Richard Dreyfuss portrays the voice of Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) in this documentary from the History Channel which explores every aspect of Roosevelt’s remarkable life and meteoric political ascent.
Although he was sickly in his youth, Teddy Roosevelt worked hard to become the strong person we recognize in this portrait. He enrolled at Harvard, took up boxing and rowing, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
He and Edith Carow were childhood friends, but he became enamored with Alice Hathaway Lee and he and Alice were married in 1880. A daughter Alice was born but his wife Alice had complications in pregnancy and passed away. Sadly, both his mother and Alice died on the same day in 1884.
He and Edith Carow renewed their friendship and they were married the following year.
Roosevelt’s first venture into politics occurred in 1881 when he was elected to the State Assembly in Albany, New York. He served a second term as the minority leader. He was asked to head the Civil Service Commission in Washington which he did for five years. He also served for a time as the New York City Police Commissioner. He was then appointed second in command of the Navy under Secretary John D. Long, who was often ill and left naval affairs to Roosevelt.
During the Spanish-American War in 1898, Roosevelt and his Rough Riders made their famous charge up San Juan Hill. Spain surrendered two weeks later.
Roosevelt became the Republican candidate for Governor of New York State. He was able to endorse Civil Service Reform, to enlarge Adirondack Park and to reduce the work day of laborers to eight hours. His political enemies wanted him out of the way, so they endorsed him for Vice President of the United States when William McKinley ran for President.
At the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in 1901, President McKinley was assassinated by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. Teddy Roosevelt became the 26th President and the youngest to serve, at 42 years old. Roosevelt was the only President to receive the Medal of Honor and the first American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to promote peace between Russia and Japan.
When the Northern Securities Corporation was begun, Roosevelt fought against three railroads coming together to form a monopoly. The Supreme Court was successful in breaking up the monopoly.
Roosevelt himself felt that the creation of the Panama Canal was the greatest achievement of his political career. The Big Ditch was begun in 1906 but was not completed until five years after he left office in 1909. Some of his other achievements included the creation of bird sanctuaries, the establishment of five National Parks and eighteen National Monuments.
Theodore Roosevelt’s greatest regret was that he did not run for a third term. He loved being President and was sad to lose the reins. He fostered the election of William Howard Taft as his successor. Taft did not work out well and did not carry on Roosevelt’s policies. When Democrat Woodrow Wilson ran for the office along with Taft, Roosevelt threw his hat in the ring also. He came in a poor second to Wilson but far ahead of Taft. He took the defeat hard and retired to his beloved home in Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, New York where he died of an embolism in 1919. He is buried near Sagamore Hill.
Movie – Teddy Roosevelt: An American Lion (2003)