President Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York City, and despite his aristocratic bringing and schooling, he was able to interact and associate with people from different social tiers. Theodore’s gift among others was the talent he had in expressing himself in the mass media. He aspired to lead a life in politics in order to transform the society and stop what he thought of to be the risk of an uprising by the inferior class (Mack Faragher et al.).
Roosevelt previously worked fearlessly as the head of New York City’s Panel of Police Administrators, which had caught the eye of several political acquaintances. Roosevelt’s background encouraged him to volunteer for the Spanish American War. In 1897, Roosevelt was soon made subordinate secretary of the navy which after resigning joined the first ever United States volunteer troop which would soon be referred to as ‘The Rough Riders.’
Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders arrived in Florida by train on June 1898, a month into the Spanish American war. He was commander of the Cavalry Battalion alongside Leonard Wood and commenced deployment to remove the Spanish from Cuba (Brinkley, 2019). According to him, wild blood sport and watching birds were the ultimate undertakings for a martial profession (Mack Faragher et al.). Learning hunting traits of predators such as bears made him develop warrior skills. Roosevelt believed top-notch soldiers were made in America by learning to survive in the harsh wilderness.
Being alert to all things was according to him, a necessity for excellence in society, which shaped his future political perspectives (Mack Faragher et al.). Even as Roosevelt trained his regiment for battle, he reserved his charm with animals, a characteristic that differentiated his combat chronicle “The Rough Riders” from additional occurrences of the Cuban crusade. Mostly because of Roosevelt, the Troop took three animal amulets from San Antonio to Tampa Bay. One of them was a cub mountain lion that Roosevelt spent as much time around. Another mate from the wild was a golden eagle dubbed ”Teddy’ in the Colonel’s honor. He adored watching them plunging to grab prey, and even acquired the art of falconry. The third was a little dog who had a gray poodle-like fur named Cuba, who accompanied the Rough Riders (Brinkley, 2019).
The Rough Riders disembarked at the fishing village of Siboney on June 23, approximately seven miles on the west of Daiquiri. The soldiers took onto land blankets, tents, and weapons, but no insect repellent was given to them by anyone. The snarled tropical forest of Cuba was breeding grounds for flies that invaded the camps. Cuba also harbored stinging ants that seemed to come from a different world. Roosevelt even wrote to his daughter of ‘funny lizards that would run around, stand then raise their heads.’ (Brinkley, 2019)
On July 1, 1898, he managed to lead the Rough Riders and other battalions up Kettle Hill near San Juan Hill, into war. Roosevelt had grinned through the horror and death as he shone into the enemy. He is said to have always been on top of a situation, still doing whatever was by any means possible to help his crew avoid infections and accidental enemy fire. These experiences shaped Roosevelt’s political agenda to be able to accomplish his mission of transforming society.
- Brinkley, Douglas. ‘TR’s Wild Side | AMERICAN HERITAGE’. Americanheritage.Com, 2009, http://www.americanheritage.com/trs-wild-side Accessed 16 Feb 2019.
- Mack Faragher, John et al. Out Of Many: A History Of The American People. 2nd ed., Pearson Education Limited, 2005, p. 3.