Theodore Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt
Associated Press

Presidential Profile: Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt

November 27, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
“Is there any law that prevents me declaring Pelican Island a National Bird Sanctuary?" President Theodore Roosevelt once asked his brain trust. “Very well, then,” he said, reaching for his pen. “I do declare it.”

Teddy Roosevelt is one of the most memorable conservationists in our country's history. He also happened to be our president, and an eccentric one at that. While everyone might not have shared Roosevelt’s political views, his work as a conservationist was long-lasting and innovative for a United States president.

The Man

Squidoo, an open-source Web site, features one writer’s biography of Roosevelt before his famous presidential years. Roosevelt boasted several high-ranking civil and political positions before he rose to the presidency; many of these positions are discussed here. The writer was inspired by the book, “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” a biography by Edmund Morris, and suggests several other books of interest.
For a quick biography of Roosevelt, Time Magazine’s “Time 100” profile covers the political milestones and diplomatic relationships of Roosevelt’s tenure. Also included are some poignant descriptions of the president’s character; according to many people (enemies as well as friends), he was an eccentric, unapologetically direct and ambitious. This insightful biography, written by Edmund Morris, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for his 1980 biography of Roosevelt, reveals the many sides of Roosevelt’s personality.

His Words

The Theodore Roosevelt Association was founded in 1919 in order to “perpetuate the memory and ideals” of the 26th president of the United States. The Association also recognizes police officers who have overcome handicaps, donates teddy bears to children in New York City hospitals during the December holiday season, and conducts historical and educational programs. Visit the site for a photo bio of Roosevelt, and to read a collection of quotations that reveal the original context of some of his famous lines, including the phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
At Project Gutenberg, you can view or print out works written by Roosevelt, as well as works to which he contributed. The texts include his 1901 State of the Union address following the assassination of President McKinley, an immense autobiography, letters to his children, and several of his books, including “Haunting the Grisly and Other Sketches,” “The Rough Riders” and “Through the Brazilian Wilderness.”

His Work

A potentially controversial aspect of Roosevelt’s career was his tour in Africa, a hunting sojourn between his first presidency and his second run against Republican William Howard Taft. Roosevelt was commissioned to write a series of articles about his trip for Scribner’s magazine, and he also donated his animal trophies to the Smithsonian Institution. Read more about his trip at the National Portrait Gallery Web site.
Many consider Roosevelt’s greatest accomplishment to be his conservation efforts. He created numerous national forests, bird reservations, national monuments, game preserves and established five national parks: Crater Lake, Oregon; Sully’s Hill, North Dakota (now managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service); Wind Cave, South Dakota; Mesa Verde, Colorado; and Platt National Park, Oklahoma (now part of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area). Visit the National Park Service Web site to learn more.

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