THEODORE ROOSEVELT (1858-1919)
Roosevelt’s service in the Navy Department and in the war against Spain brought out his aggressive qualities. He believed at the time that power was necessary for a country to achieve greatness, and that war was a test of superiority. He also believed that civilized nations had a right to interfere in the affairs of less advanced nations in order to improve the civilization of all.
Soon after the Spanish-American War broke out tin 1898, Roosevelt helped to organize the First United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment better known as the Rough Riders. He took command of the regiment in Cuba, and on July first he led an asult on a hill outside Santiago. For hours he braved withering gunfire form the heights as he rode up and down the line urging his men on, who were on foot, to press the attack. His elbow was nicked, a soldier was killed at his feet, and he had several other narrow escapes. But he rallied his own and other troops, and the hill was captured.
When he returned to New York in 1898, Republicans nominated him for governor. They hoped that his war record and reputation as a reformer would cause the voters to overlook a series of recent scandals within the party. After being elected by a narrow margin, Roosevelt suggested the bosses to accept a number of reform measures. These included a tax on cooporation franchises, regulation of sweatshops, a raise in schoolteachers’ salaries, and a conservation program. This angered the businessmen who supported the bosses. So the bosses forced Roosevelt to accept the vice-presidential nomination in 1900, even though he wanted a second term as governer.
Six months after their inauguration McKinley was killed and Roosevelt was the new president.