THE PRESIDENT COULD NOT SPELL

Theodore Roosevelt was the twenty sixth President of the United States. His accomplishments many. Before, during and following his Presidency.

Roosevelt became known as the phrase maker. He was the first to call the White House “a bully pulpit.” He recognized the White House was a great stage to be heard from around the world.

Regarding trusts and corporations, his attitude was to “speak softly and carry a big stick.”

He viewed political extremists as the “lunatic fringe.”

When asked if he was going to run for President, he said “my hat’s in the ring.” A statement out of the old west. A boxer would throw his hat in the ring signifying he would take on all comers.

Roosevelt was visiting The Hermitage in Tennessee, the home of Andrew Jackson. He was given a cup of coffee. Finishing it, he exclaimed “good to the last drop.” The coffee was generally served at the Maxwell House in Nashville. Turned into a national coffee brand with a great advertising component: Maxwell House….Good to the last drop.

An author, his first work The Naval War of 1812 was acclaimed.

A war hero. Roosevelt led the charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. He later said it was “the greatest day in my life.”

He served as assistant Secretary of the Navy under President McKinley. He later was Vice President of the United States when McKinley died from an assassin’s bullets.

Roosevelt was for a time a cattle ranger in the Dakotas. He also was an African hunter and an Amazon explorer.

Trusts/corporations had become too strong by the time Roosevelt became President. He curbed their power.

He is known as the man who saved football. College football had become dangerous. By the time Roosevelt became President, more than one hundred players had died from football incurred injuries. The public called for an end to college football.

Roosevelt was a sport enthusiast. He called a meeting in Washington of those who ran college football. He told them shape up or he was going to ban football. He wanted football made a clean game.

They listened.  New rules came into being. One, the forward pass. It was thought the forward pass would lessen the power crunch in the center. The forward pass was adopted, even though many considered it a radical idea.

Roosevelt’s face adorns Mount Rushmore, together with those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts in ending the Russo-Japanese War. Some were against his receiving the award. They said Alfred Nobel was probably turning over in his grave. The reason being that Roosevelt had completed the conquest of the Philippines. Many felt his actions in that regard militaristic and imperialistic.

Roosevelt was obviously a great man. He had one short coming, however. He could not spell.

There was no word check to help him.

Roosevelt issued an Executive Order in 1906. Henceforth, all White House documents would be printed with the revised spelling of three hundred words. The words having been proposed by spelling reformers.

Roosevelt’s Order required words to be spelled as spoken. Simple. Through became tru. Dropped, dropt.

Congress went crazy. The House voted 142-24 to repeal Roosevelt’s Order. British newspapers were outraged at the mockery being made of the English language.

The London Sun responded to Roosevelt’s actions by writing an editorial containing the new spelling espoused by Roosevelt: “We ventur to  think that even Prezident Ruzvelt mite manage to get along very wel with the language that was gud enuf for Shakespeare and Milton.”

Roosevelt saw the handwriting on the wall. The whole world was against him. He backed off. The issue never to be heard again, except in historical perspective.

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