Walk softly and carry a big stick.
A while ago I posted an update about George Washington, mentioning how he was one of the most badass Presidents in American history. Well contrary to popular belief being a great president isn't just all about cutting British people up with a Dragon Katana and assaulting random unsuspecting Frenchmen. Theodore Roosevelt didn't do any of that and he was still one of the most face-smashing, rough-riding, badass dudes to grace the Oval Office with his awesomeness. Here's a bulletized, easily-digestible list of all the insane shit you probably didn't know about our 26th President.
- Teddy Roosevelt suffered from Athsma and severe nearsightedness, but still managed to kick more ass than a six-legged robotic ass-kicking machine with the "kick asses" dial set to eleven. He spoke French and German fluently, studied in Europe, wrote numerous literary works and got his degree on scholarship from Harvard University (which is a pretty good school, I guess).
- While he was at Harvard one of his professors got super pissed at him for being so awesome and yelled, "See here Roosevelt, I am the one teaching this class!" I'm not sure what happened next, but my guess is that TR threw a chair out the window and punched his professor in the mouth.
- When he asked his girlfriend Alice Hathaway Lee to marry him, she said no. This didn't deter him and made him go out of his way to be even more kickass. The second time he asked her she agreed, because everybody knows that a badass like TR always gets the girl in the end. For their honeymoon, they went mountain climbing because they were even more Xtreme than Tony Hawk is when he's drunk at 3AM and decides he's going to try and ollie over a fifteen foot-tall statue of Jesus.
- TR knew how to pose for awesome pictures:
- He was the youngest person to ever become a state representative for New York when he was elected at age 23. For reference, I spent the majority of my 23rd year drunk on a couch eating chips, playing Halo and watching SeaLab 2021.
- When his wife and mother died on the same day (Valentine's Day 1884), Teddy ditched everything and moved out West (Clint Eastwood-style) to try and kick ass like a cowboy.
- While he was out West, some douchebag named Mike Finnegan and his gang stole TR's boat. Instead of crying like a girl about it, Roosevelt pursued them for two weeks through the Dakota Badlands, kicked their asses, handed them over to the authorities and got his boat back.
- He returned to New York and was made commissioner of the NYPD. Instead of being a pussy and hiding in his office all day like the commish on Batman, TR went undercover as a beat cop and walked the streets of New York trying to catch policemen slacking off or taking bribes. If he busted them in the act, he fired them, punched them in the mouth and then stuffed them into a garbage can.
- President McKinley made Roosevelt the Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897. When the Spanish sunk the USS Maine off the coast of Cuba while his boss was on vacation, TR sent Admiral Dewey to the Philippines to take out the Spanish Navy. Roosevelt then declared a state of War with Spain, despite the fact the he had absolutely no authority to do so. Acting on Roosevelt's orders, Dewey then sunk the entire Spanish fleet at Manila in about four hours.
- Immediately after issuing the declaration of War and giving the Spanish Armada a one-way all-expenses-paid trip to the bottom of the fucking ocean, Roosevelt resigned his post as Assistant Secretary and formed his own volunteer cavalry regiment called the "Rough Riders". He took anybody who wanted to join, regardless of race or creed, and headed out to Cuba to whomp asses. At the Battle of San Juan Hill, the decisive battle that sealed the American victory in Cuba, Roosevelt won the Congressional Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" and was promoted to Colonel.
- When he returned as a war hero, Roosevelt decided to run for Governor of New York. Since the New Yorkers knew that TR was going to clean out all the corruption in town, George Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman decided to instead nominate him as a candidate for Vice President, a post where he presumably wouldn't have any power to do anything. The McKinley-Roosevelt ticket won, and McKinley was assassinated almost immediately. TR became President on 9/14/1901.
- As President, Roosevelt settled strikes, broke up powerful trusts, built the Panama Canal, desegregated Japanese schoolchildren in California, fought to preserve the independence of South American countries from Europe and worked to conserve the American outdoors by commissioning numerous state parks. He also invited Booker T. Washington to chill at the White House, marking the first time a black man had ever eaten dinner as an official guest at the White House.
- TR won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end to the Russo-Japanese War. How many people in history can claim that they won both the Nobel Peace Prize for making peaceful and harmonious shit happen as well as the Congressional Medal of Honor for kicking asses and possibly even taking names?
- Just to prove how awesome he was TR built a huge fleet of white battleships and sailed it around the world, making sure to stop at the ports of any nation that thought it could possibly kick the US's ass just to prove to them that they couldn't.
- His personal philosophy was "walk softly and carry a big stick (to kick asses with)", which goes up there with "live for revenge" and "cheat to win" as one of the three best personal philosophies ever devised.
- He stood outside and gave a two-hour speech in Milwaukee immediately after being shot in the chest in an assassination attempt. It was only after the speech ended that he went to the hospital to get the bullet removed.
- TR went on an African Safari in 1909 and put an expedition together to explore the Amazon in 1913. While in the Amazon rain forest he battled disease, heat and hostile tribesmen before discovering a new river, the Rio Teodoro, and returning home in 1914.
- After his death, a notable politician remarked, "Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake there would have been a fight".
Basically, TR was awesome. He succeeded at everything he attempted, could fight and ride with the best of them, and was essentially one of (if not the) most badass political figures in American history. If you're interested in learning more about the magical time when American Presidents were American Badasses, this page has a great biography of Roosevelt.
This is the portrait of a man
who doesn't take shit from anybody.
Tags: 19th century | 20th century | Adventurer | Crimefighter | Explorer | Head of State | Lawman | Medal of Honor | Military Commander | Nobel Prize | Politician | United States | US Army | War Hero