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How Tough Was Teddy Roosevelt?

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, was known as a tough and energetic man. The events of 14 October 1912 truly illustrate just how tough Teddy Roosevelt was. As the nominee of the newly-formed Progressive Party (Bull Moose Party), Roosevelt was once again running for president. He was on his way to deliver a campaign speech in Wisconsin when he was shot by a man in the crowd with a Colt .38 revolver. Instead of going to the hospital for treatment, Roosevelt insisted on proceeding to the auditorium to deliver his speech as planned. Roosevelt, who had military experience from the Spanish-American War, had made the determination that the bullet had not entered his lung and that he was not in immediate danger. He delivered an 80-minute address at the Milwaukee Auditorium and then finally went to the hospital for treatment.

It became clear after the incident that Roosevelt's long speech had, in fact, saved his life. The bullet had been slowed by the 50 folded pages in his jacket pocket and had lodged in a rib. It would remain there for the rest of his life.

The 1912 presidential election was ultimately won by Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson. Nevertheless, Roosevelt became the most successful third-party candidate in American history, winning a very respectable 27 percent of the popular vote.

More about Teddy Roosevelt:

  • Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt became U.S. president at the age of 43 when President William McKinley was assassinated. He was in office between 1901 and 1909.

  • Teddy Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for helping to mediate the Russo-Japanese War.

  • Tragically, Teddy Roosevelt's mother and his first wife passed away on the same day: Valentine's Day, 1884.

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