This Actually Happened: A Former President Nearly Died on an Amazonian Expedition to Map an Undiscovered River.

Theodore Roosevelt wanted to run for Presidential election. Agreeing previously to step aside to allow younger men to run, the former “Rough Rider” changed his mind and decided to seek a third term. Running as the candidate of the Progressive Party after losing the nomination to William Howard Taft in the Republican party, he felt empowered to lead the country toward woman’s suffrage and lower tariffs.

Before taking the stage for a campaign speech, Roosevelt was shot by William Schrenk. When asked why he shot the former president, Schrenk offered that any man who sought a third term as president ought to be shot. Roosevelt, who easily survived the attempt on his life, famously said, “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose!” Thus, the Progressive Party became the Bull Moose party.

Having divided the Republican party, Roosevelt and Taft both lost to Woodrow Wilson. Teddy was devastated. In a deep funk and seeking a new challenge and adventure for his life, the former United States President launched an expedition to map an uncharted river in the Amazon jungle.

The expedition would take men’s lives, nearly killing all of them. The president himself repeatedly ordered the men on his expedition to leave him for dead, an order they refused to obey. This story of a former president doing something so profoundly unheard of must be read by anyone who considers himself or herself a fan of history.

You can buy The River of Doubt, by Candice Millard on Amazon here:

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