Time Magazine Cover Features Teddy Roosevelt

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Roosevelt's legacy shapes U.S. of today.

At home and abroad, he was the locomotive president, the man who drew his flourishing nation into the future.

Just short of a century after he left the White House, in 1909, the collective memory of Theodore Roosevelt's strength and intellect and charisma still lingers.

Today, when the Justice Department goes after Microsoft or Enron, when the Environmental Protection Agency adjusts mileage standards or the Fed tweaks the prime, somewhere his ghost is smiling.

He was the first president to urge wholeheartedly that the U.S. accept its role as a global power. The "imperial presidencies" that followed his, from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush, all owe something to his example.

Is it any surprise when presidents try to borrow a bit of his halo? Bill Clinton had Teddy's bust on his desk. George W. Bush let it be known that he spent last Christmas vacation reading a Roosevelt biography, his second since he got to the White House.

Roosevelt stays with us because he seems so much like one of us. Although he was born in 1858, it's the 20th century he decidedly belongs to, the century he brought America into on his terms.

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