Theodore Roosevelt Event Timeline

September 14, 1901

Theodore Roosevelt (26) Event Timeline

09/14/1901 03/04/1909


Nomination for Vice Presidency


Election Day




President McKinley shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY, while Roosevelt is hiking in the Adirondacks.


Theodore Roosevelt Takes Office following the death of William McKinley; youngest person to take office as president.


President Roosevelt invites Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House.  Southerners are upset by what is said to be “an intended insult to the South. . . and as a threat of social equality. . . “ (Washington Times, 10/19/1901)  An initial report was that this dinner signalled that the President would “make somewhat more vigorous mention in his message to Congress of lynch and mob law than have his predecessors.” (Washington Times, 10/18/1901)


Hay-Pauncefote Treaty signed with Great Britain, giving the US the right to create and control an Isthmian canal. Abrogated Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850. Referred to Senate, 12/04/1901


First State of the Union Message to Congress;  calls for regulation of trusts, conservation, enlarged navy, extension of civil service.


Hay-Pauncefote Treaty is ratified by the Senate.




Signs Permanent Census Bureau Act


Signs Philippine Tariff Act (32 Stat 54), confirming actions of the Philippine Commission.


Signs extension of the Chinese Exclusion Act (32 Stat 176) (“An Act to prohibit the coming into and to regulate the residence within the United States, its Territories, and all territory under its jurisdiction, and the District of Columbia, of Chinese and persons of Chinese descent”)


Pennsylvania Coal Miners Strike organized by the United Mine Workers of America.


Signs legislation creating Crater Lake National Park in Oregon


By proclamation creates the Yellowstone Forest Reserve and the Teton Forest Reserve


Orders Investigation of Coal Strike


Signs the Newlands Reclamation Act (32 Stat 388); revenues from public land sales in western states may be used to fund water storage and irrigation projects.


Signs the Isthmian Canal Act (32 Stat 481), providing funds for acquiring the assets of the New Panama Canal Company, of France, and land from Columbia, constructing a canal in Panama.


Signs the Philippine Government Act (32 Stat 691)


In response to the Anthracite Coal Strike, Roosevelt convenes a conference in Washington DC while the White House was undergoing renovation.  Roosevelt stated that he had no authority to intervene in the strike, but regarded the situation as intolerable.  This is the first time a president has intervened in an industrial dispute.  Roosevelt later released a transcript of the meeting to the press, to the detriment of the mine owners.


Second Annual State of the Union Message




Signs Act (32 Stat 825) increasing salaries of Supreme Court Justices and other federal judges


Signs the Act (32 Stat 825) establishing the Department of Commerce and Labor.  This agency received offices from the Treasury (Light Houses; Steamboat Inspection Service; Bureau of Navigation; National Bureau of Standards; Coast and Geodetic Survey; Commissioner-General of Immigration; Bureau of Statistics. From the Department of the Interior:  The Census Office; the Fish Commission. From State Department: Bureau of Foreign Commerce. New Bureau:  Bureau of Manufactures.


Signs the Elkins Anti-Rebate Act (32 Stat 847) (An Act to further regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the States), making it illegal for persons or corporations to “offer, grant, or give or to solicit, accept or receive any rebate. . . in respect of the transportation of any property in interstate or foreign commerce.”


Champion v. Ames (“The Lottery Case”) decision of the Supreme Court;  transport of lottery tickets is “commerce” and federal "regulation" of interstate commerce includes the power to prohibit commerce.


Proclaims Pelican Island, Florida as the first Federal Bird Reservation or refuge.  Roosevelt cites as authority an 1891 act permitting the President to “set apart and reserve” public lands wholly or in part covered with timber or undergrowth, whether of commercial value or not.”  Between 1902 and the end of his presidency, Roosevelt established over 100 reserves.”

04/01/1903 - 06/05/1903 Extended Western Tour visits and speaks on at least 135 occasions in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah.


Orders Warships to Panama to Maintain Free and Uninterrupted Transit Across Isthmus


Panama declares independence from Colombia.


The United States Recognizes the Republic of Panama


Treaty signed with Republic of Panama for the construction of a ship canal.


Third Annual State of the Union Message.




Special Message outlines activities relating to construction of an isthmian canal.


In Gonzales v. Williams, the Supreme Court rules that Puerto Rico residents are not “alien immigrants” with respect to US immigration law (but are also not US citizens).


Russo-Japanese War begins


Proclamation of U.S. neutrality in Russo-Japanese War.


In Northern Securities Co. v. United States, the Supreme Court Orders the Dissolution of the Northern Securities Company (a holding company) is an illegal combination in accordance with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act


Signs Naval Construction Act (32 Stat 350) provides for increasing the Navy by constructing many new ships.


Republicans Nominate Theodore Roosevelt by acclimation for President,  Charles Fairbanks as Vice President


Election Day, Roosevelt wins defeating Democrat Alton B. Parker.


Fourth Annual State of the Union Message. Announces policy of possible intervention in hemispheric affairs, the “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine. Demands that US citizens be accorded their rights when traveling "without regard to their creed or race; without regard to whether they were born in the U.S. or abroad."

Calls for compulsory school attendance laws for the District of Columbia, and for public playgrounds.

Suggests adopting corporal punishment to respond to "brutality and cruelty toward the weak," in particular "wife-beaters." He also calls for "severe child-labor and factory-inspection laws." Recommends against married women working in factories: "The prime duty of the man is to work, to be the breadwinner; the prime duty of the woman is to be the mother, the housewife."

Praises the work of the work of the Department of Agriculture in education of farmers and related research. Points out that individual states are not in a position to deal with "great corporations" dealing in interstate commerce.  This goal requires appropriate legislation. Commends to Congress the work of the Bureau of Corporations in examining possible corporate illegality.




Presidential electors cast ballots


Temporary agreement with the Dominican Republic to undertake the “Roosevelt Corollary”


Signs Act (33 Stat 628) transferring control of forest reserves (Bureau of Forestry) to the Department of Agriculture; Gifford Pinchot continues as chief.  The Bureau becomes “The Forest Service” as of July 1, 1905.


Electoral votes counted in Congress

02/28/1905 Signs Joint Resolution authorizing the Secretary of War to return to respective states "certain Union and Confederate battle flags." (33 Stat 1284)  The New York Times had reported that officers of the veterans association, Grand Army of the Republic, opposed this action.


Inaugural Address.  “Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities.”


Attends the wedding of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt in New York City.

04/04/1905– 05/10/1905

Speaking tour including the states of Kentucky, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Illinois, and Iowa.


Lochner v. New York.  Supreme Court holds that state limitations on working hours are unconstitutional;  the due process clause of the 14th Amendment protects the individual right to freedom of contract.


About this time, identical diplomatic messages invited Japanese and Russians to engage in peace talks.


Industrial Workers of the World Union established in Chicago


Meeting of Black intellectuals at Niagara Falls demands racial equality;  beginning of the “Niagara Movement,” predecessor of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).


Calls for a report from the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service on yellow fever outbreak in New Orleans


Russo-Japanese Peace talks begin at Oyster Bay, N.Y., peace talks begin at Portsmouth NH 08/09/1905


Russia and Japan sign the Portsmouth Treaty ending the Russo-Japanese war

10/18/1905 – 10/31/1905

Speaking tour including the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana


Fifth State of the Union Message to Congress includes urging reform of railroad regulation.  Asserts “we must treat with justice and good will all immigrants who come here under the law.”




Daughter Alice Lee Roosevelt is married; major news event.


The Man with the Muckrake” Speech.  “The men with the muck-rakes are often indispensable to the well-being of society; but only if they know when to stop raking the muck, and to look upward to the celestial crown above them, to the crown of worthy endeavor.”. . . “the wild preachers of unrest and discontent, the wild agitators against the entire existing order, the men who act crookedly, whether because of sinister design or from mere puzzle-headedness, the men who preach destruction without proposing any substitute for what they intend to destroy, or who propose a substitute which would be far worse than the existing evils—all these men are the most dangerous opponents of real reform.”


San Francisco Earthquake. A massive early-morning quake is followed by fire and the loss of hundreds of lives.

05/08/1906 Signs Act Amending the General Allotment Act of 1887 (34 Stat 182)  removes all restrictions as to sale, incumbrance or taxation of lands granted in ownership to Indians under the General Allotment act.


Signs the National Monuments Act (“An Act for the preservation of American antiquities" (34 Stat 225)). The President is authorized by public proclamation, to create national monuments, limited to the “smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the object to be protected.” 


Signs Act (34 Stat 267) enabling Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona to form constitutions and be admitted into the Union.


Signs the Hepburn Act (34 Stat 584), enhancing the power of the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate railroad shipping rates and enforce regulations.  In particular, the act was intended to reduce the bargaining power of large shippers. The Commission was empowered to set rates that it determined were “just and reasonable” (rather than any kind of market-set prices). The ICC was increased in size and members’ salaries increased. Passage of the bill depended on popular outrage toward the railroads. 


Signs the the Pure Food and Drug Act (34 Stat 768) prohibiting the manufacturing and sale of poisonous foods, drugs, or medicines.


Brownsville Incident involving accusations of murder against African-American “Buffalo Soldiers” stationed at Fort Brown, TX.  On 11/05/1906, Roosevelt ordered 167 soldiers of the 25th U.S. Regiment dishonorably discharged.  This action was quite controversial at the time.  On September 24, 1972, the Secretary of the Army Robert Froehlke reversed that order, changing the discharges to Honorable.


Asserts rights under existing treaty to intervene in Cuba.


Atlanta GA race riot.  “Roosevelt remained silent on the massacre.”

10/25/1906 The New York Times (10/26/1906, p 9) reports that the Japanese Ambassador lodged a complaint about discrimination against Japanese children by the San Francisco School District.  He argues that this discrimination is contrary to the terms of a 1894 treaty. This provokes a conflict resolved in 1907 (see 02/20/1907).


11/26/1906 Visits Panama to inspect the building of the Panama Canal.  First trip abroad by a US President.


Sixth Annual Message to Congress. Includes call for prohibiting corporate contributions to political campaigns and reforms to federal criminal law. Observes that "lynching represents by just so much a loosening of the bands of civilization; that the spirit of lynching inevitably throws into prominence in the community all the foul and evil creatures who dwell therein . . .  " Immigrants "we must treat with justice and good will . . . " Particularly singles out hostility to Japanese, pointing out their gift to support recovery after the San Francisco earthquake. "To shut [Japanese children] out from the public schools is a wicked absurdity. . . " Urges Congressional action "specifically providing for the naturalization of Japanese who come here intending to become American citizens."


Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Russo-Japanese War. Roossevelt did not attend the ceremony in person but a telegraphed statement was read by the American Envoy to Norway. 


Oscar Straus of New York City Confirmed as Secretary of Department of Commerce and Labor;  first Jewish member of any President’s cabinet.


Message to Congress after return from Canal Zone in Panama.


Message to Congress on discharge of soldiers in the “Brownsville Incident.”




Signs Act (34 Stat 864) Prohibiting “money contributions” to Federal political candidates by Corporations


Signs the Immigration Act of 1907 (“An Act to regulate the immigration of aliens into the United States” 34 Stat 898).  Imposes a head tax on immigrants; excludes all “likely to become a public charge,” or who have contagious diseases; exceptions for professions, ministers, and skilled labor.  Includes language blocking entry by individuals initially using passports to seek entry to some other country. The Act includes language reflecting a prior informal agreement between the United States and Japan linking Japanese limitations on immigration to the United States (by restricting passport issuance) and ending racial segregation in San Francisco public schools. This informal agreement is known as the “Gentlemen’s Agreement.”


Issues 14 proclamations establishing forest reserves in certain Western states


Signs the Department of Agriculture appropriations bill (34 Stat 1271) (which included the Forest Service) that included this language:  “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.”  That language motivated the block of forest reserve proclamations on 03/02.


The Panic of 1907 destabilizes the American financial system; stock market crashes.


Attempts to dissipate rumors of a financial crash


Oklahoma becomes a state


Seventh Annual Message to Congress


US battle fleet of 16 battleships (“Great White Fleet”) begins an extended trip in Pacific Ocean and on around the globe.




Grand Canyon declared National Monument


Governors’ Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources meets at the White House.  Organized substantially by Gifford Pinchot.


Signs child labor law for the District of Columbia (35 Stat 420); forbids employment to children under age 14.


Appoints National Conservation Commission; includes members of Congress as well as Executive Branch officials.


William Howard Taft nominated for President at Republican Convention.


Appoints Commission on Country Life

08/14/1908 Springfield, IL race riot begins and continues for two days. There is widespread violence and two African-Americans are lynched.  Order was restored by the Illinois National Guard. The reaction against these events drives the eventual formation of the NAACP. The President seems to have made no public comment on the incident.


Ford introduces the Model T automobile.


William Howard Taft is elected President


Eighth State of the Union Message to Congress


Electors cast ballots


In Special Message, asks for 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. 




Electoral votes counted in Congress


Submits, as Special Message to Congress, the Report of the National Conservation Commission.


Submits as Special Message to Congress the report of the Commission on Country Life.


African-American leaders launch the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)


Pulitzer indicted for criminal libel.


Reviews “Great White Fleet” upon its return to Hampton Roads, VA.


Signs Appropriations Act that includes an increase in the salary of the President from $50,000 to $75,000.

Last edited 05/02/2024.

Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt Event Timeline Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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