Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: As twenty-sixth president of the United States, Roosevelt energetically led America into the twentieth century. Popular and effective, he promoted major domestic reforms and a larger role for the United States in world affairs. In so doing, he added power to the presidential office.
Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth president of the United States, was born October 27, 1858, to a moderately wealthy mercantile family in New York City. His father, Theodore, Sr., was of mostly Dutch ancestry; his mother, Martha Bulloch of Georgia, came from a slaveholding family of Scots and Huguenot French. (During his political career, Roosevelt would claim an ethnic relationship with practically every white voter he met; among his nicknames—besides TR and Teddy—was Old Fifty-seven Varieties.) He was educated at home by tutors and traveled with his parents to the Middle East and Europe.
As a child, Roosevelt was puny, asthmatic, and unable to see much of the world until he was fitted with thick eyeglasses at the age of thirteen. He grew determined to “make” a powerful body, and by strenuous exercise and force of will, young Roosevelt gradually overcame most of his physical shortcomings. Shyness and fear were other weaknesses he conquered. “There were all kinds of things of which I was afraid at first,” he later admitted in his Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography (1913). ”But...
(The entire section is 2071 words.)
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Biography (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: On July 1, 1898, Roosevelt led his volunteer regiment against Spanish positions on Kettle Hill outside Santiago de Cuba. The successful charge secured fortifications on the heights overlooking the city.
Because Theodore Roosevelt’s father did not serve in the American Civil War, Theodore Roosevelt was determined to prove himself in combat. He was serving as assistant secretary of the navy in the administration of William McKinley in early 1898 when war with Spain was declared. Roosevelt resigned his post and became an officer in the volunteer cavalry regiment commanded by Colonel Leonard Wood. The press, which followed Roosevelt’s military career closely, dubbed the unit Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. Sent to Cuba in June, 1898, the unit fought a skirmish at Las Guásimas. The climactic battle on July 1 at Kettle Hill saw Roosevelt lead his men on foot against fortified Spanish regulars. The dramatic charge carried the day, and Roosevelt killed at least one Spaniard himself. The victory helped the Americans gain control of the approaches to Santiago de Cuba and brought negotiations with the Spanish for surrender. That came several weeks later.
Roosevelt’s bravery under fire made him a national hero. The Republicans nominated him as...
(The entire section is 334 words.)
Biography (Magill's Literary Annual 1991-2005)
This general reader’s life of a dynamic American president strikes a fine balance between Theodore Roosevelt’s familial and public lives and deftly sets both into their Gilded Age context. Roosevelt lavished on his biographers such legendary feats as his physical maturation from a scrawny, asthmatic, weak-eyed lad to a robust “bull moose” of a man; his charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba in the Spanish-American War; his presidential trust busting; his leadership in the construction of the Panama Canal; and his exploits as an African game hunter. A just perspective on the man, however, must also include his stupendous reading, writing, and championship of literary endeavors; his considerable labors in furthering world peace; and his pessimism and melancholy. From a plethora of varied and often contradictory facts, Miller has shaped a life that (one suspects) easily could have been twice as long without being any better. Few readers would want it any shorter.
Roosevelt enjoyed the advantages of a prominent family and of a strong and caring father who devoted much of his time to various philanthropic causes. His Georgia- born mother seems to have been distinguished more by beauty than by vitality, and young Theodore’s sister Anna (called “Bamie”) proved to be more of a mother, both for him and, later, for his daughter Alice. Young Teddy was instructed by tutors in the United States and Europe and entered Harvard in 1876. There he combined...
(The entire section is 1965 words.)