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Presidents' Places: Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt was born in this house (actually, this house is a reconstruction) in New York City and lived here until he was fourteen. His parents were wealthy importers / exporters. It has been said that Teedie's father would have been noted in history as a great philanthropist and social activist if his son had not overshadowed him. Teedie's son, also named Theodore, could have said something similar -- that he, the son and grandson, would have been a famous general and perhaps Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, 1941-1945, if his father had not overshadowed him. Theodore Roosevelt overshadowed everyone. Incidentally, TR's family called him "Teedie," not "Teddy."
You probably all know the story of how Teedie's mother and his wife both died suddenly on the same day. Teedy was devastated; he gave the baby to his sister and went out west for a couple of years where he did some ranching, but finally was able to overcome his grief and returned to New York to marry again and enter politics.
Teedie never lost his love of play, and could be seen at any time cavorting with his children and nephews around the grounds of Sagamore Hill or the White House. One time some dignitaries came upon him engaged in some sort of child play with a bunch of kids. Teedie's sister explained, "You must remember, the president is only six years old."
But regardless of that, Theodore Roosevelt played a vital role on the world stage. He was instrumental in ending the Russo-Japanese War and helped resolve disputes around the world. He could easily have won re-election in 1908, but chose, to his regret, not to run. He went on a disastrous trip to South America, where both he and his son nearly died; TR was never the same after that. He became an ardent supporter of World War I until one of his sons was killed; he realized then how wrong he had been, and he himself died soon afterward.