Theodore Roosevelt at a camp in Yellowstone.
Library of Congress
*Somerset, PA Daily American
October 9, 2010
as "Changes in the Presidency"
Copyright © 2010 by Ralph Couey
Written material only
I’ve been reading Edmund Morris’ bio of Theodore Roosevelt, covering his Presidential years between 1901 and 1909.
To say he was a vigorous man is to engage in understatement. He led “Rough Riders” during the Spanish-American War, winning a legendary victory on Cuba’s San Juan Hill. As New York City Police Commissioner, he single-handedly cleaned up the notoriously corrupt NYPD.
As President, he championed the Panama Canal, which fundamentally re-shaped the Western Hemisphere. Using the Navy’s “Great White Fleet, he took America onto the global stage, demonstrating our ability and resolve to defend our overseas economic and political interests.
He undertook explorations of the American west by horseback. Visitors were warned to “wear your worst clothes” in preparation for hikes up mountains and through gorges. He took an annual winter skinny-dip in the Potomac, and practiced sparring. There are pictures of him walking the streets of Washington in the mornings, accompanied by one or two friends. And there are stories of him racing his horse up those same streets with reckless abandon and a shouted “Ki-Yi!” Under his leadership and irrepressible spirit, the nation surged into an era marked by confidence and prosperity. Though a conservative Republican, he gave birth to “The Progressive Era,” championing conservation and the establishment of America’s National Parks. Booker T. Washington made one of the first African-American official visits to the White House.