When President William McKinley was assassinated, Theodore Roosevelt, at age 42, was the youngest president to reach the White House. But the timeline of his broad and extensive experiences provided ample preparation for the role as the nation’s 26th president.
Prior to the presidency, Roosevelt spent time as New York State assemblyman, a deputy sheriff in the Dakota Territory, police commissioner of New York City, U.S. Civil Service commissioner, assistant secretary of the Navy, colonel of the Rough Riders, governor of New York, and vice president.
Roosevelt also was an accomplished author, writing about 35 books and countless articles and letters, according to the Theodore Roosevelt Association
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Born into a wealthy New York City family in 1858, Roosevelt’s childhood paved the way for his success. Sick with asthma, his father encouraged him to take control of his body. The boy took to rigorous exercise, which he continued throughout his life with activities including boxing, hiking, gymnastics, weightlifting, horse riding, and swimming.
Roosevelt spent two years ranching in Dakota Territory after his wife and mother died on the same day in 1884. In 1886, he remarried and moved back to New York, where he resumed politics and writing, with time as U.S. Civil Service commissioner and president of the New York City Police Board before being appointed by President McKinley as assistant secretary of the Navy, the University of Virginia’s Miller Center said
He advocated war against Spain and mobilized the Navy while his boss was away. When the U.S. declared war on Spain, Roosevelt assembled the Rough Riders and led the First Volunteer Cavalry to victory on Cuba's San Juan Hill in 1898.
Returning a war hero, Roosevelt successfully ran for governor of New York. In 1900, the Republican convention nominated him as vice presidential candidate. He campaigned tirelessly, and McKinley won re-election. When McKinley was assassinated in September 1901, Roosevelt rose to the presidency.
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