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Almost anyone can be a leader, but not every leader can go down in history and be remembered as someone special, as someone who had the skills and strength to do what it took to accomplish their goals. The founding fathers are considered great leaders because they inspired people in a way to enable a new government by combining ideas and politics to gain trust within the people. The founders were willing to risk their property and status to form an egalitarian based government system. Teddy Roosevelt possessed and demonstrated the same characteristics that according to Gordon Wood, also made the founding fathers great leaders.
“Speak softly and carry a big stick” said the 26th president of the United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt. What he meant by this was to “begin gently, but hold a decisive weapon in reserve” (Martin). Teddy was an admirable man with a legendary story. He made this nation an international force. He was a man of action, a noted conservationist. Theodore was not only focused on establishing a great government but giving back to the earth, he eagerly established national parks and forests. Because of his passion in helping the Earth he became known as “conservationist president”, in six years, six national parks were established by Teddy Roosevelt.
Connecting back to Gordon Wood’s thesis, the founders all worked for creating an egalitarian based government, a government where all men are created equal, Theodore also contributed to having the idea grow in the United States. Roosevelt designated several African-Americans to be assigned to federal posts and “advocated treating all people based on their merits rather than their race or religion” (Dan). Realizing that monopolies were starting to dominate the country, Roosevelt launched a crusade to divide those monopolies, encouraging competition. Gordon Wood describes the founders as “different”, Teddy too was no ordinary man. He was truly aware of the needs for the all of his men, and took care of them, he “made a serious effort to look out for the welfare of the average American” (Dan).
To be a leader one must show uniqueness in inspiring the groups he or she is trying to lead. The revolutionary characters- the founding fathers all were willing to sacrifice many for their people and their country. Great sacrifice is one was to inspire people, another way is to show strength. Roosevelt was shot in the chest in 1912, during a campaign speech. Aside from his wounds, president Teddy Roosevelt stood up and continued to give his speech for another ninety minutes. He told the crowd that he had been shot and that “it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose”. The bullet passed through Teddy’s eyeglasses holder, a copy of his speech, and buried three inches deep in his chest. For the rest of his life that bullet remained in his chest. Although the bullet could’ve been taken out, keeping it in showed that it would take a lot more than a man-killer to make him fall.
The full quote was “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” Teddy approached his problems softly through a tactic of caution, but was not afraid to pull out the big stick and take the required “violent” action. Because of this, he went far. He not only helped his nation but also his planet. He helped establish grounds where men are not divided in differences but joined in uniqueness. Teddy touched the hearts of the people, just as the bullet in his chest touched him, deeply and permanently. This is why he fits Gordon Wood’s description of a great leader.
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