Monday, March 17, 2008
As a child (born in New York City), Theodore Roosevelt was afflicted with asthma and a frail physique. Exhorted by his father to “make your own body”, he build up his physical fitness through sheer will power and determination. By the time his father died in 1878, Roosevelt was a fine physical specimen.
Then he suffered a double tragedy; his mother and wife died on the same day. Seeking to escape his grief, he went out to North Dakota and threw himself into ranching. But he couldnt stay away from politics, and within two years, he was back in New York, running unsuccessfully for mayor and taking a second wife.
The impression taken away by anyone who meets Roosevelt is of overwhelming energy, and perpetual motion. The man is almost literally incapable of relaxing (his idea of “goofing off” is to indulge in strenuous exercise). Individuals expecting a dull, solemn meeting with the Chief Executive should be blindsided by encountering him in the most unusual places up a tree, perhaps, or emerging from one of his notorious skinny-dips in the Potomac. His opinions are strong and honestly held, if sometime crankish to modern eyes.
Although he lost some elections, Roosevelt is a formidible political operator; he can make speeches on the stump, manipulate the new power of the media, or mediate among world leaders.
Brand, H.W.,: TR: The Last Romantic
Miller, Nathan: Theodore Roosevelt, A Life
Morris, Edmund: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Roosevelt, Theodore: An Autobiography