VKN Badass Guys: Theodore Roosevelt

Throughout history there have been exceptional men who’ve inspired us by the way they lead their lives and accomplish success. This is VK Nagrani’s Badass Guys Series.

Commonly known as “Teddy” – despite his disdain for the name, Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most prolific men to take office. The man couldn’t be stopped by anyone and appeared to take the Presidency simply because he could. Roosevelt was an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer, who was the driving force of the Progressive Era in the United States.

Here’s why VK Nagrani thinks Theodore Roosevelt is badass.

1. Born a Sickly Child

Theodore Roosevelt was born with crippling asthma, but overcame the illness and other health problems by taking on a rugged and strenuous lifestyle. Beating asthma was the driving force behind his boisterous and exuberant personality. He was homeschooled and taught to be a life long naturalist before he attended Harvard University.

2. Explorer of the Frontier

Roosevelt, being the tough badass he was, built a ranch north of the boomtown of Medora, North Dakota, of which he named Elk Horn. During his time there he learned to ride western style, rope and hunt earning the respect of the locals. A herdsman who knew him during that time said he possessed, “few of the emasculated, milk-and-water moralities admired by the pseudo-philanthropists; but he does possess, to a very high degree, the stern, manly qualities that are invaluable to a nation.”

3. An Accomplished Research, Author

During his time at Harvard, he began a rigorous study of the role of the United States Navy during the War of 1812. He carefully scrutinized the source materials and official US Navy records. Roosevelt’s meticulous research was comparable to a modern doctoral dissertation, even though he wasn’t a doctor or studying to be one.

4. Namesake of the Teddy Bear

While on a big game hunt with some colleagues, all of his compatriots spotted and killed at least one bear. Roosevelt was feeling pretty disappointed about the whole situation, but the hunting guides trapped and caught a bear for him to shoot. They tied the bear to a willow tree, but Roosevelt was not amused. He was a real sportsman and wouldn’t entertain the idea of shooting an animal that was tied up. However, since the animal was injured, he ordered it be put down.

Word of the incident hit newspapers and a political cartoonist published the above picture and readers went wild. A candy shop owner saw the cartoon and had the idea to place two stuffed toy bears in the window with the sign “Teddy’s Bears” in an attempt to be topical and relevant because Roosevelt was such a hot commodity. The rapid popularity of the bears led to the candy maker having to mass-produce the bears, eventually forming the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

Around the same time a German manufacturer heard about the successes of these “Teddy’s Bears” and began making them across the seas – effectively starting the childhood staple that they are today.

Keep checking the VK Nagrani blog for more editions of our Badass Guys Series.