Roosevelt, Theodore 1858-1893Twenty-sixth President of the United States; from Sept. 14, 1901, to March 4, 1905; Republican; born in New York City, Oct. 27, 1858; graduated at Harvard College in 1880; member of the New York legislature in 1882-84; defeated as Republican candidate for mayor of New York City in 1886; national civil service commissioner in 1889-95; and president of the New York police board in 1895-97. He was then appointed assistant Secretary of the Navy and served till war was declared against Spain, when he resigned, and with Surgeon (now Brig.-Gen.) Leonard Wood, recruited the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, which received the popular name of the “Rough Riders.” He served in Cuba as lieutenant-colonel of this regiment, which greatly distinguished itself during the war, and was promoted colonel in recognition of his bravery during the engagement at Las Guasimas (q. v.). He was elected governor of New York in 1898, and Vice-President of the United States on the ticket with President McKinley in 1900. His publications include Winning of the West; Life of Thomas Hart Benton; Life of Gouverneur Morris; Naval War of 1812; History of New York; American ideals and other essays; The wilderness Hunter; Ranch life and the hunting-trail; Hunting trips of a Ranchman; The rough Riders;  The strenuous life; and Life of Cromwell, and a large number of magazine articles. Mr. Roosevelt belongs to one of the old Dutch families which have been connected with New York since the days of the Dutch supremacy. As a boy he was rather
|The birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt, 28 East twentieth Street, New York City.|
In view of the continued statements in the press that I may be urged as a candidate for Vice-President, and in view of the many letters that reach me advising for and against such a course, it is proper for me to state definitely that under no circumstances could I or would I accept the nomination for the Vice-Presidency. It is needless to say how deeply I appreciate the honor conferred upon me by the mere desire to place me in so high and dignified a position; but it seems to me clear that at the present time my duty is here in the State whose people chose me to be governor. Great problems have been faced and are being partly solved in this State at this time, and, if the people so desire, I hope that the work thus begun I may help carry to a successful conclusion.When the Republican National Convention of 1900 met in Philadelphia, the demand for the nomination of Governor Roosevelt as Vice-President was irresistible despite the fact that he had forbidden the use of his name. The Western delegates especially declined the consideration of any other name. As the demand for his nomination was unanimous Governor Roosevelt accepted the mandate of the convention. When the President was shot, Mr. Roosevelt hastened to Buffalo, but on the assurance of the physicians that the President was recovering from his wounds he rejoined his family, but was recalled when the symptoms of gangrene-poisoning set in. He reached Buffalo on the morning of Sept. 14, and took the oath of office before Judge John R. Hazel. His first official acts were the issuing of a proclamation appointing Sept. 19 as a day of mourning, and a request to the members of the cabinet to retain their portfolios.  In the following address by Mr. Roosevelt, delivered Sept. 2, 1901, at the Minnesota State fair at Minneapolis, the high ethical spirit of the speaker and his frank treatment of the political problems of the day make this speech a fit pendant to that by President McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition on Sept. 5:
The law of high, resolute endeavor.In his admirable series of studies of twentieth-century problems Dr. Lyman Abbott has pointed out that we are a nation of pioneers; that the first colonists to our shores were pioneers, and that pioneers selected out from among the descendants of these early pioneers, mingled with others selected afresh from the Old World, pushed westward into the wilderness, and laid the foundations for new commonwealths. They were men of hope and expectation, of enterprise and energy; for the men of dull content or more dull despair had no part in the great movement into and across the New World. Our country has been populated by pioneers, and therefore it has in it more energy, more enterprise, more expansive power than any other in the wide world. You whom I am now addressing stand, for the most part, but one generation removed from these pioneers. You are typical Americans, for you have done the great, the characteristic, the typical work of our American life. In making homes and carving out careers for yourselves and your children, you have built up this State; throughout our history the success of the home-maker has been but another name for the upbuilding of the nation. The men who with axe in the forest, and pick in the mountains and plough on the prairies, pushed to completion the dominion of our people over the American wilderness have given the definite shape to our nation. They have shown the qualities of daring, endurance, and farsightedness, of eager desire for victory and stubborn refusal to accept defeat, which go to make up the essential manliness of the American character. Above all they have recognized in practical form the fundamental law of success in American life—the law of worthy work, the law of high, resolute endeavor. We have but little room among our people for the timid, the irresolute, and the idle, and it is no less true that there is scant room in the world at large for the nation with mighty thews that dares not to be great. Surely in speaking to the sons of men who actually did the rough and hard and infinitely glorious work of making the great Northwest what it now is, I need hardly insist upon the righteousness of this doctrine. In your own vigorous lives you show by every act how scant is your patience with those who do not see in the life of effort the life supremely worth living. Sometimes we hear those who do not work spoken of with envy. Surely the wilfully idle need arouse in the breast of a healthy man no emotion stronger than that of contempt— at the outside, no emotion stronger than angry contempt. The feeling of envy would have in it an admission of inferiority on our part, to which the men who know not the sterner joys of life are not entitled. Poverty is a bitter thing, but it is not as bitter as the existence of restless vacuity and physical, moral, and intellectual flabbiness to which those doom themselves who elect to spend all their years in that vainest of all vain pursuits, the pursuit of mere pleasure as a sufficient end in itself. The wilfully idle man, like the wilfully barren woman, has no place in a sane, healthy, and vigorous community. Moreover, the gross and hideous selfishness for which each stands defeats even its own miserable aims. Exactly as infinitely the happiest woman is she who has borne and brought up many healthy children—so infinitely the happiest man is he who has toiled hard and successfully in his life work. The work may be done in a thousand different ways; with the brain or the hands, in the study, the field, or the workshop; if it is honest work, honestly done and well worth doing, that is all we have a right to ask. Every father and mother here, if they are wise, will bring up their children not to shirk difficulties, but to meet them and overcome them; not to strive after a life of ignoble ease, but to strive to do their duty, first to themselves and their families and then to the whole State; and this duty must inevitably take the shape of work in some form or other. You, the sons of pioneers, if you are true to your ancestry,  must make your lives as worthy as they made theirs. They sought for true success, and therefore they did not seek ease. They knew that success comes only to those who lead the life of endeavor. It seems to me that the simple acceptance of this fundamental fact of American life, this acknowledgment that the law of work is the fundamental law of our being, will help us to start aright in facing not a few of the problems that confront us from without and from within. As regards internal affairs, it should teach us the prime need of remembering that after all has been said and done, the chief factor in any man's success or failure must be his own character; that is, the sum of his common-sense, his courage, his virile energy and capacity. Nothing can take the place of this individual factor. I do not for a moment mean that much cannot be done to supplement it. Besides each of us working individually, all of us have got to work together. We cannot possibly do our best work as a nation unless all of us know how to act in combination as well as how to act each individually for himself. The acting in combination can take many forms, but, of course, its most effective form must be when it comes in the shape of law; that is, of action by the community as a whole through the law-making body. But it is not possible ever to insure prosperity merely by law. Something for good can be done by law, and a bad law can do an infinity of mischief; but, after all, the best law can only prevent wrong and injustice, and give to the thrifty, the far-seeing, and the hard-working a chance to exercise to the best advantage their special and peculiar abilities. No hard and fast rule can be laid down as to where our legislation shall stop in interfering between man and man, between interest and interest. All that can be said is that it is highly undesirable, on the one hand, to weaken individual initiative, and on the other hand, that in a constantly increasing number of cases we shall find it necessary in the future to shackle cunning as in the past we have shackled force. It is not only highly desirable, but necessary, that there should be legislation which shall carefully shield the interests of wage-workers, and which shall discriminate in favor of the honest and humane employer by removing the disadvantages under which he stands when compared with unscrupulous competitors who have no conscience, and will do right only under fear of punishment. Nor can legislation stop only with what are termed labor questions. The vast individual and corporate fortunes, the vast combinations of capital, which have marked the development of our industrial system, create new conditions, and necessitate a change from the old attitude of the State and the nation towards property. It is probably true that the large majority of the fortunes that now exist in this country have been amassed not by injuring our people, but as an incident to the conferring of great benefits upon the community; and this, no matter what may have been the conscious purpose of those amassing them. There is but the scantiest justification for most of the outcry against the men of wealth as such, and it ought to be unnecessary to state that any appeal which directly or indirectly leads to suspicion and hatred among ourselves, which tends to limit opportunity, and therefore to shut the door of success against poor men of talent, and, finally, which entails the possibility of lawlessness and violence, is an attack upon the fundamental properties of American citizenship. Our interests are at bottom common; in the long run we go up or go down together. Yet more and more it is evident that the State, and if necessary the nation, has got to possess the right of supervision and control, as regards the great corporations which are its creatures; particularly as regards the great business combinations, which derive a portion of their importance from the existence of some monopolistic tendency. The right should be exercised with caution and self-restraint; but it should exist, so that it may be invoked if the need arises. So much for our duties, each to himself and each to his neighbor, within the limits of our own country. But our country, as it strides forward with ever-increasing rapidity to a foremost place among the world powers, must necessarily find, more and more, that it has world duties also. 
|Roosevelt and the rough Riders at Santiago, Cuba.|
|Roosevelt's home at Oyster Bay, L. I.|
President Roosevelt's first message to Congress.On Dec. 3, 1901, President Roosevelt sent the following message to Congress. (To make reference easier to the various subjects mentioned in the message italic head-lines are here added.)
To the Senate and House of Representatives,—The Congress assembles this year under the shadow of a great calamity. On the 6th of September President McKinley was shot by an anarchist while attending the exposition at Buffalo, and died in that city on the 14th of that month. Of the last seven elected Presidents, he is the third who has been murdered, and the bare recital of this fact is sufficient to justify grave alarm among all loyal American citizens. Moreover, the circumstances of this, the third assassination of an American President, have a peculiarly sinister significance. Both President Lincoln and President Garfield were killed by assassins of types unfortunately not uncommon in history, President Lincoln falling a victim to the terrible passions aroused by four years of civil war, and President Garfield to the revengeful vanity of a disappointed office-seeker. President McKinley was killed by an utterly depraved criminal belonging to that body of criminals who object to all governments, good and bad alike, who are against any form of popular liberty if it is guaranteed by even the most just and liberal laws, and who are as hostile to the upright exponent of a free people's sober will as to the tyrannical and irresponsible despot. It is not too much to say that at the time of President McKinley's death he was the most widely loved man in all the United States, while we have never had any public man of his position who has been so wholly free from the bitter animosities incident to public life. His political opponents were the first to bear the heartiest and most generous tribute to the broad kindliness of nature, the sweetness and gentleness of character which so endeared him to his close associates. To a standard of lofty integrity in public life he united the tender affections and home virtues which are all-important in the make — up of national character A gallant soldier in the great war for the Union, he also shone as an example to all our people because of his conduct in the most sacred and intimate of home relations. There could be no personal hatred of him, for he never acted with aught but consideration for the welfare of others. No one could fail to respect him who knew him in public or private life. The defenders of those murderous criminals who seek to excuse their criminality by asserting that it is exercised for political ends inveigh against wealth and irresponsibile power. But for this assassination even this base apology cannot be urged.