
- Vice President of the United States (1901)
- President of the United States (1901-1909)
- After the presidency (1909-1911)
- Presidential campaign of 1912
- Scientific expedition in Amazonia (1913-1914)
- Allied support during the First World War (1914-1918)
- Aborted return to politics (1916-1919)
- History of the bear
Theodore Roosevelt (pronounced in English :
A man of frail health, he had various jobs before and after his political involvement, as varied as museum curator, writer, essayist, historian, military man, naturalist and ornithologist.
His presidency is considered one of the most important in U.S. history. In the rankings made by historians and journalists, Theodore Roosevelt is considered one of the greatest presidents and was always ranked in the top eight. His effigy was reproduced on Mount Rushmore alongside Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
Childhood and family
Theodore Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858 in New York City at East 28th Street in Manhattan. He was the youngest son of Martha Bulloch Roosevelt (en) (1835-1884) and Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. (1831-1878), a businessman and philanthropist. His father made his fortune in the import
The Roosevelts came from aristocratic families of Dutch origin, descended from Claes Martenzsen Van Rosenvelt (1626-1659), who settled in New Amsterdam around 1650 and whose descendants (via his son Nicholas) produced another American president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In addition to his Dutch ancestry, Theodore also has Scottish, German, Welsh and French ancestry. By descent or marriage, Theodore Roosevelt is also a distant relative of several American presidents (John Adams, James Madison, Martin Van Buren, William Howard Taft).
Theodore's childhood was quite complicated, with repeated asthma attacks that did not worry the doctors. In addition to being asmathic, he regularly suffers from fever and nausea. He is nevertheless a lively and open-minded young boy. His fragile health prevented him from going out, which encouraged him to read. He quickly became a voracious and compulsive reader. At the age of five and a half, he attended Abraham Lincoln's funeral, following the funeral procession through New York City on its way to Springfield, Illinois. He spends his summers in the Adirondacks, on Long Island or on the banks of the Hudson River. At the age of seven, he discovered an interest in zoology when he saw a dead pinniped at a local market. After acquiring the animal's head, he and his cousins formed the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History. He learns the basics of taxidermy and multiplies the catches. His father even introduced him to John Graham Bell, a well-known naturalist and taxidermist. This developed his taste for hunting, which he practiced assiduously thereafter. He studied the animals and prepared them for display. He wrote down his observations in a notebook, which was later named "Histoire naturelle des insectes". In 1871, he donated his animals to the American Museum of Natural History, which his father co-founded. His family defended the Union side during the Civil War, although some of his father's clients were close to the Confederates. One of her uncles fought for the Confederate States Army. She was so well known in New York that The New York Times published nearly 130 articles on the Roosevelt family between 1851 and her father's death.
In 1869, Theodore Sr. decided to take his family on a Grand Tour of Western Europe. He hoped that the health of his children would improve during the trip, as they were all in rather fragile condition, especially since Martha had been very bored since the end of the war. The Roosevelts traveled through Europe for a year. During a trip to the Alps, Theodore discovers that physical exertion has beneficial effects on his asthma and also on his morale. Back home, he began to be very active, not hesitating to hire a boxing coach after a bad match. In 1871, he finally obtained good quality eyeglasses, as his eyesight was quite average. The following year, the Roosevelts embarked on a new Grand Tour of Europe, but also of Egypt and Syria. Having a gun license, he shot and collected many birds during the Egypt trip, which he observed and continued to record. The trip ended in Vienna, where the 1873 World's Fair was to be held, in which Theodore Sr. was to participate.
Education and training
Young Theodore was educated at home, studying with tutors and his parents. However, one of his biographers, H. W. Brands, points out that this particular education was not without consequences later on:
Theodore did well in geography, and excelled in history, biology, French, and German (languages he learned in 1873 while staying with a German family in Dresden during the World's Fair); however, he did poorly in mathematics and English literature. On September 27, 1876, he entered Harvard University. His father, who had been his role model since childhood, gave him the following advice for success in his studies:
The untimely death of his father on February 9, 1878, upset him, but it also pushed him to intensify his efforts to obtain his degree. This did not prevent him from inheriting $65,000 (or $1,743,121 in 2020), enough to live comfortably and well for the rest of his life.
During his time at Harvard, he did well in the natural sciences, philosophy and rhetoric, but poorly in ancient languages (Latin and ancient Greek). He studied biology assiduously, making him a recognized naturalist and ornithologist. He published a photographic work devoted to ornithology. In parallel to his studies, he participated in a few amateur boxing tournaments. After graduation, he abandoned the idea of studying natural sciences and started a law degree at Columbia Law School. However, he did not finish his studies, and returned to New York to the family home. He wrote a book about the naval battles during the Anglo-American War of 1812, assisted by two of his uncles.
During his studies at Harvard, he met Alice Hathaway, the daughter of a banker. He married her after four years of relationship, on October 27, 1880. From this union was born a daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980). But Alice died a few days after giving birth, the same day as Theodore's mother, who died of typhoid fever on February 14, 1884.
On December 2, 1886, he married his childhood friend Edith, despite the reluctance of his sisters. The couple got married in London at St. George's Church in Hanover Square:
The couple is also raising Theodore's oldest daughter, who is regularly in conflict with her stepmother.
Member of the New York State Assembly (1882-1884)
In 1882, he was elected to the New York State Assembly on the Republican Party ticket for the 21st District. He quickly made his mark and was quick to select his issues. He fought corporate corruption and prevented Jay Gould, a prominent New York financier, from obtaining a tax exemption. He highlights the corruption of a New York Supreme Court Justice but, despite a thorough investigation, fails to get him removed from office. His attitude during the investigation quickly made him a respected local figure. This famous judge was replaced upon his death in 1885 by Alton Parker, the future Democratic presidential candidate in 1904 against Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt managed to win re-election on an anti-corruption line in his district despite the victory of Grover Cleveland, future president, in his district in the election for governor of New York State. With the help of Roscoe Conkling's supporters, Conkling himself being a federal senator for New York State, and despite the disarray caused by the assassination of James Abraham Garfield a few months earlier, Roosevelt succeeded in getting elected majority leader of the State Assembly. He joined forces with Grover Cleveland to pass a civil service reform. Re-elected a second time, he failed to become Speaker of the State Assembly.
As the presidential election of 1884 approached, Roosevelt sought to make his views known to the local Republican Party. Initially, he supported Vermont federal Senator George F. Edmunds (en) for the nomination. However, the local party supported the re-election of Chester Alan Arthur, who succeeded James A. Garfield in the White House. Nevertheless, Arthur renounced his candidacy due to health concerns. Roosevelt nevertheless managed to influence the Republican delegates from New York State at the local convention in Utica. He negotiated late into the night and managed to outmaneuver Arthur's supporters and former Garfield Secretary of State James G. Blaine. As a result of the convention, he gained a reputation at the federal level and became a key figure in the state.
He attended the Republican National Convention in Chicago and tried to defeat Blaine's nomination for president. When he failed, he retired for a time to Little Missouri in Dakota Territory. He refused to join the other Mugwumps and support the candidacy of Grover Cleveland, the former Democratic governor of New York State. Realizing that by refusing to support Blaine's candidacy, he risked losing his influence in the Republican Party, he announced on July 19, 1884 his decision to support him. Nevertheless, he lost the support of the vast majority of the reform delegates and decided to withdraw to Dakota.
Retreat in Dakota (1884-1885)
Deeply affected by the death of his mother and his first wife Alice, Theodore retired to a farm in Dakota Territory. His first visit to the territory was in 1883 to hunt buffalo. For two years, he lived like a Wild West cowboy. He gained the respect of his peers, although they were not impressed.
Like many Americans of his time, he had very harsh feelings towards Blacks and American Indians. He declared about them in 1886, while the Indian wars were still going on: "I do not think that the only good Indians are the dead Indians, but that is true for nine out of ten, not counting the tenth, which I do not wish to consider.
Candidate for mayor of New York (1886)
Member of the government commission on federal officials (1888-1895)
In the 1888 presidential election, former President William Henry Harrison's grandson Benjamin surprised everyone by winning the Republican nomination over James G. Blaine, the party's nominee four years earlier, at the Republican National Convention. Blaine, the party's candidate four years earlier, at the Republican National Convention. Roosevelt actively campaigned for Harrison, giving several speeches in the Midwest in support of his candidacy. Benjamin Harrison won over Grover Cleveland on Election Day, despite losing the popular vote.
At the insistence of Henry Cabot Lodge, President Harrison appointed Roosevelt to the governmental commission to deal with matters concerning federal employees. Theodore served on this commission until 1895. While many of his peers viewed the office as a penance, the future president was fully committed to his role and pushed for stronger laws regarding federal employees. He resumed his fight against the corruption that was present in the federal government. However, Roosevelt's positions sometimes politically weakened Benjamin Harrison. Despite his support for Harrison's re-election bid in the 1892 presidential election, Grover Cleveland reappointed him when he returned to the White House.
Chief of the New York Police Department (1894-1895)
In 1894, he was approached by a group of Republican reformers to run again for mayor of New York. Theodore gave up, mainly at the insistence of his wife who did not wish to abandon her activities in Washington. He retired for a few months in North Dakota, while his wife began to regret her decision, which she swore would not be repeated in the future. Ironically, it was a reform-minded Republican, William L. Strong, who won the municipal election. Strong offered her the position of New York City Police Chief, which Roosevelt accepted.
Thus, Roosevelt radically reformed the New York police force, in particular by imposing annual inspections and physical fitness tests, and gave priority to men's abilities rather than their political affiliation. He introduced the merit medal and ended the corrupt practices that had been common until then. Theodore himself made nightly rounds to ensure that his men performed their duties properly. He alienated many of the state's Republican elite, including federal Senator Thomas C. Platt and some of the city's staff. However, Roosevelt did not hesitate to attack his opponents head on.
Governor of the State of New York (1899-1900)
As governor, Roosevelt confronted the economic realities of his state and experimented with new political techniques that he would often use during his presidency. Even before entering the White House, he was confronted with the problems of trusts, monopolies, labor relations and conservation. He innovated by holding two press conferences a day - a first at the time - which allowed him to stay close to his electoral base. He soon broke away from his mentors and pursued his own policies. As the head of the most populous state in the United States, Roosevelt quickly became a potential presidential candidate. Some of his supporters, including William Allen White, explicitly encouraged him to run for president in 1900. Roosevelt, however, saw no point in running against McKinley, but did not get the position he wanted as Secretary of War. Roosevelt nevertheless considered running in the next election, scheduled for 1904, although he did not know if he would run for a second term as governor.
Vice President of the United States (1901)
In November 1899, McKinley's vice president, Garret Hobart, died of heart failure. Thus, the Republican ticket was to be reconstituted for the 1900 presidential election. Once again, Henry Cabot Lodge encouraged Roosevelt to step forward and run for the vice presidential nomination. However, Roosevelt was reluctant to jump in, and made it known in a statement that he would refuse to accept a possible nomination. In addition, McKinley and his campaign manager Mark Hanna informed him that he would not be the successful candidate because of his actions in Cuba. Paradoxically, New York Republicans conducted an active press campaign in his favor, forgiving Theodore for his independence as governor. After much negotiation, Roosevelt won the nomination by unanimous acclamation of the delegates. The campaign between Bryan and McKinley was fierce, with the coinage and the Spanish-American War taking up a large part of it, but McKinley was triumphantly re-elected on Election Day. In January 1901, he was initiated into Freemasonry.
On March 4, 1901, Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as Vice President of the United States. His vice presidency was marked by a lack of significant events, and he presided over the Senate for only four days before it adjourned.
President of the United States (1901-1909)
On September 6, 1901, while William McKinley was visiting the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, he was shot twice in the abdomen by Polish-American anarchist Leon Czolgosz. The president was poorly treated on the spot but seemed to recover from his injuries. He finally died eight days later, on September 14 at 2:15 am. Roosevelt was on vacation in Vermont, but he postponed his vacation to visit the president in the hospital. He was at North Creek in the Adirondack Mountains of New York when McKinley died suddenly. He rode to Buffalo on horseback and then by train, but arrived in the state capital in dirty, unsuitable clothes. He borrowed more formal civilian clothes from a friend, Ansley Wilcox (en), and was sworn in as president in his home.
His accession to the presidency meant that the office of vice-president remained vacant until the presidential election of 1904. Roosevelt reassured McKinley's supporters and vowed to respect the late president's political agenda, reappointing much of the cabinet. Even so, Roosevelt found himself in a strong position for the next presidential election, as no other figure had emerged in the Republican Party.
The arrival of Theodore Roosevelt in the White House marked a turning point in the Progressive Era. It gave the progressive wing of the Republican Party a president with a shared vision of what the United States should be. Corruption, present in the federal government since the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, was still present in the halls of Congress. The president wanted to rein in the trusts, but not to destroy the American capitalist model. From this point of view, Roosevelt was in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton, a supporter of strong federal power.
In 1904, there were 318 holdings, agreements or other trusts that grouped together 5,288 companies and generated a capital of 7.25 billion dollars. At the time, this group controlled more than 5,000 factories. However, Roosevelt had taken legal action against certain groupings as early as 1902 against the Northern Securities, which grouped together numerous railroad companies headed by J. P. Morgan, Edward Henry Harriman and James J. Hill. Without this intervention, the Morgan group would have had control of the Northwestern railroads. In 1904, the Supreme Court made an important decision that upset the law of competition, as the railroad trust was dismantled. Roosevelt launched some 40 lawsuits, while distinguishing between "good" and "bad" trusts, particularly on the basis of the benefits that could be derived by Americans. In 1906, the Hepburn Act regulated railroad rates, which farmers had complained about since the end of the Civil War. By this time, the railroad network had grown to 360,000 miles. However, he was unable to get the Department of Commerce, which he had helped create in January 1903, to control the rates.
In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt launched an emblematic procedure against the agri-food industry trusts, which were singled out in the book The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, which denounced the deplorable conditions in which immigrant workers in the Chicago slaughterhouses were slaughtering animals. In June 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act were passed by Congress to reinforce control, hygiene and sanitary measures in slaughterhouses and the food industry.
Between 1899 and 1908, European direct investment abroad doubled from $3.5 million to $6 million.
In 1901, U.S. Steel was founded and quickly became the first company to reach $1 billion in capital. That same year, the United States was the world's leading industrial power.
To support economic activity, the president supports the gold standard and implements a tax credit policy.
The trade balance was consistently in surplus during his presidency.
He created the Department of Commerce and Labor after the conflict was resolved, to prevent this kind of incident from happening again.
In all, nearly 9 million immigrants arrived in the United States between 1901 and 1910, including nearly 1.3 million in 1907. During the second term of Theodore Roosevelt, nearly 5 million immigrants arrived in the United States and until 1910.
In 1907, Congress passed a law banning the Japanese from entering the United States. Three years earlier, Congress had renewed the Chinese Exclusion Act.
Theodore Roosevelt never put civil rights and minority policy high on his agenda. Like most Americans at the time, he was openly racist. Several statements make this point. In a speech in honor of Abraham Lincoln on February 13, 1905, he declared that white Americans were "the forward race" and that they should help other races, considered inferior ("the backward race"), in all areas of public life. Already in 1886, he declared about the American Indians that :
He also writes the following about them in his book The Winning of the West:
He also makes no secret of his feelings about African-Americans:
However, as president, he had to face the problem of minorities, even more so with regard to African-Americans who had been subjected to racial segregation in the Deep South since the Compromise of 1877 and the adoption of Jim Crow laws.
Upon becoming president, he invited Booker T. Washington, one of the most influential civil rights activists of the early part of the century, to dinner at the White House. Over dinner, the two men discussed politics, civil rights and racism. Two days later, the dinner was front-page news, creating a great deal of discontent, particularly in the South. Several other invitations to Washington were rescinded, and Roosevelt never again invited an African American to the White House.
His main achievement was to appoint the first Jew to the cabinet, Oscar Straus as Secretary of Commerce in 1906.
The first national parks date back to 1872 for Yellowstone Park (straddling Wyoming, Montana and Idaho) and 1890 for Yosemite Park (California). Since his first visit to North Dakota in 1883, Theodore Roosevelt had been an advocate of nature conservation, and it was only natural that he put a conservation program on his agenda. He did not see his conservation efforts solely from an environmental perspective, but also as a way to protect all Americans equally, not just the wealthy. He pursued an active conservation policy, creating several additional national parks (Crater Lake Park in Oregon in 1902, Wind Cave Park in South Dakota, Mesa Verde Park in Colorado, and Grand Canyon Park in Arizona in 1906) and passing an important law, the Newlands Reclamation Act, which established a practice of regular irrigation and watering of forests and gave the federal government the final say on irrigation in general and on the construction of dams. He made Gifford Pinchot chief of the Forest Service, which presided over national forest conservation programs. He promoted the creation of 150 national forests. In 1906, he passed the Antiquities Act, which allowed the federal government to establish national monuments within federal reservations. Two years later, he convened a conference of all governors at the White House to launch state conservation programs. During the conference, he states the following:
"...the time has come to take a serious look at what will happen when our forests disappear, when coal, iron, oil and gas are depleted, when soils become even more impoverished and flow into streams, polluting rivers, denuding fields and disrupting navigation."
This is the first time that all the governors have been assembled at one meeting in Washington. He also set up a commission of inquiry to take stock of the state of the nation's natural resources. It will report its findings after he leaves the White House.
He made the Grand Canyon a national monument in 1908, along with 17 other sites. He also created 51 ornithological reserves. Thus, 230 million hectares were dedicated to nature conservation during his presidency.
Even today, Theodore Roosevelt is considered the most "green" president in the history of the United States. In the program La Marche de l'histoire on France Inter, environmental historian Valérie Chansigaud states that :
"Theodore Roosevelt was the first president and perhaps the only president to have an environmental conscience."
On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma was admitted as the 46th state of the Union.
Until the presidential election of 1904, Theodore Roosevelt had to deal with the conservative wing of the party. It was only during his second term that he managed to impose his views on Congress. Roosevelt owed his accession to the presidency only to the will of the New York Republicans to get rid of him.
Control of the Republican Party was in the hands of New York Republicans and Ohio federal senator Mark Hanna, a former campaign manager and close associate of former president William McKinley. Although Hanna had agreed to work with Roosevelt during his first term, he was reluctant to run against him in the 1904 presidential election. Well helped by Mark Hanna's running mate, Senator Joseph B. Foraker, the powerful Ohio tycoon was forced to call on local Republicans to support Roosevelt as his presidential candidate. Not wanting to break with Roosevelt so as not to lose control of the party, Hanna publicly announced his support for the incumbent president. The deaths of Hanna and Pennsylvania's federal senator Matthew Quay meant that Roosevelt faced little opposition at the party's national convention. To preserve the supporters of the late Mark Hanna, Roosevelt nominated former McKinley Secretary of the Interior Cornelius Newton Bliss to lead the party, but Bliss declined the nomination. He then turned to one of his relatives, the New Yorker George B. Cortelyou, but this choice was rejected. As a candidate for vice-president, he was forced to accept the conservative candidate, federal senator Charles W. Fairbanks of Indiana. His first choice had been rejected by the delegates.
The Democratic Party chose as its presidential candidate the Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals, Alton Parker, whose political convictions were unclear but who, like Roosevelt, had a common interest in fighting corruption. This did not stop Democrats from accusing Republicans, led by the incumbent, of taking bribes during the campaign. The Democrats' accusations are hardly substantiated, and the party suffers from Parker's conservatism, while those who promoted his candidacy thought they were uniting supporters of William Jennings Bryan and former President Cleveland. But it turned out that some Democrats supported the candidacy of Theodore Roosevelt. For his part, the president turned down a $100,000 contribution from Standard Oil (the equivalent of $2.9 million in 2020).
Shortly before taking office for his second term, he announced that he would not run for a third term in the 1908 presidential election.
Theodore Roosevelt appreciated the various attractions of the presidential office, especially as he was still young. However, he considered that limiting the number of presidential terms was necessary to avoid a possible dictatorship. He pushed Secretary of State Elihu Root to run for the Republican Party nomination, but Root's health did not allow this to happen. New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes also emerged as a credible candidate for the nomination, especially since he was also part of the party's progressive wing, but Roosevelt considered him too independent. Instead of supporting Hughes, Roosevelt turned to William Howard Taft, then Secretary of War and a member of every Republican cabinet since Benjamin Harrison. The two men had become friends in 1890 when Roosevelt was a member of the commission on federal officials and Taft was general counsel to the Harrison administration. When Roosevelt became president, Taft supported his actions without ever voicing criticism.
At first, Taft was reluctant to run, but Roosevelt's control of the party apparatus helped his protégé's rise. War Department officials were forced to support Taft's candidacy or remain silent or risk losing their jobs. Roosevelt had not hesitated to scupper Hughes' campaign, which was to deliver a major foreign policy speech, by sending a message to Congress urging them to take up the subject of corporate corruption. As a result, Hughes's speech took a back seat. At the same time, Roosevelt reiterated his intention to step down at the end of his second term, despite the urging of Henry Cabot Lodge. Fearing for a while that he would be nominated in a landslide, Taft was comfortably nominated for the presidency at the party's national convention in Chicago. His more conservative stance brought him the most conservative part of the Republican electorate, eager for a change in political direction. Taft won over Hughes, Ohio federal senator Joseph B. Foraker and Pennsylvania federal senator and former attorney general Philander C. Knox.
When he left the White House, Roosevelt was universally regarded as the greatest and most powerful president since Abraham Lincoln.
When Theodore Roosevelt became president, U.S. imperialism began to manifest itself. Since President James Monroe established the doctrine that bears his name, the United States has been primarily concerned with Latin and Central America. During this period, successive presidents and Congress had their eye on Cuba or Hawaii, but only expanded through the purchase of Alaska or the Midway Islands. The Spanish-American War was not politically difficult, as public opinion largely supported it. But from then on, it was no longer possible for the United States to hide, especially since within the Republican Party, an exacerbated nationalism had been expressed for some twenty years. The first signs of American imperialism date back to the 1840s, particularly at the time of the annexation of Texas. The concept of "manifest destiny" appeared in 1845. This movement gained momentum in the 1850s but was interrupted by the Civil War. In December 1898, Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous poem The White Man's Burden in which he urged the United States to take up the torch of Great Britain and civilize the colored peoples.
Since the Monroe Doctrine, the United States has regarded Latin America as its "preserve" or "backyard. With the advent of U.S. imperialism, the victory over Spain in the Spanish-American War, and the nationalist impulses of President Roosevelt, U.S. interventionism in the region was bound to increase.
In June 1901, the US government forced Cuba to add to its constitution the contents of the Platt Amendment, which had made the island a protectorate. However, this decision was contrary to another amendment, the Teller amendment, which had been passed in April 1898. In addition, the Platt Amendment had several consequences:
The American troops left the island in 1902, the year of the island's formal independence, but returned four years later.
In 1906, Cuban President Tomás Estrada Palma was attacked by his opponents, who accused him of election fraud. Both sides called on the United States to intervene, but President Roosevelt was initially reluctant to intervene. He even wanted the island to be "wiped off the map":
"I'm so angry at that infernal little republic of Cuba that I wish they would be wiped off the map. All we want from them is that they behave well, that they are prosperous and happy, so that we don't have to intervene. And now, lo and behold, they've started a completely unjustifiable and unnecessary revolution and things are going to get so complicated that we'll be forced to intervene - which will immediately convince all the suspicious idiots in South America that this is what we wanted after all."
The resignation of Estrada Palma, however, made military intervention necessary, in accordance with the directives of the Platt Amendment and the U.S.-Cuba Treaty. Secretary of War William Howard Taft became provisional governor of the island, while peace was restored to the island. American troops withdrew shortly before the end of Roosevelt's second term. They intervened three times between 1906 and 1917. The Platt Amendment remained in the Cuban constitution until the early 1930s.
In December 1902, the Kaiserliche Marine and the Royal Navy embarked on a maritime blockade of Venezuela. The origin of these maneuvers was the debt that the Latin American country owed to its European creditors, notably the German Empire, the Kingdom of Italy and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Both sides initially made sure that the United States would not seek to invade and annex the country, and President Roosevelt sympathized with the Europeans. However, he feared that Germany would ask Venezuela to cede territory in return. He and Secretary of State John Hay even feared a military occupation, temporary or otherwise, that would lead to a direct presence of a European power in Latin America, even though the Kingdom of Spain had lost its last colonies four years earlier with the Treaty of Paris. As a result, Roosevelt put the United States Navy on alert very early on, placing it under the command of Admiral George Dewey. The president threatened to destroy the German fleet if the German Empire did not agree to negotiate, and William II finally agreed to negotiate. Thanks to American mediation, a compromise was reached in February 1903 with the United Kingdom and the German Empire.
Theodore Roosevelt could not accept the territorial ambitions of the Europeans in Latin America, but he also considered that the Latin American countries should honor their debts to the Europeans. It was after this event that he became aware that the Monroe Doctrine needed to be updated, which would lead to the Roosevelt Corollary.
On December 6, 1904, in a message to Congress, Theodore Roosevelt made his foreign policy intentions known. Not only did he become the first American president to assume the status of a power, but above all, he stated that the United States would be the dominant power in the future:
"The permanent incapacity and erratic, and constant, behavior of a government, the consequence of which would be the generalized dissolution of the bonds which any civilized society forms, requires, in America as everywhere, the intervention of a nation which possesses that civilized character; the fact that within the framework of the Western Hemisphere the United States feels itself responsible by virtue of adherence to the Monroe Doctrine, may compel it, even against its will, in cases of incapacity or flagrant misbehavior, to exercise the role of policeman."
Clearly, Roosevelt meant that the United States could intervene in the economic affairs of Latin American, Caribbean or Central American countries if they defaulted on payments to their European creditors, in order to prevent the Europeans from intervening in Latin America, in accordance with the Monroe Doctrine. Nevertheless, this warning was addressed mainly to the German Empire, which chose not to intervene directly in the region after the Venezuelan crisis of 1902-1903.
The Dominican Republic became the first theater of intervention of the United States after the establishment of the Roosevelt corollary. The country was then heavily indebted to European creditors, notably the German Empire and the United Kingdom. Fearing armed intervention on their part, Theodore Roosevelt reached an agreement with Dominican President Carlos Morales Languasco (es) to temporarily take control of the country's economy, which had already been done permanently for Puerto Rico in 1898. This did not prevent President Roosevelt from declaring:
"It was with the greatest repugnance that I was compelled to take the first step to intervene on this island."
The United States became the master of the customs services and sent economists, including Jacob Hollander, to try to straighten out the country's economy and allow the repayment of debts. The intervention was successful, but it also served as a model for William Howard Taft to implement his "dollar diplomacy. The United States retained control of Dominican tariffs until 1941.
Roosevelt supported the idea of building a canal through Central America that would connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This project became the most important of his presidency. In 1901, it took twice as long to make the crossing between New York and San Francisco as it did between San Francisco and Yokohama. The vast majority of Congress was in favour of the canal project being located in Nicaragua, especially since the Nicaraguan government was willing to negotiate an agreement to carry out the project. Nevertheless, the president was more interested in the Isthmus of Panama, which belonged to Colombia. At the time, Panama was only a department of Colombia, which was fighting against Panamanian independence fighters during the Thousand Days War, which was a de facto civil war. Moreover, a previous project led by France and the Universal Company of the Panama Inter-Oceanic Canal had failed, the project even ending in a financial scandal. A commission appointed by President McKinley reported its findings, favoring the Nicaragua option, while pointing out that the Panama option would allow the project to be completed sooner and at lower cost. Roosevelt and his advisers remained in favour of the Panama option, mainly for strategic reasons, fearing that a European power like the German Empire would challenge American hegemony in Latin America. In addition, the absence of a channel would make it more difficult for the United States to intervene in the region. After bitter discussions, Congress finally released $170 million to complete the Panama Canal project. The Roosevelt administration then rushed to negotiate with the Colombian government to be able to start the work.
An agreement was signed in January 1903, the Herrán-Hay Treaty, granting the United States possession of the strip of land on the Isthmus of Panama in the form of a lease. However, the Colombian Senate refused to ratify the treaty, adding a number of binding amendments demanding more control over the future canal and a larger sum of money to cede the Isthmus. As a result, Panamanian rebel leaders, eager to break with Colombia, called for armed intervention by the United States. Roosevelt himself considered the Colombian president, José Manuel Marroquín, an irresponsible and corrupt autocrat and believed that the Colombians had acted in bad faith in negotiating and then rejecting the treaty. After a new insurrection broke out, Roosevelt sent the fleet to support the rebels and prevent the Colombian government from landing troops. As a result, the local authorities were unable to restore order. Shortly thereafter, Panama declared its independence from Colombia. The Roosevelt administration soon contacted its representatives and began new negotiations to complete the canal project. According to Roosevelt's biographer Edmund Morris, most South American nations welcomed the project as a prospect for economic development, despite criticism from anti-imperialists of the U.S. president for his support of Panamanian separatists.
The representatives of Panama commissioned the French diplomat Philippe Bunau-Varilla to negotiate with Secretary of State John Hay the content of the agreement. On November 18, 1903, the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed, establishing the Panama Canal Zone over which the United States would now exercise sovereignty over the territory and formalizing the start of the canal construction project. The zone and its surroundings were sold to the United States for the sum of 10 million dollars, with an annual payment of 250,000 dollars. The treaty was ratified by the Senate in February 1904 by a vote of 66 to 14. The commission to oversee the work and administer the area was assigned to the new Secretary of War, William Howard Taft. George Whitefield Davis (en) was the first governor of the Panama Canal Zone and Roosevelt appointed John Findley Wallace as the chief engineer of the construction site. After Wallace resigned in 1905, Roosevelt replaced him with John Frank Stevens. Stevens then built a railroad across the Isthmus and began construction of a canal that relied on a system of locks. In 1907, George Washington Goethals succeeded Stevens and directed the construction operations until the end. Roosevelt personally traveled to Panama in November 1906 to see the progress of the work, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to travel outside the United States.
In 1905, he considered that the Philippines had become "the Achilles heel" of the United States. Two years later, he mentioned the possibility of giving independence to the former Spanish colony, depending on the state of political stability. However, he feared an intervention of the German Empire or the Empire of Japan in case of departure.
The American-Filipino war ended during his presidency, with the capture of the two main leaders of the Philippine rebellion, Emilio Aguinaldo on March 23, 1901 and Miguel Malvar (es) on April 16, 1902.
During the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900, the Russian Empire occupied a large part of Manchuria. Once the revolt was crushed, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom asked Tsar Nicholas II to withdraw his troops. At first, the Russians seemed ready to withdraw until 1902, when they reinforced their presence to the detriment of the other powers present in the region. At first, President Roosevelt did not wish to intervene in a remote part of the United States, but it turns out that Japan was ready to attack the Russian Empire. From the beginning of the war, he showed sympathy for Japan and declared that he was willing to mediate to end the conflict. His main concern was to preserve the open-door doctrine and to prevent another power from gaining a foothold in the region, as well as any hegemony in East Asia. The Japanese victory at the siege of Port Arthur in January 1905 marked a decisive step, which allowed President Roosevelt to call on both parties to negotiate starting in August. The conference, held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, ended with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth on September 5, 1905. The Russian Empire had to withdraw its troops from Manchuria, while the Japanese Empire secured control of Korea and the southern part of Sakhalin.
For his efforts to end the conflict, Theodore Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.
After the presidency (1909-1911)
He multiplies conferences after his departure from the White House, which allows him to replenish part of his fortune.
Shortly after leaving office, he left New York to participate in a safari and scientific expedition to Central and East Africa, preparations for which began even before the end of his presidency. The expedition was supported by the U.S. National Museum of Natural History in Washington. Several naturalists accompanied the expedition while his son Kermit was the official photographer. The expedition ended in April 1910. About 11,400 animals were killed during the expedition. He himself returned with more than 3,000 trophies of killed animals.
After the expedition, Theodore Roosevelt went to Egypt. He supported the British presence there, judging that Egypt was not ready to be independent. He refused to meet with Pius X in Rome following a dispute with a very influential Methodist group in the Italian capital. Instead, he met with Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, German Emperor Wilhelm II, King George V and many other European heads of state. In Oslo, he gave a speech in which he called for the creation of an International Criminal Court to arbitrate territorial and military disputes, as well as a world league to preserve peace. During his stay in Europe, he met Gifford Pinchot, the head of the Forest Service, who expressed his dissatisfaction with the policies of William Howard Taft. Pinchot had been dismissed after arguing with Secretary of the Interior Richard A. Ballinger about national park strategy. He returned to the United States in June 1910.
Soon after William Howard Taft's inauguration, Roosevelt became disillusioned with his conduct of public affairs. Taft was much more conservative than he was, but what he accepted even less was that he had not been consulted on presidential cabinet appointments. Until 1910, the old guard of the party retained control of the body. However, Roosevelt and the progressive wing of the party were dissatisfied with the president's conservation and customs policies, and he moved closer and closer to the conservatives, to whom he gave key positions in Congress.
The former president urged his supporters to take the lead in the party at the federal and local levels in order to avoid a breakup and split in the party that might favor the Democrats in the 1912 presidential election. At the same time, he did not hesitate to express his optimism about the Taft administration after a meeting with the president at the White House in June 1910.
In August 1910, Roosevelt broke his silence and openly criticized the policies of the Taft administration in a speech delivered in Osawatomie, Kansas. This speech is considered the starting point of his project of "New Nationalism", where he emphasizes his differences with the conservative Republicans. He defends the priority of work against capitalist interests, to be more attentive to the issue of control of the creation and consolidation of companies as well as a ban on corporate donations to political parties. Back in New York State, he took over the local party from William Barnes Jr. (en), the successor of Thomas C. Platt who died in March. Taft promised to support Roosevelt in his internal struggle, but this support did not materialize at the local convention of 1910, causing the anger of the former president. Nevertheless, Roosevelt campaigned for the Republican candidates in the midterm elections, where the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives for the first time since Grover Cleveland's presidency. Among the newly elected officials, his cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt won election to the New York State Senate on the Democratic ticket, campaigning on the defense of his cousin's proposals against his Republican opponent.
The progressive wing saw the party's failure in the mid-term elections as a need for a major reorganization of the party for the following year. Wisconsin federal senator Robert La Follette joined Gifford Pinchot, publisher and Roosevelt friend William Allen White and California governor Hiram Johnson to form the National League of Progressive Republicans. Their goal was to end local baronies and replace Taft with another candidate for the 1912 presidential election. Although he was skeptical of this endeavor, Roosevelt supported some of the principles espoused by the league and outlined his progressive ideas. However, he refused to join the league, judging it too radical.
Between January and April 1911, Theodore Roosevelt wrote a series of articles for The Outlook magazine in which he defended "that great movement of our time, the nationalist progressive movement against special privilege and in favor of efficient and honest politics and labor democracy in industry. With Roosevelt seemingly uninterested in running for president in 1912, La Follette declared his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination in June 1911. The final break between Taft and Roosevelt came when the Justice Department launched an antitrust case against U. S. Steel, which Roosevelt had approved in 1901. Roosevelt still refused to compete against Taft, preferring to run for president in 1916 against the Democratic candidate and hoping for a defeat of the incumbent against the Democratic candidate.
Presidential campaign of 1912
In November 1911, a group of Ohio Republicans endorsed a candidate in the upcoming party primary. Among this group was James Rudolph Garfield, son of former President James Abraham Garfield and also President Roosevelt's Secretary of the Interior between 1907 and 1909. The peculiarity of this support came from the fact that Ohio was President Taft's home state. However, Roosevelt ostensibly refused to make a statement, despite Garfield's request that he would categorically decline the party's nomination. Shortly thereafter, he declared of President Taft:
In January 1912, Roosevelt declared that "if the people mobilize for my candidacy, I cannot refuse to enlist. Later that year, Roosevelt addressed a constitutional convention, again in Ohio, openly identifying himself as a progressive and endorsing a platform of progressive reforms, even going so far as to endorse popular criticism of state judicial decisions. In response to Roosevelt's speech in Ohio, including his support for popular mobilization to overturn judicial decisions, President Taft declared that "such extremists are not progressives, they are emotional, close to neuroticism. In February 1912, in a speech in Boston, Roosevelt declared that he was the savior of the Republican Party in the face of a probable defeat in the presidential election:
Elihu Root and Henry Cabot Lodge believed that the division of the party would lead to his defeat in the next election, while Taft believed that he would be defeated either in the Republican primary or in the general election.
The 1912 presidential election was the first in which a primary system was implemented, which is one of the main political gains of the progressives. The Republican primaries in the South, where party cadres were very influential, saw Taft win, as did the Rust Belt (Indiana, Michigan, New York), Kentucky and Massachusetts. On the other hand, Roosevelt won in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, but especially in Taft's home state of Ohio. The primaries, while demonstrating Roosevelt's popularity with the party's electoral base, were not enough to determine the presidential candidate. The Republican National Committee, made up largely of Taft supporters, decided how to count the delegates.
Before the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Roosevelt expressed doubts about his chances of victory, noting that Taft had more delegates and control of the delegate verification committee. His only hope for victory was to convince party leaders that Taft's appointment would put the election in the hands of the Democrats, but party leaders were determined not to give ground to Roosevelt. The delegate vetting committee agreed that the majority of delegates should go to Taft, who won the nomination on the first ballot. African-American delegates from the South played a big role in this, voting overwhelmingly for the incumbent president. Similarly, La Follette indirectly helped Taft win. His campaign took a back seat after several disastrous performances. Some of La Follette's supporters turned to Roosevelt on this occasion. But it was Gifford Pinchot's insistence that he withdraw in favor of Roosevelt that led La Follette to become highly critical of the former president and his policy platform. Hoping for a deadlocked convention to secure the nomination, La Follette refused to release his delegates for Roosevelt, leading to Taft's victory.
Once his defeat at the Republican National Convention appeared likely, Roosevelt announced that he would "accept the Progressive nomination on a Progressive platform," also declaring "I will fight to the end, win or lose. Prophetically, Roosevelt also declared:
Drawing on his supporters in the Republican Party, including Gifford Pinchot, his wife Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, and former Indiana Senator Albert J. Beveridge, Roosevelt and his supporters founded the Progressive Party, structuring it as a permanent organization that would run tickets in every state. The party quickly took on the nickname "Bull Moose Party" after Roosevelt declared in the press, "I am as fit as a bull moose. At the Progressive National Convention in Chicago, Roosevelt proclaimed in a speech:
California Governor Hiram Johnson was nominated as the vice presidential candidate. Roosevelt's platform echoed his proposals of 1907-1908, calling for vigorous government intervention to protect Americans from capitalist interests:
On October 14, 1912, Theodore Roosevelt was shot at point-blank range by an insane saloonkeeper while arriving for a meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, La Follette's home state. His assailant, John Flammang Schrank (en), believed that the ghost of President McKinley had instructed him to kill Roosevelt. The bullet lodged in his chest after penetrating his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick (50-page) single-fold copy of the speech entitled "Progressive Cause Greater Than Any Individual" that he carried in his jacket. Schrank was immediately disarmed by a Czech immigrant named Frank Bukovsky, captured, and could have been lynched if Roosevelt had not shouted for Schrank to remain unharmed. Roosevelt assured the crowd that he was fine, then ordered the police to take care of Schrank and make sure no violence was done to him.
As an experienced hunter and anatomist, Roosevelt correctly concluded that since he was not coughing up blood, the bullet had not hit his lung, and he declined any suggestion that he go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he gave the scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt. He spoke for an hour and a half before finishing his speech and agreeing to receive medical attention. The next day he was quoted as saying, "No man has been happier than I have been, absolute happiness." After being informed of the assassination attempt, Taft and Wilson suspended their campaign so as not to create an imbalance. He spent two weeks recovering from his injury before returning to the campaign trail.
On October 30, two weeks after the assassination attempt, he gave a speech in front of 16,000 people at Madison Square Garden, during which he declared, among other things, that :
After the Democrats selected New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson, Roosevelt did not expect to win the general election, as Wilson's record as governor had appealed to many progressive Democrats who might otherwise have considered voting for Roosevelt. Nevertheless, Roosevelt still campaigned vigorously, so much so that the election became a duel between him and Wilson, despite the presence of Taft. Roosevelt respected Wilson, but the two men disagreed on a variety of issues; Wilson opposed any federal intervention on women's suffrage or child labor (which he considered state issues), and attacked Roosevelt's tolerance of big business.
Scientific expedition in Amazonia (1913-1914)
A friend of his, Pastor John Augustine Zahm, persuaded him to join a scientific expedition to South America. To finance it, he receives the support of the national museum of natural history in exchange for the promise to bring back new species to the museum.
On October 21, 1913, Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Rio de Janeiro for a series of conferences in South America.
Allied support during the First World War (1914-1918)
He virulently denounced President Wilson's foreign policy and supported the Triple Entente at the outbreak of the First World War. He demanded a tougher policy against the German Empire, especially with regard to the excessive submarine warfare. He described the strategy of neutrality as a failure in view of the atrocities in Belgium and the violations of the rights of American citizens.
In March 1917, Congress gave Roosevelt the authority to raise up to four divisions similar to the Rough Riders, and Major Frederick Russell Burnham was put in charge of both general organization and recruitment. However, President Wilson announced to the press that he would not send Roosevelt and his volunteers to France, but would instead send an American expeditionary force under the command of General John Pershing. Roosevelt never forgave Wilson for his decision and quickly published The Foes of Our Own Household, an indictment of the sitting president. Roosevelt's youngest son, Quentin, a pilot with U.S. forces in France, was killed when he was shot down behind German lines on July 14, 1918 at the age of 20. Historians say that Quentin's death so distressed Roosevelt that he never recovered from his loss.
Aborted return to politics (1916-1919)
Roosevelt's attacks on Wilson helped Republicans gain control of Congress in the 1918 midterm elections. He refused a request from New York Republicans to run for another term as governor, but attacked Wilson's fourteen points, calling instead for the unconditional surrender of the German Empire. Although his health was uncertain, he was considered one of the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 1920, but insisted that he would not betray his beliefs:
In a letter to his publisher friend William Allen White, he explained that he wanted to bring the Republican Party back to a program and partisan mores close to those of the party of Lincoln.
However, Roosevelt's physical condition continued to deteriorate throughout 1918 due to the long-term effects of the aftermath of the tropical fevers he had contracted in the Amazon. He was hospitalized for seven weeks at the end of the year and never fully recovered.
On the night of January 5, 1919, Roosevelt experienced breathing difficulties. After receiving treatment from his doctor George W. Faller, he felt better and went to bed. His last words were addressed to his bodyguard James E. Amos: "Please turn off that light, James.
He died the next day in his sleep between 4:00 and 4:15 a.m., after a blood clot had broken loose from a vein and traveled to his lungs. After learning of his death, his son Archibald telegraphed his siblings, "The old lion is dead." Vice President Thomas R. Marshall said, "Death came to President Roosevelt in his sleep, if he had been awake there would have been a fight. After a private farewell service in the North Hall of Sagamore Hill, a simple funeral was held at Christ Church in Oyster Bay. Vice President Thomas R. Marshall was in attendance, along with former President Taft, Senators Henry Cabot Lodge and Warren G. Harding, and former Governor Charles Evans Hughes. The snowy road of the procession to Youngs Memorial Cemetery was lined with spectators and a squad of mounted police from New York. Roosevelt was buried on a hill overlooking Oyster Bay.
Despite his frail health, Theodore Roosevelt was very athletic and did not hesitate to practice physically demanding sports. He practiced judo, and was one of the first Americans to obtain a brown belt. He was a member of the National Rifle Association.
He is the youngest president of the United States to take office, at the age of 42.
Theodore Roosevelt is considered by Americans to be one of their greatest presidents, which is why he has his effigy carved into the granite of Mount Rushmore, alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
He is celebrated by a memorial on Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington, D.C. He was the subject of another monument in Portland, Oregon, which disappeared in 1942. He is also represented by an equestrian statue, Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider, in Portland. This statue was taken down by protesters in October 2020.
On March 18, 1911, Theodore Roosevelt inaugurated a dam that bears his name near Phoenix, Arizona.
There is a national park named after him in North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
In Los Angeles, on Hollywood Boulevard, the Hotel Roosevelt, hosted the first Academy Awards ceremony on May 16, 1929, and was named in his honor.
The 1940 short film Teddy, the Rough Rider won an Academy Award at the 13th Academy Awards. In Portland, Oregon, the Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider statue commemorates his time leading the Rough Riders regiment.
He was played by Brian Keith in 1975, alongside Sean Connery and Candice Bergen, in the feature film about an American hostage situation in Morocco, The Lion and the Wind by John Milius.
In the Night at the Museum film series (2007, 2009 and 2015), directed by Shawn Levy, Robin Williams plays a wax statue of Theodore Roosevelt alongside Ben Stiller, who plays a night watchman in a museum whose inanimate beings come to life at night thanks to a magical Egyptian tablet.
The nuclear aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt pays tribute to him.
He is one of the personalities of whom John Dos Passos wrote a short biography, within his trilogy U.S.A.
A light rail station in Manila, Philippines is named after him.
A memorial to Quentin Roosevelt, the youngest son of President Theodore Roosevelt (who died in aerial combat on July 14, 1918) has been erected on the territory of Coulonges-Cohan.
In the strategy game Civilization VI (2016), the United States has Theodore Roosevelt as its leader.
History of the bear
There are several anecdotes about the origin of "Teddy Bear". The most common one is the following: in 1903, Roosevelt came back from a four-day bear hunt with no results. Thinking to please him, the organizers chained a black bear cub to the foot of a tree in order to satisfy the president: outraged by this sham, Theodore Roosevelt had the animal released. Two Russian emigrants, Rose and Morris Mictchom, immortalized this story by creating a teddy bear that they named Teddy (short for Theodore in English). It was an immediate success and soon after, they created their own workshop, The Ideal Novelty in Toy Co.
According to another version, Roosevelt was chased by a bear and forced to take refuge in a tree. The next day a photograph was published showing the president sitting on a tree fork and being harassed by the bear, with the words Teddy's bear.
In the comics The Youth of Scrooge written and directed by Keno Don Hugo Rosa, also known as Don Rosa, his main character, Balthazar Scrooge, meets Theodore Roosevelt three times during his youth.
: document used as a source for the writing of this article.
: document used as a source for the writing of this article.
: document used as a source for the writing of this article.