T.R. was a natural-born leader. Whether as police commissioner or President, T.R. always sought not only to participate in public life, but to lead, fuel progress, and create precedent. His blend of courage and compassion made him a model leader for his time and generations to come.
Forged in the West
When Theodore Roosevelt left for the Badlands, he was still a young man most comfortable in his native New York. When he came back east a few years later, he was seasoned and self-sufficient. Immersing himself in a new way of life, Roosevelt learned how to live strenuously and lead as a citizen, not just a politician. He steeled himself for the many challenges to come as a soldier, a governor, and eventually President.
Suddenly thrust into the presidency after the assassination of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, at age 42, became the nation's youngest ever president. A tall task for any leader, but Roosevelt proved uniquely up to the task. He retained McKinley's cabinet, ushering in a steady succession plan after the tragedy of a slain president. In time, he'd further earn the faith of the American people with his election in 1904.
Pursuing His Own Agenda
As a leader, Roosevelt was beholden not to political pressure, only his principles and ideals. His Square Deal program championed fairness across American society—including breaking up trusts and monopolies, conserving natural resources, and protecting consumers. Many of these proposals fell afoul of his own Republican party. But Roosevelt never cowed to the crowd, and continued to pursue his agenda.
Mourning a Lost Leader
Theodore Roosevelt died—unexpectedly—on January 6, 1919, and the nation awoke, stunned by the news that such a vigorous, larger-than-life figure was gone at the age of 60—just ten years after the end of his second term as president. Mourners lined the snow-covered procession route as Roosevelt's casket traveled to a cemetery overlooking his longtime home of Oyster Bay, NY. It marked the end of an era, and a farewell to one of America's boldest and most uncompromised leaders.