Shortly after his term of Governorship, Roosevelt began work on his Presidential campaign. Though not yet a reknowned figure, he had learned enough throughout his years in politics to obtain and hold the public's attention. Mounting a massive grassroots campaign, he won the Democratic primaries by a slim margin, surprising even the members of the New Hampshire caucus, who had predicted a landslide victory for the former Georgian senator Heronymus Quinn. A full year of bitter political warfare against Republican candidate Riley "Garver" Stevenson followed. Roosevelt's attempts to take the high road and ignore the sensationalist press were to no avail, and he finally took on "New York Times" magnate Walter Raskenjolld in an open statement that was published in a competeing paper. Raskenjolld backed off after that, and both Stevenson and Roosevelt breathed a sigh of relief. With the campaign left solely to ideology, Roosevelt won easily. Word of his optimism and inspiring rhetoric spread far and wide, and the election swayed in his favor. He had finally realized his dream, but his struggles were far from over.
"Sweeping reform" would be an understated attempt to define Roosevelt's presidency. Pouring instructions into a pliant Congress, the new President was able in his first term to pass reforms in the sales tax system, improve funding for public works, and increase the government's role in regulating several booming industries. Cartoonists of the time had a field day depicting Roosevelt as a locomotive, tearing through the country with the word "Change" embedded in his smokestack. After his reelection (a thorough routing of Wisconsin governor James Warpike), howver, he had to turn his focus from domestic matters and towards a rising war in the Mediterranean.
The Silesby pirates, a veritable fleet of thugs and mercenaries, hampered trade throughout the Northwestern African seaboard during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The Moroccan government had been searching for years for a scapegoat that would take some attention away from their failing efforts to stop the thievery that ran rampant through their own waters. They found that scapegoat the day that the U.S. military arrived in the Meditarranean. Using confused logic and paranoid reasoning, Moroccan propogandists convinced nearly all of Southern Europe that Americans had hired the pirates in order to keep the Gibraltar trade route to themselves. Once the other nations were "scared off" to a certain extent, the U.S. had supposedly begun running trade ships through under the guise of military aid to the Turks. This was false information, but it put America on the spot. The only way to stop the rumors, it seemed, would be to stop the pirates. With the permission of King Meknes, Roosevelt sent a massive fleet of war vessels to Casablanca. Hunting down and eliminating the pirates proved a difficult task, however, and repeated sightings of U.S. ships near the cities of Rabat and Tangier only fueled the rumors of underhanded American trade. Roosevelt had an immensly difficult time warding off threats from Southern European diplomats and repeated warnings from Egyptian ambassors while the Navy hunted down the last of the rebellious pirates. Sadly, these efforts drained most of his second term. On a positive note, defeating the pirates opened up U.S. trade with the Moroccans, whose phosphate and borax mines would prove invaluable during the first and second World War.
In the end, Roosevelt left a lasting imprint on the nation and on the Presidency itself. The long-lost imagery of a galvanizing President was represented in full by the fiery idealism of Roosevelt, and we owe him a great debt to this day.
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