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Donnie Does History: Teddy Roosevelt, The Grandfather of Grit

I listened to another episode of History on Fire, this time on Teddy Rosevelt, and I was blown away by the reservoirs of grit he had spewing from every pore on his body. I don’t know enough about all the presidents but I think it’s fair to say he was one of the most badass presidents we’ve ever had take a dump in the White House (George Washington never lived in the White House). Here are some of the more fascinatingly gritty facts I know about this  man that are sure to put some pubes on your chest.
– Teddy’s mother and wife died only a few hours apart. This experience completely broke him emotionally as evident by his diary entry that day, which just read “the light has gone out in my life”

6874680619_f01998e332_oFor the rest of his life he ordered people never to mention his wife’s name. To cope with the grief, he decided to move out to the Dakotas and become a cowboy. The other cattle ranchers thought he was just a silver spoon Harvard Grad pussy at first, but after demonstrating immeasurable GRIT, he was able to earn their respect. In one instance, a blackout drunk rancher at a bar pointed a gun in his face, called him “Four Eyes”, and then ordered him to buy everyone in the bar a drink. Teddy proceeded to beat the absolute shit out of him (then probably still bought everyone at the bar a drink)
- After two years he moved back east and eventually became the secretary of the Navy, however, when the Spanish American War broke out, he resigned and volunteered for service as commander the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, more famously known as “The Rough Riders”.

rough-riders_wide-ec34a03930b546af9fe634f698c21dfb3a805661He was a huge proponent of American declaring war because he thought Americans were growing soft and “overcivilized” and wanted to recapture what he called ‘the wolf rising in the heart.’ He hated the idea of politicians starting wars that they wouldn’t fight in themselves which is why he decided to be on the front lines. In the war he led back to back charges up hills surrounding Santiago amidst heavy enemy fire which directly lead to the US winning the war and gaining control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines and Spain renouncing all control over Cuba. Afterwards he was reported to have said that he regretted not receiving a “disfiguring and ghastly wound in the war.” What a psychotic yet also insanely gritty thing to say.

– He returned to the US a war hero, became Vice President, and then when William McKinley was assassinated, became the youngest US president in US history at 42 years old.

– He was an avid boxer and once becoming president, used to hold boxing matches in the White House where he would spar with visiting politicians and foreign dignitaries.

1_Ul5c2JpwO71I4Sjv9Y3yTgSadly, in 1908 he was forced to give up the sport when a punch from one of his sparring partners left him blind in one eye.
- He would often go skinny dipping in the Potomac river during his tenure in the white house.

– While campaigning for a failed presidential election in 1912, he was shot in the chest on his way to give a speech. After getting shot he coughed a few times, saw that he wasn’t coughing up blood, and thus deemed himself healthy enough to proceed and give the speech. In the opening line of the speech he proclaimed “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose.” What a harrdoo and I mean that in the nicest way possible

drinking-teddy-internal- He’s actually more closely related to Eleanor Roosevelt, who was his niece,  than Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (Eleanor was FDR’s 5th cousin who was also a Roosevelt. I’ll allow it. If it was his 2nd or 3rd cousin though, gross dude)

– He helped save American football. Football used to be an absolutely BRUTAL sport. In the 1905 season alone there were 19 player deaths and 137 serious injuries. So many young students were being killed or maimed on the field that schools started to drop the sport or adopted rugby instead.

1385662546-1Teddy was a HUGE football guy but realized reforms needed to be made if the sport was to survive in the modern era. As a result, he formed an intercollegiate council where they made adjustments to the rules that made the sport slightly less dangerous such as: legalizing the forward pass, abolishing dangerous mass formations, creating a neutral zone between offense and defense and doubling the first-down distance to 10 yards, to be gained in three downs. Fair to say that Teddy Roosevelt is the father of football as we know it today. Thanks Ted. Can you imagine football without forward passes? Hockey would have more viewership. There also would have never been “the helmet catch” tho so we’ll call it a wash.

– After failing to win a third term as president in 1913, he decided to lead an expedition down an uncharted river in the Amazon. He was 55 at the time.

RooseveltRiverOfDoubtRoosevelt described this trip as his “last chance to be a boy” and when warned of the dangers of the journey stated “If it is necessary for me to leave my bones in South America, I am quite ready to do so.” The expedition did end up almost killing him when he came down with malaria and then got a huge gash in his leg while navigating rapids that later became infected. He repeatedly told the others to just leave him in the jungle to die so he wouldn’t burden the rest of the expedition however his son Kermit, who was also on the trip, refused to do so. Three members of the crew did end up dying(drowning, murder, disease) and the entire expedition almost starved to death before being rescued by Rubber trappers. Sounded like a pretty relaxing retirement trip.
- He was a big time environmentalist, founding the National Parks system, however, he also loved fucking nature up, once killing 512 animals on an African safari with his son. We know this because he kept tally.
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tr'sbiggametally tr'sbiggametallyJust chill out man, pretty sure those rhinos are extinct now.  
Theodore Roosevelt with Dead Rhino
And there you have it, Theodore Roosevelt, hunter, explorer, politician, boxer, rancher, warrior, and most importantly, the grandfather of grit. Honestly the least interesting thing about him is that the Teddy Bear was named after him. That’s how you know he lived a full life. Walk softly and swing a big dick fellas.