Theodore Roosevelt History

Theodore Roosevelt had a lasting impact on America and the world at large. Whether it was his politics, conservation, reform, or just his ever-present grin, he shaped the history of the United States for all time. Because of the great impact he had, there are still several things bearing his name and likeness, and national monuments standing.

As a child, he established the Theodore Roosevelt Museum of Natural History (1867) beginning with a seal’s head which had washed ashore and was sold at a nearby market. Thereafter, with the help of two cousins, he continually added exhibits (stuffing the hides himself, after learning taxidermy) and kept careful notes in numerous notebooks. Today, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial at the American Museum of Natural History New York (established in 1936) is a tribute to the man who spent all his years among nature and its wildlife, as well as a majority of his time as president to preserve it for all those who would come after him. Also referred to as the ‘Theodore Roosevelt museum’, this location includes a Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda – the huge entrance to the museum – complete with the world’s tallest dinosaur skeleton (freestanding), a Barosaurus protecting its young from an Allosaurus. On the four walls of the rotunda, there are various quotes by Theodore Roosevelt, as well as three canvases by William Andrew Mackay, showing important events in Teddy’s life (1935).

For Theodore Roosevelt, ‘Man in the Arena’ was an important speech. Actually, it was an excerpt from another speech, called ‘Citizenship in a Republic’, which Teddy gave at the Sorbonne, in Paris (France) April 23, 1910. In this famous speech, he said critics weren’t important, because it was the ‘man in the arena’ (the one actually doing the hard work) who really counts. This speech was another iron in the fire of Teddy’s belief in living a ‘strenuous life’ – that hard work was the only way to achieve success.

To Theodore Roosevelt, Yellowstone Park was a testament to the fragile beauty of America. Always a passionate outdoorsman, in 1887 he joined with fellow enthusiast George Bird Grinnell – editor of Forest and Stream magazine – to create the Boone and Crockett Club. The primary purpose of this organization was to preserve wildlife and protect Yellowstone, which was being threatened by interests in railroad and mining. After tireless lobbying, speaking, and writing, the two were successful, and the park was saved in 1894. Theodore Roosevelt Island is a national memorial in the Potomac River at Washington, D.C. More than 88 acres, it is a nature and wildlife preserve, where no cars or bicycles are allowed. There is also a 17-foot bronze statue of Teddy, and numerous hiking footpaths.

There have also been three ships named USS Theodore Roosevelt. The first was a troop transport ship, commissioned from 1918-19. The second was a ballistic missile submarine, commissioned from 1961

through 1982. Finally, the third ship nicknamed “the Big Stick” by its crew was launched in 1986.

With his face forever chiseled into Mount Rushmore, Theodore Roosevelt has secured his place in American history for all time. As was his custom, Teddy would have been proud of his own legacy. And, for all time, the lasting history of Theodore Roosevelt will remain a valuable heritage for all Americans.