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1998 Marks the 100th Anniversary of

Theodore Roosevelt’s Election as Governor of New York

Theodore Roosevelt was a dynamic, larger-than-life figure. He was the quintessential New Yorker who shared his talents with the nation and the world. A happy but sickly child who suffered from severe asthma, he adopted a life of strenuous physical activity that would prepare him for the road that lay ahead. He placed great emphasis upon the importance of family and the values inherent to the traditional American family.

At the age of 23, Roosevelt won the first of three terms to the New York State Assembly. Though he was the youngest legislator in the state, he quickly gained a reputation as an advocate for child labor reform and safe working conditions in New York factories.

When Roosevelt became a U.S. Civil Service Commissioner, President Benjamin Harris said that the New Yorker "wanted to put an end to all the evil in the world between sunrise and sunset."

In 1897 Roosevelt became assistant secretary of the Navy. When war with Spain erupted in 1898, Roosevelt immediately resigned from his post and helped organize a volunteer Calvary outfit that would fight to free Cuba from the Spanish domination.

The conflict with Spain ended the same year, but not before Col. Roosevelt and his "Rough Riders" gained national fame for their exploits in the battle of San Juan Hill.

Teddy Roosevelt came home a hero and was elected to a two-year term as governor of New York. In 1900, he gained the vice presidential nomination. One year later, while hiking in the Adirondacks, Roosevelt received news that President McKinley had been cut down by an assassin’s bullet at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. At the age of 42, Roosevelt became the Chief Executive, the youngest president in American history.

Theodore Roosevelt was a man of action. He possessed a dazzling mind and was the advocate of the "strenuous life." His favorite words were "gusto" and "bully," and that's how he lived his life.

He was a genuine reformer who was routinely suspicious of reformers. And the American people loved him, even though many politicians – regardless of their party or philosophy – were frustrated and unhappy with him because he refused to play by their rules.

Theodore Roosevelt transformed the presidency, bringing to the office an energy and a vision few of his predecessors had possessed. His achievements as president were many. He became the father of the modern day Navy by building the American fleet into his "big stick" of international diplomacy.

He resurrected the Monroe Doctrine and vowed the United States would protect other countries in the Americas from European incursion.

Roosevelt was responsible for the building of the Panama Canal. As a champion of conservation, he established the first Federal Wildlife Preserves and founded the U.S. Forest Service. And in 1906, he became the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize, using the prize money to help overseas victims of World War I.

After his presidency, he traveled the globe. Roosevelt was always curious about his world, but the world was even more curious about him. Whether on safari or in exploration of the Amazon, Roosevelt's every move was followed by the press. To a world wearied by war and conflict, he personified the energy and hope of an America on the move.

Theodore Roosevelt, the man who devoted his life to "work worth doing," died on Jan. 6, 1919, at the family's beloved Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, Long Island. He was, in life and legacy, the quintessential New Yorker, who led the nation and captivated the world.

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