Theodore Roosevelt


Outline

Thesis: Theodore Roosevelt's political presence altered the course of the
United States,
transforming it into a superpower fully ready to handle the challenges of
any opposition,
and changed the role of the president and executive branch of US
government, making it a
force to be reckoned with.

I. Introduction

II. Before Roosevelt
A. Post-Reconstructionist Views
B. The Industrial Revolution
C. The Gilded Age
1. Railroads
2. Robber Barons
3. Immigration
4. Standard Question
D. McKinley
III. The Roosevelt Era
A. Early Life
1. Influence of Parents
2. Invalidism
B. Early Political Career
1. Ending Corruption/Enforcing Laws
2. Political Bosses
3. Governorship
C. Presidential Era
1. Vice Presidential Race
2. Manipulation of the Press
3. Federal Regulatory Laws
4. Foreign Policy
5. Strong Executive Branch
D. Post-Presidential Era
1. Taft
2. The Progressive Party
IV. Post-Rooseveltian America
A. Wilson
1. Continued Progressivism
2. World War I
a. Inactivity
b. Activity
B. Life After Wilson
1. Implementation of Roosevelt's Reforms
2. Roosevelt's Influence Today
3. Influences in the Future
V. Conclusion


Theodore Roosevelt:
The Founder of an Era

The turn of the century has always been a big deal for modern
civilizations. One hundred
years of life is quite large compared with the average 70 or so given to
most. Because of
that, people tend to look in trends of decades, rather than centuries or
millennia. When it
does come time for a new century, when that second digit rotates, as it
does so seldom,
people tend to look for change. Events tend to fall before or after the
century, not on top
of it, and United States history, particularly, has had a tendency for
sudden change at the
century marks. Columbus' accidental discovery of the West Indies in 1492
brought on the
exploration age in the 1500s. Jamestown colony, founded in 1607, was
England's first
foothold on the New World. A massive population surge, brought on in part
by the import of
Africans, marks entry into the 18th century. Thomas Jefferson's
presidency, beginning in
1800, changed the face of American politics. 1900 was a ripe year for
change, but needed
someone to help the change arrive. That someone was Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt's
political presence altered the course of the United States, transforming
it into a
superpower fully ready to handle the challenges of any opposition, and
changed the role of
the president and executive branch of US government, making it a force
with which to be
reckoned. As the first president with progressive views, Roosevelt enacted
the first
regulatory laws and prosecuted big businesses who had been violating them
and others for
years. Roosevelt also initiated the United States' active interests in
other countries, and
began to spread the benefits of democracy throughout the world. Before
Roosevelt, the
United States was an inward-looking country, largely xenophobic to the
calls of the rest of
the world, and chiefly concerned with bettering itself. As one critic put
it, "Roosevelt
was the first modern president"(Knoll). After Roosevelt, the United States
would remain a
superpower, chiefly interested in all the world's affairs for at least a
century (Barck 1).
It would be foolish to assume that Roosevelt was a fantastically powerful
individual who
was able to change the course of the United States as easily as Superman
might change the
course of a river. It would be more accurate to say Roosevelt was the
right person in the
right place at the right time. It is necessary, though, to show how the
United States was
progressing, and how Roosevelt's presence merely helped to catalyze the
progression. It
has been said that when John Wilkes Booth murdered Abraham Lincoln, he
"extinguished the
light of the republic" (Cashman 1). While this is a small hyperbole, it
serves as an
example of the general mood that pervaded the period from 1865 to 1901.
The early
dominating factor was, of course, Reconstruction. Reconstruction was a
dirty game, and
nobody liked it. Johnson fought with congress and the end result proved
very little had
changed. The South was still largely agrarian, and the North was
commercial. Most
importantly, the Southerners and the Northerners still felt they had as
little to do with
each other as a fish does with a bicycle. To the young "Teedie" Roosevelt,
this must have
made itself apparent. He was born in a mixed household, where "Theodore
Roosevelt (Sr.) was
as profoundly...for the North as Martha Roosevelt was for the south"
(Hagedorn 10). The
fact that the family was able to live, from all accounts, very
harmoniously, is quite
astonishing and gives credit to the fine parents who raised young
Theodore.
Reconstruction's greatest (and perhaps only) accomplishment was the
establishment of a
basis for industrialization. The basic destruction of the southern
agrarian process