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Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

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U.S. president. Author. Big-game hunter. Political reformer. Cavalryman. Conservationist. Rancher. Nobel Peace Prize winner. Few individuals have lived as eclectic, as active, or as productive a life as Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) did. On October 27, his birthday, give your students the opportunity to learn about the 26th president of the United States. Check out some great Web sites for teaching about Theodore Roosevelt.

    Theodore Roosevelt was, in many ways, one of the most influential and accomplished leaders in American history. The 26th president, known as a "trust buster," broke up some of the nation's largest corporations, helped secure the passage of the Meat Inspection Act for consumer protection, and greatly expanded the powers and responsibilities of the presidency. In foreign affairs, Roosevelt reversed the previous policy of isolationism and ensured the country its place as a world leader. Perhaps his greatest and most lasting contribution was in the area of conservation. Through the creation of national forests, federal bird reservations, and national game preserves, Roosevelt protected more than 200 million acres of land through the federal government.

    Roosevelt's personal life was every bit as interesting and varied as his public life. A sickly child who suffered from asthma, he took on a regimen of exercise, weightlifting, and boxing to improve his health and his competitive edge. Largely self-educated, Roosevelt later graduated with honors from Harvard University. A life-long book-lover and prolific writer --he wrote dozens of non-fiction books on a wide array of subjects --he was also an avid outdoorsman whose experiences as a rancher and a big-game hunter are legendary.

    Education World recommends the following Web sites to learn more about this charismatic, multi-faceted man.

  1. TR: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt
    This is the companion site to the installment of the PBS series American Heritage dedicated to the life of Theodore Roosevelt. Click on TR Teacher's Guide for teaching suggestions. Please note that although the suggestions are meant to be used with the program, they could be modified to accompany other biographical material. Other useful site features include a time line, a commentary on the legacy of Roosevelt's presidency, and an extensive bibliography.

  2. Theodore Roosevelt Association
    This user-friendly site contains much information on the 26th president. Children can click on Just for Kids to learn about Roosevelt's childhood, his later relationship with own children, his contributions to the cause of conservation, and more. Other site features include research tools, a biographical sketch, a time line, and quotations. The Theodore Roosevelt Association of Oyster Bay, New York Bay maintains this Web site. The goal of the site is to perpetuate the memory and ideals of Theodore Roosevelt.

  3. People in the West: Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

    Born into a wealthy, socially prominent New York City family, Theodore Roosevelt exercised a profound influence on the history of the American West. In 1883, the then-New York state assemblyman traveled to the Dakota Territory to hunt buffalo. Roosevelt became enamored of the western landscape and lifestyle. He purchased two ranches in the Dakota Badlands before heading back east. This Web page discusses, in detail, Roosevelt's connections with, and contributions to, the American West. It is part of the companion Web site to the PBS series The West.

  4. Theodore Roosevelt Papers at the Library of Congress
    On February 14, 1884, only hours after his mother's death, Theodore Roosevelt's first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt, died in his arms. She was only 22 years old and had given birth to her first --and only --child two days earlier. In a brief and poignant diary entry, the devastated Roosevelt described these events, ending with the sentence "For joy or for sorrow my life has now been lived out." To view a copy of the complete diary entry, as well as some earlier selections describing Roosevelt's courtship of Alice along with some interesting photographs, check out this Web site from the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. A related page from the Library of Congress Web site, Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film, features film and vocal recordings of Roosevelt.

    In 1897, Theodore Roosevelt agreed to serve as assistant secretary of the Navy under President William McKinley. In this capacity, Roosevelt strongly supported war with Spain. Anxious to prove himself under fire, he resigned to organize and command the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, known as the "Rough Riders." Roosevelt distinguished himself and his regiment in a bold charge up the hill next to San Juan, Cuba, and returned home a war hero. To find out more about Theodore Roosevelt, check this brief, but detailed, biography.

  6. Grolier Presents the American Presidency: Theodore Roosevelt
    In 1898, the Republican Party nominated Theodore Roosevelt for governor of New York, hoping that the decorated war hero, with his reputation as a reformer, would cause the voters to ignore a series of recent party scandals. He did indeed win the election but set about enacting several reform measures --such as the regulation of sweatshops --that angered some party supporters. In 1900, to keep Roosevelt from running for a second term as governor, Republican leaders pushed him to accept the vice-presidential nomination. The Republicans won the election, but six months after his inauguration, President William McKinley was assassinated and the 42 year-old, reform-minded Roosevelt became the president of the United States. This page is geared for students in upper elementary school but would be equally useful for older students. In addition to an insightful, well-written biography of Theodore Roosevelt, the page includes such helpful links as the text of Roosevelt's 1905 inaugural speech; articles on such topics as political parties, the U.S. Congress, and elections; and biographies of other presidents.

  7. The White House: Theodore Roosevelt

    Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th president at the age of 42, making him the youngest man to hold that office. Read more about a colorful leader in this biographical sketch from the official White House Web site. You can also click on the various links to other pages of this well-designed site for a biographical sketch of Roosevelt's second wife, Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt; a history of the White House; kid's pages; and more.

  8. Theodore Roosevelt: Icon of the American Century
    On November 16, 1902, a cartoon titled "Drawing the Line in Mississippi" appeared on the front page of the Washington Post. The cartoon showed then-President Theodore Roosevelt wielding a rifle but refusing to shoot a black bear roped to a tree. The image of the sportsman-like Roosevelt was popular, and the bear continued to appear in subsequent cartoons by the artist, Clifford K. Berryman, eventually starting the "Teddy bear" craze. Find more interesting facts about Theodore Roosevelt in this photo essay from the Smithsonian Institute National Portrait Gallery Web site.

  9. Theodore Roosevelt: 26th President of the United States of America
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. ...
         --Theodore Roosevelt, "The Strenuous Life," April 10, 1899

    Check out this site to read the text of some of Theodore Roosevelt's speeches, view numerous photographs and political cartoons, or do a Roosevelt crossword puzzle.


  • Theodore Roosevelt: U.S. President, Rough Rider, Conservationist
    This article describes Theodore Roosevelt's connection with, and contributions to the American West. is a monthly Internet-based magazine. Its purpose is to entertain, educate, and explore the beauty, life, and culture of the North American deserts.
  • Lauren P. Gattilia
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2000 Education World

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