Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858–January 6, 1919) was
born in New York into one of the old Dutch families which had settled in America
in the seventeenth
century. At eighteen he entered Harvard College and spent four years there, dividing
his time between books and sport and excelling at both. After leaving Harvard
he studied in Germany for almost a year and then immediately entered politics.
He was elected to the Assembly of New York State, holding office for three years
and distinguishing himself as an ardent reformer.
1884, because of ill health and the death of his wife, Roosevelt abandoned
his political work for some time. He invested part of the fortune he had
inherited from his father in a cattle ranch in the Badlands of Dakota Territory,
expecting to remain in the West for many years. He became a passionate
hunter, especially of big game, and an ardent believer in the wild outdoor
life which brought him health and strength. In 1886 Roosevelt returned
to New York, married again, and once more plunged into politics.
Harrison, after his election in 1889, appointed Roosevelt as
a member of the Civil Service Commission of which he later became
president. This office he retained until 1895 when he undertook
the direction of the Police Department of New York City. In 1897
he joined President McKinley's administration as assistant secretary
of the Navy. While in this office he actively prepared for the
Cuban War, which he saw was coming, and when it broke out in
1898, went to Cuba as lieutenant colonel of a regiment of volunteer
cavalry, which he himself had raised among the hunters and cowboys
of the West. He won great fame as leader of these «Rough-Riders»,
whose story he told in one of his most popular books.
governor of the state of New York in 1898, he invested his two-year
administration with the vigorous and businesslike characteristics
which were his hallmark. He would have sought reelection in 1900,
since much of his work was only half done, had the Republicans
not chosen him as their candidate for the second office of the
Union. He held the vice-presidency for less than a year, succeeding
to the presidency after the assassination of President McKinley
on September 14, 1901. In 1904 Roosevelt was elected to a full
term as president.
1902 President Roosevelt took the initiative in opening the international
Court of Arbitration at The Hague, which, though founded in 1899,
had not been called upon by any power in its first three years
of existence. The United States and Mexico agreed to lay an old
difference of theirs, concerning the Pious Foundations of California,
before the Hague Tribunal. When this example was followed by
other powers, the arbitration machinery created in 1899 was finally
called into operation. Roosevelt also played a prominent part
in extending the use of arbitration to international problems
in the Western Hemisphere, concluding several arbitration treaties
with European powers too, although the Senate refused to ratify
1904 the Interparliamentary Union, meeting in St. Louis, Missouri,
requested Roosevelt to call another international conference
to continue the work begun at The Hague in 1899. Roosevelt responded
immediately, and in the autumn of 1904 Secretary of State John
Hay invited the powers to meet at The Hague. Russia, however,
refused to participate in a conference while engaged in hostilities
with Japan. After the peace of 1905, the matter was placed in
the hands of the Russian government, which had taken the initiative
in convening the first Hague Conference.
June, 1905, President Roosevelt offered his good offices as mediator
between Russia and Japan, asking the belligerents to nominate
plenipotentiaries to negotiate on the conditions of peace. In
August they met at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and after some
weeks of difficult negotiations concluded a peace treaty in September,
candidate for president, William Howard Taft, took office in
1909. Dissatisfied with Taft's performance, Roosevelt bolted
the regular Republican Party in 1912 and accepted the presidential
nomination by the Progressive Party. He outpolled Taft, but Woodrow
Wilson outpolled each of them. In 1917 Wilson refused his offer
to raise and command a division to fight in World War I.
was an historian, a biographer, a statesman, a hunter, a naturalist,
an orator. His prodigious literary output includes twenty-six
books, over a thousand magazine articles, thousands of speeches
1919, at the age of sixty, he died in his sleep.
The Theodore Roosevelt Collection in the Library of Congress contains some 150,000
Roosevelt letters besides drafts of state papers and speeches. The Roosevelt
Memorial Association Collection at Harvard University contains his diaries, some
original M S S, microfilms, and most of his publications.
Beale, Howard, K., Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power.
Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1956.
Beers, Henry A., «Roosevelt as Man of Letters» in Four Americans.
New Haven, Yale University Press, 1920.
Bradford, Gamaliel, «The Fury of Living: Theodore Roosevelt» in The
Quick and the Dead. New York, Houghton Mifflin, 1931.
Dennett, Tyler, Roosevelt and the Russo-Japanese War. New York, Doubleday, 1925.
Hagedorn, Hermann, ed., The Works of Theodore Roosevelt. 24 vols. Memorial ed.
New York, Scribner, 1923-1926.
Harbaugh, William H., The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt. New York, Straus
and Cudahy, 1961.
Lorant, Stefan, The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt. New York, Doubleday,
Morison, Elting E., ed., The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt. 8 vols. Cambridge,
Harvard University Press, 1951-1954.
Pringle, Henry F., Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography. New York, Harcourt Brace,
Richardson, James D., ed., Messages and Papers of the Presidents. Washington,
D. C., 1908. Volumes X and XI, along with a Supplement (1910), contain texts
of all Roosevelt's state papers.
Roosevelt, Theodore, African and European Addresses. New York, Putnam, 1910.
Roosevelt, Theodore, African Game Trails. New York, Scribner, 1910.
Roosevelt, Theodore, An Autobiography. New York, Scribner, 1913.
Roosevelt, Theodore, Oliver Cromwell. New York, Scribner, 1900.
Roosevelt, Theodore, The Rough Riders. New York, Scribner, 1898.
Roosevelt, Theodore, The Winning of the West. 4 vols. New York, Putnam, 1889-1896.
Wagenknecht, Edward C., The Seven Worlds of Theodore Roosevelt. New York, Longmans,
Nobel Lectures, Peace 1901-1925, Editor Frederick W. Haberman,
Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972
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