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Celebrating Teddy Roosevelt

Could everyone remain calm please? As a financial counselor, I’m helping a lot of people deal with their fears and anxiety. Take a deep breath. The good old US of A is still good to go. Stay in the game.

If we could all celebrate the birthday of Theodore Roosevelt this month it might help! October 27, 1858 he was born in New York to a wealthy family and educated at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father died of cancer when he was 20, and a short time later he met Alice Lee. They married in 1880. In 1881 he was elected to the NY Assembly. He was a focused politician, young, eager and overdressed! He wanted to be noticed.

His daughter Alice was born on February 12, 1884 and his wife Alice died two days later from complications of child birth. He was devastated. Interestingly enough, Teddy Roosevelt’s mother, Martha Roosevelt died of typhoid fever on February 12, 1884 as well. Poor Theodore was devastated, and to ease his pain he traveled west to where he bought a ranch in the Badlands of the Dakota Territory – now South Dakota.

He returned to New York and even ran for mayor in 1886. He lost badly, but married a childhood friend named Edith Carow, and worked a series of government jobs. He worked in Washington, D.C., and was a police commissioner in NY City. He was named assistant secretary of the navy by President William McKinley.

In February 1898, the battleship USS Maine blew up in Cuba’s Havana Harbor. The US Government believed Spain was to blame. By April, the US was at war with Spain. Theodore Roosevelt soon quit his job and organized a volunteer regiment of the army made up of cowboys, policemen and friends from Harvard. His “Rough Riders” fought their biggest battle in July 1898 when they charged up Kettle Hill and helped capture San Juan Hill. He never expected to come through it and wrote home he was as strong as a bull moose.

When he ran for governor of New York State that November, he was a winner. At 40, he moved his wife and six children to the governor’s mansion in Albany, NY. In 1899 Vice President Garret Hobart died while in office, leaving a vacancy. In 1900 Theodore Roosevelt ran as VP with then President McKinley and was elected. On a September day in Buffalo, NY a crazed man shot McKinley, and he died of the wounds. Now Roosevelt was President of the United States of America.

Roosevelt loved being President. He was open and popular. He won reelection in 1904. His family loved the white house, and enjoyed it fully. He worked with the Progressive movement in the early 1900’s to create change, and laws to control big business, such as railroads and the meat packing industry. They demanded the breakup of huge trusts that worked together to pay low wages and shut down smaller businesses. He worked to create fair competition in the markets and took companies to court to become known as a “trustbuster.” He established the National Parks, and set aside a lot of land for generations to come. His love of nature inspired him to set aside 40 million acres of national forests. He created sixteen national monuments including the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls.

He worked with the coal miners to negotiate between groups to establish what became known as “the square deal”. He worked to create the Panama Canal to facilitate faster trade routes and a better economy. He did International work helping Japan and Russia end their war, and managed to keep the two sides talking. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his work. Roosevelt worked to push laws he felt passionate about through Congress, like meat inspection, food and drug rules, and railroads. He was confident he achieved a lot during his term, and didn’t run in 1908 when Taft was elected. Taft intended to be Progressive.

He raised his children, and took time to travel and hunt exotic animals in Africa, that still exist today in museums. He wrote about his hunts for magazine articles, and newspapers were full of stories of his adventures in Africa. In 1910 he was incredibly popular. He would have liked to come back in to politics as the Republican party choice in 1912, but they stayed with Taft instead. Along with other Progressives, they formed a third party called the Bull Moose Party, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the presidents’ job. A famous campaign story included a story in Wisconsin where a crazed man shot Teddy in the chest, but his metal eyeglass case and folded up speech provided enough protection that he actually delivered it before he left for medical attention.

In 1918 his son Quentin was killed in World War One and the nation mourned with the Roosevelt’s. On January 6, 1919 he himself died in Sagamore Hill, New York.

If we see Teddy Roosevelt’s vision for our country in the 1900’s, and our own memory and vision of the year 2000, it seems only fair this Country needs to hold a long term vision for 2100. We have the benefit of perspective and technology, and as citizens of this great country, we owe it to all generations.

Stay in the game, and affirm your credit and your debts. Make your payments and stay in business. Be a family, and enjoy a lifestyle. We know that community is the foundation of our society, and we need to let our Governors govern their States. All 50 states can have different flavors, and we can still be United as one economic opportunity.

Everyone should go home for Thanksgiving and reconnect with their family, community and local government. Assess your needs and come back in January with a true perspective of what the State can do for itself, and what the Federal Government should be helping with too.

When Abraham Lincoln worked to keep this country together he did so to preserve the economic power of all of the states working together. He didn’t want us to end up like that continent to the south of us that holds many small countries, but little global presence. Our trips and travels around this country helped us learn the tales of the “War between the States” and the fundamentals associated with what we came to call a Civil War. The 60’s always seem tumultuous in every century, the 1760’s, 1860’s or 1960’s!

It was the song Amazing Grace, written by John Newton (1725-1807) that really opened eyes to the slave trade in England, and the violations of human rights in the name of economic gain. We fought that battle in our own country, finally ending it in the 1860’s. We didn’t recognize the womens’ suffrage movement until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920 giving voting privileges regardless of sex.

It is the American Dream to pursue happiness regardless of who your father was, and the economic status you were born into. This is the country where you can have a civil society, and the freedom of speech to accompany religion, rights and values. We must all have character and integrity to work within the values of society to live a productive life and pursue a dream.

So join me in celebrating the life of Theodore Roosevelt, and do something nice for someone else today. As a child he was small, with asthma and glasses. Kids were unkind to him, and he was bullied. Let’s take comfort in knowing that in this country, you can grow up and be a great leader, doing what is right, even when it’s not popular. Having a vision for this country earned him a place on Mount Rushmore next to the other great leaders of history. Let’s hope their vision can be shared with generations to follow. God Bless America and Teddy Roosevelt too this October month. Go online to the National Park Service and buy your family an Annual National Parks Pass for $50. It will be the best investment you can make in this great Country of ours. Get out there and see it. Happy Birthday Teddy!

Theodore Roosevelt’s ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907


“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
— Theodore Roosevelt 1907

  1. #1 by Paul Hosse on November 13, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    Very well written article! America could use another TR at all levels today. I especially enjoyed the quote you chose. No one could say it better, and at no time is it not as important as it is today.

  2. #2 by Melissa Shaw on November 14, 2011 - 9:16 am

    Thank you Paul. It was a crisis time in October of 2008, and all of us in financial services felt the emotional breakdown of our clients. We need to be 50 UNITED States of America, and everyone needs to go home and reconnect with their States. What is working, what isn’t working, and what do we need to do? Come back together in January with a can do attitude and a long range vision. It really is about family, local communities, schools, education, travel and lifestyle. We the people in order to form a more perfect nation. Not we the government trying to form more perfect people.

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