Man of the century, Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt must be examined from the beginning since it is paramount to understand the man and his values, which is the foundation of his persona. Born naturally is a testament to the man and how he approached life and public office, tough, straightforward, and honest. Though this is a broad statement Theodore Roosevelt throughout his life overcame some enormous odds to succeed. As a child he was a sickly delicate boy suffering much from asthma and frequently had to be taken away on trips to find a place where he could breath. On one such trip, the first taken by himself, he met two boys his own age that immediately took advantage of him because of his smaller stature and somewhat of a naive character. He tried to defend his sense of honor but was unable to do any serious damage due to his lack of physical abilities.
Armed with this knowledge he went to his father and obtained permission to take boxing lessons to improve his fighting abilities which, resulted in little improvement after several years of lessons (Theodore Roosevelt 2). Nothing unusual about this type of treatment or attempts to better his fighting skills but, he was able to recognize his short comings, which is amazing due to the fact most people are unable to get past the indignity of being the brunt of a joke not to mention having the self discipline to continue his endeavors of boxing knowing he was not very good at it. Scholastically he was home taught developing a passion for reading, especially scientific adventures. Unfortunately, his home teaching lacked extensive mathematics and social studies, which became apparent when he was enrolled in school and required a tutor in these fields of study.
Overcoming his lack of formal education he graduated from Harvard College twenty-first of one hundred seventy seven (Roosevelt, Theodore 3; ch. 1). Remarkable, to be able to succeed at such a prestigious institution with seemingly all the cards stacked against him, re-enforces his ability of self-discipline and the tenacity to succeed, an internal drive of stability, sustained by his own will and confidence of himself. Though his early teachings were lacking a definite structure, lessons in life - indirect as they were - more than made up for academic shortfalls. Life through his mothers stories of her families slave days and the characters she grew up with; to a housemaid from France who taught him French and more importantly French culture; to uncles who fought in the Civil War on both sides and discussed controversies of the war with respect to each others opinions, exposing him to value individuals as an individual. Combined with the influence of his father who would not tolerate selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfulness he obtained a lessons far greater than any book could provide him, respect, integrity, loyalty, honesty, and reverence (Roosevelt, Theodore 5; ch.
1). Respect, honesty, loyalty, and reverence were the traits he continually used but showed as a politician for his entire public life. He brought a vigorous attitude and fairness never before seen in politics. This was apparent from the beginning of his political career, being elected to the New York State Assembly in 1881 at the age of twenty-three, the youngest man on the floor. During his first assembly he made a lasting impression upon his fellow republican constituents by delivering an impromptu speech pitting democrat against democrat. This speech was a result of the democrats arguing amongst themselves and expressing that the republican party should stay out of the argument, which they did, allowing the voters decide the demise of the democrats majority rule in the state assembly.
During his second term he was elected as the Minority Leader due to this speech, but in his third term the Republican Party gained the majority rule and elected another to be the Majority Leader because of Theodore's young age. However, he was politically strong from his time as the Minority Leader and was appointed Chairman of Cities Committee, promptly going after corruption of New York City (Man of Action 5; pt. 2, ch. 3). Actions such as this got the attention of powerful republican leaders who commissioned him to attend the republican national convention to support and speak for nominees of the Republican Party, thrusting him into the national political scene. His work at the convention earned him an appointment as Police Commissioner of New York City by Senator Platt, the defining moment in his political career.
However, while enforcing the No Liquor Sales On Sunday law he was confronted by both parties, in particular Senator Platt of the republican party who privately told Theodore he would be out of a job if he did not drop the enforcement of the law, which he did not (Man of Action 5; pt. 2 ch. 3). In the face of adversity he did not succumb to the pressures of power and did not relinquish his value of honesty to himself or the public Fortunately, the presidential election of 1896 needed his speaking abilities in the reelection of President McKinley.
Viciously attacking the democratic machine he hope for an appointment from the McKinley administration upon the reelection of President McKinley. However, President McKinley wanted Senator Platt's approval before appointing someone from his state. Senator Platt being a shrewd politician saw the opportunity of getting Theodore out of his hair and gave his approval to appoint Theodore as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Man of Action 7; pt. 2, ch. 5). After his appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Navy he was elected as Governor of New York, again becoming a thorn in Senator Platt's side.
Senator Platt just as quickly as he could got Theodore out of his side by nominating him as the vice-presidential candidate, which Theodore won (Man of Action 1; pt. 2, ch. 7). Eventually, he became president and this is where he seals the case as, Man of the Century.
Applying all the lessons learned as a politician and the values instilled in his soul he became the ultimate human being, a person of intense honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, fairness, and justice. Throughout his presidency he continually exhibited these values by stepping in when no other could. Fact of the matter, no other has or had the brashness to stay true to himself as he did. Ignoring the potential for disaster he never turned away from controversy or went with the party line if it went against his beliefs. Compromise was never in his vocabulary, beyond doing what was best for the situation. Starting with trust busting, he deemed trusts that were only designed to make the wealth wealthier by taking advantage of the people unfair and unjust.
One such trust ran by J. P. Morgan was the target of Theodore, in which J. P. Morgan went to Theodore to find out exactly what his intentions were towards his other trusts. Theodore replied by ensuring J.
P. Morgan he would only go after those trusts which were doing wrong (Man of Action 4; pt. 2, ch. 7). Next came the intervention of the coal strike, he personally became mediator to resolve the issues between miners and owners.
Immediately, he recognized the owners as being stubborn beyond acceptable standards of fairness. Threatening the owners, he would have the National Guard take over the mine operations if they did not come to fair terms with the miners. The owners realizing if this happened they would loose everything and came to terms with the miners (Academic 1). Finally, and one of the most significant acts was, he was able to provide a peace between Russia and Japan.
Though it may have been cohered, since he took the Russian and Japanese delegates to a military installation and left instructions with the guards to shoot the delegates if they tried to leave without a peace agreement (Peace 1). Theodore Roosevelt best sums up his legacy and how all of us should feel and act from his Citizen in a Republic speech: There is a need of sound body, and even more need of a sound mind. But above mind and above body stands character -- the sum of those qualities which we mean when we speak of a man's force and courage, of his good faith and sense of honor. I believe, of course, in giving to all people a good education. But the education must contain much besides book-learning in order to be really good. We must ever remember that no keenness and subtleness of intellect, no polish, no cleverness, in any way make up for the lack of the great solid qualities.
Self-restraint, self-mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution -- these are the qualities which mark a masterful people. Without them no people can control itself, or save itself from being controlled from the outside. (Man of Action 4; pt. 3) Theodore Roosevelt brought America into being the leader of the world, as it is today.
He exemplifies the character of America.