From what the world knew about the 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt, he is a progressive leader and conservative enthusiast that contributed a lot to the developments of the United States that the modern world aspires and enjoys today. Roosevelt is also responsible for some of the major decisions that changed the course of history. However, some truths about him may not be as great as some people may think.
He may be one of the best presidents who took office in the United States, earning a special spot at Mount Rushmore. A colossal sculpture of his head could be seen in the mountain, along with the sculpted heads of three other former Presidents of the United States. Despite his seemingly excellent servitude record, there are things that the world still doesn’t know about Theodore Roosevelt.
So, here’s a list you can check of some of the evident negative sides of Roosevelt that shaped his actions and policies in America during his time of presidency.
Advocacy for Racial Hierarchy
Roosevelt was born in New York with American parents having large business firms during their lifetime, so that makes him a full-fledged American with a large inheritance after the death of his father. With this privilege in his earlier years, Roosevelt formed a belief that races have a hierarchy, and this hierarchy must be propagated in the future. Although he showed compassion to some individuals, especially when he invited an African American, Booker T. Washington, to personally dine with him, Roosevelt’s views of the “inferior race” as a whole are pretty disappointing to know. He hardly saw all African Americans as equals to the White Americans, so when he confided to a friend in a 1906 letter, he once said that “As a race and in the mass, they are altogether inferior with the whites.” In fact, this belief also prevented him from giving “Negroes” voting rights.
Removed Millions of Native Americans (Indians)
Native Americans or Indians were the first to occupy the soil of America. Still, as you might know, when the whites separated from the British monarchy, they started to conquer those lands and started calling themselves Americans instead of English or British. Native Americans are the first ones to suffer, thinking that they have more rights to occupy the American land. During the time of Theodore Roosevelt as president, he favored the removal of numerous Native Americans from their ancestral territories, including an estimated size of 86 million acres of tribal land transferred to the national forest system. Also, Roosevelt supported policies of assimilation for these native Americans to become integrated into the larger American society. However, over time, these policies contributed to the diminishing of the Native culture and communities in America.
Belief in a Superior Race
Since his earlier years, Theodore Roosevelt was like a big fan of the European race, especially the white Anglo-Saxons. He believed that this race had reached a pinnacle of social achievement, and he thought that they were in a position to teach other races or groups of people in the world who had failed to reach their heights. This conviction in Theodore Roosevelt that white European descent was distinctively superior motivated him to impose foreign policies, imperialism among won territories, and matters on national parking systems.
Roosevelt, during his presidency, had a radical view of the world, wherein he thought that the United States of America could help educate the Western Hemisphere in becoming a “better race.” This ideology of his led him to form the foundation of Roosevelt’s vocal support of American Imperialism, where he presided over an expanding overseas empire that includes won territories in Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, and the Philippines after the Spanish-American War. These actions of Theodore Roosevelt formed the well-known “big stick” foreign policy that was extended in Panama by fomenting a rebellion in the region that resulted in the American construction of the Panama Canal.
Imposed Eugenics Movement
With Theodore Roosevelt’s racial philosophy of white superiority, the eugenics movement has taken its course after receiving great support from the government. In case you may ask what the Eugenics movement is, well, this is an action that advocated the selective breeding to engineer a race of people with more desirable features while sterilizing a group of people with less desirable features, like criminals, permanent disabilities, and even people of color. As a matter of fact, Teddy once wrote in 1913 that, “Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce.”