Charismatic US President Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York City. A year after graduating from Harvard and beginning Columbia Law School, Roosevelt dropped out to run for the New York State Senate.
From 1889 to 1895, Roosevelt served on the Commission of the US Civil Service. He vigorously worked to insure strict enforcement of the Civil Service codes. From 1895 to 1897, Roosevelt served as president of the New York City Police Board, and from 1897 to 1898, as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He was a strong supporter of the war with Spain.
When the war began, Roosevelt resigned his post to become Commander of the US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, otherwise known as the "Rough Riders." He led a charge up San Juan Hill and became famous throughout America.
From 1898 to 1900, Roosevelt served as the Governor of New York. In the fall of 1900, Roosevelt was nominated to run as Vice President on a ticket with President McKinley. Following McKinley's death, Roosevelt became the youngest man to assume the office of President.
Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most physically active men to inhabit the White House. Not only was he young in years, he was clearly a man of action, and this set the tone for his Presidency.
Roosevelt carried out a vigorous foreign policy. He tried to negotiate an agreement with Columbia (which at the time owned Panama) to allow the building of the Panama Canal. When the Columbians refused, a rebellion erupted in Panama. The United States immediately recognized the triumphant new Columbian-Panamanian government, with which it quickly negotiated a canal treaty.
Roosevelt added what became known as the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. This stated that it was the responsibility of the United States to intervene in South America in the event of instability.
Roosevelt successfully mediated the Russo-Japanese War. For his efforts, he received the Nobel Prize.
Roosevelt was also very aggressive in domestic affairs. He pursued a strong policy of enforcing anti-trust laws. His administration brought anti-trust actions against a range of monopolist corporations.
Roosevelt intervened on the side of miners in the coal strike of 1902. He also strongly supported the first federal law to provide for inspection of meats, drugs and other substances.
Though he enjoyed big game hunting, Roosevelt earned a reputation as a conservationist for his role in setting aside 125 million acres for national parks.