The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt


“The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris is a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography that chronicles the early life and political ascent of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. The book delves into Roosevelt’s transformation from a sickly and asthmatic young boy into a robust and energetic figure who made significant contributions to American politics and society.

The biography highlights Roosevelt’s family background, his education, and his time as a young naturalist and rancher in the Badlands of North Dakota. It also explores his entry into politics, his tenure as a New York State Assemblyman, and his crusade against corruption. The book captures Roosevelt’s leadership during the Spanish-American War, particularly his role as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, where he played a pivotal part in building the U.S. Navy into a formidable force.

Additionally, the biography covers Roosevelt’s term as Governor of New York and his relentless pursuit of progressive reforms, including those related to labor, conservation, and consumer protection. It concludes with his journey to becoming Vice President and the unexpected turn of events that thrust him into the presidency following the assassination of President William McKinley. “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” provides a rich and detailed portrait of a charismatic and transformative leader who left an indelible mark on American history.

10 Key Takeaways from The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris:

  • Transformation through Perseverance: Roosevelt’s transformation from a sickly, asthmatic child into a physically robust adult underscores the power of determination and hard work. He developed a rigorous regimen of exercise and outdoor activities, which not only improved his health but also became a defining aspect of his character. This transformation is a testament to the human capacity to overcome physical challenges.
  • The Influence of Family: Roosevelt’s upbringing in a family that valued duty, integrity, and intellectual growth had a profound impact on his character. His father, known for his integrity, served as a role model, while his mother, Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, encouraged his intellectual pursuits. The family’s influence played a pivotal role in shaping his values and sense of civic responsibility.
  • Naturalist and Conservationist: Roosevelt’s love for nature and his role as a naturalist laid the foundation for his later conservation efforts. He recognized the importance of preserving America’s natural beauty and resources, leading to his advocacy for the creation of national parks, forests, and monuments. His legacy as a conservationist continues to shape environmental policy.
  • Anti-Corruption Crusader: As a young politician in New York, Roosevelt took on the corrupt political machine of Boss Tweed and the Tammany Hall organization. His fearless pursuit of political reform earned him the nickname “Trust-Buster” and demonstrated his commitment to clean and transparent government.
  • Leadership during the Spanish-American War: Roosevelt’s tenure as Assistant Secretary of the Navy allowed him to modernize and prepare the U.S. Navy for the Spanish-American War. His foresight and leadership contributed to the Navy’s success in the conflict, showcasing his ability to lead in times of crisis.
  • Governor of New York: As Governor of New York, Roosevelt implemented a series of progressive reforms. These included the strengthening of labor laws, establishment of a state park system, and consumer protection measures. His term as governor served as a precursor to his later national policies, emphasizing his commitment to social and political progress.
  • The Rough Riders: Roosevelt’s leadership of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War is a testament to his courage and leadership on the battlefield. His charge up San Juan Hill became a symbol of his fearless nature and his willingness to lead from the front lines.
  • Unexpected Presidency: Roosevelt’s ascension to the presidency following McKinley’s assassination was a turning point in American history. His presidency was marked by his “Square Deal” philosophy, which sought to balance the interests of business, labor, and the public. He tackled issues of trust-busting and advocated for consumer protection through the Pure Food and Drug Act.
  • Progressive Reforms: Roosevelt’s commitment to progressive reforms included championing workers’ rights, promoting fair competition through trust regulation, and safeguarding consumers from dangerous products. His policies set the stage for future progressive reforms and had a lasting impact on American society.
  • Legacy of Leadership: Roosevelt’s legacy is characterized by his energetic and dynamic leadership style. His boundless enthusiasm, sense of moral duty, and commitment to social and political change continue to influence American politics and governance. His legacy is particularly evident in the conservation movement, where his efforts led to the preservation of iconic natural landscapes.


“The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris concludes with the realization that Theodore Roosevelt’s remarkable journey from a frail and sickly child to a dynamic leader is a testament to the transformative power of perseverance and determination. His presidency, marked by progressive reforms and conservation efforts, left an indelible mark on American history. Roosevelt’s legacy, characterized by his boundless energy, fearless leadership, and commitment to social justice, continues to shape the nation’s values and policies. The book underscores that his rise was not just the story of one man but a reflection of America’s potential for change and progress.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles

Renoir, My Father by Jean Renoir

Summary: "Renoir, My Father" is a captivating memoir written by Jean Renoir, the son of the renowned French Impressionist...

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Summary: "The Wheel of Time" series, penned by Robert Jordan, is an epic fantasy saga spanning fourteen novels. At...

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Summary: "The Priory of the Orange Tree" by Samantha Shannon is a standalone epic fantasy novel set in a...

 The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

Summary: "The Black Prism" by Brent Weeks is the first book in the "Lightbringer" series, set in a world...