Theodore Roosevelt First Among Everybody!

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Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Firsts

Below is a photo showing the first presidential motorcade, first open-top one, to boot. The car is a Columbia Electric Victoria Phaeton. Roosevelt is on the left. On the right is Colonel Jacob Greene, chairman of Hartford citizen’s committee. Note the chauffeurs at the back: one of them is steering with a tiller. The car is flanked by policemen on bicycles.

First Presidential Motorcade

First Presidential Motorcade

First President and first American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His successful efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work surrounding the Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War.

Working for Peace - President Roosevelt and the envoys of Mikado and Czar on the Mayflower.

Working for Peace – President Roosevelt and the envoys of Mikado and Czar on the Mayflower.

First President to Fly in an Airplane

From the New York Tribune’s account at the time:

“The aeroplane sped quickly around the field at a height of less than one hundred feet. It made the first lap of a mile and a half before news percolated through the crowd that Mr. Roosevelt was Hoxsey’s passenger. When he swept past the grandstand he leaned forward a bit and waved his hands. The spectators seemed frightened and remained silent, watching the aeroplane intently.

The flying machine sped by and made the turn for the second lap. Hoxsey could be seen to bend over and shout something into Mr. Roosevelt’s ear. The engine cracked regularly, hurling the aeroplane forward at a speed of nearly a mile a minute, but from the ground it looked as though it were travelling much slower because it sailed so evenly and smoothly. There was not a breath of wind, and the engine did not miss fire once.”

The pilot had been warning Roosevelt to hold onto the rail, lest his he interfere with the engines or fall out. “Mr. Roosevelt’s first act after alighting was to shake Hoxsey’s hand vigorously. ‘It was great! First class! It was the finest experience I have ever had,’ he declared. ‘I wish I could stay up for an hour, but I haven’t the time this afternoon.'”


First Airforce One

First Airforce One

While participating in the Missouri State Republican Party’s campaign on October 11, 1910, TR is invited to fly in a biplane with Arch Hoxsey as pilot. Accompanied by Herbert S. Hadley, Governor of Missouri (1909-1913) and two men who appear to be Henry W. Kiel, Mayor of St. Louis, and Sheriff Louis Nolte, TR arrives in motorcade at Kinloch aviation field; man, who appears to be Hoxsey, inspects plane; medium shot of TR as he enters passenger seat of biplane; long shot of plane flying; TR alights from plane, joins waiting crowd, enters automobile and drives away in motorcade.

Teddy Roosevelt was one American who believed a revolution was coming.
He believed Wall Street financiers and powerful trust titans to be acting foolishly. While they were eating off fancy china on mahogany tables in marble dining rooms, the masses were roughing it. There seemed to be no limit to greed. If docking wages would increase profits, it was done. If higher railroad rates put more gold in their coffers, it was done. How much was enough, Roosevelt wondered?

Teddy Roosevelt Comic Book

Teddy Roosevelt Comic Book

Although he himself was a man of means, he criticized the wealthy class of Americans on two counts. First, continued exploitation of the public could result in a violent uprising that could destroy the whole system. Second, the captains of industry were arrogant enough to believe themselves superior to the elected government.

Harpers Weekly Roosevelt

Harpers Weekly Roosevelt

The President’s weapon was the Sherman Antitrust Act, passed by Congress in 1890. This law declared illegal all combinations “in restraint of trade.” For the first twelve years of its existence, the Sherman Act was a paper tiger. United States courts routinely sided with business when any enforcement of the Act was attempted.
Now that he was President, Roosevelt went on the attack.

No Molly Coddling Here

No Molly Coddling Here

First President to travel outside the United States while in office. TR went to the Panama Canal Zone. No President had ever before left the country during his time in office and so from the day of the first advance announcement in June the journey became the talk of the country. In much of the press, serious apprehensions were expressed, even though it had been stressed that he would be in constant communication with Washington by wireless and that every possible precaution would be taken to insure his physical safety. But by and large the idea of Teddy Roosevelt going personally to Panama, like a general to the front, had tremendous appeal, and on the eve of his departure in November, even the cautious Washington Star lent its support. Perhaps it was a good thing after all for a President to get out and see something of the world, the paper declared; conceivably future occupants of the office might even undertake European journeys. ..

Roosevelt and The Canal

Roosevelt and The Canal

First President to receive more than 300 electoral votes in a single election. – First President to win a presidential election by more than 2 million popular votes.

1904 Electoral College

1904 Electoral College

First President to ride in a submarine

 Theodore Roosevelt Looking in Submarine 1905

Theodore Roosevelt Looking in Submarine 1905

As the nation’s first conservationist president, Roosevelt used his authority to establish the National Forest Service in 1905. He created 150 new national forests, 18 national monuments, five national parks, and 51 wildlife refuges, quadrupling protected U.S. land from 42 million to 172 million acres.

 Roosevelt establish the National Forest Service

Roosevelt establish the National Forest Service

Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to call his residence in Washington, D.C. the “White House.” Prior to his term, it had been called the Executive Mansion or the President’s House.

 Theodore Roosevelt's Cabinet Room, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt’s Cabinet Room, 1903

First President to have his offices in the West Wing.

TR's executive office building, 1903

TR’s executive office building, 1903


The conservatories, circa 1900, before Theodore Roosevelt built the West Wing in 1902

The conservatories, circa 1900, before Theodore Roosevelt built the West Wing in 1902


Hand-tinted etching of the conservatories in 1885

Hand-tinted etching of the conservatories in 1885

First Vice-President who ascended to the Presidency upon the death of a predecessor who later was elected to the Presidency in his own right.

William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt

William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley

Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley

Also in 1906, Roosevelt became the first president to appoint a Jewish person to a cabinet post when he chose Oscar Straus to head the Commerce and Labor Department.

Oscar Straus

Oscar Straus

First and only President to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor. For leading a daring charge up San Juan Hill. Was awarded by President Bill Clinton on January 16, 2001.

SanJuan Heights US Army July 1898 Victors Kettle Hill

SanJuan Heights US Army July 1898 Victors Kettle Hill


“Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the top of the hill which they captured, Battle of San Juan Hill.” US Army victors on Kettle Hill about July 3, 1898 after the battle of “San Juan Hil.” Left to right is 3rd US Cavalry, 1st Volunteer Cavalry (Col. Theodore Roosevelt center) and 10th US Cavalry. A second similar picture is often shown cropping out all but the 1st Vol Cav and TR.

Colonel Theodore Roosevelt in his Rough Riders uniform on October 26, 1898

Colonel Theodore Roosevelt in his Rough Riders uniform on October 26, 1898

Pets kept by Theodore Roosevelt in the White House

  • Admiral Dewey, Bishop Doane, Dr. Johnson, Father O’Grady, Fighting Bob Evans – guinea pigs
  • Algonquin – Pony
  • Baron Spreckle – Hen
  • Bill – lizard
  • Blackjack – Manchester Terrier
  • Eli Yale – Blue macaw
  • Emily Spinach – Garter snake
  • Fidelity – Pony
  • Gem and Susan – Dogs
  • Jack and Peter – Terriers
  • Jonathan Edwards – BEAR
  • Jonathan – Piebald rat
  • Josiah – Badger
  • Manchu – Pekingese
  • Maude – Pig
  • Peter – Rabbit
  • Pete – Bull Terrier
  • Rollo – Saint Bernard
  • Skip – Mongrel
  • Sailor Boy – Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Tom Quartz and Slippers – Cats
  • Hyena – Name Unknown
  • Barn Owl – Name Unknown
  • one-legged rooster – Name Unknown