With the assassination of President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, not quite 43, became the 26th and youngest President in the Nation's history (1901-1909).
He brought new enthusiasm and power to the office, energetically leading Congress and the American public toward progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy.
Some of Theodore Roosevelt's most effective achievements were in conservation. He added extremely to the national forests in the West, reserved lands for public use, and fostered great irrigation projects.
He crusaded continually on matters big and small, exciting audiences with his high-pitched voice, jutting jaw, and pounding fist. "The life of tough endeavor" was a must for those around him, as he romped with his five younger children and led ambassadors on hikes through Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.
Aware of the strategic need for a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific, Roosevelt ensured the construction of the Panama Canal. His corollary to the Monroe Doctrine prevented the establishment of foreign bases in the Caribbean and arrogated the sole right of intervention in Latin America to the United States.
Assuming the Presidency at the depth of the Great Depression as our 32nd President (1933-1945), Franklin D. Roosevelt helped the American people regain faith in themselves.
Following the example of his fifth cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt, whom he greatly admired, Franklin D. Roosevelt entered public service through politics, but as a Democrat. He won election to the New York Senate in 1910. President Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and he was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1920.
Roosevelt had pledged the United States to the "good neighbor" policy, transforming the Monroe Doctrine from a unilateral American manifesto into arrangements for mutual action against aggressors. He also sought through neutrality legislation to keep the United States out of the war in Europe, yet at the same time to strengthen nations threatened or attacked. When France fell and England came under siege in 1940, he began to send Great Britain all feasible aid short of actual military involvement.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt directed organization of the Nation's manpower and resources for global war.
Feeling that the future peace of the world would depend upon relations between the United States and Russia, he devoted much thought to the planning of a United Nations, in which, he hoped, international difficulties could be settled.
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