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family of Long Island
Own "The Roosevelts"
The 26th and 32nd Presidents of the
Roosevelt Twenty-Sixth President 1901-1909
Married to Edith Kermit Carow
With the assassination of
President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, not quite 43, became the
youngest President in the Nation's history. He brought new excitement
and power to the Presidency, as he vigorously led Congress and the
American public toward progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy.
He took the view that the President
as a "steward of the people" should take whatever action necessary for
the public good unless expressly forbidden
by law or the Constitution." I did not usurp power," he wrote, "but I
greatly broaden the use of executive power."
Roosevelt's youth differed sharply
from that of the log cabin Presidents. He was born in New York City in
1858 into a wealthy family, but he too struggled--against ill
health--and in his triumph became an advocate of the strenuous life.
In 1884 his first wife, Alice
Lee Roosevelt, and his mother died on the
same day. Roosevelt spent much of the next two years on his ranch in
Badlands of Dakota Territory. There he mastered his sorrow as he lived
the saddle, driving cattle, hunting big game--he even captured an
On a visit to London, he married Edith Carow in December 1886.
During the Spanish-American War,
Roosevelt was lieutenant colonel of the Rough Rider Regiment, which he
led on a charge at the battle of San Juan. He was one of
the most conspicuous heroes of the war.
Boss Tom Platt, needing a hero to
draw attention away from scandals in New York State, accepted Roosevelt
as the Republican candidate for Governor in 1898. Roosevelt won and
served with distinction.
As President, Roosevelt held the
ideal that the Government should be the great arbiter of the
conflicting economic forces in the Nation, especially between capital
and labor, guaranteeing justice to each and dispensing favors to none.
Roosevelt emerged spectacularly as
a "trust buster" by forcing the dissolution of a great railroad
combination in the Northwest. Other antitrust suits under the
Sherman Act followed.
Roosevelt steered the United States
more actively into world politics. He liked to quote
a favorite proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick."
Aware of the strategic need for a
shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific, Roosevelt ensured the
construction of the Panama Canal. His corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
prevented the establishment of foreign bases in the Caribbean and
arrogated the sole right of intervention in Latin America to the United
He won the Nobel Peace Prize for
mediating the Russo-Japanese War, reached a Gentleman's Agreement on
immigration with Japan, and sent the Great White Fleet on a goodwill
tour of the world.
Some of Theodore Roosevelt's most
effective achievements were in conservation. He added enormously to the
national forests in the West, reserved lands for public
use, and fostered great irrigation projects.
He crusaded endlessly on matters
big and small, exciting audiences with his high-pitched
voice, jutting jaw, and pounding fist. "The life of strenuous endeavor"
was a must for those around him, as he romped with his five younger
and led ambassadors on hikes through Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.
Leaving the Presidency in 1909,
Roosevelt went on an African safari, then jumped back
into politics. In 1912 he ran for President on a Progressive ticket. To
he once remarked that he felt as fit as a bull moose, the name of his
While campaigning in Milwaukee, he
was shot in the chest by a fanatic. Roosevelt soon recovered, but his
words at that time would have been applicable at the
time of his death in 1919: "No man has had a happier life than I have
a happier life in every way."
For more information about President Theodore
Roosevelt, visit The
Theodore Roosevelt Collection - The Theodore Roosevelt Collection,
housed in Harvard's Houghton and Widener libraries, is a major resource
for study of the life and times of the twenty-sixth president of the
United States. The collection originated as a research library opened
in New York City by the Roosevelt Memorial Association in 1923. It was
presented by that organization (known since 1956 as The Theodore Roosevelt
Association) to Harvard University in 1943.
Information originally appearing on the White House Web Server
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Thirty-Second President 1933-1945
Married to a distant
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Assuming the Presidency at the
depth of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt helped the
American people regain faith in themselves. He brought hope as he
promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural
Address, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Born in 1882 at Hyde Park, New York--now a national historic site--he
attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. On St. Patrick's
he married Eleanor Roosevelt.
Following the example of his fifth cousin, President Theodore
whom he greatly admired, Franklin D. Roosevelt entered public service
politics, but as a Democrat. He won election to the New York Senate in
President Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and he
the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1920.
In the summer of 1921, when he was 39, disaster hit-h-e was stricken
poliomyelitis. Demonstrating indomitable courage, he fought to regain
use of his legs, particularly through swimming. At the 1924 Democratic
he dramatically appeared on crutches to nominate Alfred E. Smith as
Happy Warrior." In 1928 Roosevelt became Governor of New York.
He was elected President in November 1932, to the first of four terms.
March there were 13,000,000 unemployed, and almost every bank was
In his first "hundred days," he proposed, and Congress enacted, a
program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the
and to those in danger of losing farms and homes, and reform,
through the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
By 1935 the Nation had achieved some measure of recovery, but
and bankers were turning more and more against Roosevelt's New Deal
They feared his experiments, were appalled because he had taken the
off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget, and disliked
concessions to labor. Roosevelt responded with a new program of reform:
Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and
utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.
In 1936 he was re-elected by a top-heavy margin. Feeling he was armed
a popular mandate, he sought legislation to enlarge the Supreme Court,
which had been invalidating key New Deal measures. Roosevelt lost the
Supreme Court battle, but a revolution in constitutional law took
place. Thereafter the Government could legally regulate the economy.
Roosevelt had pledged the United States to the "good neighbor" policy,
transforming the Monroe Doctrine from a unilateral American manifesto
into arrangements for mutual action against aggressors. He also sought
through neutrality legislation to keep the United States out of the war
in Europe, yet at the same time to
strengthen nations threatened or attacked. When France fell and England
under siege in 1940, he began to send Great Britain all possible aid
of actual military involvement.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt
directed organization of the Nation's manpower and resources for global
war. Feeling that the future peace of the world would depend upon
relations between the United States and Russia, he devoted much thought
to the planning of a
United Nations, in which, he hoped, international difficulties could be
As the war drew to a close, Roosevelt's health deteriorated, and on
12, 1945, while at Warm Springs, Georgia, he died of a cerebral
appearing on the White
House Web Server
For more information about
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, visit The Franklin D. Roosevelt