President Theodore Roosevelt has a huge legacy and almost every American has a cavalry image of this president in mind. He had a long and storied life with more than a few brushes with danger such as assassination attempts and wild safari expeditions. Even the teddy bear carries this president’s name, which is just one of the lasting marks that he left on the world.
The future president was born in 1858 to Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and his wife Martha Stewart Bulloch. His father was a successful businessman and his mother was a socialite, so they lived a better life than most families of the time. As a result of their parents’ wealth, the Roosevelt children were well educated and travelled to exotic destinations to learn about culture. As a child, Theodore had asthma and poor health but his desire to exercise and become stronger lead him to reduce the effects of the condition.
Roosevelt eventually made his way to Harvard, where he excelled in his studies despite the loss of his father during this time. He often referred to his father as his great inspiration and reason for being brave, alongside the bravery of American troops. Some years of Roosevelt’s life were fraught with despair, as his wife and mother died in close proximity. Unable to cope with the prospect of fatherhood alone, Roosevelt left his two day old daughter, Alice, with his sister until he could handle the responsibility.
He entered political life for a time, but quickly grew disillusioned with it and opted to open a ranch instead. This is where many of the perceptions of the president as a cowboy or strongman derive from, as he worked the land with the residents of Dakota. He remarried and had five more children with his new wife and even led an expedition to the top of Mount Blanc on his honeymoon.
In 1888, he re-entered politics by helping other candidates on the campaign trail. After that, he performed in a number of public roles like New York City Police Commissioner – which he took at the request of influential people in the city. He became Vice President to President McKinley after his initial Vice President died of a heart attack. It wasn’t long before President McKinley was assassinated and Roosevelt was sworn in as the new president. He served three terms as president and his macho image only grew with his fame, as he seemed to be a different breed of politician.
Ultimately, the asthma that plagued him as a child was partially responsible for his death as a blood clot entered his lungs. Tributes and quotes came flooding in after the ex-president’s death in 1919 as many people admired his way with words and masculine image. The Vice President at the time, Thomas R. Marshall, stated that ‘Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight’ which epitomised the public feeling towards the president. His legacy lives on in the form of teddy bears, which he actually despised being called, as they were named for the president when he famously refused to shoot a bear in 1902.