Theodore Roosevelt, our nation's twenty-sixth president, was a tornado of energy. Wherever TR was, things happened. To Roosevelt, every thing was "bully!" By that, he did not mean someone who pushed everyone around. To TR, "bully" meant "wonderful! first-rate!" That is what he wanted the nation to be.
Few would have guessed that the sickly child, born in 1858 to the wealthy Roosevelts of New York, would grow to become a strong, healthy, active man. Some doubted he would even live to adulthood. Rather than give in to illness, young Theodore chose to live "the strenuous life" to build up his strength. The Roosevelts gave their son every advantage. Tutors educated him and he traveled with his family to Europe and Africa.
TR thought he would grow up to become a scientist and in a way, he did. Roosevelt was a naturalist, but he was also writer, hunter, cowboy, soldier, politician, and reformer. He supported the Spanish-American War so strongly that he resigned his position as assistant secretary of the Navy to organize a cavalry troop. He became a Rough Rider and the hero of the battle of San Juan Hill.
When he became president in 1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley, Roosevelt brought his tremendous energy and activism to the White House. He promised the people a "square deal." By that he meant fair laws fairly enforced for every citizen. He would not allow big corporations to take advantage of their laborers or their customers.
He worked to complete the Panama Canal and got the United States involved in international affairs. In 1905, he won a Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese War. He promoted the national park system and conservation. His lively family of six children turned the presidential mansion into a playground and zoo with their many pets.
Have you have ever had a stuffed toy bear, named Teddy? The bear was named after President Roosevelt. Have you ever read a book in one day? Roosevelt read a book every day of his life. And he wrote more than thirty books. Our country has rarely seen such a tornado of energy as Theodore Roosevelt.