7. THEODORE ROOSEVELT
Teddy’s years as a child were not all gasping for breath. Teddy was a very curious child. When he was diagnosed with Polio, the Roosevelt family could have been devastated but Teddy and his father believed that he could overcome this depilating disease. Mr. Roosevelt set up a gym in the Roosevelt home. Teddy worked out as often as possible, and after a while, began to get stronger.
In the Spanish-American war in 1898, Theodore was the commander of a cavalry known as “The Rough Riders.” His work there helped him become elected as the Governor of New York the same year. During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt was lieutenant colonel of the Rough Rider Regiment, which he led on a charge at the battle of San Juan. He was one of the most conspicuous heroes of the war. Boss Tom Platt, needing a hero to draw attention away from scandals in New York State, accepted Roosevelt as the Republican candidate for Governor in 1898. Roosevelt won and served with distinction. As President, Roosevelt held the ideal that the Government should be the great arbiter of the conflicting economic forces in the Nation, especially between capital and labor, guaranteeing justice to each and dispensing favors to none. Roosevelt emerged spectacularly as a “trust buster” by forcing the dissolution of a great railroad combination in the Northwest. Other antitrust suits under the Sherman Act followed. Roosevelt steered the United States more actively into world politics. He liked to quote a favorite proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” He crusaded endlessly on matters big and small, exciting audiences with his high-pitched voice, jutting jaw, and pounding fist. Leaving the Presidency in 1909, Roosevelt went on an African safari, and then jumped back into politics. In 1912, he ran for President on a Progressive ticket. He once commented that he felt as fit as a bull moose, the name of his new party.
With the assassination of President McKinley, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, not quite 43, became the youngest President in the Nation’s history. He brought new excitement and power to the Presidency, as he vigorously led Congress and the American public toward progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy. He took the view that the President should take whatever action necessary for the public good unless expressly forbidden by law or the Constitution. ” I did not usurp power,” he wrote, “but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power.”