Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. (/ˈroʊzəvɛlt/roh-zə-velt)[a] (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an American politician, author, naturalist, explorer, and historian who served as the 26th President of the United States. He was a leader of the Republican Party and founder of the Progressive Party. He is known for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robustmasculinity. Born into a wealthy family inNew York City, Roosevelt was a sickly child who suffered from asthma. To overcome his physical weakness, he embraced a strenuous life. He was home-schooled and became an eager student of nature. He attended Harvard University where he studied biology, boxed, and developed an interest in naval affairs. He entered politics in the New York State Legislature, determined to become a member of the ruling class. In 1881, one year out of Harvard, he was elected to the New York State Assembly, where he became a leader of the reform faction of the GOP. His book The Naval War of 1812 (1882) established him as a learned historian and writer.
When his first wife Alice died two days after giving birth in February 1884 (and his mother died the same day in the same house), he was heartbroken and in despair; Roosevelt temporarily left politics and became a rancher in the Dakotas. When blizzards destroyed his cattle, he returned to New York City politics, running and losing a race for mayor. In the 1890s he took vigorous charge of the city police as New York City Police Commissioner. By 1897 Roosevelt was in effect running the Navy Department. When the war with Spain that he had called for broke out in 1898, he helped form the famousRough Riders, a combination of wealthy Easterners and Western cowboys. He gained national fame for his courage in battle inCuba, then returned to be elected Governor of New York. He was the GOP nominee for Vice President with William McKinley, campaigning successfully against radicalism and for prosperity, national honor, imperialism (regarding the Philippines), high tariffs and the gold standard. Roosevelt became President after McKinley wasassassinated. He was inaugurated at age 42, the youngest person to become president. He attempted to move the GOP toward Progressivism, including trust busting and increased regulation of businesses. InNovember 1904 he was reelected in a landslide against conservative DemocratAlton Brooks Parker. Roosevelt called his domestic policies a "Square Deal", promising a fair deal to the average citizen while breaking up monopolistic corporations, holding down railroad rates, and guaranteeing pure food and drugs. He was the first president to speak out on conservation, and he greatly expanded the system of national parks and national forests. By 1907 he propounded more radical reforms, which were blocked by the conservative Republicans in Congress. His foreign policy focused on the Caribbean, where he built the Panama Canal and guarded its approaches. There were no wars, but his slogan, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" was underscored by sending the greatly expanded Navy—theGreat White Fleet—on a world tour. He negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
At the end of his second term, Roosevelt supported his close friend William Howard Taft for the 1908 Republican nomination. After leaving office, he toured Africa and Europe, and on his return in 1910 he broke with President Taft on issues of progressivism and personalities. In the 1912 election Roosevelt tried but failed to block Taft's renomination. He then launched the Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party that called for progressive reforms, splitting the Republican vote. That allowed DemocratWoodrow Wilson to win the White House and Congress, while the Taft conservatives gained control of the GOP for decades. Roosevelt then led a major expedition to the Amazon jungles and contracted several illnesses. From 1914 to 1917 he campaigned forAmerican entry into World War I, and reconciled with GOP leadership. He was the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in the1920 election, but his health collapsed and he died in 1919. Roosevelt has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents. His face adorns Mount Rushmore alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.
In the Upper PeninsulaEdit
See main article: Roosevelt takes Marquette