It would have been hard to imagine, looking at young Teddy Roosevelt, that he would one day be Colonel Roosevelt of the Rough Riders—the hero who so courageously led the charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War. Teddy was a weak sickly child who suffered from asthma and was not strong enough to play with other boys. He was never bored, though, for he was keenly interested in nature and animals. The Roosevelt house in New York was over-run by white mice, toads, and birds as well as by the Roosevelt youngsters themselves. With the purchase of a seal's skull from a near-by fish peddler Teddy started his own museum of natural history which finally so overflowed his bedroom that he was given another room to house it.
Teddy's father, realizing that a love of nature was not enough to take Teddy through life, gave him a gym to practice in. But Teddy did not really take seriously the idea of building up his muscles and physique until two boys beat him up one summer. From then on he worked hard at his gym work until the great moment came when he won the boxing championship of John Long's Gymnasium.
This was one of the highlights in the life of Theodore Roosevelt who never again could be said to lead a timid life. When he grew up he took up the rugged life of a cattle rancher, he started the Rough Riders, our first volunteer cavalry, he was Vice President of the United States, and finally he took on the most glorious and difficult task of all—the duties of President of the United States.
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