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10.28.18

15 Fascinating Facts About Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Facts

TRs Lessons
TYPICALLY RANKED among the top five presidents, Roosevelt changed the face of the presidency and redefined America's place in the world. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. His accomplishments were considerable. He was a cowboy, a historian, a soldier, and explorer, a hunter, an author, an orator, an environmentalist, family man, and president of the United States.

TR Badger
1. TR maintained a small zoo. The Roosevelt children's family of pets included at least six dogs; a small bear named Jonathan Edwards; a lizard named Bill; guinea pigs named Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans, and Father O'Grady; Maude the pig; Josiah the badger ; a raccoon; Eli Yale the blue macaw; Baron Spreckle the hen; a one-legged rooster; a hyena; a barn owl; Peter the rabbit; and Algonquin the pony; a garter snake named Emily Spinach. President Roosevelt loved the pets as much as his children did.

2. He was the first president to leave the country while president. A part of Roosevelt's foreign policy initiatives, he established the Panama Canal project. The project had suffered many setbacks, but by 1906, it was in full swing. In November of that year, Roosevelt embarked on a 17-day trip to Panama (and Puerto Rico) becoming the first president to travel outside the U.S. while holding office. The trip was a morale booster, and the press loved it.

3. He wasn't sworn in using a Bible. When Roosevelt took the oath of office on September 14, 1901, following the assassination of William McKinley, he did not swear an oath on the Bible. The event took place in the library of his friend Ansley Wilcox’s house in Buffalo, New York. Whatever the reason, by the time Roosevelt arrived at her house the country had been without a president for about 12 hours and everyone was anxious that the inauguration take place as quickly as possible.

TR reading
4. He was one of the most well-read presidents. He was a speed-reader, typically reading one to three books a day. He always kept one handy. He read in many different languages, including German, French, Italian and Latin. He was always learning and looking for actionable knowledge Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote, “Few young children read as broadly or had such access to book as young Roosevelt. He had only to pick a volume from the selves of the vast library in his family’s home or express interest in a particular book, and it would magically materialize.” In the April 1905 photo at the right, he reads a book with his dog Skip on his lap.

5. Roosevelt was a prolific writer. He was our most literary president. A voracious reader with an excellent memory, Roosevelt wrote 35 books and an about 150,000 letters in his lifetime. He wrote on wide-ranging topics. His first book, The Naval War of 1812, was published in 1882. Some of his more popular titles were: The Rough Riders (1899), The Strenuous Life (1900), African Game Trails (1910), The New Nationalism (1910), An Autobiography (1913), Through the Brazilian Wilderness (1914), The Great Adventure (1918), and Letters to His Children (1919). For much of his life, he relied on income from his books to support himself.

6. Theodore Roosevelt had a photographic memory. He was known to recall not just articles, but entire newspaper pages long after he first read them. This remarkable memory also extended to names and conversations. This ability served him well as a leader.

7. He was and still is the youngest president in history. In 1901, vice-president Roosevelt was sworn in immediately following the assassination of President William McKinley, as the nation's twenty-sixth President. At the age of 42, he was the youngest president in the country’s history. John F. Kennedy was 43 when he became president.

8. At age 6, he witnessed the Abraham Lincoln funeral procession. On April 25, 1865, a funeral procession passed the home of TR’s grandfather in New York. The young TR and his brother watched from an open second-floor window as the procession went up Broadway in front of the house.

TR Yosemite
9. He was a conservationist. As president, he created the United States Forest Service and established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reservations, four national game preserves, five national parks, and 18 national monuments. In total, he protected approximately 230 million acres of public land. In a 1908 speech, he expressed the importance of preserving the environment for future generations: “We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources and we have just reason to be proud of our growth. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have been still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields, and obstructing navigation. These questions do not relate only to the next century or to the next generation. It is time for us now as a nation to exercise the same reasonable foresight in dealing with our great natural resources that would be shown by any prudent man in conserving and widely using the property which contains the assurance of well-being for himself and his children.”

TR Shot
10. He was saved from an assassin’s bullet by a heavy coat, a fifty-page manuscript, and a steel eyeglass case. On October 14, 1912, before he could give a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was shot by saloon-keeper John Flammang Schrank. Coughing into his hand and seeing no blood, TR determined that the bullet had not entered his lung. So he insisted on delivering his scheduled hour-long speech with the bullet still in his body. He began the speech with, “Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot.” As he pulled the bloodstained manuscript from his breast pocket, he said, “You see it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” Roosevelt agreed to go to the hospital, and after examining the X-rays the doctors determined that the bullet had safely lodged in a rib where it would remain for the rest of his life.

11. Roosevelt was the first President to win a Nobel Peace Prize. He was the first statesman to be awarded the Peace Prize. As President, he expanded America’s foreign policy and negotiated peace in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-05. He is the only president ever called upon to negotiate a foreign war. The Nobel Prize organization reports that is also 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.”

12. Roosevelt became blind in one eye after a boxing injury while in the White House. A practice he started while the governor of New York, Roosevelt invited He enjoyed boxing with young military aides. In 1908, at age 50, his opponent landed a punch to his left eye that caused severe hemorrhaging, resulting in a detached retina. The incident was kept secret though to protect the identity of the sparring partner. In his Autobiography he wrote, “Fortunately it was my left eye, but the sight has been dim ever since, and if it had been the right eye I should have been entirely unable to shoot.”

13. Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were fifth cousins. But Franklin Roosevelt's wife Eleanor was more closely related. She was his niece. TR presented the bride at their wedding on March 17, 1905. As president, TR got much of the attention and press.

Rough Riders
14. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. After the Spanish-American War broke out in April 1898, Roosevelt resigned his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to lead the Rough Riders. The Rough Riders were mostly made up of football players, polo players, and cowboys without military experience. He returned a war hero that helped win him a seat as governor of New York upon his return. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, 103 years later, for what was described as "…acts of bravery on 1 July 1898, near Santiago de Cuba, Republic of Cuba, while leading a daring charge up San Juan Hill." He is the only president ever have been given that honor. His son, Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt, received the medal for being the only general on D-Day to land by sea with the first wave of troops. The only other father and son to receive Medals of Honor were Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his father Gen. Arthur MacArthur.

15. Roosevelt's mother and first wife died within 11 hours of each other. On February 14, 1884, his first wife of four years, Alice Lee, 22, died of Bright’s disease, a severe kidney ailment after giving birth to their daughter Alice. His mother Mittie died at age 49 of typhoid fever. In his diary on wrote, “The light has gone out of my life.”

Teddy Bear
BONUS: He had the most popular plush toy in history named after him. In 1902, at the invitation of Mississippi Governor, Andrew H. Longino, President Roosevelt went on a hunting trip. After three days of hunting, Roosevelt had still not spotted a bear. The hunt guides tracked down a black bear, tied it to a tree, for the president to come and shoot. After looking at the old injured bear, Roosevelt thought it would be unsportsmanlike to shoot it. Political cartoonist Clifford Berryman heard about the event and drew a cartoon depicting Roosevelt refusing to shoot the bear. The original cartoon ran in the Washington Post on November 16, 1902. Berryman continued to use the bear in political cartoons during Roosevelt’s presidency. With Roosevelt’s permission, Morris Mictom, a Russian immigrant and Brooklyn candy shop owner, put in his shop window two stuffed toy bears his wife had made and called them Teddy’s Bear. The toy was a hit and the rest is history.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:20 AM
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