Theodore Roosevelt Jr.: Good Leaders Get Out of the Way

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, and naturalist, who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He also served as the 25th Vice President of the United States from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd Governor of New York from 1899 to 1900. As a leader of the Republican Party during this time, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore, alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

Roosevelt was born a sickly child with debilitating asthma, but he successfully overcame his physical health problems by embracing a strenuous lifestyle. He integrated his exuberant personality, vast range of interests, and world-famous achievements into a “cowboy” persona defined by robust masculinity. Home-schooled, he began a lifelong naturalist avocation before attending Harvard College. His book, The Naval War of 1812 (1882), established his reputation as both a learned historian and as a popular writer. Upon entering politics, he became the leader of the reform faction of Republicans in New York’s state legislature. Following the near-simultaneous deaths of his wife and mother, he escaped to a cattle ranch in the Dakotas. Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President William McKinley, but resigned from that post to lead the Rough Riders during the Spanish–American War. Returning a war hero, he was elected Governor of New York in 1898. After the death of Vice President Garret Hobart, the New York state party leadership convinced McKinley to accept Roosevelt as his running mate in the 1900 election, moving Roosevelt to the prestigious but powerless role of vice president. Roosevelt campaigned vigorously and the McKinley-Roosevelt ticket won a landslide victory based on a platform of peace, prosperity, and conservatism.

While Roosevelt is known for many quotes, one of his best about leadership is: “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

Roosevelt recognized that leaders don’t exist to do all the jobs themselves, nor do they exist to lord over those who they choose to complete a task. One of the best qualities in a leader is the ability to recognize the best in others and give them the opportunity to put their skills and knowledge to the task. A good leader chooses the best possible candidates and organizes them, advisers them, keeps them together as a team, and facilitates an environment in which all can be their best.

Electoral College

When we talk about leaders, the most popular one at the moment to us is our own president. Recently there was an election and then a big push by the losing team for the Electoral College votes to overturn the votes. So the Victor crew wanted to know a little more about what the Electoral College is all about. For this we turn to CGP Grey on YouTube to see how he explains it.

Here is his first video on How the Electoral College Works:

Here is the second part video called The Trouble with the Electoral College

He has an updated video of the second part that was uploaded just last month:

Here is some further reading:

Biography: Donald Trump

The Victor crew is remaining neutral on the upcoming election but wanted to do a short bio on each of the upcoming candidates.

Donald Trump was born in Queens, NY in 1946. He was the fourth of five children born to Frederick and Mary Trump. Frederick was a real estate developer and builder. Donald attended the New York Military Academy when he was 13. He graduated in 1964 and went on to Fordham University. After two years he transferred to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1968 with a degree in economics.

He worked with his father in the summers while a student in the real estate business. In 1971 he started with building projects in Manhattan when he went off on his own to Manhattan. In 1973 his business practices were called in question and there was a Fair Housing Act complaint against him. It was settled in 1975.

In 1980 he opened the Grand Hyatt. He also acquired property in Atlantic City which eventually became known as Trump Plaza. In 1982, he opened Trump Tower. There are many more holdings and hotels.

In 1999, he formed an exploratory committee to see if he wanted to seek nomination of the Reform Party for the 2000 race. When he had a poor showing in the California primary, he withdrew.

In 2004 he started the series The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice and became famous for the catch-phrase “You’re fired.”

He became the Republican candidate for president on July 19, 2016. He chose Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate for Vice President.

Ronald Reagan

#40. Ronald Reagan. When we remember his presidency, we think of prosperity. His economic policies were dubbed “Reaganomics” and spurred economic growth. Starting his presidency in 1981, he went on to a second term in 1985, which he won by a landslide.

He was born February 6, 1911. He was raised in a poor family in Northern Illinois. After graduating from Eureka College in 1932, he went on to work as a sports announcer. After he moved to Hollywood in 1937, he became an actor. He has 80 credits according to, his first credit being Love Is on the Air in 1937, and the last TV series he did was Death Valley Days in 1966. In 1940, he playyed George “The Gipper” Gipp in Knute Rockne, All American and the nickname “The Gipper” stuck throughout his career.

Reagan spent some time on active duty from 1942 to 1943. He was again ordered to temporary duty in New York City where he remained until the end of WWII. He returned to California the end of 1945. Due to his eyesight, he never was on duty outside of the United States.

In 1940, he married actress Jane Wyman. They had two children, Maureen and Christine (who only lived a day). They also adopted Michael who was born in 1945. Wyman filed for divorce in 1948. Reagan met Nancy Davis in 1949. They were married in 1952. They had two children, Patti (1952) and Ron (1958). People who knew them as a couple said they had genuine affection for each other and they never stopped courting.

Ronald Reagan started out as a Democrat but changed to the right in the 1950s and became a Republican in 1962 when he emerged as a conservative spokesman in Goldwater’s 1964 campaign. He supported Harry S. Truman and endorsed the campaigns of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

Reagan was Governor of California from 1967 to 1975. In 1976 he tried to become the Republican Party’s candidate for president against Gerald Ford. This attempt failed. In his 1980 bid against incumbent President Jimmy Carter, he stressed lower taxes to stimulate the economy, less government interference, state’s rights, and a strong national defense.

During his presidency, Reagan tried to bring back school prayer but it was once again banned by the Supreme Court. He continued to try to bring back prayer calling it a Moment of Silence. In March, 1981, there was an assassination attempt on him. He was quickly stabilized and released a couple weeks later from the hospital.

Reagan overhauled the income tax code in 1986 eliminating deductions and exempting low income earners. Overall, the years during Reagan’s presidency we saw peace and prosperity.

James Madison – The Father of Our Constitution

James Madison was the fourth President of the United States. He is historically recognized as the “Father of the Constitution.” He was born in 1751 to an aristocratic family in Port Conway, Virginia (Orange County) and was the eldest of 12 children. In 1771 he completed a four-year degree in two years while he was a student at the College of New Jersey, which is now Princeton University. Madison studied theology, history, and law, both at college and on his own. He believed that education was the best defense against tyranny. “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

Madison’s public career began in 1774 when he was appointed a member of the King George County Committee for Public Safety in Virginia at the age of 23. He spent the rest of his life in service to his nation. In 1776 he was a member of the Virginia Constitutional Committee and helped draft Virginia’s first constitution and Bill of Rights, which later became a model for the Bill of Rights amended to the U. S. Constitution. During these years he actively supported religious toleration and separation of church and state and found a life-long partner and friend in Thomas Jefferson. Madison stated, “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”

In 1779 Madison was elected to represent the state of Virginia to the Continental Congress. Here he established himself as a leader and tireless advocate for a federal structure. With his respect and influence he helped organized the Alexandria Conference and settled a commercial dispute between Virginia and Maryland over the use of the Potomac River. Madison used the success of this conference and suggested a larger conference to include all the states. The Annapolis Convention met in 1786, but only five states attended and there was much arguing and little result. He and Alexander Hamilton then launched a general call for a constitutional convention for the purpose of modifying the Articles of Confederation of 1776.

The Constitutional Convention opened on May 25th, 1787, with James Madison as its leader. In the entire proceeding only 55 men attended. Madison immediately set the tone for the convention by introducing a document that he wrote called The Virginia Plan. The Virginia Plan called for a strong central government “consisting of a supreme Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary.” It provided for two legislative houses: one elected by the people and one appointed by state legislatures. Representation was based on population. Concerned that smaller states needed protection states’ rights supporters presented an alternative based on “one state, one vote.” Benjamin Franklin was appointed to chair the Grand Committee to debate this issue and a compromise was reached. The upper house (the Senate) would be based on equal representation for each of the states and the lower house (House of Representatives) would be based on proportional representation. Throughout that summer they worked out the specifics of the Executive and the Judiciary and how the power would be balanced between the three branches.

On September 17, 1787 the US Constitution was ratified.

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Jimmy Carter – Human Rights President

The Victor crew wanted to find out more about Jimmy Carter our 39th United States President. This is what we found:

James Earl Carter, Jr. (Jimmy) was born on October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia. He was the first American President to be born in a hospital. The farm where he grew up was in the nearby community of Archery and had no electricity or indoor plumbing. His father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a peanut farmer and a businessman who owned and ran Carter’s Warehouse, a seed and farm supply store in Plains. Jimmy’s mother, Lillian Gordon Carter (Miz Lillian) was a registered nurse and set a moral example for Jimmy early on by crossing the strict lines of segregation in the 1920’s to counsel poor African American women in Georgia on health care matters. Peanut farming, talk of politics, and devotion to the Baptist faith were the mainstays of his upbringing.

Jimmy was educated in the public schools of Plains, graduating Plains High School as valedictorian of his class. He attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Jimmy was captivated by his uncle’s tales of travels to exotic lands while in the US Navy which prompted him to enroll in the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the academy in the top tenth of his class in 1946. Upon graduation he married Rosalynn Smith. They have three sons and a daughter. Also upon graduation Jimmy signed on with the US Navy as an officer under Captain Hyman Rickover in the Navy’s first experimental nuclear submarine. He served in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rose to the rank of Lieutenant. During this time Captain Rickover advanced to Admiral building America’s nuclear submarine force. He then assigned Jimmy to Schenectady, N.Y., where he took his graduate work at Union College in reactor technology and nuclear physics. Jimmy served as senior officer of the pre-commissioning crew of the Seawolf, the second nuclear submarine in the new force.

Jimmy’s father died of cancer in 1953. Jimmy and his new wife, Rosalynn, faced a difficult decision. His father’s peanut farm, and with it his mother’s livelihood, were in danger. Jimmy resigned from the Navy and he and Rosalynn returned to Georgia to save the family farm and the supply company. After a few challenging years the farm began to prosper. Jimmy became a deacon and Sunday school teacher in the Plains Baptist Church and began serving on local civic boards supervising education, the hospital authority, and the library. In 1963 he won election to the Georgia State Senate and served two terms. In the state legislature he earned a reputation as a tough, independent operator who attacked wasteful government practices. He helped repeal laws designed to discourage African Americans from voting. He stood up for civil rights and inclusion. In 1966 he ran for Governor of Georgia but was defeated by a nationally known segregationist named Lester Maddox. Jimmy ran again for Governor in 1970. This time he minimized his appearances before African American groups and even sought the endorsements of segregationist whites. Some thought he was being hypocritical with this campaign strategy. But as soon as he became Governor of Georgia in 1971 he surprised many Georgians by declaring that the era of segregation was over.

On December 12, 1974, Jimmy Carter announced his candidacy for the President of the United States. He won his party’s nomination on the first ballot at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Jimmy knew he had to market himself as a different kind of Democrat after watching George McGovern’s defeat in 1972. Jimmy was a complete unknown on the national stage but this newcomer status turned out to be an advantage in the aftermath of Nixon’s Watergate scandal. The country was ready for change and he won a narrow victory.

President Carter’s one-term presidency is remembered for the extraordinary events that occurred during his term. Inflation, the energy crisis, war in Afghanistan and the hostage crisis in Iran overwhelmed his administration. President Carter’s style of leadership was and is more religious than political. He spoke the language of religion and morality more effectively than the language of politics. He once said, “We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon.” He spoke openly and convincingly about his Christian faith and managed to do it in a way that was inclusive and tolerant.

President Carter’s ideology was a moral ideology. He knew the difference between right and wrong and always stood for right. He was elected at a time of moral crisis but the domestic problems facing the country during his Presidency were not moral, they were managerial and technical. There were no right or wrong ways to solve these problems. The country’s foreign problems were much more responsive to President Carter’s moral ideology. President Carter believed in peace, in preventing war, and in human rights. Stating, “Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood.” His biggest achievement while President was the historic 1978 Camp David Accords, where he mediated a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. This summit revitalized a long-dormant practice of presidential peacemaking. President Carter once said, “We cannot be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of the weapons of war.” Every succeeding President since President Carter has tried to emulate his diplomacy for peace and aspire to his belief that “the best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.”

In the opening sentence of his Presidential farewell address Carter said, “In a few days I will lay down my official duties in this office, to take up once more the only title in our democracy superior to that of President, the title of citizen.” In the 27 years since he took up that title he has brought honor to it. He hasn’t just talked about housing the homeless he has built houses for them with his own hands. He hasn’t just talked about comforting the afflicted he has started a program through his Carter Center that is well on its way to eradicating Guinea worm disease. He hasn’t just talked about promoting democracy he has put his reputation and his life on the line in many countries to promote free and fair elections. He hasn’t just talked about world peace he has used his moral prestige, his willingness to take risks, and his persistent patience to bring hostile parties together that has often made the difference between war and not-war. On December 10, 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2002 to Mr. Carter “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”