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Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt was born at 28 East 20th Street in the modern-day Gramercy section of New York City on October 27, 1858(cite), he was the second of four children of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. and Martha Bulloch. He had an older sister named Anna, and two younger siblings which were his brother Elliot and his sister Corinne. The Roosevelt's had been in New York since the mid 17th century and had grown with the emerging New York commerce class after the American Revolution. Until the birth of the Republican Party, just before the Civil War, the family was strongly Democratic in its political outlook. By the 18th Century, the family was upper class, growing in wealth, power and influence from the profits of several businesses including hardware and plate-glass importing. Theodore's father was a New York City philanthropist, merchant, and partner in the family glass-importing firm Roosevelt and Son. Martha Bulloch, Theodore's mom, was a Southern belle from a slave-owning family in Savannah, Georgia and had Confederate sympathies. As a child Theodore had asthma so he had to sleep propped up in bed or slouching in a chair during much of his early childhood, and had many sicknesses. Despite his illnesses he was a very mischievous and curious child (cite). His lifelong interest in zoology was formed at age seven upon seeing a dead seal at a local market. After obtaining the seal's head, the Theodore and two of his cousins formed what they called the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History. He filled his makeshift museum with many animals that he caught, studied, and prepared for display. At age nine, he codified his observation of insects with a paper titled "The Natural History of Insects(cite)." To combat his poor physical condition, Theodore Sr. insisted Teddy to do some form of exercising. To deal with bullies, Roosevelt started to learn how to box. His Father had a tremendous influence on Theodore and he always looked up to him. One time Teddy wrote, "My father, Theodore Roosevelt, was the best man I ever knew. He combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness. He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfulness (Theodore Roosevelt)."

Theodore was home schooled and taught by his parents; this was a common practice at the time of his youth. He matriculated at Harvard College in 1876, graduating magna cum laude. His father's death in 1878 was a tremendous blow to him, but Theodore redoubled his activities. He still continued to do well in all of his classed besides Latin and Greek (Theodore Roosevelt). He studied biology with great interest and indeed was already an accomplished naturalist and published ornithologist. He had a very good photographic memory and made a habit of flying through books but still retain all the information (Theodore Roosevelt). He was an unusually eloquent conversationalist who, throughout his life, was smart and wanted to be around only the smartest and bright men and women. He was very good at multi-tasking, calling this person reading a book talking to a secretary est.... doing it like its nothing. By now you can probably tell how brilliant and full of knowledge Theodore Roosevelt was.

When Theodore was attending Harvard he was in many clubs, including Delta Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Delta Phi fraternities. While he was there Theodore also edited a student magazine, and was runner-up in the Harvard boxing championship, losing to C.S. Hanks (site).After graduating from Harvard, Theodore underwent a physical examination because his doctor noticed serious heart problems. The doctor said, he should find a desk job and avoid strenuous activity. Theodore didn't want to leave the adventurous life he embraced so he ignored the doctor's advice.

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Harvard in 1880 , and entered Columbia Law School. At Columbia, Roosevelt researched and wrote his first big book, "The Naval War of 1812", in 1882, which still is considered the only comprehensive history on the subject. When offered a chance to run for New York Assemblyman in 1881, he dropped out of law school to pursue his new goal of entering public life. Assemblyman is a person in the New York State Assembly, which is the lower house in the New York Legislature body.

Roosevelt was a Republican activist during his years in the Assembly, writing more bills than any other New York state legislator. Already a major player in state politics, he attended the Republican National Convention in 1884 and fought alongside the Mugwump reformers; they lost to the Stalwart faction that nominated James G. Blaine. Refusing to join other Mugwumps in supporting Democrat Grover Cleveland, the Democratic nominee, he stayed loyal to the party and supported Blaine (cite).

When Theodore was 22 he got married for the first time to Alice Hathaway Lee, on October 27, 1880, at the Unitarian Church in Brookline, Massachusetts (cite). The couple first met in 1878. They announced their engagement on Valentine's Day 1880. Alice sadly died exactly four years later and only 2 days after there first child was born. It was a girl also named Alice. To make matters two times worse on the same day, Theodore Roosevelt's mom tragically died of typhoid fever.

During the 1888 presidential election, Roosevelt did a lot of campaigning for Benjamin Harrison in the Midwest. President Harrison appointed Theodore Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission, which is what he served on until 1895. While serving his term, he fought hard and demanded the enforcement of civil service laws. Even though Theodore Roosevelt supported Benjamin Harrison reelection bid in the presidential election of 1892, the eventual winner, Grover Cleveland, gave him the same post.

In 1895, he became president of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners. While he held the post as a commissioner he dramatically changed the way the Police Department was run. The police force was given the title as one of the most corrupt forces in America (cite). With the help of his fellow commissioners Roosevelt established new disciplinary rules, created a bicycle squad to police New York's traffic problems and implemented standardized 32 caliber pistol practice. Teddy Roosevelt put into effect regular inspections of firearms, annual physical exams, appointed 1,600 new recruits appointed not on the basis of political affiliation but solely for their physical and mental qualifications.(cite)." Roosevelt required his officers to be registered with the Board. He also had telephones installed in station houses. Always an operational man, he made a habit of walking officers' beats late at night and early in the morning to make

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