U.S. Presidents / Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

1858 - 1919

Theodore Roosevelt

In facing new industrial conditions, the whole history of the world shows that legislation will generally be both unwise and ineffective unless undertaken after calm inquiry and with sober self-restraint.  First Annual Message


Theodore Roosevelt, who came into office in 1901 and served until 1909, is considered the first modern President because he significantly expanded the influence and power of the executive office. From the Civil War to the turn of the twentieth century, the seat of power in the national government resided in the U.S. Congress. Beginning in the 1880s, the executive branch gradually increased its power. Roosevelt seized on this trend, believing that the President had the right to use all powers except those that were specifically denied him to accomplish his goals. As a result, the President, rather than Congress or the political parties, became the center of the American political arena. As President, Roosevelt challenged the ideas of limited government and individualism. In their stead, he advocated government regulation to achieve social and economic justice. He used executive orders to accomplish his goals, especially in conservation, and waged an aggressive foreign policy. He was also an extremely popular President and the first to use the media to appeal directly to the people, bypassing the political parties and career politicians.

Fast Facts

New York, New York
Harvard College (graduated 1880)
Dutch Reformed
Author, Lawyer, Public Official
“TR”, “Trust-Buster”, “Teddy”
October 27, 1880, to Alice Hathaway Lee (1861–1884), December 2, 1886, to Edith Kermit Carow (1861–1948)
Alice Lee (1884–1980), Theodore (1887–1944), Kermit (1889–1943), Ethel Carow (1891–1977), Archibald Bulloch (1894–1979), Quentin (1897–1918)
Oyster Bay, New York
Sidney Milkis

Chicago Style

Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “Theodore Roosevelt.” Accessed July 16, 2024. https://prod.millercenter.org/president/roosevelt.

Professor of Politics

Sidney Milkis

Professor Milkis is the White Burkett Miller Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and a faculty associate at the Miller Center of Public Affairs.