Today, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Dollar Coin remembers when the youngest president took office on September 14, 1901.
In 2017, Theodore Roosevelt remains the youngest president at 42 years, 10 months and 19 days at inauguration. The next youngest, John F. Kennedy, was 43 years, 7 months and 23 days.
The Illustrious Life of William McKinley, Our Martyred President by Murat Halstead, published in 1901, provided information about the quiet inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt 116 years ago.
It was in a dimly lighted private library in Buffalo, surrounded by a small group of friends, that Theodore Roosevelt, on the afternoon of September 14, 1901, raised his right hand and, swearing that he would faithfully preserve and obey the Constitution and execute the laws of the United States, became the President of the United States.
And he said: “In this hour of deep and terrible national bereavement I wish to state it shall be my intention and endeavor to continue absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley for the peace and prosperity and honor of our beloved country.”
The declaration of President Roosevelt as soon as he was sworn into the great office according to the Constitution and custom, was, in the best sense of the word, a stroke of state.
The effect upon the country was instantly felt to be wholesome. It gave confidence. The next stroke was the formal notification— no waiting, no hesitation, no delay, that McKinley’s Cabinet was to be Roosevelt’s Cabinet.
This was making assurance doubly sure that there was not to be hasty change. The manliness and the gentlemanliness — the same thing — of Roosevelt was again before the country where duty called, and he made no mistakes.
Col. Theodore Roosevelt is the fifth Vice President who has succeeded to the presidential chair by virtue of his office, and like three of his predecessors — John Tyler, Andrew Johnson and Chester A. Arthur — he will have nearly a full presidential term.
Theodore Roosevelt, son of Theodore Roosevelt, of an old New York Dutch family, was born at No. 28 East 20th street, New York, October 20, 1858.
His mother’s maiden name was Martha Bulloch. He is of the ninth generation of the Roosevelt stock in America.
The country residence of the family has long been at Oyster Bay.
He has done a good deal of hard reform work in New York City, especially in the Police Board.
He was the chairman of the New York delegation to the Republican National Convention of 1884.
His far Western life was in Montana on the Little Missouri.
His first important book was the “Winning of the West.” He has written half a dozen Western books on hunting and ranch life, etc.
He was appointed by Harrison on the United States Civil Service Commission May 12, 1889, and served two years under Cleveland in that capacity.
He was appointed Police Commissioner May 5, 1895.
His book on the naval war of 1812 is a standard work, and his service in the Navy Department and with the Rough Riders in Cuba is familiar history.
Mr. Roosevelt has the distinction of being the youngest President ever inaugurated. He is but forty-three, while General Grant, hitherto the youngest President, was forty-seven.
Roosevelt was not the youngest Vice President, John C. Breckinridge being only thirty-five — the constitutional age — when he was elected.
Colonel Roosevelt, it will be remembered, was anxious to decline the Vice Presidential candidacy, and was hard to convince of the duty to take the place.
He made an immense impression in his speeches in the campaign of 1900. No other Republican candidate would have had such potentiality in the West.
His war record commends him to all, and he is one of the most accomplished literary men in the country.
That Roosevelt was an irresistible candidate in the National Republican Convention of 1900 was clear from the first, and the campaign proved the wisdom of the selection.
His speeches in the convention were of extraordinary force.
As the presiding officer of the Senate he was a quiet, conservative gentleman and an excellent parliamentarian.
He has a most complimentary unpopularity by those who are of the experience or expectation that he will be hard to manage.
He hastened to Buffalo as soon as he heard the President had been shot, and was rejoiced by the assurances of the surgeons.
A Buffalo dispatch September 9th reports him as saying then: “I came here because I believed my place was near the President, and I will not leave until the situation has entirely cleared up.
“If I were predicting when I shall leave here I would say tomorrow, because I firmly believe that the physicians will announce tomorrow that there is absolutely no doubt that the President will recover.
“I have been twice to the President’s temporary home today, and I have seen nothing but smiling, happy faces, including a host of physicians. That would not be so if the bulletins did not tell the exact truth.”
The Vice President was asked to express an opinion on legislation against anarchy.
He said: “It is not the time or place to discuss such matters. The only thing to be thought of now is the President’s complete rapid recovery.”
Mr. Roosevelt did not leave the Wilcox house until after the noon hour, and then he walked the mile to the Presidential quarters.
Just after he had left the mansion he was accosted by a colored man who was raking a lawn.
“Governor, may I shake hands with you?” he said.
“You certainly may,” answered the Vice President, turning quickly and grasping his hand, and then, as two laborers with dinner pails and tools came up, he shook hands with them.
“Ain’t you afraid to be stopped?” asked one of the men.
“No, sir,” he snapped out, “and I hope no official of this country will ever be afraid. You men are our protection, and the foul deed done the afternoon of Friday will only make you the more vigorous in your protection of the lives of those whom you select to office.
“Such men as you can work with the ballot the salvation of the country without resort to violence.”
As he walked on the Vice President discussed the case of the President and his condition.
He said in part: “I believe that the bulletins being issued are none too sanguine. In fact, I know they are not. I am perfectly positive that the President will recover, and, more than that, I believe the illness will be a brief one and the recovery rapid.
“I had two men and a relative shot in the same manner in the Cuban campaign. They lay in the marshes for some time without attendance, and yet both recovered.
“I may say that I have even better information than the bulletins, and I again say with great confidence that the President will recover.”
Vice President Roosevelt discredited by action rather than words the story that he was being guarded by Secret Service men.
A newspaper man called for him at the Windsor House and without consulting anybody he put on his hat and accompanied the visitor toward the President’s quarters.
No secret service men were about, and the only thing he seemed afraid of were the numerous camera fiends.
He returned on foot the way he had come, walking briskly, with few people recognizing him and seemingly without any bodyguard whatever.
The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Dollar Coin shows with an image of the man as the youngest president, 1901.