Theodore Roosevelt entered the White House due to the previous president’s assassination- in 1901, an anarchist assassinated William McKinley. Roosevelt soon became the youngest (age 43 at the time), and 26th president but most importantly one of the most prominent leaders of that era. He was a son of a wealthy New York family allowing him to pursue a career in Republican politics. Roles he had prior to his presidency were a New York legislator, U.S. civil service commissioner, and assistant secretary of the Navy. Then, he was elected governor of New York in 1898 and vice president in 1900.
Roosevelt became the first modern president in many more ways than one. He was involved in many activities and had both an active private and social life. He pursued the “strenuous life’ which included boxing, wrestling, hunting, rowing, and ranching and chasing rustlers all throughout Dakota territory. He was always showing off but ended up leading to a lot of publicity and positive attention from America. He dramatized the issues of progressivism and became the most popular politician of all time. Roosevelt had many accounts of big changes he made throughout his terms. Unlike past presidents, he seemed to poke his nose around just around everyone. For instance, he believed that the president could do anything to meet national needs that the Constitution did not specifically prohibit. He said, “Under this interpretation of executive power, I did and cause to be done many things not previously done… I did not usurp power.” Teddy, or TR as the public called him often times, encouraged the development of a personal presidency by exploiting the public’s interest in their exciting, young, and healthy president. Additionally, he began the first White House press room and also handled the mass media himself and addressing his audience accordingly. He became a huge celebrity to the public eye since he began sharing much of his private life, capturing their hearts, from him playing with his children in the White House to hiking, horseback riding, and hanging out with notable celebrities. The publicity from all of these events not only kept TR, or Teddy in the spotlight but also enabled him to mold public opinion.
Not only did Theodore Roosevelt gain the love and respect from all of America, he did many things for them also. He reorganized the executive branch. Since he believed in efficiency and expertise, he rearranged many ideas. He tried to promote rational policymaking and public management by staffing the expanding federal beauracy with able professionals. These people made better and more educated decisions for the whole of the U.S. By doing this, though, he provoked opposition from time to time.
During this time, the government was not known to interfere with workers and their employees until it came around to the possibility of a freezing winter due to lack of coal and workers in the coal plant. Roosevelt wasn’t supposed to interfere but ended up doing so even though his legal advisers told him otherwise. He invited both of the owners and the union leaders to the White House and declared that national interest made government action necessary. The union leaders agreed to meet but the owners refused to even speak to the miners and demanded that Roosevelt use the army to break the union, as Cleveland had done in previous years during the Pullman strike in 1894. Roosevelt, as president, strongly believed that his role was to mediate social conflict for the public good. He announced that he would use the army to seize and operate the mines, not to crush the union. Many weren’t sure he was going by the little rules of the constitution but he said “to hell with the Constitution when the people want coal”. The owners had no other option but to acres and accept the commission from before. The commission gave the miners a 10 percent wage increase and normal days of work, 9 hours, as opposed to the earlier strenuous amount of hours on the job. The owners were also allowed to raise coal prices by 10 percent. Not only was Roosevelt given credit for ending the United Mine Workers Union strike but he set important precedents for an active roles with labor disputes and showed how strong of a president he was to the general public.
Now what? The President’s bear hunt would be a failure! The next day, the hunt guides tracked down an old black bear that the dogs had trailed quite a distance and attacked. The guides tied the bear to a willow tree and called for the President. Here was a bear for him to shoot!
But Roosevelt took one look at the old bear and refused to shoot it. He felt doing so would be unsportsmanlike. However, since it was injured and suffering, Roosevelt ordered that the bear be put down to end its pain. Word of this hit newspapers across the country, and political cartoonist Clifford Berryman picked up on the story, drawing a cartoon showing how President Roosevelt refused to shoot the bear while hunting in Mississippi.
The original cartoon, which ran in the Washington Post on November 16, 1902, shows Roosevelt standing in front. The guide and bear are in the background, and they’re about the same size. Later, similar cartoons appeared, but the bear was smaller and shaking with fear. This bear cub then appeared in other cartoons Clifford Berryman drew throughout Roosevelt’s career. That connected bears with President Roosevelt.
The Teddy Bear tie came when a Brooklyn, NY candy shop owner, Morris Michtom, saw Clifford Berryman’s original cartoon of Roosevelt and the bear and had an idea. He put in his shop window two stuffed toy bears his wife had made. Michtom asked permission from President Roosevelt to call these toy bears ‘Teddy’s bears’. The rapid popularity of these bears led Michtom to mass-produce them, eventually forming the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.”