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Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt had heard the rumors, and knew they were probably true. Barely into his first year as governor of New York, Roosevelt found himself having to fend off questions of whether he would accept a nomination as William McKinley's vice-president. (Garret Hobart, McKinley's veep during his first term had died in 1899.) Early in 1900 Roosevelt had written to a friend, "In the vice-presidency I could do nothing...the office is merely a show office." Roosevelt's own popularity was working against his wishes. Having established himself as a national hero during the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt, in 1900, bore the burden of his own fame and the antipathy of some powerful Republicans in New York. Thomas Platt, chief of New York's Republican party had been wary about nominating the free-wheeling Roosevelt for governor but felt he had little choice. His fears were realized soon after TR took office. He and Platt clashed on numerous issues, and Roosevelt made it clear that he was not in anybody's pocket. Platt was delighted at the prospect, therefore, of shuttling Roosevelt off into the obscurity of the vice-presidency. Mark Hanna, senator from Ohio and chairman of the Republican National Committee, was hesitant to have Roosevelt one breath away from the presidency, however. Fearful of Roosevelt's maverick tendencies, Hanna explained, "Don't any of you realize there's only one life between this madman and the presidency?"

By the time the Republican convention convened in June it was a foregone conclusion that Roosevelt would be McKinley's running mate. TR campaigned tirelessly for weeks on end. He and McKinley were awarded a substantial victory. Shortly after the campaign TR told a friend that his political life was over. Little did he realize, it was just beginning. Six months after his inauguration as vice-president, the 42-year-old Roosevelt became the youngest president in history when McKinley died as a result of an assassin's bullet.
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The Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt
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