Who Was Teddy Roosevelt?
Teddy Roosevelt (or Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. as he was formally known) was the 26th president of the United States. For Theodore Roosevelt, New York was home for most of his life. Born to Theodore "Thee" Roosevelt, Sr. and Martha "Mittie" Bulloch on October 27, 1858 he began life as the child of privilege and wealth. Descended from Dutch settlers on his father's side, he also came from a long line of Southern slave owners from Georgia. Although the family was staunchly Democrat for quite some time, they switched to the 'new' Republican Party when it was formed, and Theodore Sr. became a supporter (donating his time and money to the cause).
From the time he was a child, a Theodore Roosevelt nickname only allowed for use by family and very close friends was: "Teddy". Actually, the Roosevelt family was quite fond of nicknames, and nearly every family member had one. During his earliest years, Teddy was a sickly, asthmatic boy who couldn't seem to thrive. Confined to his home for a majority of the time, his father brought in tutors to instruct Teddy in all of his subjects. As young Teddy grew, his father warned that his mind was strong but his body was too weak. He had a gym installed at the home, and brought in exercise instructors, eventually allowing his weak son to grow into a stout and hardy young man.
Theodore attended college at Harvard, where he received an A.B. degree (1880). He also attended Columbia Law, but dropped out of school to pursue political office. At the age of 23, he officially became a politician, after being elected to the New York State Assembly. After the heartbreaking and sudden death of his first wife in February 1884, two days after the birth of their daughter (Alice) – the same day his mother die – he took a trip to the Badlands of North Dakota, where he learned to love cattle ranching. After returning from the Badlands, he continued to rise in politics.
From 1897-98 he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, helping to orchestrate the Spanish American War. Once the war began, he resigned and formed the Rough Riders, an all-volunteer military cavalry, who helped win that war. From 1899-1900 he was the 33rd Governor of New York; his Lieutenant Governer was Timothy Woodruff.
Finally, he became the 25th vice president of the U.S. in March 1901, serving with President William McKinley. However, when President McKinley was assassinated in September 1901, Teddy became the youngest U.S. president (at the age of 42). He served as president from 1901-09, using the office to establish nature conservation, his Big Stick foreign affairs policy, and countless social reform programs.
Some quick facts about Theodore Roosevelt:
Youngest president in U.S. history (age 42).
First American to win the Nobel Price (Peace, 1906).
Only president to win Medal of Honor (2001, posthumously; for Spanish-American War).
Fathered six children, from two marriages.
His face is one of four U.S. presidents' chiseled into Mount Rushmore.
An interesting fact about Teddy Roosevelt is: he is the namesake for the popular child's stuffed toy, the teddy bear. When it was first placed in shop windows by creator Morris Michtom (1902) he called it "Teddy's bear". The toy was a huge success, and is still cherished by millions of children all over the world.