The Life and Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt
Throughout all 43 Presidents, there is one man who stood out the most. There are certain characteristics, that leaders need in order to be successful. From different perspectives, they should have political experience, a public opinion, a strong vision for the country’s future, and their crisis management skills.
While being in charge of the country, essentially, they have to risk certain things. Their lives, privacy, and freedom. Many of the presidents, got along well with this criteria. However, Theodore Roosevelt went above and beyond to care for his country. Theodore Roosevelt, became the 26th president in 1901, and left office in 1909. Through those eight years, he made America’s society and economy a different place. From having leadership skills, to having an extraordinary vision for the future of America, he prospered to great lengths. Roosevelt holds America’s highest ranking for such a young man. Roosevelt’s political experience became a huge factor in becoming president. He dropped out of law school to begin a role in public service, and was later elected a two year term for the New York Assembly, from 1882 to 1884. After losses in his family, he took a break from political service, and returned just a little bit after 1886. He returned by running for mayor of New York City, but unfortunately lost.
In 1888, he campaigned for Republican presidential nominee Benjamin Harrison. After winning, Benjamin appointed Roosevelt to the U.S. Civil Service Commission. He was then re-appointed by Democratic President Grover Cleveland in 1893. Being Commissioner, Theodore worked hard to enforce what he believed in. He clashed with party regulars, every now and again. The only reason was because they wanted Theodore to ignore the law, in favor of patronage. Although Theodore never went for it, and stayed true to his duties. He then accepted the presidency of the New York City Police Board in 1895. He cleaned up the work force, and strictly enforced laws, banning the sale of liquor on the Sabbath. In 1879, the Republican President, William McKinley, had appointed Theodore assistant secretary of the Navy. From being a secretary of the Navy, he responded to the explosion of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898, by putting the Navy on full alert. Also, instructing Commodore George Dewey to make ready for war, with Spain, and to prepare for the probable invasion of the Philippines. Theodore had returned home and caught the Republican leaders in New York attention. They were looking for candidates, so Theodore agreed to run for governor against a popular Democrat, Judge Augustus Van Wyck. Theodore had won by a few thousand votes. The Republican convention had elected Theodore, he campaigned for the Republican presidential candidate William McKinley as best as he could. Traveling more than 21,000 miles on a train, making hundreds of speeches, and more than three million people saw him in person. He spoke in 567 cities in twenty-four states. (Milkis, 2017).
McKinley won the popular vote of 7.2 million votes to William Bryan’s 6.3 million. However in September of 1901, President McKinley was assassinated, making Theodore President. Throughout the years, Theodore did everything in his power to change the views American people had, and turned them into something great.The second characteristic a President needs, is a public opinion, and what it is. Theodore’s public opinion was that he believed the president had the power to act except in areas specifically prohibited by law or granted in the Constitution to Congress or the Courts. (The President). He put this into action in 1902 when he negotiated a settlement to the anthracite coal strike. He also negotiated with Congress to see the Pure Food and Drug Act passed in 1906. Theodore also fought against unfair trade practices. Theodore thought that the President had the right to use any and all powers unless they were specifically denied to him. Thinking he had a unique relationship with and responsibility to the people, and so he wanted to challenge limited government, and individualism. Most of Roosevelt’s program, had the desire to make society more fair and equitable, with economic possibilities for all Americans. Roosevelt also believed that the government had the right and the responsibility to regulate big business so that its actions did not negatively affect the general public.(Milkis, 2017). Theodore’s main priority was helping the American people have a voice. He wanted to help them in any way he could.
Theodore’s vision for the United States was for all the people to prosper into great American citizens. He wanted them to be the best they could. He supported federal regulation of railroad rates, pure food and drug legislation, and antitrust lawsuits against harmful corporate monopolies. Roosevelt advanced in conservation of natural resources, establishing the U.S. Forest Service and preserving seven million acres of public land from development. His approach to foreign policy was to speak softly and carry a big stick, leading him to expanding the armed forces. (A president’s vision, 2018). Roosevelt took control over the construction of the Panama Canal. He then received the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese War. Promising a government that would serve as a fair referee between the corporations, and the citizens, he wanted an equal deal. Supporting the rights of workers and taxes on the wealthiest citizens. When participating in these organizations, he had the American’s best interest in mind the whole time. Theodore Roosevelt believed that big business was a natural part of an economy, that is exceeding in all of its duties. He had no need to abolish it. Theodore’s crisis management skills came in handy when needed. He promised to fulfil the fallen President’s policies so the people did not get upset with him. (Milkis,2017).
As mentioned before, Theodore had led negotiations outside of the Western Hemisphere to end the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-05. Therefore, winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Then reaching an agreement with JApan that traded diplomatic recognition of that country in return for Japan’s acceptance of the ongoing U.S. presence in the Philippines. (History.com Staff, 2009). His Square Deal domestic program included a promise to battle large industrial combinations that threatened to restrain their trade. (History.com Staff, 2009). In 1902 he brought a successful suit under the previously ineffective Sherman Antitrust Act against the Northern Securities Company. In that same year Theodore intervened in a prolonged coal strike in Pennsylvania, using negotiation tactics to stop the strike and gained a pretty good pay for the miners. It was Theodore’s promise to protect the people at all costs, he served to the best of his ability.
Through his two terms, Theodore came up with programs to help the American people, he won a Nobel Peace Prize, and he even ended a war. Theodore was not elected into the president’s spot, per say, but as his term stopped, he was re-elected. He served a great eight years, to the people of the United States. The aspects, he was judged on was his past of political experience, before the presidency. What his public opinion was, and how he went about it. His strong vision for the United States, and how he was going to make it happen. Lastly, his crisis management skills. The things he needed to do, as a President to make the country safe. Theodore stood up to his expectations.
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