Theodore Roosevelt Becomes the 26th President of the United States

McKinley was shot by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz on September 6, 1901, and died on September 14, putting Roosevelt into the presidency.

Roosevelt continued McKinley's cabinet and promised to continue McKinley's policies. One of his first notable acts as President was to deliver a 20,000-word address to Congress on December 3, 1901, asking it to curb the power of large corporations (called "trusts") "within reasonable limits." For his aggressive attacks on trusts over his two terms he has been called a "trust-buster."

Roosevelt relished the Presidency and seemed to be everywhere at once. He took Cabinet members and friends on long, fast-paced hikes, boxed in the state rooms of the White House, romped with his children, and read voraciously. He was permanently blinded in one eye during one of his boxing bouts.

With the assassination of President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, not quite 43, became the youngest President in the Nation's history. He brought new excitement and power to the Presidency, as he vigorously led Congress and the American public toward progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy.

He took the view that the President as a "steward of the people" should take whatever action necessary for the public good unless expressly forbidden by law or the Constitution." I did not usurp power," he wrote, "but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power."

Roosevelt's youth differed sharply from that of the log cabin Presidents. He was born in New York City in 1858 into a wealthy family, but he too struggled--against ill health--and in his triumph became an advocate of the strenuous life.

On September 6, 1901 an assassin's bullet tore into President William McKinley and eventually propelled Vice President Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency. McKinley was cut down while attending the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. TR was vacationing in New York's Adirondack Mountains when the news reached him. After a break neck ride to Albany, Roosevelt was taken by train to Buffalo and was present when McKinley succumbed to his wounds on September 14.

Just shy of his forty-third birthday, Roosevelt was the youngest president to move into the White House. He, his wife and six children brought an energetic enthusiasm and vibrancy previously unknown in the presidential mansion. Along with the family came a virtual menagerie of pets - including dogs, birds and a pony. The Roosevelt's soon completely occupied the place making it their home and stamping it with their own unique imprint. Leaving the White House in 1909, TR remarked: "I don't think any family has enjoyed the White House more than we have."