b. 27/10/1858 New York. d. 06/01/1919 Oyster Bay, New York.
DATE OF MOH ACTION:
26th United States President, 25th United States Vice President, 33rd New York Governor, Spanish American War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient. His father Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. was a merchant. Theodore Jr. was born into a family which taught him to respect men and women as equals regardless of religion, race or nationality. Raised in New York City, his family spent the summers in the country and during this period, he developed a love for the outdoors, which remained with him for life. Roosevelt was a sickly child who suffered from extreme asthma, which resulted in him being homeschooled for the majority of his youth. While vacationing with his family in Europe, he developed a keen interest in animals and birds and upon his return home, he chose to pursue a career in Natural Science.
When the realization of having difficulty finding an occupation in this field entered his mind, he switched to studying Law and attended Harvard University, but departed prior to earning his degree. For recreation, he enjoyed wrestling and boxing. Roosevelt was twenty- three years old when he entered the political arena as a New York State Assemblyman. During this period, he learned the harsh reality of the game of politics, which included party-controlled bosses and easily influenced public servants. Roosevelt made a commitment that his decisions and priorities would always be for the better of the people he was elected to serve. This did not always sit well with his political mates. In 1884, he left politics for a five-year period when his desire to work in the great outdoors engulfed him. He became owner of a ranch out West and advanced his abilities as a big game hunter. He returned to the East and was appointed Civil Service Commissioner under President Benjamin Harrison.
From 1895 to 1897, he served as Police Commissioner of New York City. From 1897 to 1898, he served as Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy. After war broke out with Spain, Roosevelt (who had served with the New York National Guard) volunteered and became commander of the First United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. This unit was known more commonly as “The Rough Riders”. He earned a place in history, when he led the charge up San Juan Hill against the Spaniards. Roosevelt rose to the rank of colonel and returned home a national hero. He won a close election for Governor of New York (1898 to 1900). During his governorship, he appointed a Committee on Canals, which led to the formation of the Barge and Canal System of New York. Great changes including the widening of the Erie Canal led to its vitality. Roosevelt was nominated for vice president and after a six-month period at that capacity, he succeeded William McKinley following his assassination. Roosevelt holds the distinction of being the youngest individual to enter the presidency (non elected), when he was sworn in at the age of forty-two on September 14, 1901.
Among Roosevelt’s landmark accomplishments include the construction of the Panama Canal (completed in 1914), his mediation for peace to end the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. For this accomplishment, he was recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 and his fight against “big business” corruption. During his tenure, the Antitrust Policy was established which led to suits against Standard Oil, railroad companies, tobacco companies and the beef industry. For the later, the Meat Inspection Act, Pure Food and Drug Act were instituted (1906). In what was a personal passion of Roosevelt’s Conservation of the National Forests and the nations waterways expanded. Dams and irrigation systems in the West were devised and constructed. Wildlife refuges were founded. Roosevelt became known as “The Great Conservationist”. Roosevelt did not seek a second term of his own in 1908. During his retirement, he went on a one year long African safari (1909 to 1910). Upon his return home, he became distraught over his successor President Taft’s conservative direction and chose to run for president. He failed to secure the Republican Nomination from Taft but remained active in the campaign, after forming the Progressive Party, also known as the “Bull Moose” party. Roosevelt’s popularity caused a split in the Republican Party, which led to Taft being defeated for reelection by Woodrow Wilson.
While campaigning on October 14, 1912, Roosevelt was shot in the chest by a would-be assassin. In a show of strength (or perhaps foolishness), he delivered an hour-long speech immediately following the shooting and later went to the hospital to receive treatment. He would make a full recovery even though the bullet was not removed. After the United States entered World War I (The Great War), Roosevelt volunteered to organize and lead a unit, however President Wilson rejected the request. Towards his final years, he suffered from the recurrence of malaria (contracted in Brazil) and rheumatism. His death was the result of a coronary embolism while he slept. Roosevelt’s final statement was his editorial criticizing President Wilson for his efforts to propose a League of Nations. Along with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, the likeness of Roosevelt’s face was sculpted on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. In 2001, Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Roosevelt is regarded by many as one of the greatest presidents in United States History.
Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt distinguished himself by acts of bravery on 1 July, 1898, near Santiago de Cuba, Republic of Cuba, while leading a daring charge up San Juan Hill. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt, in total disregard for his personal safety, and accompanied by only four or five men, led a desperate and gallant charge up San Juan Hill, encouraging his troops to continue the assault through withering enemy fire over open countryside. Facing the enemy's heavy fire, he displayed extraordinary bravery throughout the charge, and was the first to reach the enemy trenches, where he quickly killed one of the enemy with his pistol, allowing his men to continue the assault. His leadership and valor turned the tide in the Battle for San Juan Hill. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: YOUNGS MEMORIAL CEMETERY, OYSTER BAY, NEW YORK.
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