Rough Rider: History Explores the Life and Legacy of Theodore Roosevelt


In 1912, former president Theodore Roosevelt was in Milwaukee campaigning for a third term in the White House. Running on his Progressive “Bull Moose” Party ticket, Roosevelt was about to deliver a speech when he took a would-be assassin’s bullet to the chest. Undeterred, Roosevelt told the crowd, “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”

He proceeded to speak for about 80 minutes, and it was not until after he finished that he was convinced to go to a hospital.

That toughness is a defining trait of Roosevelt’s life and career in public service, and his policies set the stage for America’s rise as a global superpower in the 20th century. History’s two-night documentary Theodore Roosevelt (May 30-31 at 8pm ET/PT), based on author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Leadership: In Turbulent Times, presents a portrait of a complex man who was a cowboy, soldier, statesman, conservationist, adventurer, author and reformer who fought for the working class.

“Teddy sought to create a sense of common purpose among all people, using his leadership not simply to stoke his base and solidify faction, but rather, to find common ground in order to knit classes and regions of people together,” Goodwin says.

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