Theodore Roosevelt — Term, Accomplishments, Timeline of the 26th President of the United States

September 14, 1901–March 4, 1909

The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt was from September 14, 1901–March 4, 1909. He was sworn in as President after President William McKinley was assassinated in August 1901. Roosevelt finished McKinley’s term and was elected to a second term in 1904. His Presidency was marked by social and business reforms, along with the preservation of forests, landmarks, and wildlife habitats. His time in office is memorialized by his inclusion in the Mount Rushmore Memorial

Theodore Roosevelt, 1901, Portrait, Perry, LOC

Theodore Roosevelt, 1901. Image Source: Library of Congress.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — Timeline and Accomplishments

November 6, 1900 — Presidential Election

The Presidential Election of 1900 takes place on November 6. Roosevelt represents the Republican Party as Vice President. He is on the ticket with the incumbent President, William McKinley. The McKinley-Roosevelt Ticket wins the election. It is the second term for McKinley and the first for Roosevelt.

William McKinley, 1897, Portrait, Benziger
William McKinley, August Benziger, 1897. Image Source: National Portrait Gallery.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — 1901

September 2 — Big Stick Diplomacy

Roosevelt delivers a speech at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul and says, “A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick—you will go far.’” The phrase eventually leads to the idea of Roosevelt’s “Big Stick Diplomacy,” or “Big Stick Policy.” Roosevelt believes it is possible to solve international disputes with diplomacy — “speak softly” — while also having a strong military — “carry a big stick.” The phrase is used in political cartoons where Roosevelt is often portrayed with a large club or “big stick” as a representation of America’s strength on the world stage.

September 6–14 — William McKinley is Shot

On September 6, anarchist Leon Czolgosz shoots President McKinley during a public appearance in Buffalo, New York at the Pan-American Exposition. Roosevelt is hiking in the Adirondacks when the shooting takes place.

September 14 — Roosevelt Becomes the 26th President

McKinley dies from his wounds on September 14. His death leads to Roosevelt’s ascent to the presidency. He takes the Oath of Office on the same day, making him the 26th President of the United States.

October 16 — Booker T. Washington Invited to the White House

In an unprecedented move, Roosevelt invites Booker T. Washington, a prominent African American educator and civil rights leader, to visit the White House. The move receives criticism from some in the press, including the Washington Times, which calls it an “intended insult to the South” and a “threat to social equality.”

Booker T Washington, Portrait, LOC
Booker T. Washington. Image Source: Library of Congress.

November 18 — Hay-Pauncefote Treaty

The Hay-Pauncefote Treaty is signed between the United States and Great Britain. It is an important foreign policy accomplishment of Roosevelt’s Presidency. The treaty abrogates the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and grants the United States exclusive rights to construct and fortify a canal in Central America. The Senate ratifies the treaty on December 16.

December 3 — First State of the Union Address

Roosevelt delivers his First State of the Union Message to Congress. He praises President McKinley’s character and leadership, noting his popularity and dedication to the welfare of the American people. 

Roosevelt condemns anarchism, describing it as a crime against humanity, and calls for Congress to consider immigration reform in regard to anarchists.

He emphasizes the importance of the public’s confidence in business and the role of the individual in the nation’s economy. Roosevelt stresses the benefits the “captains of industry” have brought to the nation. However, he also recognizes public concerns over the power of corporations — known as trusts — and proposes reasonable government supervision, especially for large corporations involved in interstate commerce.

Roosevelt also stresses the value of “wage-workers,” saying “If the farmer and the wage-worker are well off, it is absolutely certain that all others will be well off too.” He calls for higher wages and better working conditions, and suggests a proactive tariff to aid workers, along with reforms to immigration laws. Roosevelt also calls for reforms regarding women and children in the workforce.

He calls for improvements to the U.S. Navy and the expansion of the American merchant marine.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — 1902

March 6 — Permanent Census Bureau Act

The Permanent Census Bureau Act is enacted on March 6, 1902, establishing the United States Census Bureau as a permanent government agency. The Census Bureau is responsible for conducting decennial population censuses. The act provides the Census Bureau with a stable organizational structure and resources. The purpose of the legislation is to facilitate informed policymaking, economic planning, and resource allocation at the federal and state levels. The act lays the foundation for modern census practices in the United States.

March 8 — Philippine Tariff Act

Enacted on March 3, 1902, the Philippine Tariff Act governs the trade relationship between the United States and its newly-acquired colony, the Philippines. The act establishes a reduced tariff on goods imported from the Philippines to the U.S. It intends to strengthen economic ties between the U.S. and the Philippines and stimulate economic growth in the Philippines. It also intends to maintain America’s position as a dominant trading partner in the region.

April 29 — Chinese Exclusion Act Extension

The Chinese Exclusion Act Extension is signed into law on April 29, 1902. It amends the existing Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and strengthens restrictions on Chinese immigration to the United States. 

May 12 — Pennsylvania Coal Miner Strike

The Pennsylvania Coal Miner Strike — also known as the Anthracite Coal Strike — begins and will last for 163 days. Roughly 147,000 coal miners demand better wages, reduced working hours, and improved working conditions. President Roosevelt, concerned about potential economic and social ramifications, intervenes and mediates between the coal operators and the miners, eventually helping them reach a settlement.

Pennsylvania Coal Miner's Strike, 1902, Roosevelt and Morgan
This illustration depicts Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan negotiating an end to the strike. Image Source: HathiTrust.

May 22 — Crater Lake National Park Established

Roosevelt signs legislation on May 22, 1902, that designates Crater Lake in Oregon as the nation’s fifth national park. Formed by the collapse of Mount Mazama’s ancient volcano, Crater Lake is one of the deepest and purest lakes in the world.

July 17 — Newlands Reclamation Act

Enacted on June 17, 1902, the Newlands Reclamation Act intends to address water resource management and agricultural development in the arid western regions of the United States. Sponsored by Francis G. Newlands, the act authorizes the federal government to finance and carry out the construction of irrigation projects, which will be funded through the sale of public lands. These projects aimed to reclaim and divert water to arid lands, enabling agricultural cultivation and settlement, and promoting economic growth in the western states. The act paves the way for agricultural expansion and settlement in previously unlivable areas.

July 1 — Philippine Government Act

The Philippine Government Act — also known as the Philippine Organic Act and the Spooner Act — is passed by Congress on July 1, 1902. It creates a framework for the Philippines, including a bicameral legislature made up of the Philippine Commission and the Philippine Assembly. The act intends to transition the Philippines from military rule to civilian government. However, the Governor-General reports to the President of the United States, allowing the U.S. to retain some control.

March 10 — Cole Strike Conference

In reaction to the Pennsylvania Coal Miner Strike, Roosevelt organizes a conference in Washington, D.C. He says he lacks the legal authority to directly interfere in the strike, but he sees the situation as intolerable. It is the first time a President is involved in an industrial dispute. Roosevelt releases the transcript of the meeting available to the press, which casts the mine owners in an unfavorable light.

More Events in 1902

December 2 — President Roosevelt delivers his Second State of the Union Address.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — 1903

January 22 — Hay-Herran Convention

Negotiations continue for the construction of the Panama Canal. As part of the Spooner Act, Congress stipulated that Columbia needs to grant the U.S. control over the right of way. The convention outlines the parameters between the U.S. and Columbia. The U.S. Senate ratifies the convention, but the Columbian Senate rejects it. The failure of the convention contributes to the Panama Revolt in November.

February 11 — Expedition Act

The Expedition Act becomes law. It is designed to speed up the prosecution of Federal Antitrust Lawsuits, allowing the Attorney General to request cases to be moved to the front of the line in Federal Circuit Courts.

February 14 — Department of Labor and Commerce Established

Congress passes an act creating the Department of Labor and Commerce. The purpose of the agency is to investigate and report on the activities of corporations engaged in interstate commerce. It is also responsible for encouraging economic growth, promoting fair trade practices, and improving labor conditions. It is a significant step forward in the federal government’s oversight of the nation’s economic affairs. George B. Cortelyou of New York is appointed as the first Secretary of Commerce and Labor on February 16.

February 19 — Elkins Anti-Rebate Act

The Elkins Anti-Rebate Act is signed into law on February 19, 1903. It addresses corrupt practices in the railroad industry. It strengthens existing regulations by prohibiting railroads from offering rebates or other benefits to favored shippers. By curbing rebates, the act intends to promote fair competition among businesses and ensure a level playing field in the transportation sector. It makes it a crime for railroads to charge different rates than their published rates and grants the Federal Courts power to issue injunctions against companies that violate the provisions of the act.

February 23 — Champion v. Ames

The Supreme Court issues its decision in Champion v. Ames — the “Lottery Case.” The case revolved around the constitutionality of the 1895 Act to Prohibit the Transportation of Lottery Tickets in Interstate or Foreign Commerce. The Supreme Court upholds the act, ruling that Congress had the authority to regulate and prohibit the transportation of lottery tickets across state lines. The decision affirms the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce and sets a precedent for future regulatory actions on matters that cross state borders.

March 14 — Federal Bird Reservation

President Roosevelt, an advocate for conservation and environmental protection, uses the authority granted by the 1891 Forest Reserve Act to establish the first Federal Bird Reservation on Pelican Island, Florida. Pelican Island, home to a variety of bird species, including pelicans and other seabirds, is chosen because of its significance as a breeding ground and nesting site.

Theodore Roosevelt, Family Portrait, Oyster Bay, 1903, NYPL
Colorized photo of President Roosevelt and his family in 1903. Image Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections.

May 22 — Platt Amendment

Following the Spanish-American War, the Army Appropriations Bill of 1901 basically made Cuba a U.S. protectorate. On May 22, 1903, the Platt Amendment is approved as a treaty between the U.S. and Cuba. It intends to protect Cuba’s independence. However, it allows extensive U.S. involvement in Cuba’s affairs. It is controversial both in the U.S. and Cuba. 

Proponents argue that it protects American interests in the region and prevents Cuba from falling under the influence of European powers. Critics see it as an infringement on Cuban sovereignty and a continuation of U.S. imperialistic policies.

Under the provisions of the Platt Amendment, the U.S. intervenes in Cuban affairs in 1906, 1912, 1917, and 1920. It is repealed in 1934 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” with Latin America. However, the U.S. retains its lease on Guantánamo Bay.

May 27 — The Square Deal

In Montana, President Roosevelt gives two speeches and refers to the “square deal.” It is a common phrase at the time, but one that becomes closely associated with Roosevelt during his time in office. Speaking to the Silver Bow Labor and Trades Assembly of Butte, he says his goal is to “be an American president, acting upon the principle of giving a square deal to each and every one.”

November 2 — Warships Sent to Panama

Negotiations for the construction and control of the Panama Canal between the United States and Columbia are at an impasse. After Panama indicates it might seek independence and secede from Columbia, President Roosevelt orders U.S. warships to Panama. He intends to maintain free and uninterrupted transportation across the Isthmus of Panama. The move sends the message that the U.S. will protect its interests with military force, if necessary.

November 2 — Panama Revolt

Panama declares independence from Columbia. It leads to the Thousand Days’ War as Columbia uses military force to try to reclaim Panama. The United States supports Panama’s declaration and recognizes the Republic of Panama on November 6.

November 18 — Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty

The U.S. and Panama agree to the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty. It grants the U.S. exclusive rights for the construction of a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama. The treaty is named after the American Secretary of State John Hay and Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla, a French engineer and advocate for the construction of the canal.

More Events in 1903

February 17 — An act is signed, authorizing salary increases for Supreme Court Justices and Federal Judges, addressing concerns about attracting and retaining qualified jurists.

December 7 — President Roosevelt delivers his Third Annual State of the Union Message.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — 1904

January 4 — Gonzales v. Williams

The Supreme Court issues its ruling in the case of Gonzales v. Williams. The ruling determines that Puerto Rico residents are not considered “alien immigrants” under U.S. immigration law when entering the U.S. However, the Court does not extend full U.S. citizenship to residents of Puerto Rico.

February 8 — Russo-Japanese War

The Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) begins when Japan launches a surprise attack on the Russian naval base at Port Arthur (now Lüshunkou) in northeastern China. Japan views Russia’s territorial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea as threats to its security and interests in the region, as Japan also seeks to secure its position as the dominant power in East Asia. The U.S. issues a Proclamation of Neutrality in the Russo-Japanese War on February 11.

March 14 — Northern Securities Co. v. United States

The Supreme Court issues its decision in Northern Securities Co. v. United States. The court orders the dissolution of the Northern Securities Company, based on the opinion that the company violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. 

Formed in 1901 by J.P. Morgan and James J. Hill, the company is a consolidation of several major railroad companies including the Northern Pacific Railway, the Great Northern Railway, and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. Northern Securities operates as a holding company and controls the smaller companies. In 1902, President Roosevelt ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue legal action against the Northern Securities Company under the Sherman Act

April 27 — Naval Construction Act

President Roosevelt signs the Naval Construction Act, authorizing of funds for the construction of naval vessels, including battleships, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and other support ships.

June 21 — Roosevelt Nominated for President

At the 1904 Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, the Republican Party officially nominates Roosevelt as its candidate for President of the United States. Charles Fairbanks is nominated as the candidate for Vice President. Roosevelt’s nomination comes by “acclimation,” meaning there was no need for a formal roll-call vote.

November 8 — Presidential Election of 1904

The Republican ticket of Roosevelt and Fairbanks defeats the Democratic ticket of Alton B. Parker and Henry G. Davis. The Republican Party also controls both Houses of Congress. Roosevelt says he will not be “a candidate for, or accept another nomination.” The Electoral Votes will be counted on February 8, 1905.

December 6 — The Roosevelt Corollary

President Roosevelt delivers his Fourth Annual State of the Union Message and announces a new policy regarding affairs between European nations and Latin American countries. 

Roosevelt asserts that the United States has the right and the responsibility to intervene in the affairs of Latin America and “exercise…international police power.” It is known as the “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine, which established the U.S. policy regarding European involvement in the Americas.

On January 21, 1905, the Dominican Republic agrees to allow the U.S. to supervise the payments of its debts to France, Germany, and Italy.

More events in 1904

January 4 — President Roosevelt delivers a Special Message to Congress, with details on the Panama Canal construction project.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — 1905

February 1 — Forest Service Established

President Roosevelt signs an act that transfers control of forest reserves from the Bureau of Forestry to the Department of Agriculture. Gifford Pinchot, a conservationist, continues as the chief of the bureau. The act further designates the Bureau of Forestry as “The Forest Service,” effective July 1, 1905.

March 4 — Second Inaugural Address

President Theodore Roosevelt delivers his Inaugural Address after being sworn in for his second term as President of the United States.

March 17 — The Wedding of Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt

President Roosevelt attends the wedding of his niece, Eleanor Roosevelt, and his distant cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The marriage strengthens the Roosevelt family in social and political circles. Franklin will go on to become to serve as the Governor of New York and as the 33rd President of the United States. Eleanor will become an influential figure in her own right, recognized for her advocacy for human rights, social justice, and civil rights, as one of the most active and influential First Ladies in American history.

April 4 — Roosevelt’s Speaking Tour Begins

On April 4, Roosevelt embarks on a speaking tour that lasts until May 10, 1905. He visits Kentucky, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Illinois, and Iowa.  A second leg of the tour runs from October 18–31. Roosevelt delivers speeches in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana

May 17, 1905 — Lochner v. New York

The Supreme Court delivers its decision in the case of Lochner v. New York. The case revolves around a New York law known as the Bakeshop Act or the New York State Factory Act, which limited the number of hours bakery employees could work in a week. 

A bakery owner, Jason Lochner, violated the law. He argued the law violated the 14th Amendment, which provides people the freedom to freely enter into contracts. The court agrees with Lochner and rules the New York law is unconstitutional.

The decision is the beginning of the “Lochner Era,” where the court uses the 14th Amendment to strike down laws that regulate working conditions, labor practices, and other activities related to business. The court’s stance invites criticism from labor advocates and progressive reformers.

June 27 — Industrial Workers of the World Union Established

The Industrial Workers of the World Union (IWW), also known as the “Wobblies,” is established in Chicago. Its mission was to unite all industrial workers, regardless of race, gender, or skill level, into “One Big Union.”

July 11 — Niagara Movement

W.E.B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter convene meetings of Black leaders and intellectuals at the home of Mary Talbert near Niagara Falls, Ontario. The group agrees to resolutions that denounce Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise.” A “Declaration of Principles” is adopted, laying the foundation for the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

August 4 — Yellow Fever Outbreak in New Orleans

President Roosevelt calls for a report from the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service on the yellow fever outbreak in New Orleans. Led by Surgeon General Walter Wyman, efforts were initiated to assess the extent of the outbreak and control its spread.

September 5 — Portsmouth Treaty Signed

Peace talks to end the Russo-Japanese war started on August 5 at Oyster Bay, New York. More talks are held on August 9 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On September 5, representatives from Russia and Japan sign the Portsmouth Treaty, ending the Russo-Japanese War.

December 5 — State of the Union

On this date, President Theodore Roosevelt delivers his Fifth State of the Union Message to Congress, during which he emphasizes the need for reform in railroad regulation and advocates for fair treatment of immigrants who arrive in the United States lawfully.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — 1906

February 17 — The Wedding of Alice Lee Roosevelt

Alice Lee Roosevelt, President Roosevelt’s daughter, who is nicknamed “Princess Alice,” marries Nicholas Longworth. He is a prominent Republican Congressman from Ohio. The ceremony is held in the White House, making it the first time a sitting President’s daughter is married in the Executive Mansion.

April 14 — Muckraker Speech

President Roosevelt delivers a speech titled “The Man with the Muckrake.” He acknowledges the value of people exposing corruption (journalists) and those bringing societal issues to the forefront (reformers). However, he cautions those people — the “muckrakers” — also need to propose viable solutions. Roosevelt stresses reform must be accomplished in a balanced, reasonable fashion in order to have a meaningful impact.

April 18 — San Francisco Earthquake

At 5:12 a.m., a strong earthquake shakes San Francisco. The quake is estimated to have lasted for at least 60 seconds and caused significant damage to the city. Fires rage through the city, destroying buildings and leaving thousands without homes or shelter. By today’s standard, the Richter Scale, the quake is believed to have measured 7.8. 

San Francisco Earthquake, 1906, City Burning, LOC
This photograph shows the destruction and fire caused by the San Francisco Earthquake. Image Source: Library of Congress.

June 8 — Antiquities Act

The National Monuments Act of 1906, also known as the Antiquities Act, is signed. It gives the President the authority to designate national monuments in order to protect and preserve sites that have historic, cultural, and scientific importance. During his time in office, Roosevelt designates a series of national monuments, including the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Devils Tower in Wyoming, and Montezuma Castle in Arizona. These designations lay the foundation for the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916.

June 16 — Oklahoma Statehood Enabling Act

The Oklahoma Enabling Act authorizes the territories of Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona to begin forming state constitutions, as part of the process of becoming states in the Union.

June 29 — Hepburn Act

The Hepburn Act is signed into law. It increases the power of the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate shipping rates for railroad companies and to enforce regulations. The act allows the Commission to set shipping rates that are considered “just and reasonable,” instead of allowing them to be determined by the market.

June 30 — Meat Inspection Act

The Meat Inspection Act becomes law. Upton Sinclair’s novel, “The Jungle,” exposes the working conditions and safety issues of the meatpacking industry, which led to meat that is unsafe to be eaten. The book leads to a public outcry and the act mandates Federal inspection of meat processing plants.

June 30 — Pure Food Act

Amid growing concerns over food and drug products being mislabeled, the Pure Food Act becomes law. Intending to keep consumers safe from fraud, it requires the accurate labeling of food and drug products. Moving forward, the act serves as the basis for all consumer protection laws.

August 12 — Brownsville Affair

President Roosevelt orders 167 men from the 25th U.S. Regiment at Fort Brown — the entire regiment — to be dishonorably discharged. The men, who are African-American troops known as “Buffalo Soldiers,” are accused of going on a shooting spree that leaves a white bartender dead and others injured. Although the evidence turned up by an investigation is contradictory, and indicates witnesses are lying, Roosevelt orders the discharge of the African-Americans, but not the white officers. On September 24, 1972, the Secretary of the Army Robert Froehlke reverses the order, changing the discharges to Honorable.

Buffalo Soldiers, 25th Infantry, Fort Keough Montana
Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry at Fort Keough, taken in 1890. Image Source: Library of Congress.

September 22 — Atlanta Race Riot

A riot takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, as mobs of white people attack black neighborhoods, businesses, and people. The riot is sparked by media reports that allege a group of black men assaulted a white woman. President Roosevelt does not publicly address the incident.

November 9 — Visits Panama Canal

President Roosevelt visits the Panama Canal and views the construction project. It is the first overseas diplomatic visit by a U.S. President. During the visit, Roosevelt takes notice of poor working conditions and pushes for improvements. Roosevelt also visits Puerto Rico during the 17-day trip.

Theodore Roosevelt, Panama Canal Visit, 1906
President Roosevelt sitting on a steam shovel during his visit to the Panama Canal. Image Source: Wikipedia.

December 12 — Oscar Strauss Confirmed as Secretary of Labor

Oscar Straus of New York City is confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Labor. He is the first Jewish member of the U.S. Cabinet.

December 10 — Roosevelt Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

President Roosevelt is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt does not attend the ceremony in person. The American Envoy to Norway reads a statement from the President, which is sent via telegraph.

More Events in 1906

December 3 — President Roosevelt delivers his State of the Union address.

December 17 — President Roosevelt delivers a Message to Congress, with an update on the Panama Canal.

December 16 — President Roosevelt delivers a message to Congress regarding the discharge of soldiers in the Brownsville Incident.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — 1907

January 26 — Tillman Act

The Tillman Act, officially known as the Federal Corrupt Practices Act becomes law. It is named after its sponsor, Senator Benjamin Tillman of South Carolina. It intends to regulate campaign financing and corporate influence on political campaigns. It prohibits corporations and national banks from making direct financial contributions to federal political candidates.

February 20 — Immigration Act of 1907

The Immigration Act, also known as the Anarchist Exclusion Act, amends the Immigration Act of 1891. The act imposes a tax on immigrants and refuses immigration to anyone “likely to become a public charge,” including anarchists and people who suffer from a variety of physical and mental issues.

March 1–2 — The Midnight Forests

Over the course of two days, Roosevelt issues proclamations establishing new Forest Reserves in the Western States. The power to establish Forest Reserves was granted to the President by the Forest Reserve Act of 1891. The new Forest Reserves are sometimes referred to as the “Midnight Forests” or the “Midnight Reserves.”

However, political and business leaders in the Western States oppose Roosevelt, because of the impact on several industries, including logging and ranching. 

Senator Charles W. Fulton of Oregon introduces an amendment to the agricultural appropriations bill, which will prohibit the President from creating additional forest reserves in the six Western States — Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. The act is scheduled to become law on March 7.

In preparation, President Roosevelt, Chief Forester of the U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, and Arthur C. Ringland, draw a map and identify new Forest Reserves. When the map is completed, Roosevelt issues a Proclamation that establishes the new reserves and expands others.

The move is controversial, similar to the “Midnight Judges” made famous by President John Adams.

Gifford Pinchot, 1901, Portrait
Gifford Pinchot. Image Source: Wikipedia.

March 4 — Agricultural Appropriations Bill of 1907

Roosevelt signs the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which includes the Fulton Amendment. The act states, “hereafter no forest reserve shall be created, nor shall any additions be made to one heretofore created within — the limits of the States of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, or Wyoming, except by Act of Congress.”  It is this language that spurred the Midnight Reserves Proclamation.

October 22 — Panic of 1907

A stock market crash takes place. Known as the Panic of 1907 or the “Bankers’ Panic.” It is the result of a series of bank runs and the collapse of several major financial institutions. 

The panic is triggered by a combination of events, including the failure of the Knickerbocker Trust Company and excessive speculation in the stock market, resulting in the first major financial crisis of the 20th Century in the U.S. Prominent business leaders, including J.P. Morgan, intervene to stabilize the financial system. Morgan creates a consortium of bankers to help struggling banks.

The Panic of 1907 leads to the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.

November 16 — Oklahoma Becomes the 46th State

Oklahoma is granted statehood on November 16, 1907. Prior to becoming a state, Oklahoma is known as the Oklahoma Territory, having been established in 1890. The Organic Act of 1890 paved the way for Oklahoma’s eventual statehood by merging the  Oklahoma Territory with the Indian Territory. Following a constitutional convention in 1907, Oklahoma’s residents approve a state constitution, which is accepted by Congress. Afterward, President Roosevelt signs the proclamation admitting Oklahoma as the 46th state of the Union.

December 16 — Great White Fleet

Under orders from President Roosevelt, a fleet of 16 U.S. Navy ships, painted white, set sail on an expedition around the world. The “Great White Fleet” is meant to showcase the naval power of the U.S. The Great White Fleet travels more than 40,000 miles and visits various nations, including South America, Africa, and Asia. The expedition is widely covered by the media and generates public interest and international attention. The fleet returns to Hampton Roads, Virginia on February 22, 1909, where it is greeted by President Roosevelt.

Theodore Roosevelt, Great White Fleet, 1909
President Roosevelt reviews the Great White Fleet at Hampton Roads in 1909. Image Source: Naval History and Heritage Command.

More Events in 1907

December 3 — President Roosevelt delivers his State of the Union Address to Congress.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — 1908

January 11 — Grand Canyon and the Antiquities Act

The Grand Canyon, Initially protected as a Forest Preserve in 1893 and as a Game Reserve in 1906, is declared a National Monument. President Roosevelt uses the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906 to make the designation, which is challenged in court. In 1919, the Grand Canyon becomes a National Park through an act of Congress, which is signed by President Woodrow Wilson. In 1920, the Supreme Court rules the Antiquities Act does give the President the power to establish national monuments of any size. In 1975, President Gerald Ford signs a law that doubles the size of Grand Canyon National Park and sets the present-day boundaries.

Grand Canyon, View from Mather Point, NPS
Mather Point, Grand Canyon. Image Source: National Park Service, Flickr.

February 18 — Gentleman’s Agreement with Japan

The U.S. and Japan reach an informal agreement restricting Japanese immigration. The agreement intends to address issues related to Japanese immigration to the United States, primarily in the Western States, where tensions with immigrants and discriminatory practices are increasing. In the provisions of the “Gentleman’s Agreement,” Japan agrees to restrict the emigration of its laborers to the U.S. In return, the U.S. agrees to allow Japanese immigrants who are already residing in the country to be exempt from new immigration restrictions or discriminatory laws that might target them.

May 13–15 — Governors’ Conference on Conservation

The Governors’ Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources convenes at the White House. President Roosevelt requests the conference in order to address concerns about the depletion of the nation’s natural resources and the importance of conservation.

Organized by Gifford Pinchot, the conference brings together the governors of various states and territories, as well as representatives from federal agencies, to discuss conservation policies and strategies. The conference helps gain public support for conservation as a national policy and creates awareness of environmental issues.

May 28 — Washington DC Child Labor Law

Signs child labor law for the District of Columbia; forbids employment to children under age 14.

June 8 — National Conservation Commission

Following the Governor’s Conference on Conservation, the National Conservation Commission is established. It is created to deal with growing concerns about the conservation and management of natural resources in the U.S.. The commission is tasked with investigating and advising on issues related to the nation’s water resources, including waterways, irrigation, and flood control. President Roosevelt appoints the members of the commission. Gifford Pinchot serves as chairman of the executive committee.

June 16 — William Howard Taft Nominated for President

At the Republican National Convention, Secretary of War William Howard Taft is nominated to be the party’s nominee for President. James S. Sherman, a member of the House of Representatives from New York, is nominated for Vice President.

President William Howard Taft, Portrait
William Howard Taft. Image Source: The White House.

August 10 — Commission on Country Life

The Commission on Country Life is established. Liberty Hyde Bailey, a professor at Cornell University, is appointed chairman. The commission is created to address the challenges faced by people living in rural America. The commission was tasked with studying and making recommendations on ways to improve the quality of life and economic conditions in rural areas. The commission’s findings led to government support for agricultural education, rural infrastructure development, and the promotion of rural cooperatives.

August 14–15 — Springfield Race Riot

Following the arrest of two African American men — George Richardson and Joe James — on charges of crimes against white residents, riots take place. A white mob attacks people in the black community. Two leaders in the community, Scott Burton and William Donegan, are lynched by the mob. Order is eventually restored after Governor Charles Deneen calls in the Illinois National Guard. The incident leaves to the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on February 12, 1909.

October 1 — Ford Model T Introduced

Henry Ford introduces the Ford Model T automobile. Designed and produced by the Ford Motor Company, it is the first automobile manufactured using assembly line production techniques, making cars more affordable and accessible to the general public. The car’s simplicity, reliability, and cost contribute to its immense popularity, making it an iconic symbol of American ingenuity.

November 3 — Presidential Election of 1908

Taft defeats William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic nominee. Taft runs on a progressive platform and the continuation of Roosevelt’s policies. The Electoral College will vote on January 6, 1909, confirming Taft’s victory.

December 15 — Special Message to Congress

President Roosevelt asks for a Congressional investigation of claims by a New York newspaper, The World, edited by Joseph Pulitzer, that there was corruption involved in acquiring French rights to the Panama Canal. 

More Events in 1908

December 8 — President Roosevelt delivers his State of the Union Address to Congress.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency — 1909

February 12 — NAACP Established

Following the Springfield Race Riots, progressive leaders, including Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, William English Walling, and Dr. Henry Moscowitz call for a meeting to discuss racial issues. The meeting is attended by 60 people. Among them are seven African Americans, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, and Ida B. Wells. The meeting leads to the establishment of the NAACP, which echoes the mission of the Niagara Movement, in that it intends to ensure the rights guaranteed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments apply to all Americans.

WEB DuBois, Portrait, 1919, LOC
W.E.B. DuBois. Image Source: Library of Congress.

February 17 — Joseph Pulitzer Indicted

Following accusations that he benefited financially from the sale of the Panama Canal, President Roosevelt files a lawsuit, alleging libel, against Joseph Pulitzer. Roosevelt despises “Yellow Journalism,” which Pulitzer is famous for. The case, known as United States v. Press Publishing Co., sees a New York grand jury issue 14 counts of libel against Pulitzer. The case makes its way to the Supreme Court in 1911 where the court rules “there was no federal crime of libel.”

March 4 — Increases Salary for the President

On his last day in office, Roosevelt signs the Appropriations Act that includes an increase in the annual salary of the President from $50,000 to $75,000.

More Events in 1908

January 22 — President Roosevelt delivers the Report of the National Conservation Commission to Congress as a Special Address.

Mount Rushmore, Photograph, NPS
Mount Rushmore. Roosevelt is third from the left. Image Source: National Park Service.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidency Video for APUSH

This video from Heimler’s History covers the APUSH topic of the Progressive Era, including the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. Also, be sure to look at our Guide to the AP US History Exam.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Theodore Roosevelt — Term, Accomplishments, Timeline of the 26th President of the United States
  • Date September 14, 1901–March 4, 1909
  • Author
  • Keywords Theodore Roosevelt Presidency, Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Term, Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 18, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 27, 2024

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