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Texas Matters: When Teddy Roosevelt Came To San Antonio And Changed The World

A statue of Teddy Roosevelt on horseback in San Antonio's Alamo Plaza.
David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio
A statue of Teddy Roosevelt on horseback in San Antonio's Alamo Plaza.

In downtown San Antonio, in Alamo Plaza, there is a statue of Teddy Roosevelt on horseback. A wayward tourist might be confused by seeing the 26th U.S. president presented at the historic Texas battleground. However, T.R. is here not to fight for Texas independence, but fighting for Cuba’s independence in the Spanish-American war with his band of volunteers, the Rough Riders, which were formed in San Antonio.  

Currently in this hot climate of tearing down of statues this depiction of Roosevelt is safe, for now. But there’s one in New York City in front of the Museum of Natural History that is not. It’s coming down.

Clay Risen is the author of a new book about Teddy Roosevelt that focuses on his time with the Rough Riders and the impact that experience had on his presidential policy making and the reshaping of American attitudes about military power and the United States place on the world stage.

He writes that when Teddy Roosevelt came to San Antonio and formed the Rough Riders, it set in motion a chain of events that changed the course of American foreign policy and sparked America’s love affair with military might.

The book is “The Crowded Hour – Theodore Roosevelt, The Rough Riders and the Dawn of the American Century.”

David Martin Davies can be reached at DMDavies@TPR.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi