Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt
The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt was the executive branch of the United States government from September 14, 1901 to March 4, 1909. Before serving as 26th President of the United States of America, Roosevelt, a Republican, was 25th Vice President. He also previously served as Police Commissioner of New York City, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and Governor of New York. Roosevelt was sworn-in as President upon the assassination of William McKinley. Owing to his charismatic personality, his extremely high energy levels and span of interests, and his reformist policies, which he called the ""Square Deal"", Roosevelt is considered one of the ablest presidents and an icon of the Progressive Era.Roosevelt was a Progressive reformer who sought to move the dominant Republican Party into a more liberal camp. He distrusted wealthy businessmen and dissolved 44 monopolistic corporations as a ""trust buster."" He took care, however, to show that he did not disagree with trusts and capitalism in principle, but was only against their corrupt, illegal practices. His ""Square Deal"" included regulation of railroad rates and pure foods and drugs; he saw it as a fair deal for both the average citizen and the businessmen. He avoided labor strife and negotiated a settlement to the great Coal Strike of 1902. His great love was nature and he vigorously promoted the Conservation movement, emphasizing efficient use of natural resources. He dramatically expanded the system of national parks and national forests. In the 1904 election, Roosevelt became the first vice president who took over upon the death of a president to win a full presidential term in his own right. After 1906, he moved to the political left, attacking big business and suggesting the courts were biased against labor unions. He made sure his friend William Howard Taft replaced him as president.In foreign affairs, Roosevelt, as president, showed none of the bellicosity that made his reputation when he called for war with Spain in 1898. Indeed, he became the first American to be awarded, in 1906, the Nobel Prize for peace, for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt was a naval strategist, often discussing history and theory with Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, and taking a close interest in the Navy. The president emphasized the strategic necessity of the Panama Canal for reasons both military (to be able to use the Navy in both the Atlantic and Pacific) and commercial (to tie the East Coast to the West Coast and Asia). He negotiated US control of its construction in 1904; he felt that the Canal's completion was his most important and historically significant international achievement.Historian Thomas Bailey, who generally disagreed with Roosevelt's policies, nevertheless concluded, ""Roosevelt was a great personality, a great activist, a great preacher of the moralities, a great controversialist, a great showman. He dominated his era as he dominated conversations ... the masses loved him; he proved to be a great popular idol and a great vote getter."" His image stands alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln on Mount Rushmore. Although Roosevelt has been criticized by some for his perceived imperialist stance, he is often ranked by historians among the top-five greatest U.S. Presidents of all time.