The Rise and Fall of Theodore Roosevelt—and America

Col. Theodore Roosevelt on his tour through New Jersey before a convention.
Miscellaneous Items in High Demand, PPOC, Library of Congress / Public domain

The Rise and Fall of Theodore Roosevelt—and America

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday that Theodore Roosevelt would join the numerous statues falling or being taken down across the country.

The statue stands outside the American Museum of Natural History. De Blasio put out a statement yesterday saying it must go because “it explicitly depicts black and indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior.”

The museum claims it’s not against Theodore Roosevelt, just the way he’s shown in this statue. But look at the movement across our nation. They started with Civil War generals and have expanded to include just about all of America’s Founding Fathers. Roosevelt was in office long after the Civil War ended—they can’t accuse him of participating in slavery. But they’ve found a way to attack him. They’re targeting everyone God used to make this nation great!

How much do Americans understand their own history? We are called the world’s greatest superpower ever! But how did we rise to such heights? Most Americans are ignorant of how it happened. And that ignorance places us in grave danger!

The attack on our statues gives a powerful insight into the fall of the world’s greatest superpower.

President Theodore Roosevelt led our people to build the Panama Canal. He helped build up America’s navy and then sent the “Great White Fleet” around the world—proudly declaring that the United States was now a world power. He had a spirit and courage that I don’t see in most of our leaders today.

Why would he struggle against great opposition to build one of the foremost symbols of America’s power? In contrast, our recent leaders had a peculiar zeal to surrender the Panama Canal—which they gave up in December 1999. And now they seek to tear down the man who built it.

A Noble Project

The Panama Canal helped give the U.S. naval supremacy on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It also made world trade dramatically easier, saving ships a dangerous journey around South America. Edmund Morris wrote in The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt that Roosevelt “glories in the fact that America is now actually building the Panama Canal ‘after four centuries of conversation’ by other nations” (emphasis mine throughout).

“It shall be in future enough to say of any man ‘he was connected with digging the Panama Canal’ to confer the patent of nobility on that man,” Roosevelt told the workmen on the canal. “From time to time little men will come along to find fault with what you have done …. They will go down the stream like bubbles; they will vanish. But the work you have done will remain for the ages.”

Roosevelt gloried in our building of the Panama Canal! There had been talk, talk, talk about building the canal for years by other nations. Teddy Roosevelt built it! He believed there was a certain “nobility” in this mighty undertaking. The work of those laborers remains to this day as a monument of a rising superpower. America felt a strong desire to build the canal to serve the whole world.

What would Theodore Roosevelt think of our leaders today who have a passion to surrender such awesome possessions?

Today, many are ashamed to provide the leadership that a great nation should. What a dramatic change from Roosevelt’s administration! This change portends a grave danger for the U.S.

Do we understand, even slightly, why our leaders are so different today?

Mr. Roosevelt said there would be “little men” who would criticize the canal project. He would clearly label today’s leaders who surrender these national blessings and tear down statues as “little men.”

My purpose is not to play politics. But if Teddy Roosevelt was right, “little men” will lead our nation to disaster.

Our history books thunder that he was right. Great nations led by “little men” end up on the trash heap. How can we so easily push aside the deep wisdom of one of our greatest leaders?

The Rough Riders

Theodore Roosevelt demonstrated the same spirit when he led the “Rough Riders” to drive Spain from Cuba. Noel F. Busch wrote in T.R.—The Story of Theodore Roosevelt: “In 1897, just before his 39th birthday, Roosevelt was summoned to Washington again, this time as assistant secretary of the Navy. Twenty months earlier, Cuba had risen in arms against her Spanish masters, and the United States had made plain that her sympathies were on the Cuban side. Roosevelt believed that the best way to win, or to avoid, a war was to be prepared to fight one. Accordingly, he saw his task clearly: get the Navy ready for possible war with Spain ….”

Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders went to Cuba. “The order came to attack, beginning for Roosevelt what he termed ‘my crowded hour.’ Leaping astride his horse, he began pushing his men forward from the rear of the regiment, ‘the position in which the colonel should theoretically stay.’ But under his urging the rear rank moved faster than the others, closing with the ranks ahead. Brashly breaking through the line, Roosevelt found himself not only at the front of his own regiment, but jammed up against the regulars ahead who were firing on the hills from the cover of the jungle.

“‘I spoke to the captain in command,’ Roosevelt wrote, ‘saying that we could not take the hills by firing at them, we must rush them.’

“The captain hesitated; he had no such orders. Roosevelt asked for his colonel, but the man was not in sight.

“‘Then I am the ranking officer here,’ Roosevelt declared, ‘and I give the order to charge. Let my men through, sir!’

“With that, he parted the ranks and rode on, followed by the grinning Rough Riders.

“It was too much for the regulars. ‘They jumped up and came along, their officers and men mingling with mine, all delighted at the chance.’ And, as Roosevelt waved his hat and shouted orders, the troops advanced up the hill, cheering, firing, running forward in a spirited charge. …

“As he set out again, the men of the various regiments came on in a rush, charging across a wide valley toward the Spanish entrenchments. But before they reached them, the enemy ran. Not content, Roosevelt charged again, and by the end of the day the Rough Riders found themselves atop a chain of hills which looked down on Santiago. The battle was over.

“Two days later the Spanish fleet ventured out of Santiago harbor to its complete destruction, and shortly afterward the city surrendered. Roosevelt’s entire experience in battle had consisted of a week’s campaign and one hard day of fighting, but that was sufficient to change the course of the coming century. For it was this victory which first made the United States a great world power, and Roosevelt—now the beloved ‘Teddy’ of San Juan Hill—was a national hero who would soon guide the destinies of that power.”

That is how Teddy Roosevelt led America to solve the Cuban crisis, and that is the same spirit he manifested in solving the Panama problem.

That was America on the rise to becoming a superpower. Today we see America going in the opposite direction. And no amount of intellectual reasoning will change that sickening fact.

Something horrifying has happened to America.

Where do we find such a leader today? Roosevelt was a man who wanted to lead his country in battle—not avoid his country’s warfare!

What a contrast to today.

American Decline

It takes courageous leaders like Teddy Roosevelt to lead a nation to greatness! It takes that kind of leadership to deal with Cuba or Panama, or Iran or Antifa. Theodore Roosevelt once wrote, “I preach to you, then, my countrymen, that our country calls not for the life of ease, but the life of strenuous endeavor. The 20th century looms before us big with the fate of many nations.

“If we stand idly by … if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world. …

“We are face to face with our destiny, and we must meet it with a high and resolute courage. For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.”

He called upon Americans to “hazard … their lives” for their country. Politicians today fear risking any American lives—and our enemies know it! They exploit that weakness continually.

Many politicians see that what Black Lives Matter is doing is wrong. They disagree with the tearing down of statues. But they “shrink from the hard contests.” President Donald Trump is about the only person willing to stand up to them. And even he is often undermined by subordinates who refuse to support him.

Was Roosevelt a warmonger? While he was president, the U.S. didn’t have to fire one pistol. America was at peace.

Do you know why? Because the whole world knew he and America were prepared for war and had the will to fight. Today the world knows America is unwilling to risk lives in defense of freedom.

We tear down our own history. We show the world we’re unwilling to fight for what we believe in. But we still fantasize like children that we are a superpower. No real superpower acts that way!

On Dec. 31, 1999, we surrendered the Panama Canal. Now “bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world”—because of America’s weakness!

Teddy Roosevelt demonstrated the spirit that made America great. Any good history book should teach us that America has changed radically since the time of Theodore Roosevelt. If he was right, we are about to lose our superpower status—and a lot more!

America the superpower has a terminal illness and is about to die. All you need in order to understand that is a basic education in history.

If you understand Bible prophecy also, you absolutely know our days are numbered. (Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy; it will fully explain what is happening to America and Britain today.)

Look at this awesome promise from God to the birthright nations that descended from Abraham: “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies” (Genesis 22:17). The major “gate” spoken of here is the Panama Canal. This is what was prophesied to befall us in “the last days” (Genesis 49:1). God gave us these blessings, and now He is taking them away because of our sins.

These words of Moses contain great prophecies for the end time. The Prophet Daniel, whose message is for the end time, tells us so (Daniel 9:12-13; 12:4, 9).

“And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass” (Leviticus 26:19). God has “broken” the pride in our power. That is why our people are not stirred by what is happening. Something is terribly wrong with us! We are afraid to use the power God gave us. Our immediate future is very bleak unless we turn to our great God, and not to some false religion that professes to follow the Bible, but really doesn’t.

America no longer responds to world events as Theodore Roosevelt did. He had a pride in our power that our leaders—at least in the media, academia and a lot of our politics—do not have.

Our sins have made us a weak spectacle before the world.

We are too foolish to realize that a superpower can’t run and hide like a child. Several nations lust for the renown of destroying the world’s only superpower!

“And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth” (verse 36). Today we flee from a shaken leaf!

How shameful an end to such a great power.

How pathetic! Teddy Roosevelt would have bitterly scorned such weakness. One man helped greatly in building a superpower—Fear God and Take Your Own Part. Now we tear him down, as we help tear that superpower down.

We have such problems because our leaders have less and less faith in the God who gave us our birthright.

How long must God curse us before we awaken? That is the big question each one of us must answer. The decision is in our hands—nationally and individually.

If the nation won’t heed, you can do so individually, and God will protect you. But you can’t be weak like the U.S. God wants us to be strong, physically and spiritually.

The whole world is watching. Unless we repent before God, they will see our ignominious end! And so will you.

Thankfully, America’s downfall will usher in the return of Jesus Christ!