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Chapter One. The Education of Theodore Roosevelt

Michael L. Collins

Subject History » Intellectual History

Place United States of America » American West

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899

People Roosevelt, Theodore

Key-Topics biography, education, family

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444331400.2011.00003.x


In his recent biographical study, The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, historian Douglas Brinkley argues that, during his formative years, the future 26th president of the United States became a devoted Darwinian naturalist. As a child and then as an adolescent living in a fashionable neighborhood of New York City, young TR immersed himself in the wonders of nature and the mysteries of life on earth. Whether collecting many specimens of birds and small mammals, even harboring live mice and garden snakes in his upstairs bedroom of the family home at 28 East 20th Street, or marveling at richly illustrated books depicting wild and exotic animals in far-away places, he cultivated a lifelong interest in what was then termed “natural history.” Perhaps it was altogether fitting, therefore, that TR came into the world shortly before the appearance of Charles Darwin's seminal study, On the Origin of Species (1859), and that he grew to maturity in what might be aptly termed the Age of Darwin ( Brinkley 2009 , 23–24). TR also came of age at a time when the industrial revolution and the growth of great cities were fast transforming America, ensuring the transition of an agrarian nation into a manufacturing giant with economic interests stretching around the globe. To understand the mind and motives of the impressionable young man who became President Theodore ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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