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Theodore Roosevelt: “The Rough Rider”

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was born into a wealthy New York family. A sickly and asthmatic child, he was schooled at home. His parents offered him a wide choice of reading material and did not force him to study any particular books. Roosevelt traveled extensively with his family and worked on improving his health through physical exercise. As a boy, he loved the outdoors and wanted to be a naturalist. Roosevelt learned to ride, hunt, and thrive in the wilderness.

Roosevelt eventually did build a strong body and became a lifelong advocate of physical and moral excellence. His friendly personality, spirit of adventure, active lifestyle and personal integrity made him a national hero. Roosevelt graduated from Harvard, studied law, was elected to the New York legislature, served as President of the New York City Police Board and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. His wide variety of interests included ranching, hiking, mountain climbing, exploring, and big game hunting. He was also a talented writer and authored 40 books.

During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt was lieutenant colonel of the Rough Rider Regiment that contained about 200 men from Arizona including Bucky O'Neill, former mayor of Prescott. In 1898, he was elected Governor of New York State. He became Vice President of the United States in 1901 and when President William McKinley was assassinated later that year, Roosevelt succeeded him as President. In 1904, he was elected to that office.

As President, Roosevelt was notable for making a serious effort to prevent unfair business practices that hurt the public. Among the laws that Congress passed at the President’s recommendation were the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act. Roosevelt was also responsible for the treaty that granted the United States the right to construct a canal through the Isthmus of Panama.

Roosevelt’s administration was the first to stress the importance of conserving our country’s natural resources. Between 1901 and 1919, President Roosevelt worked to preserve more than 170 million acres as national parks and monuments. Roosevelt's legacy includes Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon National Monument, Montezuma Castle, Petrified Forest National Monument, Roosevelt Dam, Tonto National Monument, and Tumacacori National Monument.


Arrow Book of Presidents, by Sturges F. Cary.
Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt! by Jean Fritz.
Our Country’s Presidents, by Ann Bausum.
Our Country’s Presidents, by Frank Freidel.

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