Category Archives: The United States of America

Articles involving or set in the U.S.A.

“It Takes More Than That To Kill A Bull Moose!”

Teddy Roosevelt’s Speech Saves His Life

Teddy Roosevelt originally became president under the republican party when president William McKinley was shot on September 6th, 1901 and died 8 days later. He ran for president and won in 1904 giving Roosevelt a 2nd term. After his term was up he decided not to run again in 1908 and instead persuaded the republican party to nominate his friend, William Howard Taft for the next presidential race. Roosevelt retired in Oyster Bank, New York.  He also took that time to travel on a safari to Africa, funded by the famous steel industrialist, Andrew Carnegie to collect specimens for the Smithsonian.

Which is code for "killing elephants for their ivory".
Which is code for “killing elephants for their ivory”.

After enough animals were collected, Roosevelt decided to run again for president in 1912, which was legal considering the 22nd amendment had not yet been created, limiting the amount of times someone can be president to two terms. Before this amendment, sticking to two terms was simply a tradition started by George Washington. He failed to obtain the republican nomination. Two weeks later, he formed The Progressive Party, which became known as The Bull Moose Party when someone asked him if he was fit to run for president. He responded, “I am as fit as a bull moose.” Eventually, the party dissolved in 1916 but for the moment, the party was the backing for Teddy Roosevelt.

On October 14, 1912, Teddy Roosevelt stopped off at the Hotel Gilpatrick in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during his campaign. After dining with local dignitaries, he left to go to the Milwaukee Auditorium to deliver his speech he had planned. While getting in his car, he was shot in the right side of his chest by John Schrank, a 36 year old unemployed, Bavarian immigrant who used to be a  saloonkeeper. Roosevelt’s aides, not understanding the bad-ass-ness that is Teddy Roosevelt, advised him to go to a hospital and seek medical help. Teddy refused and instead they continued on to the auditorium where Roosevelt would deliver an hour and a half speech.

Sometimes it helps to be long-winded and have bad vision as apparent here.
Sometimes it helps to be long-winded and have bad vision as is apparent here.

Now Roosevelt was not invincible, nor was he stupid. He was simply extremely lucky to have written such a humongous speech and need glasses. Before going into Roosevelt’s chest, Schrank’s bullet first went through Teddy’s eyeglass case and then through his 50 page speech. Roosevelt correctly deducted that since he was not coughing up blood the bullet most likely did not hit any vital organs.

Of course, Roosevelt improvised a bit of his speech:

“Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. But fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet – there is where the bullet went through – and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.”

It might not have helped Taft's chances that his Vice President/Running mate (James Schoolcraft Sherman) died a week before the election.
It might not have helped Taft’s chances that his Vice President/Running mate (James Schoolcraft Sherman) died from Bright’s Disease a week before the election.

After the speech, Teddy was rushed to the hospital. An x-ray showed the bullet was lodged in his chest wall but doctors later decided not to remove it as it seemed to be doing no harm and removing the bullet could cause further damage. The bullet stayed with him the rest of his life. Both republican candidate, William Taft and democrat candidate, Woodrow Wilson halted their campaigns for the week that Roosevelt was in the hospital. In the end, Roosevelt ended up splitting the vote among republicans and democrat, Woodrow Wilson won the election. Roosevelt came in 2nd while Taft came in third, making William Taft the only incumbent president running for re-election to come in third place.

If Schrank hated that Teddy Roosevelt was running for a third term, he most certainly would've despised TR's fifth cousin, Franking Delano Roosevelt having 4 consecutive terms from 1933 to 1945 (whom by the way, is the president that sparked congress to enact the 22nd amendment in the first place).
If Schrank hated that Teddy Roosevelt was running for a third term, he most certainly would’ve despised TR’s fifth cousin, Franking Delano Roosevelt having 4 consecutive terms from 1933 to 1945 (whom by the way, is the president that sparked congress to enact the 22nd amendment in the first place).

As for the shooter, it seems John Schrank was staunchly opposed to any president running for a third term and saw Roosevelt as power hungry. Schrank believed that if Theodore Roosevelt won, he could possibly become an American Caesar and if he lost, he would say the election was rigged and the parties corrupt and it would plunge the country into another civil war.

Of course, there was also this passage found among Schrank’s writings:

“In a dream I saw President McKinley sit up in his coffin, pointing at a man in a monk’s attire in whom I recognized Theo. Roosevelt. The dead president said ‘This is my murderer, avenge my death.'”

So apparently, Schrank thought Roosevelt had President McKinley killed so Teddy, then Vice President could take his place.  Maybe he was right and TR had McKinley assassinated. Maybe Schrank wrote that letter to more easily make the insanity plea in court. Maybe Schrank really was downright crazy.

Either way, one thing is for sure. John Flammang Schrank was the enforcer of the 22nd amendment before it even existed.
Either way, one thing is for sure. Before the 22nd amendment, there was John Flammang Schrank

References

Asleep On The Run

Harriet Tubman’s Inconvenient Disorder

Anyone who knows a little about the history of African-Americans and slavery in the United States, probably knows the name, Harriet Tubman. Mrs. Tubman was born into slavery around 1821 in Maryland. After she escaped in 1849, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (a free state at the time), she would go back south 19 times, risking her own freedom, to save over 300 slaves through the “Underground Railroad”, an organized effort by both white and black abolitionists to help slaves escape to freedom.

Not only is this an accomplishment in and of itself, but what made this even more of a fantastic feat is that she did it while suffering almost her whole life from an ailment that could be quite detrimental while running from the law.  Harriet Tubman had narcolepsy…… a disorder that can affect one’s ability to stay awake.

Wikipedia had this to say on the subject, “A person with narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or fall asleep or just be very tired throughout the day, often at inappropriate times and places.”

I think running from the law would definitely fall under an "inappropriate" time or place to fall asleep.
I think running from people who want to enslave you would definitely fall under an “inappropriate” time or place to fall asleep. This is a painting by Charles T. Webber depicting the Underground Railroad.

Though never officially diagnosed with narcolepsy, she had epileptic seizures that resembled the symptoms of narcolepsy. It is said that Tubman obtained this disorder when she was 12 years old. She was at a local store to buy supplies for her master when she saw a fellow slave running away from his master. The slave-owner asked that Harriet restrain the young man. She refused to and the slave-owner threw a two pound weight at him….or at least tried. Unfortunately, his bad aim ended up hitting Harriet in the head. Since then, she would randomly have seizures and fall into a sleep that she could not be woken from.

At 28, Harriet Tubman became ill so of course, her owner, Edward Brodess tried to sell her though he was unsuccessful. No one wanted a slave who would randomly have seizures and then fall asleep, unable to do her duties, though that’s one way to get out of work, right?

“‘And so’, she said, ‘from Christmas till March I worked as I could, and I prayed through all the long nights–I groaned and prayed for ole master: “Oh Lord, convert master!” “Oh Lord, change dat man’s heart!”‘….’Den we heard dat some of us was gwine to be sole to go wid de chain-gang down to de cotton an’ rice fields, and dey said I was gwine, an’ my brudders, an’ sisters. Den I changed my prayer. Fust of March, I began to pray, “Oh Lord, if you ant nebber gwine to change dat man’s heart, kill him, Lord, an’ take him out ob de way.”‘ – Harriet Tubman

A wanted sign for the arrest of "Minty" (Harriet's birthname was Araminta which she changed most likely around the time of her marriage). Minty is described as "a chestnut color, fine looking and about 5 feet high"....."also, you may find her asleep on a bench"
A wanted sign for the arrest of “Minty” (Harriet’s birthname was Araminta which she changed most likely around the time of her marriage). Minty is described as “a chestnut color, fine looking and about 5 feet high”…..”also, you may find her asleep on a bench”

Apparently, God was paying close attention to Harriet because a week later, Edward Brodess died.

Oh, then, it ‘peared like I’d give all de world full ob gold, if I had it, to bring dat poor soul back. But I couldn’t pray for him no longer.” – Harriet Tubman

This left more of a chance that she would be sold to someone else in the wake of Mr. Brodess’s estate settlement. Tubman would worry that wherever she was going to be sold to would be a worse fate than where she currently was. Before she could be sold, she fled for freedom with her two younger brothers.

“Harriet was married at this time to a free negro, who not only did not trouble himself about her fears, but did his best to betray her, and bring her back after she escaped.” – Sarah Bradford (Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman)

Shortly after leaving, Tubman’s brothers had second thoughts and all three of them headed back, but next time Tubman left on her own where she traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From here, she would help rescue slaves for over a decade, including her parents in one of her last missions. Harriet Tubman was a woman who, after gaining her own freedom, would continue to risk this freedom (and possibly her life) close to 20 times for others. She was a woman who knew betrayal from her own husband. She was a woman who possibly killed a man through her prayers. She was also a woman, who as a 12 year old girl, stuck her neck out and refused to help a slave-owner take a young man’s freedom away….. and for this she would always have trouble staying awake.

Thankfully, she managed to stay awake for this picture, though the same can't be said for the elderly blind woman on the right. (Harriet Tubman on left pictured with other freed slaves at her home in Auburn, NY circa 1887)
Thankfully, she managed to stay awake for this picture, though the same can’t be said for the elderly blind woman on the right.
(Harriet Tubman on left pictured with other freed slaves at her home in Auburn, NY circa 1887)
References

U-S-History.com: Harriet Tubman

Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman: Electronic Edition