Miller Center

Presidential Key Events

Theodore Roosevelt

 

Theodore Roosevelt - 09/14/1901: Vice President Theodore Roosev…
Vice President Theodore Roosevelt (TR) takes the oath of office in Buffalo, New York, after President William McKinley is assassinated. Roosevelt becomes the twenty-sixth President of the United States and the youngest President yet at 43 years old. Roosevelt's succession appalls Republicans who blanched at his liberal leanings; TR was nominated for the vice presidency in 1900 partly because Republican leaders were attempting to relegate him to a harmless position. September 14, 1901

Theodore Roosevelt - 10/16/1901: TR dines with Booker T. Washington at the White Ho…
TR dines with Booker T. Washington at the White House. October 16, 1901

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/18/1901: The United States and Great Britain sign the Hay-P…
The United States and Great Britain sign the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, by which the British grant control of an isthmian canal to the United States. The Senate would ratify Hay-Pauncefote on December 16, thereby abrogating the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850. November 18, 1901

Theodore Roosevelt - 04/29/1902: Congress extends the Chinese Exclusion Act, prohib…
Congress extends the Chinese Exclusion Act, prohibiting the immigration of Chinese laborers from the Philippines. April 29, 1902

Theodore Roosevelt - 05/12/1902: A coal-miners strike begins in Pennsylvania, durin…
A coal-miners strike begins in Pennsylvania, during the course of which 140,000 workers would leave their jobs. May 12, 1902

Theodore Roosevelt - 05/22/1902: The President establishes Crater Lake National Par…
The President establishes Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. May 22, 1902

Theodore Roosevelt - 06/17/1902: TR signs the Newlands Reclamation Act, thereby aut…
TR signs the Newlands Reclamation Act, thereby authorizing federal irrigation projects. June 17, 1902

Theodore Roosevelt - 06/28/1902: Congress passes the Isthmian Canal Act, which call…
Congress passes the Isthmian Canal Act, which called for the funding and building of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. June 28, 1902

Theodore Roosevelt - 07/01/1902: Congress passes the Philippine Government Act, est…
Congress passes the Philippine Government Act, establishing the Philippine Islands as an unorganized territory and all inhabitants as territorial citizens. July 01, 1902

Theodore Roosevelt - 09/02/1902: While emphasizing the need for a strong foreign po…
While emphasizing the need for a strong foreign policy, Roosevelt talks of the need to “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” The saying catches the fancy of the whole nation, and the “big stick” becomes a favorite object of political cartoonists. September 02, 1902

Theodore Roosevelt - 10/1902: TR plays a key role in settling the Anthracite Coa…
TR plays a key role in settling the Anthracite Coal Strike. During the spring of 1902, laborers tied to the United Mine Workers union had walked off the job in the hard coal mines of Pennsylvania. The prospect of coal shortages in the winter months loomed, and TR decided that public interest demanded vigorous executive action. Roosevelt summoned union leaders and mine operators to the White House, a significant gesture for both his presidency and for the development of his reform program, known as the “Square Deal.” The coal strike ended on October 21. October 1902

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/04/1902: In congressional elections, the Republicans mainta…
In congressional elections, the Republicans maintain a majority in the Senate, 57 to 33. In the House, the Republicans emerge with a 208-178 majority. November 04, 1902

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/14/1903: Roosevelt signs a bill creating the Department of …
Roosevelt signs a bill creating the Department of Commerce and Labor, the ninth Cabinet office, which will itself emerge as two separate departments in 1913. February 14, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/19/1903: Congress approves the Elkins Anti-Rebate Act, maki…
Congress approves the Elkins Anti-Rebate Act, making it illegal for railroads to give rebates on their published freight rates. The Elkins Act is a response to railroads engaging in business practices that gave certain shippers and certain areas a marked advantage. It would fall short of regulating railroads sufficiently; the Hepburn Act would have to be instituted three years later to further that cause. February 19, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/19/1903: The Department of Justice announces that the feder…
The Department of Justice announces that the federal government would prosecute the Northern Securities Company (a subsidiary of J.P. Morgan) for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. February 19, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/23/1903: The Supreme Court hands down a decision …
The Supreme Court hands down a decision in Champion v. Ames, making federal police power superior to that of the states. The ruling became the basis for the future federal regulation of food, drugs, and narcotics. February 23, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt - 03/14/1903: Roosevelt proclaims Pelican Island, Florida, as th…
Roosevelt proclaims Pelican Island, Florida, as the first federal bird reservation. March 14, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt - 03/18/1903: The Report of the Anthracite Coal Strike Commissio…
The Report of the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, appointed by TR to investigate the mining industry, declares that workers cannot be discriminated against because they belong to a union. March 18, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/03/1903: A revolt breaks out in Panama against Colombian ru…
A revolt breaks out in Panama against Colombian rule. The uprising is sponsored by Panamanian agents and officers of the Panama Canal Company, with tacit permission of the Roosevelt administration. The presence of the American Navy prevents Colombia from crushing the revolt. November 03, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/06/1903: The United States recognizes the Republic of Panam…
The United States recognizes the Republic of Panama. November 06, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/18/1903: The United States negotiates the Hay-Buneau-Varill…
The United States negotiates the Hay-Buneau-Varilla Treaty with Panama to build the Panama Canal. The treaty gives the United States control of a ten-mile-wide canal zone in return for $10,000,000 in gold plus a yearly fee of $250,000. November 18, 1903

Theodore Roosevelt - 01/04/1904: The Supreme Court rules that citizens of Puerto Ri…
The Supreme Court rules that citizens of Puerto Rico are not aliens and therefore cannot be denied entry to the continental United States. But the Court also holds that they are not U.S. citizens. January 04, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/29/1904: TR appoints the Panama Canal Commission to oversee…
TR appoints the Panama Canal Commission to oversee the construction of the Panama Canal. February 29, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt - 03/14/1904: In accordance with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the…
In accordance with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Supreme Court, in Northern Securities Company v. United States, orders the dissolution of the Northern Securities Company. The decision is major victory for TR and his belief in the necessity of trust-busting. March 14, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt - 06/21/1904: The Republican Party nominates Roosevelt for the p…
The Republican Party nominates Roosevelt for the presidency, along with Charles Fairbanks as his vice presidential running mate. June 21, 1904 - June 23, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt - 07/06/1904: The Democratic Party nominates Alton B. Parker of …
The Democratic Party nominates Alton B. Parker of New York for the presidency and Thomas Tibbles for the vice presidency. July 06, 1904 - July 09, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt - 10/19/1904: A merger between the Consolidated and the American…
A merger between the Consolidated and the American & Continental tobacco companies produces the American Tobacco Company. October 19, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/08/1904: TR wins the presidential election, trouncing Democ…
TR wins the presidential election, trouncing Democratic candidate Alton B. Parker, 336 electoral votes to 140. With the exception of Maryland, Roosevelt wins every state north of Washington, D.C., including all Midwestern and Western states; Parker sweeps the South and Texas. In the Senate, the Republicans maintain their 57 to 33 advantage, while in the House, they gain 43 seats, for a 250-136 majority. Roosevelt vows to not seek another presidential term in order to deflect Democratic charges that he would remain in office for life. November 08, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt - 12/06/1904: In his annual message to Congress, the President i…
In his annual message to Congress, the President issues the “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine. Roosevelt augments the justification for U.S. intervention in the Western Hemisphere “in flagrant cases of wrongdoing or impotence,” arguing that America might be obliged to carry out “the exercise of an international police power.” December 06, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt - 01/21/1905: The United States signs a protocol with the Domini…
The United States signs a protocol with the Dominican Republic, thereby giving it control of the latter's customs and international in and mollifying European creditors. Though the Senate refuses to ratify this agreement, Roosevelt makes a temporary arrangement with the republic to undertake the newly envisioned “Roosevelt Corollary.” January 21, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/01/1905: Roosevelt establishes the National Forest Service.…
Roosevelt establishes the National Forest Service. February 01, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/20/1905: In Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the Supreme C…
In Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court recognizes the legality of compulsory vaccination laws. February 20, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt - 03/04/1905: Roosevelt is inaugurated for his first full term a…
Roosevelt is inaugurated for his first full term as President of the United States. Also sworn in is Vice President Charles W. Fairbanks. March 04, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt - 04/17/1905: In Lochner v. New York, the Supreme Court r…
In Lochner v. New York, the Supreme Court rules that state laws limiting working hours are illegal. April 17, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt - 07/07/1905: The Industrial Workers of the …
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) forms in Chicago, Illinois, to counteract the conservative American Federation of Labor. July 07, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt - 07/11/1905: A group of black intellectuals, including W.E.B. D…
A group of black intellectuals, including W.E.B. DuBois, meets near Niagara Falls to demand racial equality. This begins the Niagara Movement, a forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). July 11, 1905 - July 13, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt - 09/05/1905: Russia and Japan sign the Portsmouth Treaty, endin…
Russia and Japan sign the Portsmouth Treaty, ending the Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt played a significant role in mediating this conflict, urging an end to hostilities and brining both sides to the conference table in Portsmouth, N.H. For his actions, Roosevelt would win the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. The treaty also allowed the United States to maintain a balance of power in the Far East while preserving an Open Door Policy in China. September 05, 1905

Theodore Roosevelt - 01/16/1906: The Algeciras Conference opens, with TR hoping to …
The Algeciras Conference opens, with TR hoping to mediate a disagreement between France and Germany over Morocco. January 16, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 04/13/1906: Clashes erupt in Brownsville, Texas, after white c…
Clashes erupt in Brownsville, Texas, after white civilians taunt black soldiers. Three whites are killed. April 13, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 04/18/1906: A devastating earthquake strikes San Francisco, Ca…
A devastating earthquake strikes San Francisco, California, killing 452 and leveling 490 blocks. April 18, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 06/08/1906: Roosevelt signs the National Monuments Act, establ…
Roosevelt signs the National Monuments Act, establishing the first eighteen national monuments, including Devils Tower, Muir Woods, and Mount Olympus. June 08, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 06/29/1906: TR signs the Hepburn Act, which gives the Intersta…
TR signs the Hepburn Act, which gives the Interstate Commerce Commission increased power to regulate railroad rates. Roosevelt's leadership is key for the passage of this act, as many observers claim the act would have not come out of the Senate without TR's advocacy. June 29, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 06/30/1906: Roosevelt signs the Meat Inspection Act and the Pu…
Roosevelt signs the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act. The legislation calls for both an honest statement of food content on labels and for federal inspection of all plants engaging in interstate commerce. The major impetus for these measures was The Jungle, the scathing report on meatpacking plants written by muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, which TR personally read. June 30, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 08/23/1906: Cuban President Tom·s Palma asks Roosevelt to send…
Cuban President Tom·s Palma asks Roosevelt to send American troops to Cuba to quell a rebellion which arose from a disputed election. TR demurs at first, but sends troops in October. August 23, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 09/22/1906: A race riot in Atlanta, Georgia, leaves twenty-one…
A race riot in Atlanta, Georgia, leaves twenty-one people dead, including eighteen blacks. September 22, 1906 - September 24, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 09/29/1906: The Platt Amendment is invoked, authorizing U.S. m…
The Platt Amendment is invoked, authorizing U.S. military control of Cuba. Future President William Howard Taft serves as provisional governor. September 29, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/06/1906: The Republicans gain four seats in the Senate, for…
The Republicans gain four seats in the Senate, for a 61 to 31 majority. In the House, the Republicans lose 28 seats, but maintain a 222-164 advantage. The national labor movement became involved in these elections, thereby marking a turning point in the history of national elections. Samuel Gompers and the American Federation of Labor had issued “Labor's Bill of Rights,” asking both parties to support the program. When Republicans declined to do so, the AFL backed the Democrats, who claimed to be the “First to Recognize Organized Labor.” November 06, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/09/1906: The President and Mrs. Roosevelt go to Panama to i…
The President and Mrs. Roosevelt go to Panama to inspect the building of the Panama Canal, marking the first trip abroad by a sitting American President. November 09, 1906 - November 26, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 12/10/1906: The Nobel Prize Committee awards Roosevelt its Pea…
The Nobel Prize Committee awards Roosevelt its Peace Prize for his role in ending the Russo-Japanese War during the Portsmouth Conference in 1905. December 10, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 12/12/1906: TR appoints Oscar Straus of New York City to head …
TR appoints Oscar Straus of New York City to head the Commerce and Labor Department. Straus is the first Jew to hold a cabinet post. December 12, 1906

Theodore Roosevelt - 01/26/1907: Congress passes a law prohibiting campaign contrib…
Congress passes a law prohibiting campaign contributions to candidates for national office. January 26, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/08/1907: The Dominican Republic and the United States sign …
The Dominican Republic and the United States sign a treaty empowering American agents to collect Dominican customs taxes for the purpose of satisfying the nation's creditors. The Senate ratifies the treaty on February 25; in 1905, it had refused to ratify a similar agreement. February 08, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/20/1907: TR signs the Immigration Act of 1907, which includ…
TR signs the Immigration Act of 1907, which includes a provision allowing the President to restrict Japanese immigration. The issue had been a matter of great debate during TR's tenure, and Roosevelt proclaimed in his 1905 State of the Union address, that “probably a very large proportion, including most of the undesirable class [of immigrants], does not come here of its own initiative, but because of the activity of the agents of the great transportation companiesÖthey wheedle and cajole many immigrants, often against their best interest, to come here.” February 20, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 03/02/1907: To get around restrictive language in an appropria…
To get around restrictive language in an appropriation bill inhibiting the creation of new forest reserves in six Western states, TR issues proclamations establishing forest reserves in affected states before the law goes into effect. In doing so, TR faced down Westerners who disdained interference from Washington. March 02, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 03/14/1907: An executive Inland Waterways Commission is appoin…
An executive Inland Waterways Commission is appointed to study the relationship between forest preservation and commercial waterways. March 14, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 03/21/1907: U.S. Marines land in Honduras to protect life and …
U.S. Marines land in Honduras to protect life and property during a series of political disturbances. March 21, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 06/15/1907: The Second International Peace Conference opens at…
The Second International Peace Conference opens at The Hague, The Netherlands. The United States argues, unsuccessfully, for the establishment of a World Court. June 15, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 10/22/1907: The Panic of 1907 begins when shares of the United…
The Panic of 1907 begins when shares of the United Copper Company begin to fluctuate wildly. Rumors spread like wildfire about the Kinckerbocker Trust Company, which triggered a run on several New York Banks. Panic sets in, destabilizing the jerry-built foundation of the American banking system. October 22, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 10/23/1907: TR returns to Washington from a hunting trip to de…
TR returns to Washington from a hunting trip to deal with Secretary of the Treasury Cortelyou and shore up fears of a financial crash. Although $68 million dollars is distributed, the government's response fails to calm fears about a possible depression. October 23, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/16/1907: Oklahoma is admitted to the Union as the 46th stat…
Oklahoma is admitted to the Union as the 46th state. November 16, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - 12/16/1907: Under Roosevelt’s orders, the Great Whit…
Under Roosevelt's orders, the Great White Fleet (so named because of the boats' color) embarks on a voyage around the world from Hampton Roads, Virginia. The fleet returns triumphantly on February 22, 1909, having been enthusiastically welcomed at many ports and underscoring America's growing naval strength. The voyage would serve as Roosevelt's proudest accomplishment while in office. December 16, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - Great White Fleet Sails

On December 16, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt assembled the entire class of sixteen American battleships in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and launched them on a training cruise around the world. Labeled the “Great White Fleet,” in reference to the ships' new coat of white paint, the fleet visited Japan and China, passed through the Suez Canal, and called at several Mediterranean ports. Roosevelt scheduled the fleet to return to Hampton Roads on February 22, 1909, ten days before he left office. The President intended the voyage to be the glorious capstone to his administration's accomplishments.

As President, Roosevelt had built the U.S. Navy into one of the largest in the world, by convincing Congress to add battleships to the fleet and increase the number of enlisted men. He had many reasons for sending the fleet on a worldwide tour. Roosevelt wanted to allow the Navy to gain the experience of an international tour and to draw attention to his naval program. He hoped the impressive show of naval strength and prowess would rally congressional support. He also wanted to impress other countries around the world with U.S. naval power. American relations with Japan had soured greatly in 1906 after the San Francisco public school board voted to segregate Japanese immigrant children; at the same time, Californian politicians lobbied for Washington to restrict Japanese entry into the country. Roosevelt hoped the Great White Fleet's arrival in Japan would signify his desire for continued friendly relations, and yet he also sought to remind the Japanese of America's ascendant naval might. Japanese crowds cheered the fleet upon its arrival in Tokyo Harbor.

The Great White Fleet also announced to the world the growing global reach of American military power, especially its new and modern navy. In this way, Roosevelt used the fleet to represent what he saw as America's arrival as a great nation on the world stage. A devotee of naval theorist Alfred Thayer Mahan, who equated international power with naval might, Roosevelt supported new battleship construction, the modernization of ship armaments, and the adoption of new marksmanship techniques. In doing so, he greatly expanded the reach of American power-a process his predecessor, President William McKinley, began in earnest.

December 16, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt - Grand Canyon Becomes National Monument

On January 11, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt designated the Grand Canyon in northwest Arizona a national monument. Roosevelt used the American Antiquities Act of 1906 to create 18 national monuments during his presidency. The Grand Canyon became a national park in 1919.

Roosevelt was the nation's first conservationist President. Everywhere he went, he preached the need to preserve woodlands and mountain ranges as places of refuge and retreat. He used his presidential authority to issue executive orders to create 150 new national forests, increasing the amount of protected land from 42 million acres to 172 million acres. Along with the 18 national monuments, the President also created 5 national parks and 51 wildlife refuges during his tenure.

Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot heavily influenced President Roosevelt and encouraged him to make conservation a major portion of his political agenda. Pinchot, the nation's first professional forester, and Roosevelt, an avid outdoorsman, teamed up during Roosevelt's second term to push their shared progressive vision for wilderness conservation.

Conservation to these progressives, however, did not mean simply placing land off limits to development and industry. Pinchot believed that the science of forestry could make forests more productive and valuable to industry; scientific expertise could improve upon nature. Like Roosevelt, Pinchot also believed that conservation was at its core an issue of equality of opportunity, as conservation allowed for public access to land that would otherwise wastefully bring profit to a few. The pair wanted all Americans to be able to use parklands.

Pinchot was a strong advocate for more federal power to protect wilderness in the United States, particularly in the West. With his prodding, President Roosevelt secured the Transfer Act in 1905, which shifted the responsibility of managing federal forests from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Agriculture and the Division of Forestry, later remained the Forest Service. As head of the Forest Service, Pinchot staffed it with scientists, not bureaucrats, and Pinchot and his team added millions of acres of western land to federal holdings.

During the early 1900s, conservation became a new and increasingly popular agenda for the federal government, due to President Roosevelt's energetic promotion of the issue.

January 11, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/03/1908: In Loewe v. Lawlor, the Supreme Court rules…
In Loewe v. Lawlor, the Supreme Court rules that antitrust law applies to labor unions. February 03, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/18/1908: The United States and Japan reach an agreement on …
The United States and Japan reach an agreement on the restriction of Japanese immigration. The Japanese government agrees not to issue any more visas permitting Japanese laborers to emigrate to the United States. February 18, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 05/13/1908: At the White House, the first Conference of Govern…
At the White House, the first Conference of Governors meets to discuss the problems of conservation. May 13, 1908 - May 15, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 05/28/1908: Congress passes a child labor law for the District…
Congress passes a child labor law for the District of Columbia. May 28, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 06/08/1908: Roosevelt establishes the National Commission for …
Roosevelt establishes the National Commission for the Conservation of Natural Resources, headed by Gifford Pinchot. June 08, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 06/16/1908: The Republican Party nominates William Howard Taft…
The Republican Party nominates William Howard Taft for the presidency and James Sherman for the vice-presidency. Republicans were far from united in their support for Taft; party chairman Henry Cabot Lodge speaks in praise of President Roosevelt, touching off a forty-five minute demonstration among the delegates. June 16, 1908 - June 20, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 07/07/1908: William Jennings Bryan wins the Democratic nominat…
William Jennings Bryan wins the Democratic nomination for the presidency, with John Kern as his vice-president running mate. Bryan had lost much of the glamour in this, his third run for the office. July 07, 1908 - July 10, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 09/16/1908: The General Motors Company files incorporation pap…
The General Motors Company files incorporation papers in Hudson County, New Jersey. September 16, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 10/01/1908: Ford introduces the “Model T” automobile, which co…
Ford introduces the “Model T” automobile, which costs $850, making Henry Ford's mass-produced cars available to the average wage earner. October 01, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 11/03/1908: William Howard Taft is elected President over Demo…
William Howard Taft is elected President over Democrat William Jennings Bryan. Running for his third and last shot at the presidency, Bryan garners 162 electoral votes, far behind Taft's winning total of 321. Taft sweeps the Northeast and the Midwest, while Bryan wins every state south of the Mason-Dixon line. The Democrats gain one seat in the Senate, but still trail the Republicans 61 to 32. In the House, the Republicans lose three seats but maintain a 219-172 advantage. November 03, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/12/1909: Black intellectuals, including W.E.B. DuBois, and …
Black intellectuals, including W.E.B. DuBois, and white progressives, led by Oswald Garrison Villard, form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). February 12, 1909

Theodore Roosevelt - 02/18/1909: The North American Conservation Conference convene…
The North American Conservation Conference convenes at the White House. February 18, 1909

Theodore Roosevelt - 03/04/1909: Roosevelt’s administration ends with the inaugurat…
Roosevelt's administration ends with the inauguration of William Howard Taft as the twenty-seventh President. Roosevelt leaves on a yearlong African safari in order to avoid charges that he was attempting to run the White House from the shadows. March 04, 1909