Columbians Ahead of Their Time
 Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919)
U.S. President
Law 1880–82

During a nearly eight-year presidency, Theodore Roosevelt transformed the United States into a world power and the federal government into a vigorous regulator of the industrializing domestic economy. Roosevelt was a frail boy who became a strong man; a soldier who won the Nobel Prize for Peace; a big-game hunter who founded the National Wildlife Refuge System; a historian whose freewheeling revision of the Monroe Doctrine was ultimately dismantled by his fifth cousin Franklin. Above all, he was the son of an elite New York Knickerbocker family who promised “a square deal” for ordinary Americans, taking on powerful lobbies to strengthen the Interstate Commerce Commission, establish the Department of Labor and Commerce, pass the Pure Food and Drug and Meat Inspection acts, and file dozens of federal suits against monopolies. Raised by his father to believe in his civic responsibility, certain of his ability to determine what was right, he possessed in abundance the intellectual and physical energies, political acuity, social standing, and charisma to realize many of his convictions.

Roosevelt graduated from Harvard in 1880 and studied law at Columbia before leaving to assume a seat in the state assembly in 1882. In 1902 he became the first president since Washington to make an official visit to Columbia, attending the installation of his friend and political ally Nicholas Murray Butler as president of the University.

Read more about Roosevelt in the Columbia Encyclopedia.

Four-term president led the country out of the Great Depression and on to towards its role as a postwar superpower.

Talking About Teddy

Columbia's Oral History Office contains reminiscences about TR from those who knew him best.

Write Columbia's History

Columbia's history, as seen by those who have studied, taught, and worked here.

Columbians Ahead of Their Time

Columbians have changed the world and how we see it.

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