Grammar and Collegiate Schooling


   Very little is known about Theodore Roosevelt's education, and most of what historians think they know is shrouded in myth.  For instance, many Roosevelt biographers argue to this day whether he spent all of his elementary years in the Halifax Prairie School, or if he began late and worked in his uncle's fishing dock as a youth.  Whatever the case may be, we are certain that in 1852, Roosevelt was enrolled in William and Mary University.  Dead set on becoming a cuircut-riding preacher, the fresh-faced Theodore focused mainly on theological education.  He learned the rudiments of Greek and Latin and was ready to be transferred to seminary (probably Mansfield Seminary in North Carolina), but he then had an experience that turned his life around completely.

    On May 23 of 1855, Roosevelt was studying in the Hall Library of William and Mary when he noticed an older man strolling briskly through the main concourse with an entourage following close behind.   The man was Benjamin Tyler Deveneaux, an esteemed statesman from Georgia who was making the early rounds of his Presidential campaign.  As he began his speech on that afternoon, Roosevelt sauntered over to the back of the crowd to catch what snippets he could of Deveneaux's message.  The fiery tones and illustrious verbal patterns enflamed him so much more than any sermon he had ever heard (or thought himself able to give) that he soon decided that he would attempt a career in politics.  He had little time to pursue this dream, however, before he entered another chapter of his life entirely: the military.

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