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Theodore D. Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. A leader of the Republican and Progressive Party, he was a Governor of New York and a professional historian, naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, soldier and livelong Mason. He is most famous for his personality: his energy, his vast range of achievements, his model of an American “cowboy”.

So, who was this fellow, Theodore Roosevelt? You may know he became the 26th President on September 14, 1901, following McKinley’s assassination. Then the youngest president at age 42, he was re-elected in 1904. And he was a Republican. But there’s so much more.

Born October 27, 1858, he was a sickly child who compensated by exercising constantly. While at Harvard, he considered being a scientist due to his love of natural history but turned to politics instead. He was elected to the New York State Assembly at age 24, then became a U.S. Civil Service Commissioner, president of the New York City Police Board, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He later joined the military – hence Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, who fought in the Spanish American War. He was a skilled outdoorsman, hunter, authority on large mammals, and explorer.

In 1898 Roosevelt was elected Governor of New York, then became Vice President in March 1901. After succeeding McKinley, Roosevelt acquired rights to the Panama Canal, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work ending the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, and enacted the Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Acts. His work as a trust buster, using existing laws to fight corruption in the railroad, oil, and other industries, caused many old- moneyed families to view him as a traitor to the wealthy.

Roosevelt entered the presidency as a conservative, but soon became a progressive who pushed enlightened legislation. In May 1908, he hosted the first conservation congress, calling together state and territorial executives, his Cabinet, the entire Supreme Court, members of Congress, and professional societies to consider the nation’s resources. Roosevelt spoke to the assembled stakeholders about “Conservation as a National Duty,” describing how man, as he became more civilized, lost his connection to and sense of dependence on nature, unwittingly consuming the inheritance of future generations.


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