Study Guide

Theodore Roosevelt in The Man with the Muckrake

By Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt

Grizzly Man

Ahh, Teddy Roosevelt. The teddy bear might have been named after him, but the guy was a lot more of a grizzly bear. Seriously.

Roosevelt the Rough Rider. The Trust Buster. The man who drank a gallon of coffee a day. The man of whom then-Vice President Thomas Marshall said when he died,

Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake there would have been a fight. (Source)

The man even took a bullet to the chest during a speech, and calmly continued on speaking. For two hours.

Teddy Roosevelt had—and indeed still has—a massive presence as a once-in-a-million president. He ran his presidency on a strong anti-corruption platform, looking to give everyone from the richest to the poorest a square (fair) deal.

Born a sickly, asthmatic child, in classic TR fashion he got rid of his asthma with exercise and sheer force of will. (Note: we can't prescribe "being Teddy Roosevelt" as a legitimate course of treatment.) Behind his rough and rugged persona was a sharp mind, presumably a mind sharpened by wrestling only the smartest of grizzly bears. He wrote a ton of books and began the Spanish-American War as a desk-bound officer, before declaring "nah, I'm bored" and abandoning his post to storm the front line personally with his posse of Rough Riders—the 1st U.S. Volunteer Calvary. (They're basically the people crazy or tough enough to hang with Teddy Roosevelt.)

As for the presidency, Teddy got it on a lark. The only reason he ever got the Vice Presidential nomination was thanks to the New York political corruption racket, who wanted Roosevelt to stop cracking down on them. They figured that the Vice Presidency was such a weak and useless position that Teddy Roosevelt wouldn't be able to do anything else to stop them.

Joke was on them, huh?

An assassin's bullet at the Pan-American Exposition changed those plans, and Teddy Roosevelt inherited the seat of power. Once he got it, though, people loved him to death, which secured him his own term after he finished his hand-me-down term.

Three Square Deals a Day

Roosevelt's presidency really brought America into the Progressive era. With a reform-minded President at the reins, advocates for reform found themselves a new ally in the Roosevelt administration. His main policy platform was what he called his "Square Deal" plan; a series of legislation that he envisioned would give fair and even treatment to citizens and corporations alike.

People were in love with TR and his Rough Rider image, rolling into Washington to whip the corrupt businesses and politicians into shape after an era characterized by government scandal.

Roosevelt's sense of righteous authority extended straight into his foreign policy. Before his presidency he gave the nation a taste of his approach toward the happenings of the western hemisphere: get in there and deal with things personally. As president, he provided his own corollary to the Monroe Doctrine: if America has the right to tell Europe hands-off of the Western half of the globe, that could mean that it also has the right to be hands-on that side of the globe as well. Teddy envisioned America as the world's police, and to that end he beefed up America's navy to patrol the waters of the western hemisphere.

He had a good run for eight years, after which he stepped down and let his protégé, William Howard Taft, take the Republican nomination.

Until he decided that Taft wasn't doing a good enough job.

An Adventurous End to an Adventurous Saga

After that he talked all the smack in the world about Taft, ran for the presidency as a third-party candidate, and thanks to his popularity split the Republican party in two, clearing the way for Democrat Woodrow Wilson to take the White House, starting the great American tradition of the third party spoiler candidate.

He spent much of rest of his life after his failed third campaign as an explorer, because of course he did. A melange of tropical fevers weren't enough to put him down in 1914, and in 1919 he died peacefully in his sleep in Oyster Bay, New York.

Oh, and if you ever wanted to rule America from antiquity to the present as an immortal Teddy Roosevelt, Civilization VI's got you covered.

P.S. For even more on our main man, check out our Teddy Roosevelt bio here.

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