Theodore Roosevelt's Presidency

Theodore Roosevelt's Presidency


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BIBLIOGRAPHY

The indispensable printed source is Elting E. Morison, John Morton Blum, and Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., eds., The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, 8 vols. (Cambridge, Mass., 1951 – 1954) volumes 2, 4, 6, and 8 also contain perceptive essays by the editors. Henry Cabot Lodge, ed., Selections from the Correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, 1884 – 1918, 2 vols. (New York, 1925), is far more limited and purposefully edited, but useful nevertheless. John M. Blum, The Republican Roosevelt (Cambridge, Mass., 1954 2d ed., 1977), is a masterful analysis of Roosevelt the man and the president. Blum's chapter on Roosevelt in his The Progressive Presidents: Roosevelt, Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson (New York, 1980), fine-tunes the portrait. Morton Keller, ed., Theodore Roosevelt: A Profile (New York, 1967), contains sharply focused excerpts from a variety of books on Roosevelt himself and on the Progressive era.

The best single biography remains William H. Harbaugh, Power and Responsibility: The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt (New York, 1961 rev. ed., 1975). But Lewis L. Gould, The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt (Lawrence, Kans., 1991), provides more concentrated attention on the presidency than Harbaugh and more detail than the present article. For an account of the young T. R. see David McCullough, Mornings on Horseback (New York, 1981). All Roosevelt's biographers continue to be indebted to the keen insights and comprehensive research in Howard K. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power (Baltimore, 1956), for an understanding of T. R.'s foreign policy. Richard H. Collin, Theodore Roosevelt's Caribbean: The Panama Canal, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Latin American Context (Baton Rouge, La., 1990), brings that part of the Roosevelt story in touch with more recent revisionist historiography. An important account of Roosevelt appears in John Milton Cooper, Jr., The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt (Cambridge, Mass., 1983), an excellent exercise in comparative biography. David H. Burton, The Learned Presidency: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson (Rutherford, N.J., 1988), treats the extraordinary succession of learned, even scholarly, presidents in that extraordinary era at the turn of the century when the well-earned credentials of intelligence were still important political assets.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Imperial Presidency (Boston, 1973) George E. Reedy, The Twilight of the Presidency (New York, 1970) and Richard E. Neustadt's pioneering study Presidential Power, 2 vols. (Durham, N.C., 1976), deal with Roosevelt only in passing but will help put his presidency in historical perspective, as will James David Barber, The Presidential Character (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1972), which offers a theoretical framework for "predicting performance in the White House." George E. Mowry, The Era of Theodore Roosevelt, 1900 – 1912 (New York, 1958), remains one of the best accounts of T. R.'s administration within the context of the Progressive era.

Richard M. Abrams, The Burdens of Progress: 1900 – 1929 (Glenview, Ill., 1978), provides a broader cultural and political context for understanding Roosevelt's personality and leadership. Robert H. Wiebe, "The House of Morgan and the Executive, 1905 – 1913," in American Historical Review 65 (1959), from which a part of the account of Roosevelt's consultations with Morgan was taken, should be supplemented by Wiebe, Businessmen and Reform: A Study of the Progressive Movement (Cambridge, Mass., 1962), while there is no better account of the conservation movement than Samuel P. Hays, Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890 – 1920 (Cambridge, Mass., 1959). Among the more recent works, Paul R. Cutright, Theodore Roosevelt: The Making of a Conservationist (Urbana, Ill., 1985), adds personal detail to the story that Hays treats with a broader brush.


Reform Legislation under Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt came to the presidency in September 1901 as a result of the McKinley assassination. He became chief executive in his own right following a decisive election victory in 1904. Throughout both terms, Roosevelt disappointed Republican conservatives by pressing hard for a variety of reforms. He attempted to increase railroad regulation with two major pieces of legislation and, heavily influenced by the muckrakers, sought protection of the nation`s food and drug supplies. The president further surprised his party by threatening management in order to settle an ongoing coal strike. His vast program of public lands conservation drew both praise and criticism, but established his most enduring legacy. Westerners generally applauded his efforts to reclaim arid lands. Roosevelt achieved great public acclaim with his trust-busting initiatives, starting with the taming of J.P Morgan`s Northern Securities Company. The Panic of 1907 was blamed on the president`s progressive policies by the Republican conservatives, but fostered the beginnings of major bank reform. One of Roosevelt`s most egregious failures lay in the area of race relations.


Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt, President of the USA, received the Peace Prize for having negotiated peace in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-5. He also resolved a dispute with Mexico by resorting to arbitration as recommended by the peace movement.

Roosevelt was the first statesman to be awarded the Peace Prize, and for the first time the award was controversial. The Norwegian Left argued that Roosevelt was a "military mad" imperialist who completed the American conquest of the Philippines. Swedish newspapers wrote that Alfred Nobel was turning in his grave, and that Norway awarded the Peace Prize to Roosevelt in order to win powerful friends after the dramatic dissolution of the union with Sweden the previous year.

In domestic policy, Roosevelt was a radical within the Republican Party. He went in for social reforms and for state control of big capital. Roosevelt's term as President ended in 1908. During World War I he tried in vain to be allowed to serve as an officer, and in 1919 he opposed US membership of the new League of Nations.


Controversial Theodore Roosevelt Statue Outside American Museum Of Natural History Will Be Removed

NEW YORK (AP) &mdash A prominent statue of Theodore Roosevelt at the entrance of The American Museum of Natural History will be removed after years of criticism that it symbolizes colonial subjugation and racial discrimination.

The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously Monday to relocate the statue, which depicts the former president on horseback with a Native American man and an African man flanking the horse, according to The New York Times.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 22: The statue of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who also served as New York state governor, stands in front of the Museum of Natural History on June 22, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The newspaper said the statue will go to a yet-to-be-designated cultural institution dedicated to Roosevelt’s life and legacy.

The bronze statue has stood at the museum&rsquos Central Park West entrance since 1940.

Objections to the statue grew more forceful in recent years, especially after the murder of George Floyd that sparked a racial reckoning and a wave of protests across the U.S.

Museum officials said they were pleased with the commission&rsquos vote in a prepared statement emailed Wednesday and thanked the city.

Sam Biederman of the New York City Parks Department said at the meeting Monday that although the statue &ldquowas not erected with malice of intent,&rdquo its composition &ldquosupports a thematic framework of colonization and racism,” according to The Times.

Roosevelt, a pioneering conservationist, was a founding member of the institution.

(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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A statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback guided by a Native American man (left) and an African man, sits in front of the American Museum of Natural History, in New York. AP

NEW YORK — A prominent statue of Theodore Roosevelt at the entrance of The American Museum of Natural History will be removed after years of criticism that it symbolizes colonial subjugation and racial discrimination.

The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously Monday to relocate the statue, which depicts the former president on horseback with a Native American man and an African man flanking the horse, according to The New York Times.

The newspaper said the statue will go to a yet-to-be-designated cultural institution dedicated to Roosevelt’s life and legacy.

The bronze statue has stood at the museum’s Central Park West entrance since 1940.

Objections to the statue grew more forceful in recent years, especially after the murder of George Floyd that sparked a racial reckoning and a wave of protests across the U.S.

In June 2020, museum officials proposed removing the statue. The museum is on city-owned property and Mayor Bill de Blasio supported removal of the “problematic statue.”

Museum officials said they were pleased with the commission’s vote in a prepared statement emailed Wednesday and thanked the city.

Sam Biederman of the New York City Parks Department said at the meeting Monday that although the statue “was not erected with malice of intent,” its composition “supports a thematic framework of colonization and racism,” according to The Times.

Roosevelt, a pioneering conservationist, was a founding member of the institution.


Roosevelt and the Trusts

Roosevelt believed that when a business grew big it was not necessarily bad. Bigness might mean simply that a firm had bested its rivals through superior efficiencies, prices, and service. Having superior efficiencies, prices, and service might well require bigness, as in the case of a railroad providing service through an extensive system across a wide territory.

The point for Roosevelt was that the government should enforce a "rule of reason" on business. If a firm grew through reasonable means, then the government should not attack it. However, if a firm grew through unfair practices, then government should enforce its power in order to protect the innocent. The Democrats accused Roosevelt of sparing the trusts to win campaign funds from big business. These attitudes came to play during Roosevelt's administration, first in establishing the Bureau of Corporations and then in the Northern Securities case.

Railroad regulation was an example of the sort of regulation that Roosevelt believed was required for business in general. In 1886 Congress had created the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate the railroads, but had not granted the ICC much power. Under Roosevelt's leadership, Congress enlarged the power of the Commission.

  1. In 1903, the Elkins Anti-Rebate Act forbade the carriers from giving large and powerful shippers rebates from the published freight tariffs. This law allowed the railroads, in effect, to administer their rates. The ICC enforced this statute.
  2. In 1906, the Hepburn Act granted the ICC the power to set maximum rates. No longer could the railroads simply enforce rates without challenge. Now shippers could challenge rates before the Interstate Commerce Commission and hope that, after careful investigation, they might be lowered.

Both these statutes proved popular. They also were something of a model for what Roosevelt thought was appropriate for all businesses. He intended the Bureau of Corporations to provide a similar function for regulating all firms doing business across state lines.


Making Progress: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt

As a young boy, Roosevelt often struggled to breathe at night because of his asthma. Although modern doctors would be appalled, Roosevelt’s doctors suggested that the boy smoke cigars to improve his symptoms.

His family thought Roosevelt’s brother, Elliot (later father of Eleanor Roosevelt), was most likely to succeed. Elliot struggled with alcoholism, however. Theodore soon outpaced his brother both physically and mentally. He was a voracious reader and would read almost anywhere about almost any subject. Even as president he snuck a few minutes between appointments to read nature books.

Photo of Theodore Roosevelt 1918

After McKinley’s death the presidency was thrust upon Roosevelt. He was one of the few men who genuinely enjoyed the job. While in office he expanded the authority of the president. Roosevelt believed that the president could do whatever the law didn’t specifically prohibit him from doing.

Roosevelt engaged in a number of presidential firsts. He was the first president to understand and use the press to gain public support for his programs. In fact, Roosevelt enjoyed talking with the press so much that he spoke to a reporter during his morning shave. Roosevelt was also the first president to invite an African American (Booker T. Washington) to dinner at the White House.

Roosevelt’s administration was the first to actually apply the anti-trust law signed under President Benjamin Harrison. Roosevelt believed that while successful businesses could merge, their mergers needed to be regulated. By the time he left office, Roosevelt had brought over 20 anti-trust suits.

Although he loved being president, Roosevelt was disappointed to preside over the country in a time of peace. He believed that he could not be a great president without steering the nation through a great crisis. He also regretted that he promised not to serve for a third term. That did not stop him from running for the office several years later, however.

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Contents

  • Teddy is the star of Tales From the Bully Pulpit, widely considered one of the most awesome graphic novels ever written. He and the ghost of Thomas Edison steal H.G. Wells' time machine to slaughter Nazis on Mars in the future. And considering Teddy's strength and machismo, the concept works.
  • In Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Scrooge meets Theodore Roosevelt a number of times on the road to making his fortune.
    • And in this series, TR is nearly as badass as Scrooge himself. Before you get confused, let me remind you that this is Don Rosa's young Scrooge McDuck, who, in a fit of rage, tore an entire steamship in half and threw a grand piano through a window, and regularly took on the most badass men in the world. The fact that TR came close to beating him in a one-on-one brawl is a mark of honor.
    • T.R. was played by Robin Williams in the Ben Stiller vehicle Night at the Museum and its sequel.
      • A less-celebrated fact of T.R.'s life is that he reformed the New York Police Department. Which is why his statue is in the Natural History Museum there.

      A New Age

      A glossy ibis at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Photo by Keenan Adams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

      In the late 1800s, the whims of fashion dictated that women’s hats would be decorated by bird feathers. To meet this need, poachers hunted many species of exotic birds to the brink of extinction. To address this crisis, President Roosevelt set aside Pelican Island in Florida as a federal bird reservation in 1903. More protected areas followed and the National Wildlife Refuge System was born.