Author Ellen Jackson

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Teddy Roosevelt

What kind of child grows up to be president?

All his life, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt loved adventure and excitement. Mrs. Roosevelt’s said that her son Theodore was "full of mischief" and had to be watched all the time.

As a boy, Teddy Roosevelt suffered from severe asthma. At times he would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath. His parents gave him black coffee to drink and special medicine to make him throw up, but nothing seemed to work. Sometimes, Theodore’s father would take his young son for a carriage ride through the dark streets of New York City, hoping the fresh air would help him breathe more easily.

Teddy loved to read and make drawings of birds, reptiles, and mammals. When he was about seven or eight, he began collecting animal skulls and bones. He kept live frogs under his hat and dead mice in the icebox. Everyone thought that Teddy would grow up to be a scientist who studied animals.

Because he was often sick, Teddy was scrawny and weak. When his father told him that he would have to "make his body," the boy began to lift weights, swim, hike and ride his horse. Little by little, his health improved.

His eyes were also a problem. Teddy couldn’t understand why his friends could read words on a billboard that he couldn’t even see–until his father got him a pair of spectacles. Then he understood.

"I had no idea how beautiful the world was," he said.

Did Teddy ever think about becoming president? In April, 1865, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated. As the funeral procession marched passed the Roosevelt house in Union Square, six-year-old Theodore, who would someday be the twenty-sixth president of the United States, watched the body of the sixteenth president pass by.

What was in his mind at that moment? We'll never know.


1. The first president to be born in a log cabin was:


2. He was the only president to serve four terms:


3. Two presidents have been the sons of former presidents. The names of these two presidents are:



4. He purchased a large piece of land west of the Mississippi from France, nearly doubling the size of the United States:


5. This president donated some of his spoons and forks when the new country needed silver and gold to make coins:


6. He tried to keep the United States from going to war, but later declared that World War I would be the "war to end all wars:"


7. The first movie actor to be elected president:



1. Andrew Jackson
2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
3. John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush
4. Thomas Jefferson
5. George Washington
6. Woodrow Wilson
7. Ronald Reagan

How many different people have been president during your lifetime?

How many different people have been president during your parents' lifetime?

Which president's portrait is on a dime? A quarter? A five dollar bill?

What would be the earliest year in which you could be elected president?

Name three things you would like to do for the country if you were president.