The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt


Theodore Roosevelt was a man of inhuman energy, indomitable spirit who thouroughly enjoyed life, being a writer, a hunter, a president, police commisioner, assistant secretary of navy, governor, civil service commissioner, captain in the army, etc. inspite of being born as a sick child.


The Roosevelt's were Dutch descendents, working their way up from a pig-farm in Old Manhattan. Their family motto is Qui plantavit curabit - he who has planted will preserve. By honesty and industriousness, they had amassed a comfortable fortune when Teddie was born. In this sense, he had an enormous start over other youths, whose daily bread depended on their daily efforts.

TR was born on 27 Oct 1858. Theodore Roosevelt (TR) was sick as a child - suffering from cold, coughs, fever and with a worsening asthma. and not able to sleep during the night.

In winter 1970-71, TR's dad said to him that he has the mind but not the body. Without a body, the mind cannot go far as it should. To help him build the body, TR's did setup a home gymnasium for Teddie to exercise. When Roosevelt found that he asthma condition did not improve much, his insticnt is to increase the viguour of the exercise and he set out to practice even harder. He also set out to practice boxing.

Each time he suffered from an attack of asthma or cough, he recovered back with an increased vigour in his activities to compensate for the lost time.

The Roosevelt family went on a 377 day trip to Europe when TR was 11 years old. When he was thirteen, TR and their family went on an another trip to Egypt, Liverpool and Europe. He spend the summer in a German home where he studied German. At this time, Teddie was already showing the determination and inspiration of a born leader.

In his early-teens, TR busied himself with study. He never seems to know what idleness was. Every leisure moment was filled with a reading or an activity.

As a child, TR had a fascination for birds and nature. He documented the birds, insects in the localities and published his work. When Theodore was 18, he published his first printed work - The Summer Brids of the Adirondacks.

When he lost his father, he remembered him as the person who gave him his breathe - as a sick child suffering from asthma, his father put little Teddie on his shoulders, which was a huge comfort for Teddie.

To prepare for Harvard, Theodore completed three years of study in two years time. He studied in Harvard where he was in the boxing club. At lectures in Harvard, he challanged statements and demanded clarifications. He was also a part of multiple clubs, participating in boxing, wrestiling, body-building. Along with this, he practiced recitations daily, attendly weekly dancing classes, hunted in the woods, and taught in a sunday school.

Teddie had a iron self-discipline and he plotted every day with the methodism of a Wesleyan minister. The amount of time he studied each day was small - rarely more than a quater of a day but his concentration was so intense and his readig so rapi that he could afford more time off than others. The other time were packed with mental, physical or social activity.

On 30 June 1880, he graduate from Harvard as a B.A. magna cum laude and on OCt 27, he got married to Alice Lee Hathaway (he was 22). Theodore cherished life, for he wrote in his dairy when he graduated from Harvard My career at college has been happier and more successful than that of any man I have ever known.

After Harvard, he joined Columbia Law School. Theodore started visiting Morton Hall, the headquaters of the Twenty-first District Republican Association in Fall 1880.

In the winter of 1880-81, he researched for the book The Naval War of 1812, making full use of the Astor Library, documenting every sentence of his manuscript. The book was a huge success at both sides of the Atlantic and a copy of it was placed upon every US Navy Vessel in 1886 by special regulation. For almost a centure, it remained a definitive work in its field, for it is a serious piece of academic writing with clarity, accuracy and completeness backed by massive documentation.

He was nominated for the New York Assmebly when he was 23 years old and was victorious in the following election. He introduced various bills in the assembly and hehad the courage to accept he was wrong when he was wrong. As a politician, Rooselvelt was a Republican on State matters but independent on local and municipla affairs. He threw himself into legislative business, working upto fourtenn hours a day. His speeches were so forceful that it created an instant sensation.

In 1884, he lost Alice Lee Hathaway and his mother on the same night. During times of pain, Roosovelt buried himself in solitude and removed the references in memory to the past. For example, all correspondance with Alice were destroyed or burnt. Theodore does not mention Alice in his Autobiography and he also did not speak about Alice to their first daughter Baby Lee.

After Alice's death, Roosevelt went West, spending whole days in the saddle, riding as many as sevent-two miles between dawn and darkness. Roosevelt was a man of tremondous physical and mental energy. Theodore the hunter exulted in chasing a caribuo for thirty-six hours through the snowy forest with neither tent nor blankets to protect him. He went to the West - the Badlands to kill buffalos. For example, at six o'clock, Roosevelt mounted a horse and rided through the rain all day to hunt buffaloes and it was only at nightfall, he returned to ranch grinning.

He wrote the book Hunting Trips in 1885, which soon became a standard textbook of big-game hunting in the United States. He invested $85,000 in the ranches at Dakota and the bad winter of 1886-87 caused loss of cattles and much of the investment. Though the investment impoverished him, in the Badlands, he built a massive body, repaired his soul and learned to live on equal times with men poorer and rougher than himself.

Roosevelt married his childhood friend, Edith Carrow in 1886. He read to her before sleep, rowed her and they went to picnic. Sex to Theodore was part of the mystical union of marriage and its function was only to procreate. Outside of marriage, it did not exist.

Roosevelt ran for New York mayor in 1886. Fighting is fun for him, win or lose and this characteristic of him made him many friends as anything else. He suffered defeat in the election.

In 1887, the flora and fauna of Badlands were facing destruction. Roosevelt formed the Boone & Crockett Club, an association to promote preservation of large game of the country, observing and recording natural history of wild animals, preservation of forest regions with him as the president. The club lobbied for the Forest Reserve Act, which Roosevelt used as a president to sign millions of green acres into perpetuity.

The instinct of born author - the compulsion to write was strong in him. Theodore's habit in moments of joy or sorrow has been to reach for the pen. During his lifetime, Roosevelt wrote 38 books. The other writing of him is The Winning of the West which documented the history of the spread of the United States across the American continent. It was a success on both sides of the Atlantic. His style of writing in this book was simple, naturl and picturesque with a detailed research.

Next, he became a Civil Service Commissioner and moved to Washington. At Washington, he dined out at least five times a week, and he and Edith hosted a calculated list of guests to maintain the right admixture of power, brains and breeding. He was also a guest at the salon of Henry Adams and John Hay, where rich and talented people crowded. Roosevelt was equally at home on Adam's salon, the Senate or the cowboy cabin.

He was the President of the New York City Police board. He went on night patrols, maintained law and order. Roosevelt was the dominant person in the room and acted as a press spokesman for the entire board. He had a habit of inviting reporters to spend the day in his big, bare office.

As an Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he made the US Navy reach its peak of preparedness for fighting and efficiency which was never seen before. He chose as his theme a maxim by George Washington: "To be prepared for war is the most effectual means to promote peace." He had cultivated an insane amount of ability to work under pressure with a clarity, analyse the data and make clear decisions.

Roosevelt preached to fight when a battle came. When the Spanish American war broke out in 1898 at Cuba, he joined the army as a Lieutant Colonel, acting upon his preachings when the occasion has arisen. He led the volunteer troop, known as The Rough Riders. The troop successfully capture San Juan Heights, a strategic point in Cuba which was a decisive point in the victory of United States in the war. To this end, Roosevelt led the troop with an inhuman energy through the dense jungles of Cuba, charging up the hills and driving the Spanish away. He was promoted as Colonel during the war.

Roosevelt also took reporters with him to the war, as he relied upon them to glorify him as a warrior and cultivated them accordingly. During his public carrier, TR cultivate a great relationship with the reporters, offering them first-hand insights.

Roosevelt become the Governor of New York in 1899.

He campaigned for vice-presidency and the following is a timetable of one undated compaign day for his vice-presidency: 7:00 am Breakfast, 7:30 am A speech, 8:00 am Reading a historical work, 9:00 am A speech, 10:00 am Dictating letters, 11:00 am Discussing montana mines, 11:30 am A speech, 12:00 Reading an ornithological work, 12:30 pm A speech, 1:00 pm Lunch, 1:30 pm A speech, 2:30 pm Reading Sir Walter Scott, 3:00 pm Answering telegrams, 3:45 pm A speech, 4:00 pm Meeting the press, 4:30 pm Reading, 5:00 pm A speech, 6:00 pm Reading, 7:00 pm Supper, 8-10 pm Speaking, 11:00 pm Reading alone in this car, 12:00 To bed.

During the summers when various cousins comes to stay at Sagamore Hill (his house at Oyster Bay, New York), he plays with thems - chasing and crawling through the tunnels in hay-barn in pursuit of squealing boys and girls. Between meetings in the White House, he sneaks upstairs to the attic in pursuit of squuealing boys (Quentin and his friends).

Theodore was a man who did not get tried of presidency. He enjoyed being the president of United States, delighting in every aspect of his job - plowing through mountains of documents, leaving his desk bare by lunchtime, matching with swith scholars etc. He left a photographic impression upon the people he met.

Theodore was more than satisfied that he is an American, free born and free bred and acknowledged that no man is superioir except for his own worth or as inferior, except for his own demerit. He said "No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way."