Magazine article History Today

Theodore Roosevelt Re-Elected President of the United States: November 8th, 1904

Magazine article History Today

Theodore Roosevelt Re-Elected President of the United States: November 8th, 1904

Article excerpt

SCION OF A WELL-TO-DO family of Dutch descent, highly intelligent, energetic and combative, Teddy Roosevelt had been active in Republican politics in New York since leaving Harvard. In the war with Spain he organised his own Rough Riders volunteer cavalry and led them in battle in Cuba. He returned home to be elected Governor of New York and was so effective against corrupt politicians that, to get him out of its hair, the New York Republican machine artfully contrived to get him chosen as vice-presidential candidate to President McKinley in 1900. When McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Roosevelt succeeded him in the White House, where the guest list broadened to include explorers, artists, prizefighters and cowboys. His measures to stop big business fleecing the public were popular and the election of 1904 gave him the opportunity to run for president in his own right. The forty-five-year-old Roosevelt issued a 12,000-word policy statement of admirable clarity and consistency.

Wags hoped that the Prohibition Party would put two men called Swallow and Tipple on its ticket, but it was not to be. The Democrats picked the lacklustre Chief Justice of the New York court of appeals, Alton Brooks Parker. Roosevelt, who knew and liked him, wrote warily that 'The neutral-tinted individual is very apt to win against the man of pronounced views and active life.' In September, however, thousands of New Yorkers turned out to cheer Roosevelt as he paraded up the East River in the presidential yacht, and as it became clear that the President was likely to win comfortably, millionaire businessmen queued up with donations. …

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