Top Five Masonic Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt

Born on October 27, 1858, Theodore Roosevelt Jr, was the second of four children to Martha Bulloch and Theodore Roosevelt Sr. Growing up in New York City, Roosevelt's childhood largely revolved around his poor health. He was prone to asthma attacks in the middle of the night which the doctors of the time were unable to treat. In spite of his poor health he was an energetic and inquisitive young man. In his youth he was home schooled and excelled in geography, history, biology, German and French. In September of 1876, he enrolled in Harvard College, where he became involved in rowing, boxing, and several fraternities. In 1880, he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts. Roosevelt decided to attend Columbia Law School after Harvard, which he would not finish. Instead he jumped feet first into New York politics starting as a Republican State Assemblyman.
From 1882 to 1884 Roosevelt served as a Member of the New York State Assembly. From the beginning, he began making his mark as someone who was not afraid to tackle corporate corruption issues. In 1884, he made a run for Speaker of the Assembly but was defeated by Titus Sheard. After the race, Roosevelt retired from politics and moved to North Dakota. There he lived on his ranch named Elk Horn where he learned to rope and hunt. In 1886, the ranch began to fail and he returned to New York to re-enter the political sphere. While in New York he made an unsuccessful run for Mayor but became the New York City Police Commissioner in 1894. The 1900 Presidential election named William McKinley President of the United States, with Roosevelt as his Vice President. Roosevelt served as Vice President for six months before he assumed the Presidency after McKinley’s assassination.
Serving two terms as President, Roosevelt’s eight year run was full of action. During his time in office he became a well known for breaking up large trusts and imposing strict regulations on companies to prevent monopolies. President Roosevelt also passed the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 in response to the public outcry against poor food quality. In 1902, he also negotiated a settlement to end the coal strike, making him the first president to negotiate a settlement for a labor dispute. Despite all of this, President Roosevelt was proudest of his work in conservation of natural resources. He established the United States Forest Service, proclaimed 18 new U.S. National Monuments, established the first 51 bird reserves and much more.  In total President Roosevelt placed almost 230,000,000 acres of land under public protection.
President Roosevelt became a Brother in our masonic fraternity on April 24, 1901, when he was raised a Master Mason in Matinecokc Lodge No. 806 of Oyster Bay, New York. He was Vice President of the United States when he joined. Over the course of his life he was an active and proud mason, visiting lodges in Africa, Europe and South America. He also assisted in laying the cornerstone of the Pilgrim Memorial Monument in Provincetown, MA. He broke ground for the Spokane, WA, Masonic Temple. He also laid the cornerstone at the north gate of Yellowstone Park.
Brother Roosevelt passed away on January 6, 1919 after a blood clot detached from a vein and traveled to his lungs. Upon receiving word of his death Vice President Thomas R. Marshall remarked “death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.” He was buried on a hillside overlooking Oyster Bay, and he was immortalized on the side of Mount Rushmore in 1927 with the approval of Calvin Coolidge.
Brother Roosevelt lived an incredible life and did far more than what could be fit into one small article. To read more about Theodore Roosevelt, click here. To read about our number 2 Masonic President, click here.

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