A political leader of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Roosevelt was president from 1901 to 1909. He became governor of New York in 1899, soon after leading a group of volunteer cavalrymen, the Rough Riders, in the Spanish-American War. A Republican, Roosevelt was elected vice president in 1900 under President William McKinley and became president when McKinley was assassinated; he was reelected on his own in 1904. As president, he upheld many of the interests of the Progressive movement. His accomplishments include the breaking up of large monopolies (see trust busting), better federal inspection of food, closer federal regulation of railroads, and more conservation of natural resources. Roosevelt summarized his foreign policy as “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” He received the Nobel Prize for peace in 1906, after he brought the opponents in the Russo-Japanese War to an agreement. Construction of the Panama Canal was begun during his presidency. He did not seek reelection in 1908, but ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 1912 as the candidate of the Progressive party.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.