7 Famous Political Cartoons about Theodore Roosevelt ...

Chelsie

7 Famous Political Cartoons about Theodore Roosevelt ...
7 Famous Political Cartoons about Theodore Roosevelt ...

As a former student of history education I have a deep appreciation for political cartoons, and I especially like the political cartoons about Theodore Roosevelt. It may sound geeky, but Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite president, and he was such a forceful executive that the political cartoons about him are abundant. The cartoons about Theodore Roosevelt are a fun way for young people to learn about historical events and practice their analytical skills. Even if you are not a student, political cartoons can be a great way to gain insight into the political sentiments of both the present and of the past, and at the very least they are usually entertaining for their gross caricatures of famous politicians.

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1

Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear You probably already knew this, but the teddy bear was named after Theodore Roosevelt. I should confess that I have a Theodore Roosevelt teddy bear with glasses! There are several stories about the actual event that took place to lead to the creation of the teddy bear. The generally accepted story comes from a hunting trip Roosevelt took in Mississippi. During the trip the hunters were not having any luck, so a few of them decided to catch a bear cub they found and tie it to a tree for the President to shoot. Roosevelt was absolutely horrified at such un-sportsman-like behavior; he was after all a conservationist. He refused to shoot the cub and ordered its release, which resulted in the birth of the teddy bear. Certainly, the cartoons about Theodore Roosevelt and the teddy bear are more endearing than the cartoons about Roosevelt the Imperialist.

2

Imperialism

Imperialism Roosevelt was president during the Age of Imperialism, and he definitely subscribed to the imperialist handbook. One of my least favorite characteristics of Roosevelt, and also one of the most intriguing, is his imperialistic tendencies. While he was vice president, the Open Door Policy was initiated, which gave all nations the right to colonize China. He instituted the Roosevelt Corollary, more on that later, and as Vice President and President he had his hand in the U.S. taking control of the Philippines after the Spanish American War of 1898. Unfortunately, I don’t think this cartoon of him riding the world like a cowboy is much of an exaggeration. After all, look at what happened in Panama.

***

The Age of Imperialism refers to a period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when European powers, and later the United States, expanded their territories and influence through colonization and economic domination. Theodore Roosevelt, who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909, was a strong advocate for American imperialism. He believed that it was the country's duty to spread its influence and ideals to other nations. During his presidency, Roosevelt oversaw the acquisition of territories such as Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal Zone. His aggressive foreign policies and military interventions earned him the nickname "Imperialist President." However, his actions also sparked controversy and criticism from those who opposed American imperialism.

3

Panama Canal

Panama Canal When Roosevelt wanted something he got it. In this sense, he was like a child. Roosevelt wanted to build the Panama Canal, and when the Colombian government refused to give him a 100 year lease on Panama for 10 million dollars he resorted to underhanded dealings. He sent money to Panamanian mercenaries to fund a revolt against Colombia. When Panama won independence from Columbia they signed a treaty granting the U.S. construction of the canal. All this really explains why the cartoonist depicts Roosevelt dumping dirt on Colombia. While the Panama Canal was a success, I don’t think this is one of Roosevelt’s most upstanding accomplishments.

***

Theodore Roosevelt was a 26th President of the United States and one of the most influential figures in American history. He is known for his “big stick” foreign policy, for his trust-busting efforts, and for his environmental conservationism. He was also a strong advocate for the Panama Canal, which was built between 1904 and 1914.

The Panama Canal is a 48-mile long waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is considered one of the most important engineering feats of the 20th century. The canal was built to reduce shipping costs and travel times between the two oceans. It also provided a strategic military advantage for the United States, as it allowed for quick access to both oceans.

The construction of the Panama Canal was a major undertaking, and it took a great deal of political maneuvering on the part of Roosevelt to make it happen. In 1903, the United States attempted to purchase a 100-year lease on the Panama Canal Zone from Colombia, but the Colombian government refused. In response, Roosevelt sent money to Panamanian mercenaries to fund a revolt against Colombia. This ultimately led to Panama's independence in 1903, and the signing of a treaty granting the U.S. the right to construct the canal.

4

Roosevelt Corollary

Roosevelt Corollary I didn’t forget about the Roosevelt Corollary. I particularly like this cartoon because it makes Roosevelt look like a big kid playing with his toys, which I suppose is how some people felt about his dealings in the Caribbean and Latin America. The Roosevelt Corollary took the Monroe Doctrine beyond prohibiting colonization of North and South America by Europeans. The corollary prevented the establishment of foreign bases in the Caribbean and allowed the U.S. to intervene in Latin America. So, it is not much of an exaggeration to depict Roosevelt wading in the Caribbean like he owns the place; in one sense he kind of did.

***

This extension of the Roosevelt Corollary concept captures how Teddy wielded American power with a rather paternalistic attitude toward its neighbors. Critics might say he played policeman, or worse, schoolyard bully, but supporters would argue he was keeping the Americas safe from European meddling. Whether Roosevelt was the lovable rogue in the caricature or the assertive protector of the hemisphere, there's no denying he reshaped U.S. foreign policy with a big stick in one hand and perhaps, as the image suggests, the Western Hemisphere as his personal sandbox in the other.

5

Big Stick

Big Stick You may have noticed the rather large stick Roosevelt was carrying in the last cartoon. That stick shows up in many cartoons, in fact I could have featured only the cartoons that depicted Roosevelt’s big stick and had hundreds to choose from. Roosevelt was famous for saying, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” I think that saying is the first thing I learned about Roosevelt. His big stick policies were present in the majority of his political undertakings. He would negotiate peacefully, but threaten force. Panama is a good example of this. If you think about it, the U.S. didn’t actually use any force and the treaty was peacefully negotiated. By now you are probably wondering why this bully is my favorite president. You can’t deny he is fascinating and accomplished a lot, even if at times his actions were questionable. Certainly, he acted like a king at times, and earned his crown that the cartoon shows him wearing.

***

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States, serving from 1901 to 1909. He was a leader of the Republican Party and a prominent figure of the Progressive Era. Roosevelt was a driving force behind the construction of the Panama Canal, which connected the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He was also an advocate of the Big Stick policy, which was a foreign policy of the United States during his presidency. This policy was based on the idea of speaking softly while carrying a big stick, meaning that Roosevelt was willing to negotiate peacefully but also threatened the use of force if necessary.

During his presidency, Roosevelt was also known for his trust busting policies, which aimed to break up monopolies in the United States. He was also an advocate for conservation, establishing numerous national parks and monuments. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his role in negotiating a peace treaty between Russia and Japan.

In addition to his political accomplishments, Roosevelt was also a prolific writer. He wrote more than 35 books, including “The Rough Riders”, “The Naval War of 1812”, and “The Winning of the West”. He also wrote numerous magazine articles and essays, and was a public speaker.

6

Regulation of the Railroads

Regulation of the Railroads By far, the regulation of the railroads was one of Roosevelt’s greatest achievements. Prior to regulation, the railroad industry would unfairly grant shipping rebates to big companies. As a president who watched out for the welfare of everyone in the U.S., Roosevelt saw the inequity and decided to act. First, he pushed through the Elkins Act to prohibit shipping rebate, but the railroads found a way around this. So, Roosevelt sought to enhance the power of the Interstate Commerce Commission through the Hepburn Act, which the senate passed after Roosevelt appealed to the U.S. citizens to pressure the senate. Did you see the big stick in the cartoon? Roosevelt was nothing if not consistent.

7

Nomination of 1904

Nomination of 1904 I’m not sure, but this just might be my favorite political cartoon of Teddy Roosevelt. Don’t you just love how he is depicted as an eager kid at Christmas waiting for his present, which he did receive. However, prior to Roosevelt receiving the nomination for re-election in 1904, Mark Hanna privately looked for another candidate. He did not want Roosevelt in the White House again. In fact, he never wanted Teddy in the White House. When McKinley ran with Roosevelt as his vice president, Hanna declared, “There’s only one life between that madman and the Presidency,” and we all know how that turned out.

These political cartoons give a good, if exaggerated, idea of the type of president Roosevelt was. He was aggressive and bold. Hopefully, these political cartoons got you interested in politics and the fun cartoons that poke fun at politicians. Which cartoon was your favorite? Do you have a favorite president?

theodore-roosevelt.com

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