News & Opinion | April 26, 2018 5:00 am

Teddy Roosevelt Is Still Popular on Both Sides of the Aisle

Since his death nearly 100 years ago, the Rough Rider's legacy has been shaped in many ways.

Theodore Roosevelt
Thousands of documents pertaining to Theodore Roosevelt's life are now available to the public. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Theodore Roosevelt was the United State’s 26th president, but his legacy has lasted well past both his time in the White House and his death, which was nearly 100 years ago. Roosevelt is ubiquitous today, writes Smithsonian. 

You can see him in sports, such as Teddy Goalsevelt, the self-appointed mascot for Team USA soccer who ran for FIFA president in 2016. Or you can see him in a big-head form running around the Washington Nationals’ baseball games. Or maybe you know him from movies, like the Night at the Museum trilogy, where he was played by Robin Williams. As popular as he is in modern-day culture, he is also popular in modern-day politics. And the most surprising thing is that he remains popular on both sides of the aisle.

Vice President Mike Pence recently referred to President Donald Trump as Teddy Roosevelt, and in 2016, candidate Hillary Clinton named the Rough Rider as her political guiding star. Environmentalists like him because he is seen as the founding father of conservation and small-business owners like him because he battled corporations. But of course, there are critics: Last year, his statue in front of the Museum of Natural History in New York was covered in red paint during protests against white supremacy.

The reason Roosevelt is still so popular is no accident. After he died, two organizations worked to perpetuate his legacy, writes Smithsonian. His popularity means that people can take what they want from Roosevelt’s legacy and spin it in the way they see fit.