It is nearly impossible for anyone to have never heard the name Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt served in office from 1901 through 1909, and there have been many theories questioning the validity of Theodore Roosevelt and his ability to be president. It has been argued that Roosevelt was in fact, incapable of carrying out his presidential duties during the course of his presidency. Contrary to popular belief, Theodore Roosevelt was mentally affected during his time spent with the Rough Riders, which left him incompetent to make knowledgeable decisions on as president.
Theodore is already noticed as abnormal, at a young age. His mother comments about him in an interview, “As a child, he would refuse to go out and play with the other children…he rather been reading” (Morris 64). Exemplifying characteristics of his extraordinary intellect, Roosevelt proved to be a scholar at heart. The refusal to play and instead be reading is remarkable. It shows us that Theodore Roosevelt was abnormal from a very young age. There always something there, it just needed a small push over the edge. Many say that Theodore Roosevelt was an intelligent man, but people who are extremely intelligent are usually the loonies.
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Theodore Roosevelt was involved with the Rough Riders. This was due to his involvement through the navy, he being the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Theodore Roosevelt thought that his involvement in the Spanish-American War was insufficient (Morris 618). Therefore, he decided to propose a voluntary cavalry regiment for this war. President McKinley accepted the proposal of the regiment, and he deemed Roosevelt the head of the regiment. Roosevelt was amazed with this great news, and he took advantage of it. Knowing of the new child known as media, Roosevelt uses it to publicize the war. It shows how irresponsible it was of him to release the kind of events that were happening at the time. As noted by Walker, there is a photograph that depicts the Rough Riders at the battle of San Juan Hill on horseback—when in actuality they were on foot. This was one of Roosevelt’s tricky schemes—take a photograph while on horseback, and have the media state that it was during the battle of San Juan Hill—there was no actual photograph of the Rough Riders on foot (Morris 625). The reason for their depiction of being on horseback was to keep their prestigious name of being a cavalry regiment. It would have made the Rough Riders look bad in the eyes of the public if they were known for being a cavalry regiment and be seen on foot. Theodore Roosevelt wanted to deceive the public right before becoming their great hero. The popularity of San Juan Hill helped him win the presidential election of 1900.
The American public was Roosevelt’s greatest concern now. By this time, began to start liking the media’s influence on the American people (Morris 635; Barber 54). It is obvious now that Roosevelt loved the attention that he might receive from the public. Morris describes the public as being Roosevelt’s main concern at the time of his presidency:
Many await crowded into all the small places usually inaccessible…it is January 1, 1901, and Americans wait for the chance to shake hands with the president…
quite possibly the quickest hand-shaker around …50 shakes in one minute. Anxiety grows as every minute passes until 8 a.m. when the president reveals himself to his faithful people. (9-11)
Morris specifically states that Roosevelt’s fans are awaiting him in anxiety. This exemplifies the great bond among the American citizens and the people’s President Roosevelt. Morris shows us that Roosevelt also loves to see his people follow him around (17). This is undoubtedly the best example supporting the idea that Roosevelt needed the media to influence the people in his favor. This also supports the assumption of Roosevelt’s mental capabilities dropping, because there is evidence that before the Rough Riders Roosevelt was completely competent. Roosevelt never made any decisions that put any of the Rough Riders near or in danger. He was extremely cautious and always strategic in his decisions, which were always modified later (Wimmel 312).
Roosevelt was the type of person that did not want to be left behind. He was the person that always tried his best, which might not have been the best. Attempting to touch on that subject, it would send anyone into the study of psychology—which no one may have the time to go over. Well, he was involved in many physical activities other than studying—like boxing, horseback riding, and martial arts that he used to strengthen his disability of asthma (Morris 66). One may wonder how it is possible for another human to be so strong-hearted and strong-willed. The strength of his will is certainly immeasurable due to the fact that we do not know how much he wanted and needed to succeed in life. However being true, Walker states that Roosevelt would educate the Rough Riders about his condition and how he had gotten so far in life (200).
Educating people was a noticeable quality in Roosevelt for he most likely admired the people’s gratitude. This appreciation of gratitude soon begins to descend. Roosevelt’s New Year’s day of 1901, it is seen an urge to try break his own record of fifty handshakes an hour. Thus, leading on to the media’s coverage of his life as the President. He wanted to deceive the people and impress them in a superficial way, trying to be popular for the public. Roosevelt—we can assume—loved the attention, because he was the first president to be fully engulfed by the media. Day-and-night, night-and-day, the media followed him non-stop.
Roosevelt here is clearly lessening his competence. It was plain to see he would become mentally alike as a child. In delivering speeches, Roosevelt would stress his “I” and pronounce it as “Aiiii-eeeeeeeeeee!” just to aggravate a companion of his (Morris 20). Educated people should not act inappropriately in that manner no matter what the audience’s sense of humor may be. One may see it as annoying, while another may see it as delighting and comedic. Roosevelt had many characteristics including a comical one (Morris ii; Walker 115; Barber 22). It may be argued that it was just Roosevelt’s nature to be humoring and comical. Was it humor or insanity? No one really knows, but everyone should assume that it was humor. For this purpose please assume insanity, because people have never argued that Roosevelt was incompetent and always have assumed humor.
One can see that Roosevelt’s situations that are presented could lead to an incompetence of some sort. If in fact Roosevelt was incompetent to make presidential decisions, would it not take a defining line to state someone incompetent and another competent? Who sets these standards of competency? People, who think something is normal may just be what is common, this is what sets the normal standards. Yes, there would have to be a dividing line concluding some people incompetent and others competent.
The competency of Theodore Roosevelt may be argued either way. This is an attempt to get people to see the incompetence of Theodore Roosevelt after having spent time with the Rough Riders. This idea sets the stage that the presidency of Roosevelt could have been better, only it was not. Roosevelt’s composure is questionable, but it is unknown to us if all the actions of the Rough Riders led Roosevelt to insanity or a higher sanity. Meaning, that insanity would be an incompetent level and higher sanity being a level of increased knowledge. Roosevelt was a great president but not a competent one. He needed to try his best—for that was his will in life, to try his best. Incompetence is not trying for the best, because one does not strive to be competent of certain decisions.
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