Jan. 6, 1919: Theodore Roosevelt died. He was the 26th president, serving between 1901 and 1909. He assumed the office upon the assassination of President William McKinley, becoming, at 42, the youngest person to become president, though not the youngest elected, which was John F. Kennedy. TR, as he was known, had previously been governor of New York and New York City police commissioner.
Roosevelt's presidency was one of consequence. He was the first conservationist president. He protected 130 million acres of forests, created five national parks and 51 wildlife refuges. It was for this, his efforts to preserve America's natural heritage, that he was chosen as one of the four busts to be carved on Mount Rushmore. TR also spoke out against racism, saying whites should adjust their attitudes towards minorities. If whites were the leading race in the U.S., he argued, they had a responsibility to preserve American civilization by improving the status of minorities.
Roosevelt also made efforts to make industry more competitive. In a 20,000-word speech in 1901, he asked Congress to curb the power of large corporations ("trusts"); he became known as a "trust-buster." His administration sued dozens of "monopolies," including John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil & J.P. Morgan's Northern Securities Co. (railroads).
TR also oversaw the construction of the Panama Canal and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the 1905 war between Japan and Russia.
Roosevelt also changed the name of the "Executive Mansion" to the current name — the White House.
In 1912, Roosevelt, now out of office, sought the presidency again. Giving a speech in Milwaukee, he was shot in the chest. He insisted upon delivering the rest of the speech anyway. The bullet that hit Roosevelt was stopped by an eyeglass case and a thickly folded copy of his speech; likely saving his life.
WWR, in partnership with the the New York Times, presents the Times's front page coverage of Roosevelt's death in 1919.
Jan. 6, 1941: In his State of the Union, President Franklin Roosevelt outlined his famous "Four Freedoms" that all are entitled to: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. In 1943, with the U.S. at war, FDR's "Four Freedoms" were portrayed beautifully by the artist Norman Rockwell in this beautiful series of covers for the Saturday Evening Post:
Wow: Happy 68th anniversary to former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara. The Bushes are by the longest married couple in presidential history. Another presidential couple was also married on Jan. 6: George and Martha Washington, in 1759.
Quote of the Day
"The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life." — Theodore Roosevelt
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- 4 life hacks from ancient philosophers that will make you happier
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
- The Daily Show explains Hamid Karzai's 'Afghan Hustle'
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
Subscribe to the Week