Theodore Roosevelt is the 26th president of the United States having held office from 1901 – 1909 (Thayer, 2007). He is considered as among the strongest and most energetic presidents in the history of United States. From a general perspective, his key accomplishments are the emphasis on protection of public interest, expansion of the involvement of the United States in world affairs and social and economic reforms.
Roosevelt always considered himself as the people’s steward and felt obligated to take any necessary actions for the public good. Even so, he never usurped power and always worked within the confines of the Constitution. In order to protect public interest, he extended the power of both the presidency and the executive; this later became the model for the modern presidency. As a means of achieving this goal, he subjected big businesses to stronger regulations. It is for this reason that he is referred to as the trust buster.
This emphasis is best illustrated by the fact that the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 became operational during his tenure. His role as a steward is also seen on his position on immigrants and minorities in the sense that he was sensitive and alive to their predicament (Frum, 2000). On such basis, he became the first president to appoint a Jewish minority to the cabinet. Additionally, he also appointed many African Americans to federal office.
Being in close touch with the people made him a popular president. Roosevelt was always ready to listen and assist the people especially ordinary citizens. This can be illustrated by how he handled the mine workers strike. The fact that he was the first president to ride an automobile in public further illustrates the point. It is this close interaction and love for the public that led to the establishment of a National Park System and the passing of the Conservation Act. Through the conservation program, Roosevelt set aside more than 230 million acres of wild land for future generations (Brinkley, 2009).
Of this land, he designated 150 National Forests, 21 Reclamation Projects, 51 Federal Bird Reservations, 4 National Game Preserves, 5 National Parks and the initial 18 National Monuments. His conservation efforts have been argued as his greatest achievement as a president.
It was during his tenure that the country’s involvement in world affairs was extended. He even issued a doctrine which permitted the United States to use international policy power to intercede and assist smaller countries (Sheridan, 2006). His key involvements in world affairs include the construction of the Panama Canal and resolution of disputes in Morocco, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Such involvement in international affairs led to the development of foreign policy (Holmes, 2006), key among it the Drago doctrine.
Key among his social and economic reforms was the Square Deal policy through which millions of Americans were able to earn a living wage. Others include the reduction of the national debt and passage of legislations that advanced these reforms. Some of the pertinent Acts include the Federal Employers’s Liability Act for Labor, the Meat Inspection Act, the Elkins Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act among others.
Brinkley, D. (2009). The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.
New York. Harper Collins Publishers.
Frum, D. (2000). How We Got Here: The ‘70s. New York. Basic Books.
Holmes, J. R. (2006). Theodore Roosevelt and World Order: Police Power in International
Relations. Washington, D.C. Potomac Books, Inc.
Thayer, W. (2007). Theodore Roosevelt: An Intimate Biography. IA, Fairfield, 1st World
Sheridan, G. (2006). The Partnership: The Inside Story of the US-Australian Alliance under
Bush and Howard. Sydney, New South Wales: University of New South Wales Press Ltd.