Theodore Roosevelt was born on the 27th of October 1858, the second of four children and the 26th President of the United States. Born into a wealthy family in New York City, Roosevelt was a sickly child who suffered from asthma. To overcome his physical weakness, he embraced a strenuous life.
He was home-schooled and became an eager student of nature. He attended Harvard University where he studied biology, boxed, and developed an interest in naval affairs. He entered politics in the New York state legislature, determined to become a member of the ruling class.
Roosevelt’s youth was in large part shaped by his poor health and his need to overcome severe asthma, with debilitating impact on the body and the personality. He experienced recurring sudden night-time asthma attacks that caused near deathlike experiences of being smothered to death, terrifying the boy and his parents. Doctors had no cure.
As he grew up, he exercised and boxed to try and build up his constitution. His family was wealthy travelling to Europe and Egypt in his youth. He received his earliest education from his aunt along with a series of other tutors before entering Harvard in 1876.
Roosevelt became president on September 14, 1901 when President McKinley died after being shot on September 6, 1901. He was the youngest man to ever become president at the age of 42. In 1904, he was the obvious choice for the Republican nomination. Charles W. Fairbanks was his vice presidential nominee.
President Roosevelt served through most of the first decade of the 1900’s. He was determined to build a canal across Panama. America aided Panama in gaining independence from Colombia. The U.S. then created a treaty with the newly independent Panama to gain the Canal Zone in exchange for $10 million plus annual payments.
In 1884 his first wife, Alice Lee Roosevelt, and his mother died on the same day. Roosevelt spent much of the next two years on his ranch in the Badlands of Dakota Territory. There he mastered his sorrow as he lived in the saddle, driving cattle, hunting big game he even captured an outlaw.
On a visit to London, he married Edith Carow in December 1886. Roosevelt left an indelible mark as President, first by establishing the office of chief executive as the centre of the federal government, thereby creating the modern presidency.
He also reversed the traditional federal policy of laissez-faire and sought to bring order, social justice, and fair dealings to American industry and commerce.
His administration led efforts to bust trusts the large corporate monopolies that controlled much of the economy in the early 1900s and enacted numerous business regulations like the Elkins Act of 1903, the Hepburn Act of 1906, and the Federal Employers’ Liability Act for Labour.
Towards the end of his life, Roosevelt was a major voice for military preparedness. He died at the age of 60 on January 6, 1919, at his home, Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay, New York. Criticized as a militarist, egotist, and political opportunist, Roosevelt’s greatness has been debated, but his importance in American history is as obvious as his face on Mount Rushmore.