Theodore Roosevelt, member of a prominent New York family, made his reputation as a rancher in North Dakota, a New York City police commissioner, and the leader of the "Rough Riders" in the Spanish-American War. He was elected as President McKinley's vice president in 1900. McKinley died in 1901, and Roosevelt became the youngest U.S. president. He was elected to a full term in 1904. Energetic and impatient, Roosevelt used the presidency as his "bully pulpit" to support reform. He took action against big corporations, helped protect national parks and forests, and began construction of the Panama Canal.