American Presidents Series: Theodore Roosevelt Biography

Just another WordPress site

American Presidents Series: Theodore Roosevelt Biography

burn out loud comm presents the US presidents podcast each episode will provide a brief biographical portrait of a president explore the eras in which they led their country and assess the historical significance they hold for us today this is a podcast for those who wish to gain a complete knowledge of the commander in chief for complete listing of our educational podcasts including links to subscribe please visit our website at wwlp.com to the public but never to friends and intimates as Teddy was the 26th President of the United States and a leader of the Republican Party and of the progressive movement he became President of the United States at the age of 42 he served in many roles including governor of New York historian naturalist Explorer author and soldier Roosevelt is most famous for his personality his energy his vast range of interests and achievements his model of masculinity and his cowboy persona his last name often mispronounced is / Roosevelt pronounced as if it was spelled Roosevelt that is in three syllables the first syllable as if it was rose as assistant secretary of the Navy Roosevelt prepared for an advocated war with Spain in 1898 he organized and helped command the first US volunteer cavalry regiment the Rough Riders during the spanish-american war returning to New York as a war hero he was elected Republican governor in 1899 he was a professional historian a lawyer a naturalist and explorer of the Amazon basin his 35 books include works on outdoor life Natural History the American frontier political history naval history and his autobiography in 1901 as vice president the 42 year old Roosevelt succeeded President William McKinley after McKinley’s assassination he is the youngest person to become president John F Kennedy is the youngest elected president Roosevelt was a progressive reformer who sought to move the dominant Republican Party into the progressive camp he distrusted wealthy businessmen and dissolved 40 monopolistic corporations as a trust buster he was clear however to show he did not disagree with trusts and capitalism in principle but was only against corrupt illegal practices his square deal promised a fair shake for both the average citizen through regulation of railroad rates and pure food and drugs and the businessman Roosevelt was the first u.s. president to call for universal health care and national health insurance as an outdoorsman he promoted the conservation movement emphasizing efficient use of natural resources after 1906 he attacked big business and suggested the courts were biased against labor unions in 1910 he broke with his friend an anointed successor William Howard Taft but lost the Republican nomination to Taft and ran in the 1912 election on his own one time bull moose ticket Roosevelt beat Taft in the popular vote and pulled so many progressives out of the Republican Party that Democrat Woodrow Wilson won in 1912 and the conservative faction took control of the Republican Party for the next two decades Roosevelt negotiated for the u.s. to take control of the Panama Canal and its construction in 1904 he felt the canals completion was his most important and historically significant international achievement he was the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize winning its Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating the peace in the russo-japanese war historian Thomas Bailey who disagreed with Roosevelt’s policies nevertheless concluded quote Roosevelt was a great personality a great activist a great preacher of the moralities a great controversy list a great showman he dominated his era as he dominated conversations the masses loved him he proved to be a great popular idol and a great vote-getter end of quote his image stands alongside Washington Jefferson and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore surveys of scholars have consistently ranked him from third to seventh on the list of greatest American presidents childhood education and personal life Theodore Roosevelt was born in a four-story brownstone at 28

East 20th Street in the modern day Gramercy section of New York City the second of four children of Theodore Roosevelt Senior born 1831 died 1877 and middie bulla born 1834 died 1884 he had an elder sister Anna nicknamed Bay me as a child and by as an adult for being always on the go and two younger siblings his brother Elliott the father of Eleanor Roosevelt and his sister Corrine grandmother of newspaper columnist s’ Joseph and Stewart Alsop the Roosevelts had been in New York since the mid 18th century and had grown with the emerging New York commerce class after the American Revolution unlike many of the earlier log-cabin presidents Roosevelt was born into a wealthy family by the 19th century the family had grown in wealth power and influence from the profits of several businesses including hardware and plate-glass importing the family was strongly Democratic in its political affiliation until the mid 1850s then joined the new Republican Party Theodore’s father known in the family as the– was in new york city philanthropist merchant and partner in the family class importing firm Roosevelt and son he was a prominent supporter of Abraham Lincoln and the Union effort during the American Civil War his mother Mitty Bullock was a southern belle from a slave owning family in Savannah Georgia and had quiet Confederate sympathies mitties brother Theodore’s uncle james Dunwoody bullock was the United States Navy officer who became a Confederate Admiral and naval procurement agent in Britain another uncle Irvine Bullock was a midshipman on the Confederate raider CSS Alabama both remained in England after the war from his grandparents home a young Roosevelt witnessed Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession in New York sickly and asthmatic as a youngster Roosevelt had to sleep propped up in bed or slouching in a chair during much of his early childhood and had frequent ailments despite his illnesses he was a hyperactive and often mischievous young man his lifelong interest in zoology was formed at age 7 upon seeing a dead seal at a local market after obtaining the seals head the young Roosevelt and two of his cousins formed what they called the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History learning the rudiments of taxidermy he filled his makeshift museum with many animals that he killed or caught studied and prepared for display at age nine he codified his observation of insects with the paper titled the natural history of insects to combat his poor physical condition his father compelled the young Roosevelt to take up exercise to deal with bullies Roosevelt started boxing lessons two trips abroad had a permanent impact family tours of Europe in 1869 in 1870 and of the Middle East 1872 to 1873 Theodora senior had a tremendous influence on his son of him Roosevelt wrote quote my father Theodore Roosevelt was the best man I ever knew he combines strength and courage with gentleness tenderness and great unselfishness he would not tolerate in as children selfishness or cruelty idleness cowardice or untruthfulness end of quote Roosevelt’s sister later wrote quote he told me frequently that he never took any serious step or made any vital decision for his country without thinking first what position his father would have taken end of quote young TD as he was nicknamed as a child the nickname teddy was from his first wife Alice Hathaway Lee and he later harbored an intense dislike for it was mostly homeschooled by tutors and his parents a leading biographer says quote the most obvious drawback to the homeschooling Roosevelt keenly received was uneven coverage of the various areas of human knowledge unquote he was solid in geography thanks to his careful observations on all his travels and very well-read in history strong in biology French and German but deficient in mathematics Latin and Greek he matriculated at Harvard College in 1876 graduating magna lada his father’s

death in 1878 was a tremendous blow but Roosevelt redoubled his activities he did well in science philosophy and rhetoric courses but fared poorly in Latin and Greek he studied biology with great interest and indeed was already an accomplished naturalist and published ornithologist he had a photographic memory and developed a lifelong habit of devouring books memorizing every detail he was an eloquent conversationalist who throughout his life sought out the company of the smartest people he could multitask in extraordinary fashion dictating letters to one secretary and memoranda to another while browsing through a new book while at Harvard Roosevelt was active in rowing boxing and the Alpha Delta Phi and Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity he also edited a student magazine he was runner-up in the Harvard boxing championship losing to CS hanks the sportsmanship Roosevelt showed in that fight was long remembered upon graduating from Harvard Roosevelt underwent a physical examination and his doctor advised him that due to serious heart problems he should find a desk job and avoid strenuous activity Roosevelt chose to embrace strenuous life instead he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna lotta 22nd of 177 from Harvard in 1880 and entered Columbia Law School when offered a chance to run for New York Assemblyman in 1881 he dropped out of law school to pursue his new goal of entering public life Roosevelt was a Republican activist during his years in the assembly writing more bills than any other New York state legislator already a major player in state politics he attended the Republican National Convention in 1884 and fought alongside the Mugwump reformers they lost to the stalwart faction that nominated James G Blaine refusing to join other Mugwumps in supporting Democrat Grover Cleveland the Democratic nominee he debated with his friend Henry Cabot Lodge the pluses and minuses of staying loyal or straying when asked by a reporter whether he would support Blaine Roosevelt replied quote that question I declined to answer it is a subject I do not care to talk about end of quote upon leaving the convention Roosevelt complained off the record to a reporter about Blaine’s nomination but in probably the most crucial moment of his young political career the young Roosevelt resisted the very instinct to bolt from the party that would overwhelm his political sense in 1912 in an account of the convention another reporter quoted Roosevelt is saying that he would give hearty support to any decent Democrat Roosevelt would later take great and to some historical critics such as Henry Pringle rather disingenuous pains to distance himself from his own earlier comment indicating that while he made it it had not been made for publication first marriage Alice Hathaway Lee born July 20 ix 1861 in Chestnut Hill Massachusetts died February 14th 1884 in Manhattan New York was the first wife of Theodore Roosevelt and mother of their only child together Alice Lee Roosevelt Alice Roosevelt died of an undiagnosed case of Bright’s disease two days after Alice Lee was born Theodore Roosevelt’s mother middie died of typhoid fever in the same house on the same day February 14th 1884 after the simultaneous deaths of his mother and wife Roosevelt left his daughter in the care of his sister in New York and moved out to Dakota Territory life in the badlands Roosevelt built a second ranch he named Elkhorn 35 miles north of the Boone town Medora North Dakota on the banks of the Little Missouri Roosevelt learned to ride rope and hunt Roosevelt built his life and began writing about frontier life for Eastern magazines as a deputy sheriff Roosevelt hunted down three outlaws who stole his riverboat and were escaping north with it up the Little Missouri River capturing them he decided against hanging them and sending his Foreman back by boat he took the thieves back overland for trial in Dickinson guarding them 40 hours without sleep and reading Tolstoy to keep himself awake when he ran out of his own books he read a dime-store western one of the thieves was carrying

while working on a tough project aimed at hunting down a group of relentless horse thieves Roosevelt came across the famous Deadwood South Dakota sheriff Seth Bullock the two would remain friends for life after the uniquely severe US winter of 1886 – 1887 wiped out his herd of cattle and a $60,000 investment together with those of his competitors he returned to the east where in 1885 he had built Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay New York it would be home and estate until his death Roosevelt ran as the Republican candidate from mayor of New York City in 1886 as the cowboy of the Dakotas he came in third second marriage following the election he went to London in 1886 and married his childhood sweetheart Edith Kermit Carroll they honeymooned in Europe and Roosevelt led a party to the summit of Mont Blanc a feat which resulted in his induction into the British Royal Society they had five children Theodore jr. Kermit Ethel Carol Archibald Bullock Archie and Quentin historian Roosevelt’s book the naval war of 1812 was standard history for two generations Roosevelt undertook extensive and original research even computing British and American man-of-war broadside throw weights by comparison however his hastily written biographies of Thomas Hart Benton 1887 and governor Morris 1888 are considered superficial his major achievement was a four-volume history of the frontier the winning of the West’s 1889 to 1896 which had a notable impact on historiography as it presented a highly original version of the frontier thesis elaborated upon in 1893 by his friend Frederick Jackson Turner Roosevelt argued that the harsh frontier conditions had created a new race the American people that replaced the quote scattered savage tribes whose life was but a few degrees less meaningless squalid and ferocious than that of the wild beasts with whom they held joint ownership end of quote he believed that quote the conquest and settlement of the whites of the Indian lands was necessary to the greatness of the and to the well-being of civilized mankind end of quote he was using an evolutionary model in which new environmental conditions allow a new species to form his many articles in upscale magazines provided a much needed income as well as cementing a reputation as a major national intellectual he was later chosen president of the American Historical Association views on race in the winning of the West 1889 to 1896 Roosevelt’s frontier thesis stressed the racial struggle between civilization and savagery he supported nortis ISM the belief in the superiority of the Nordic race along with social Darwinism and racialism excerpts one the settler and pioneer have it bottom had justice on their side this great continent could not have been kept as nothing but a game preserved for squalid savages to the most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages three American and Indian War and Zulu Cossack and tartar New Zealander and Maori in each case the victor horrible though many of its deeds are has laid deep the foundations for the future greatness of a mighty people for it is of incalculable importance that America Australia and Siberia should pass out of the hands of the red black and yellow Aboriginal owners and become the heritage of the dominant world races 5 the world would have halted had it not been for the Teutonic conquests in alien lands but the victories of Muslim / Christian have always proved a curse in the end nothing but sheer evil has come from the victories of Turk and tartar what did not however conform to the views of

Roosevelt today was that race should never be the primary factor in someone of ability performing any job some notable events in Theodore Roosevelt’s life included developing a close relationship with the hadoo Sioux Indians that is maintained today in the oral tradition of the tribe inviting reformer Booker T Washington to dinner at the White House an action which caused outrage among many newspapers in the American South which objected to mixing of the races on social occasions openly supporting a bill in the New York State Assembly which allowed desegregation of schools in the state personally noting that his children had been educated with other races and there was nothing wrong with it appointed the collector of the port of Charleston Post to an african-american dr. William D Crum and when he was urged to withdraw the appointment wrote the following I do not intend to appoint any unfit man to office so far as I legitimately can I shall always endeavor to pay regard to the wishes and feelings of the people of each locality but I cannot consent to take the position that the doorway of Hope the doorway of opportunity is to be shed upon any man no matter how worthy purely upon the grounds of race or color such an attitude would according to my contentions be fundamentally wrong defended the postmaster of Indianola Mississippi Minnie D Cox she was an african-american and on that basis alone she was threatened with mob violence and was forced to resign Roosevelt took action by closing the post office fair ignored her resignation and still paid her what she was doing happened return to public life in the 1888 presidential election Roosevelt campaigned in the Midwest for Benjamin Harrison President Harrison appointed Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission where he served until 1895 in his term he literally fought the spoils men and demanded the enforcement of civil service laws in spite of Roosevelt’s support for Harrison’s re-election bid in the presidential election of 1892 the eventual winner Grover Cleveland a bourbon Democrat reappointed him to the same post Roosevelt became president of the Board of New York City police commissioners in 1895 during the two years he held this post Roosevelt radically reformed the police department the police force was reputed as one of the most corrupt in America and why PDS history division records Roosevelt was an iron willed leader of unimpeachable honesty who brought a reforming zeal to the New York City Police Commission in 1895 Roosevelt and his fellow commissioners established new disciplinary rules created a bicycle squad to police new york’s traffic problems and standardize the use of pistols by officers Roosevelt implemented regular inspections of firearms annual physical exams appointed sixteen hundred new recruits based on their physical and mental qualifications and not on political affiliation opened the department to ethnic minorities and women established meritorious service medals and shut down corrupt police hostelries during his tenure a municipal lodging house was established by the Board of Charities and Roosevelt required officers to register with the board he also had telephones installed in station houses always an energetic man he made a habit of walking officers beats late at night and early in the morning to make sure they were on duty he became caught up in public disagreements with commissioner Parker who sought to negate or delay the promotion of many officers put forward by Roosevelt Assistant Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt had always been fascinated by naval history urged by Roosevelt’s close friend congressman Henry Cabot Lodge president William McKinley appointed a delighted Roosevelt to the post of assistant secretary of the Navy in 1897 because of the inactivity of Secretary of the Navy John DeLong at the time this basically gave Roosevelt control over the department Roosevelt was instrumental in preparing the Navy for the spanish-american war and was an enthusiastic proponent of testing the US military in battle at one point stating quote I should welcome almost any War for I think this country needs

end of quote war in Cuba upon the declaration of war in 1898 that would be known as the spanish-american war Roosevelt resigned from the Navy Department and with the aid of US Army Colonel Leonard Wood organized the first u.s. volunteer Cavalry Regiment from Cowboys from the western territories to Ivy League friends from New York the newspapers call them the Rough Riders originally Roosevelt held the rank of lieutenant colonel and served under Colonel wood but after wood was promoted to Brigadier General of volunteer forces Roosevelt was promoted to Colonel and given command of the regiment even after his return to civilian life Roosevelt preferred to be known as Colonel Roosevelt or the colonel as a moniker Teddy remained much more popular with the general public however political friends and others who work closely with Roosevelt customarily addressed him by his rank under his leadership the Rough Riders became famous for dual charges up kettle Hill and San Juan Hill on July 1st 1898 the battle was named after the latter Hill which was the shoulder of a ridge known as San Juan Heights out of all the Rough Riders Roosevelt was the only one who had a horse and used it to ride back and forth between the rifle pits at the forefront of the advance up kettle Hill in advance which he urged in absence of any orders from superiors however he was forced to walk up the last part of kettle Hill on foot due to barbed wire entanglement and after his horse little Texas became tired for his actions Roosevelt was nominated for the Medal of Honor which was subsequently disapproved it had been widely speculated this disapproval was because of Roosevelt’s outspoken comments on the handling of the war in September 1997 congressman Rick Lazio representing the second District of New York sent to award recommendations to the US Army military awards branch these recommendations dressed to brigadier-general earl sims the army’s adjudant general and one to master sergeant gary suits chief of authorizations would prove successful in garnering the much-sought-after award roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001 for his actions he was the first and as of 2007 the only President of the United States to be awarded with America’s highest military honor and the only person in history to receive both his nation’s highest honor for military valor and the world’s foremost prize for peace his oldest son Theodore Roosevelt jr. would also posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Normandy On June 6 1944 governor and vice president on leaving the army Roosevelt re-entered New York State politics and was elected governor of New York in 1898 on the Republican ticket he made such a concerted effort to root out corruption and machine politics Republican boss Thomas Collier Platt forced him on McKinley as a running mate in the 1900 election against the wishes of McKinley’s managers Senator Mark Hannah Roosevelt was a powerful campaign asset for the Republican ticket which defeated William Jennings Bryan in a landslide based on restoration of prosperity at home and a successful war and new prestige abroad Bryan stumped for free silver again but McKinley’s promise of prosperity through the gold standard high tariffs and the restoration of business confidence enlarged his margin of victory Bryan had strongly supported the war against Spain but denounced the annexation of the Philippines as imperialism that would spoil America’s innocence Roosevelt countered with many speeches that argued it was best for the Filipinos to have stability and the Americans to have a proud place in the world Roosevelt six months as vice president March 2 September 1901 were uneventful on September 2nd 1901 at the Minnesota State Fair Roosevelt first used in a public speech a saying that would later be universally associated with him speak softly and carry a big stick and you will go far presidency 1901 to 1909 at the pan-american exposition in Buffalo New York President McKinley was shot by Leon’s Olga on September 6 1901

Roosevelt had been giving a speech in Vermont when he heard of the shooting he rushed to Buffalo but after being assured the president would recover he went on a planned family camping and hiking trip to Mount Marcy in the mountains a runner notified him McKinley was on his deathbed Roosevelt pondered with his wife Edith how best to respond not wanting to show up in Buffalo and wait on McKinley’s death Roosevelt was rushed by a series of stage coaches to North creeks train station at the station Roosevelt was handed a telegram that said President McKinley died at 2:30 a.m. that morning Roosevelt continued by train from North Creek to Buffalo he arrived in Buffalo later that day accepting an invitation to stay at the home of Ansley Wilcox a prominent lawyer and friends since the early 1880s when they had both worked closely with New York State Governor Grover Cleveland on civil service reform Wilcox recalled quote the family and most of the household were in the country but Roosevelt was offered a quiet place to sleep and eat and accepted it end of quote inauguration photos were not allowed after arrival photographer unceremoniously knocked down another’s camera Roosevelt took the oath of office in the Ansley Wilcox house at Buffalo New York borrowing Wilcox’s morning coat Roosevelt did not swear on a Bible in contrast to the usual tradition of US presidents expressing the fears of many old-line Republicans Mark Hannah mented that damn cowboy is president now Roosevelt was the youngest person to assume the presidency at 42 and he promised to continue McKinley’s cabinet and his basic policies Roosevelt did so but after winning election in 1904 he moved to the political left stretching his ties to the Republican Party’s conservative leaders anthracite coal strike of 1902 a national emergency was averted in 1902 when Roosevelt found a compromise to the anthracite coal strike by the United Mine Workers of America that threatened the heating supplies of most urban homes Roosevelt called the mine owners and the labor leaders to the White House and negotiated a compromise miners were on strike for 163 days before it ended they were granted a 10 percent pay increase and a nine-hour day from the previous ten hours but the Union was not officially recognized and the price of coal went up Square Deal and regulation of Industry Theodore Roosevelt promised to continue McKinley’s program and at first he worked closely with McKinley’s men his 20,000 word addressed to the Congress in December 1901 asked Congress to curb the power of Trust’s within reasonable limits they did not act but Roosevelt did issuing 44 lawsuits against major corporations he was called the trust buster Roosevelt firmly believed quote the government must in increasing degree supervise and regulate the workings of the railways engaged in interstate commerce end of quote inaction was a danger he argued quote such increased supervision is the only alternative to an increase of the present evils on the one hand or a still more radical policy on the other end of quote his biggest success was passage of the Hepburn Act of 1906 the provisions of which were to be regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission ICC the most important provision of the Act gave the ICC the power to replace existing rates with just and reasonable maximum rates with the ICC to define what was just unreasonable anti rebate provisions were toughened free passes were outlawed and the penalties for violation were increased finally the ICC gained the power to prescribe a uniform system of accounting require standardized reports and inspect railroad accounts the Act made ICC orders binding that is the railroads had to either obey or contest the ICC orders in federal court to speed the process appeals from the district courts would go directly to the US Supreme Court in response to public clamor and due to the uproar caused by Upton Sinclair’s book the jungle

Roosevelt pushed Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 as well as the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 these laws provided for labeling of foods and drugs inspection of livestock and mandated sanitary conditions at meatpacking plants Congress replaced Roosevelt’s proposals with a version supported by the major meat packers who worried about the overseas markets and did not want small unsanitary plants undercutting their domestic market election in 1904 Theodore Roosevelt was the fifth vice president to succeed to the office of president but the first to win election in his own right Millard Fillmore ran and lost on a third-party ticket four years after leaving office and Chester Arthur was denied nomination by his party in 1884 after Senator Mark Hannah McKinley’s old campaign manager died in February 1904 there was no one in the Republican Party to oppose Roosevelt and he easily won the nomination when an effort to draft former President Grover Cleveland failed the Democrats were without a candidate and finally settled on obscure New York judge Alton B Parker the outcome was never in doubt Roosevelt crushed Parker 56% to 38% in the popular vote and 336 to 140 in the electoral college sweeping the country outside the perennial democratic solid south socialist Eugene Debs got 3% the night of the election after his victory was clear Roosevelt promised not to run again in 1908 he later regretted that promise as it compelled him to leave the White House at the age of only 50 at the height of his popularity conservationist Roosevelt was the first American president to consider the long-term needs for efficient conservation of national resources winning the support of fellow hunters and fishermen to bolster his political base Roosevelt was the last trained observer to ever see a passenger pigeon and on March 14 1903 Roosevelt created the first national bird preserve the beginning of the Wildlife Refuge System on Pelican Island Florida Roosevelt worked with the major figures of the conservation movement especially his chief advisor on the matter Gifford Pinchot Roosevelt urged Congress to establish the United States Forest Service 1905 to manage government forest lands and he appointed Gifford Pinchot to head the sir servus Roosevelt set aside more land for national parks and nature preserves than all of his predecessors combined 194 million acres in all by 1909 the Roosevelt administration had created an unprecedented 42 million acres of national forests 53 national wildlife refuges and 18 areas of special interest including the Grand Canyon the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands commemorates his conservationist philosophy in 1903 Roosevelt toured the Yosemite Valley with John Muir founder of the Sierra Club but Roosevelt believed in the more efficient use of Natural Resources by corporations like lumber companies unlike Muir in 1907 with Congress about to block him Roosevelt hurried to designate 16 million acres of new national forests in May 1908 he sponsored the conference of Governors held in the White House with a focus on the most efficient planning analysis and use of water forests and other natural resources Roosevelt explained quote there is an intimate relation between our streams and the development and conservation of all the other great permanent sources of wealth end of quote during his presidency Roosevelt promoted the nasan conservation movement in essays for outdoor life magazine to roosevelt conservation meant more and better usage and less waste and a long-term perspective Roosevelt’s conservationist leanings also impelled him to preserve national sites of scientific particularly archaeological interest the 1906 passage of the antiquities Act gave him a tool for creating national monuments by presidential proclamation without requiring congressional approval for each monument on an item-by-item basis the language of the antiquities Act specifically called for the preservation

of quote historic landmarks historic and pre historic structures and other objects of historic or scientific interest end of quote and was primarily construed by its creator congressman James F Lacey assisted by the prominent archaeologist Edgar Lee Hewitt as targeting the prehistoric ruins of the American Southwest Roosevelt however applied a typically broad interpretation to the act and the first National Monument he proclaimed Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming was preserved for reasons tied more to geology than archaeology Roosevelt conservationism caused him to forbid having a Christmas tree in the White House he was reportedly upset when he found a small tree his son had been hiding after learning about the commercial farming of Christmas trees where no virgin forests were cut down to supply the demand during the Christmas holiday he relented and allowed his family to have a tree each season