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Theodore Roosevelt and Great Leaders

Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2023
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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Theodore Roosevelt

January 6th is an important date – not because Nancy Pelosi, Liz Cheney, and Adam Schiff think so; they are destined for the “dust heap of history,” unremembered. But January 6th is important – because on this date 104 years ago, one of the greatest Americans ever to live concluded his life on earth, peacefully died, leaving an unrivaled legacy. That American was Theodore Roosevelt, emblematic of who we are.

Some think Theodore Roosevelt is somehow out-of-date, his life lessons no longer valuable, service to ideals, determination to overcome impairments, courage, decisions, and impact antiquated. They say great leaders are a thing of the past, not likely to reappear.

They are wrong, wrong as can be, do not know their history. America has produced our greatest leaders when most needed, as storm clouds build. The phenomenon repeats itself, Theodore Roosevelt’s life the living example.

The day Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died, July 4, 1926, a Kentucky boy who loved rural life was just 17, knew all about them. Six years later, he ran for state legislature in Illinois, lost, but did not give up.

Two years later he won. A dozen years later, he was in the US House. Twice he rolled the dice for the US Senate and lost. Suddenly, as if plucked by God for special assignment, he was nominated for the presidency. In 1860, he won, taking the helm as a nation lurching toward Civil War. That “boy turned man” was Abraham, Lincoln.

In April 1865, Lincoln was killed. News echoed through the family of a New York boy, then seven. The boy was sickly, but persistent. He loved history, nature, father, mother, God, and country. Hard worker, he entered Harvard, only to lose his father while a student, then marry and tragically lose his young wife and his mother on the same day, February 14, 1883.

Crushed, he converted pain to gold, battling city “bosses” in the New York legislature, then throwing it all to the wind to be a North Dakota cowboy for two years. Returning to New York, he became police commissioner, fired 10,000 police – forcing high moral and physical standards on the force.

That act terrified corrupt New York politicians, including “Boss Tweed,” who swore to destroy the maverick. Before he could, President McKinley appointed Theodore Roosevelt assistant secretary of the Navy.  

When the nation went to war in Cuba, Theodore Roosevelt was 40, but jumped ship, formed the “Rough Riders,” stormed San Juan Hill – for which he later won the Congressional Medal of Honor. That propelled him to New York’s governorship in 1899 – reigniting the contempt of corrupt politicians.

Before Theodore Roosevelt could be reelected, in what many thought clever, city bosses forced him into a dead-end job, serving as McKinley’s running mate in 1900. A vice president had zero power then, was expected to go home, do nothing. Stripped of power, he could have no impact on New York politics.

McKinley won, sending the nettlesome Theodore Roosevelt to pasture. The onetime governor, centered on faith and family, now father of a tenacious daughter and four sons, decided to take his kids camping. In September 1901, looking down from the Presidential mountains in New Hampshire, he saw a pony rider screaming up the mountain.

He knew that could mean only one thing. Within days, Theodore Roosevelt was President. McKinley had been shot. Suddenly, everything changed. Corrupt politicians went to jail, monopolists had “trusts” busted, child labor laws were passed, strikes were ended, and the Panama Canal began.

Theodore Roosevelt ended the Russo-Japanese war, winning the Nobel Peace Prize, then a second term. He declined a certain third term, deferring to George Washington. Four years later, dismayed at Republican Taft’s blunders, he ran as a “Bull Mooser,” beating Taft, but losing to Democrat Wilson. 

Integrity at the forefront, post-presidency he tried to convince Germany not to start World War I. When war seemed inevitable, he helped America prepare. Somehow, during in these years, he also managed to discover the headwaters of South American’s “River of Darkness,” lead an expedition through Africa bringing home 10,000 exhibits – now the Smithsonian Institutions’ Natural History Museum.

Most importantly, he and his wife Edith raised five children, youngest killed in WWI, other three boys highly decorated, the eldest a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism at Normandy.

Theodore Roosevelt was a force of nature, courage, and compassion, undeterred, a man of destiny. He wrote 37 books, was once wounded in the chest by a would-be assassin – yet finished his speech. Of natural causes, he died in 1919.

The day he died, his admiring fifth cousin was just 37, and another young patriot was just nine. That cousin was FDR, initially conservative, then slipping left. The nine year old, who admired Theodore Roosevelt and FDR’s conservative 1932 platform – later abandoned – was Ronald Reagan.

Reagan would come to embody the ideals of Jefferson and Adams, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt – making clear, as he brought the Soviet Union to its knees, that when God calls you answer, when hope fades you step up. America has had great leaders, an overlapping chain, and will again. That is where prayer meets prescience, and hope meets precedent in 2023 – and beyond.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Excellent article.
Last Great President we had was PRESIDENT TRUMP and we NEED him AGAIN.
PRESIDENT TRUMP is also the ONLY President to be nominated 7 times for Noble Peace Prize in history and the United States was #1 in the world.
Not last.

Kevin
Kevin
1 year ago

RBC, I have maintained for many years that TR was the best president in the first half of the 20th Century and RR was best President in second half of 20th Century. I was not aware of the family relationship before this article. Makes one wonder at times. Thank you for sharing.

Anne
Anne
1 year ago

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th 1826 not 1926.

George Washington's Admirer
George Washington's Admirer
1 year ago

Thank you AMAC. Great Article. The kids at school should be allowed to read it. Having a cow; became my hobby, when the democrats/Marxists started dissecting Our Founding Fathers. Most concerning was when they removed a statue of Teddy Roosevelt on a horse with Indian; (from Museum of Natural History in New York.) Then, of course when I had triplet cows; was when they removed the Thomas Jefferson statue out of city hall in New York. The little ‘darling Marxists’ in city hall could not stand another solitary moment in the same room as: President Thomas Jefferson! Then, at the beginning of gutting the country of anything historical President Washington’s statue was removed; (on June 18th 2020 violent protestors set the statue aflame before toppling it and defacing the remains with “Genocidal Colonist” ~ this of course was in Portland, Oregon!) I just wonder how many of these terrorists actually spent time in jail for this atrocity? Of course, NBC interviewed one of these protestors on television as if they were heroines! It was about this same time; that I bought every book I could get my hands on; and proceeded to actually READ THEM! Then, of course I said: “Arrivederci” to the entire Democratic Party and just swore to join the Republican Party! Today, a print portrait is going to be put up of the famous painting: ‘The Prayer at Valley Forge’; on my living room wall! Properly framed; the works! “We remember the picture of the Father of Our Country on his knees at Valley Forge seeking Divine Guidance in the cold gloom of a bitter winter…” President Ronald Reagan. Shame on the dem/ Marxist Party & Shame on the radical protestors for their abject evil disregard for the sacrifice and heroism of Our Founding Fathers. God will NEVER cease to be the advocate of President George Washington. That is something to be remembered. God Bless & Protect These United States of America! ~ George Washington’s Admirer

MariaRose
MariaRose
1 year ago

Great article on TR, without sounding biased in relating the facts of his life. There are still remnants of the corruption he tried to eliminate in his own way in New York. Of all the Roosevelts, he had a better viewpoint on how to help those who were not as financially endowed as his family, than some of his other relatives, as he actually was down in the trenches with everyone. He made great changes to the way the NYC police force worked, but his political appointments slowed the full revision, which left NYC with a dual-fold approach to criminal acts–resulting in a special department for taking care of the elitist rich (a leftover from the Boss Tweed years) and the rest of the force to deal with the regular population. He was one of the few politicians who didn’t use words but used actions to prove his points–hence his motto–Speak softly and Carry a Big Stick.

Karen Knowles
Karen Knowles
1 year ago

Excellent article, RBC!

Ali & Cath
Ali & Cath
1 year ago

Good article however you left out some OTHER GREAT POTUS’…in spite of the media created reputation, Nixon accomplished many great firsts…the war in VN was ended – he ended the draft –
he desegregated the schools in the south; he created the Environmental Protection Agency; Clean Air Act Extension of 1970; Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972; The Safe Drinking Water Act—which was proposed by Nixon and passed by Congress in 1974 although by the time it progressed, it was too late for Nixon to sign but was signed by the following POTUS; President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act on Dec. 28, 1973; there is more he did but has never been recognized for these progresses…HE was a great, ACTIVELY accomplishing POTUS that should be included for these reasons as accomplishing many good things for the US.

Steven
Steven
1 year ago

We need another Theodore Roosevelt.

Anne
Anne
1 year ago

He was not a great leader. He is the one who thought that the executive branch of the government should have more power and took it on himself to give himself more. The power comes from us, the people as stated in “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union …do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. We created this government-we have the power and we can delegate our power to our elected officials but we cannot give them power that we do not have ourselves. He is the one who started the misinformation that executive orders are law for the public in general. He screwed up everything. executive orders are only Constitutional for the executive branch. Do some research and see how much damage executive orders, being treated as law, have done to this country. He is not a great man as he violated his oath of office. Our citizenry is illiterate when it comes to their own government.

Russ
Russ
1 year ago

Jefferson and Adams died on July 4 1826 not 1926

A Voter
A Voter
1 year ago

Hmmm seems some facts were left out that maybe should have been included or did these facts threaten the article?

In an 1886 speech in New York, he said, “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indian is the dead Indian, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”
So a racist for certain. Indians were not the only ones he had a distinct disdain for.

As for fortunes and inheritances in 1906 he said “, I wish the papers had given more prominence to what I said as to the murder part of my speech. But oh, my dear sir, I utterly and radically disagree with you in what you say about large fortunes. I wish it were in my power to devise some scheme to make it increasingly difficult to heap them up beyond a certain amount. As the difficulties in the way of such a scheme are very great, let us at least prevent their being bequeathed after death or given (during life) to any one man in excessive amount.”
Can you say Wealth Redistribution? In my own words, if you make too much, or die with too much then the government should decided when to take it as well as who to give it to? Sounds a bit like liberalism doesn’t it?

This list goes on and on, perhaps with more research on the part of the writer the article could have a totally different title…perhaps. Teddy R, a great man until you look at the facts, then not so much eh?

SAW
SAW
1 year ago

Very informative article and as always, timely and well stated!

Gave me a goose bump or two reading it over! A bull in a china shop mentality, yes. Did he make a few mistakes and said some things he shouldn’t of, yes.

However, it would seem evident to everyone during his lifetime that he was a man of action and brought significant change when he felt the need to step forward.

To me, he seemed well intentioned, while tormented internally with periods of great loss and grief. But he strove forward with perseverance for the betterment of our Country and even the World.

To historian’s and dissenters, I know of only one man who was perfect.

Robin Walter Boyd
Robin Walter Boyd
1 year ago

It is such a shame that FDR turned the nation in the opposite direction that Teddy Roosevelt had steered it. Wilson was our first truly Socialist president, so if Roosevelt had won that election, things may well be a lot different today.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

Thank you for an article on a great man. A few paragraphs cannot possible begin to tell us the
major accomplishments of Theo Roosevelt who camped in what is now Yosemite with John Muir who formed the Sierra Club and , as a result, established the US Park Service.

Mike S
Mike S
1 year ago

Oops. Typo alert.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams did die on the very same day but in 1826.

johnh
johnh
1 year ago

Thanks for closing out article with alocades to President Ronald Reagan. He is the best President in my lifetime & I pray that another Reagan type comes along & gets America back on the right path.

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