TWENTY-FIVE

Theodore Roosevelt
1901-9

Theodore Roosevelt ( 1858-1919) was without doubt the most energetic of all our Presidents. And the most ebullient. And the most athletic. He was, Henry Adams decided, "pure act." 1 After visiting the White House, John Morley, British essayist and biographer, concluded that Roosevelt was "an interesting combination of St. Vitus and St. Paul." To Joseph Bishop, one of Roosevelt's newspaper friends, he exclaimed: "My dear fellow, do you know the two most extraordinary things I have seen in your country? Niagara Falls and the President of the United States -- both great wonders of nature!" 2

TR seemed to possess limitless vitality, indomitable courage, and indestructible will; and he was a passionate devotee of the strenuous life. "Get action," he advised; "do things; be sane; don't fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action."3 Roosevelt wanted his fellow countrymen to "hit the line and hit it hard," and set an astonishing example of line-hitting himself. 4 Reported Rudyard Kipling, after spending some time with the President: "I curled up in the seat opposite, and listened and wondered, until the universe seemed to be spinning around and Theodore was the spinner."5 But French ambassador Jean-Jules Jusserand had a tougher time with TR. He joined the President for two sets of tennis one day; then TR suggested a bit of jogging; and after they had jogged on the White House lawn a while, they had a workout

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