Roosevelt In Africa

Roosevelt in Africa


Source: Judge, February 27, 1909 Roosevelt left for East Africa as soon as William Howard Taft was inaugurated.  Roosevelt had used his power to secure his friend's nomination for President, and now, after Taft's election, Roosevelt's departure allowed the new President to work without interference from his predecessor.   TR's safari was part adventure, part scientific expedition, and partly for hunting big game.  He arrived in Africa in March, 1909, and stayed about a year.

The trip was expensive.  Roosevelt's party had about 200 men.  An American gentleman traveled in East Africa during this period with a large entourage of helpers to carry baggage, set up camp, and do all of the rest of the hard labor that a journey to the interior entailed.  Andrew Carnegie was the principal underwriter. Roosevelt also earned money while in Africa to help cover his expenses.  Before leaving, he signed a contract with Scribner's for a series of magazine articles, which were to be collected into a book.

Ever the publicity seeker, this writing kept Roosevelt in the public's attention.   Cartoonists helped in this regard, sometimes poking fun at the ex-President.

Nor were the jokes confined to cartoons.  J.P. Morgan, the most powerful investment banker on Wall Street, was reputed to have raised a glass of liquor and offered the toast, "America expects that every lion will do its duty."  Roosevelt apparently enjoyed the humor, once suggesting to a friendly supporter that he wished he had lions to set loose on his congressional opponents.


Source: McCutcheon,  Chicago Tribune


Source: Homer Davenport, New York Evening Mail

When Roosevelt left Africa in 1910, he did not return immediately to the United States.  Instead, for six weeks, he and his wife toured Europe, obtaining grand receptions in capital cities and consorting with the continent's powerful figures.  When King Edward VII of England died unexpectedly, Roosevelt attended the funeral as Taft's emissary.

When Roosevelt finally returned to the United States in the summer of 1910, he received a warm welcome in his home town, New York.


Source: Homer Davenport, New York Evening Mail For further reading, see H.W. Brands, T.R.: The Last Romantic (New York: Basic Books, 1997): 641-63 contents | sitemap | credits