The Project Gutenberg eBook of Theodore Roosevelt

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Title: Theodore Roosevelt

Author: Henry Cabot Lodge

Release date: April 16, 2014 [eBook #45421]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Tom Cosmas. Images provided by The Internet
Archive. Cover modified from an image obtained from The
Internet Archive and placed in the Public Domain.










February ninth

Nineteen hundred and


Privately printed in Boston


There have been privately printed
by the McGrath-Sherrill Press three hundred
copies of this book of which
this is number



A tower is fallen, a star is set! Alas! Alas! for Celin.

HE words of lamentation from the old Moorish ballad, which in boyhood we used to recite, must, I think, have risen to many lips when the world was told that Theodore Roosevelt was dead. But whatever the phrase the thought was instant and everywhere. Variously expressed, you heard it in the crowds about the bulletin boards, from the man in the street and the man on the railroads, from the farmer in the fields, the women in the shops, in the factories, and in the homes. The pulpit found in his life a text for sermons. The judge on the bench, the child at school, alike paused for a moment, conscious of a loss. The cry of sorrow came from men and women of all conditions, high and low, rich and poor, from the learned and the ignorant, from the multitude who had loved and followed him, and from those who had opposed and resisted him. The newspapers pushed aside the absorbing reports of the events of these fateful days and gave pages to the man who had died. Flashed beneath the ocean and through the air went the announcement of his death, and back came a world-wide response from courts and cabinets, from press and people, in other and far-distant lands. Through it all ran a golden thread of personal feeling which [9] gleams so rarely in the somber formalism of public grief. Everywhere the people felt in their hearts that:

A power was passing from the Earth
To breathless Nature’s dark abyss.

It would seem that here was a man, a private citizen, conspicuous by no office, with no glitter of power about him, no ability to reward or punish, gone from the earthly life, who must have been unusual even among the leaders of men, and who thus demands our serious consideration.

This is a thought to be borne in mind to-day. We meet to render honor to the dead, to the great American whom we mourn. But there is something more to be done. We must remember that when History, with steady hand and calm eyes, free from the passions of the past, comes to make up the final account, she will call as her principal witnesses the contemporaries of the man or the event awaiting her verdict. Here and elsewhere the men and women who knew Theodore Roosevelt or who belong to his period will give public utterance to their emotions and to their judgments in regard to him. This will be part of the record to which the historian will turn when our living present has become the past, of which it is his duty to write. Thus is there a responsibility placed upon each one of us who will clearly realize that here, too, is a duty to posterity, whom we would fain guide to the truth as we see it, and to whose hands we commit our share in the history [10] of our beloved country—that history so much of which was made under his leadership.

We can not approach Theodore Roosevelt along the beaten paths of eulogy or satisfy ourselves with the empty civilities of commonplace funereal tributes, for he did not make his life journey over main-traveled roads, nor was he ever commonplace. Cold and pompous formalities would be unsuited to him who was devoid of affectation, who was never self-conscious, and to whom posturing to draw the public gaze seemed not only repellent but vulgar. He had that entire simplicity of manners and modes of life which is the crowning result of the highest culture and the finest nature. Like Cromwell, he would always have said: “Paint me as I am.” In that spirit, in his spirit of devotion to truth’s simplicity, I shall try to speak of him to-day in the presence of the representatives of the great Government of which he was for seven years the head.

The rise of any man from humble or still more from sordid beginnings to the heights of success always and naturally appeals strongly to the imagination. It furnishes a vivid contrast which is as much admired as it is readily understood. It still retains the wonder which such success awakened in the days of hereditary lawgivers and high privileges of birth. Birth and fortune, however, mean much less now than two centuries ago. To climb from the place of a printer’s boy to the highest rank in science, politics, and diplomacy would be far [11] easier to-day than in the eighteenth century, given a genius like Franklin to do it. Moreover the real marvel is in the soaring achievement itself, no matter what the origin of the man who comes by “the people’s unbought grace to rule his native land” and who on descending from the official pinnacle still leads and influences thousands upon thousands of his fellow men.

Theodore Roosevelt had the good fortune to be born of a well-known, long-established family, with every facility for education and with an atmosphere of patriotism and disinterested service both to country and humanity all about him. In his father he had before him an example of lofty public spirit, from which it would have been difficult to depart. But if the work of his ancestors relieved him from the hard struggle which meets an unaided man at the outset, he also lacked the spur of necessity to prick the sides of his intent, in itself no small loss. As a balance to the opportunity which was his without labor, he had not only the later difficulties which come to him to whom fate has been kind at the start; he had also spread before him the temptations inseparable from such inherited advantages as fell to his lot—temptations to a life of sports and pleasure, to lettered ease, to an amateur’s career in one of the fine arts, perhaps to a money-making business, likewise an inheritance, none of them easily to be set aside in obedience to the stern rule that the larger and more facile the opportunity the greater and more insistent the responsibility. [12] How he refused to tread the pleasant paths that opened to him on all sides and took the instant way which led over the rough road of toil and action his life discloses.

At the beginning, moreover, he had physical difficulties not lightly to be overcome. He was a delicate child, suffering acutely from attacks of asthma. He was not a strong boy, was retiring, fond of books, and with an intense but solitary devotion to natural history. As his health gradually improved he became possessed by the belief, although he perhaps did not then formulate it, that in the fields of active life a man could do that which he willed to do; and this faith was with him to the end. It became very evident when he went to Harvard. He made himself an athlete by sheer hard work. Hampered by extreme near-sightedness, he became none the less a formidable boxer and an excellent shot. He stood high in scholarship, but as he worked hard, so he played hard, and was popular in the university and beloved by his friends. For a shy and delicate boy all this meant solid achievement, as well as unusual determination and force of will. Apparently he took early to heart and carried out to fulfillment the noble lines of Clough’s Dipsychus:

In light things
Prove thou the arms thou long’st to glorify,
Nor fear to work up from the lowest ranks
Whence come great Nature’s Captains. And high deeds
Haunt not the fringy edges of the fight,
But the pell-mell of men.


When a young man comes out of college he descends suddenly from the highest place in a little world to a very obscure corner in a great one. It is something of a shock, and there is apt to be a chill in the air. Unless the young man’s life has been planned beforehand and a place provided for him by others, which is exceptional, or unless he is fortunate in a strong and dominating purpose or talent which drives him to science or art or some particular profession, he finds himself at this period pausing and wondering where he can get a grip upon the vast and confused world into which he has been plunged.

It is a trying and only too frequently a disheartening experience, this looking for a career, this effort to find employment in a huge and hurrying crowd which appears to have no use for the new-comer. Roosevelt, thus cast forth on his own resources—his father, so beloved by him, having died two years before—fell to work at once, turning to the study of the law, which he did not like, and to the completion of a history of the War of 1812 which he had begun while still in college. With few exceptions, young beginners in the difficult art of writing are either too exuberant or too dry. Roosevelt said that his book was as dry as an encyclopedia, thus erring in precisely the direction one would not have expected. The book, be it said, was by no means so dry as he thought it, and it had some other admirable qualities. It was clear and thorough, and the battles by sea and land, especially the former, [14] which involved the armaments and crews, the size and speed of the ships engaged in the famous frigate and sloop actions, of which we won eleven out of thirteen, were given with a minute accuracy never before attempted in the accounts of this war, and which made the book an authority, a position it holds to this day.

This was a good deal of sound work for a boy’s first year out of college. But it did not content Roosevelt. Inherited influences and inborn desires made him earnest and eager to render some public service. In pursuit of this aspiration he joined the Twenty-first Assembly District Republican Association of the city of New York, for by such machinery all politics were carried on in those days. It was not an association composed of his normal friends; in fact, the members were not only eminently practical persons but they were inclined to be rough in their methods. They were not dreamers, nor were they laboring under many illusions. Roosevelt went among them a complete stranger. He differed from them with entire frankness, concealed nothing, and by his strong and simple democratic ways, his intense Americanism, and the magical personal attraction which went with him to the end, made some devoted friends. One of the younger leaders, “Joe” Murray, believed in him, became especially attached to him, and so continued until death separated them. Through Murray’s efforts he was elected to the New York Assembly in 1881, and [15] thus only one year after leaving college his public career began. He was just twenty-three.

Very few men make an effective State reputation in their first year in the lower branch of the State legislature. I never happened to hear of one who made a national reputation in such a body. Roosevelt did both. When he left the assembly after three years' service he was a national figure, well known, and of real importance, and also a delegate at large from the great State of New York to the Republican national convention of 1884, where he played a leading part. Energy, ability, and the most entire courage were the secret of his extraordinary success. It was a time of flagrant corporate influence in the New York Legislature, of the “Black Horse Cavalry,” of a group of members who made money by sustaining corporation measures or by levying on corporations and capital through the familiar artifice of “strike bills.” Roosevelt attacked them all openly and aggressively and never silently or quietly. He fought for the impeachment of a judge solely because he believed the judge corrupt, which surprised some of his political associates of both parties, there being, as one practical thinker observed, “no politics in politics.” He failed to secure the impeachment, but the fight did not fail, nor did the people forget it; and despite—perhaps because of—the enemies he made, he was twice reelected. He became at the same time a distinct, well-defined figure to the American people. He had touched the popular imagination. In this way he [16] performed the unexampled feat of leaving the New York Assembly, which he had entered three years before an unknown boy, with a national reputation and with his name at least known throughout the United States. He was twenty-six years old.

When he left Chicago at the close of the national convention in June, 1884, he did not return to New York, but went West to the Bad Lands of the Little Missouri Valley, where he had purchased a ranch in the previous year. The early love of natural history which never abated had developed into a passion for hunting and for life in the open. He had begun in the wilds of Maine and then turned to the West and to a cattle ranch to gratify both tastes. The life appealed to him and he came to love it. He herded and rounded up his cattle, he worked as a cow-puncher, only rather harder than any of them, and in the intervals he hunted and shot big game. He also came in contact with men of a new type, rough, sometimes dangerous, but always vigorous and often picturesque. With them he had the same success as with the practical politicians of the Twenty-first Assembly District, although they were widely different specimens of mankind. But all alike were human at bottom and so was Roosevelt. He argued with them, rode with them, camped with them, played and joked with them, but was always master of his outfit. They respected him and also liked him, because he was at all times simple, straightforward, outspoken, and sincere. He became a popular [17] and well-known figure in that western country and was regarded as a good fellow, a “white man,” entirely fearless, thoroughly good-natured and kind, never quarrelsome, and never safe to trifle with, bully, or threaten. The life and experiences of that time found their way into a book, The Hunting Trips of a Ranchman, interesting in description and adventure and also showing a marked literary quality.

In 1886 he ran as Republican candidate for mayor of New York and might have been elected had his own party stood by him. But many excellent men of Republican faith—the “timid good,” as he called them—panic-stricken by the formidable candidacy of Henry George, flocked to the support of Mr. Abram Hewitt, the Democratic candidate, as the man most certain to defeat the menacing champion of single taxation. Roosevelt was beaten, but his campaign, which was entirely his own and the precursor of many others, his speeches with their striking quality then visible to the country for the first time, all combined to fix the attention of the people upon the losing candidate. Roosevelt was the one of the candidates who was most interesting, and again he had touched the imagination of the people and cut a little deeper into the popular consciousness and memory.

Two years more of private life, devoted to his home, where his greatest happiness was always found, to his ranch, to reading and writing books, and then came an active part in the campaign of [18] 1888, resulting in the election of President Harrison, who made him civil-service commissioner in the spring of 1889. He was in his thirty-first year. Civil-service reform as a practical question was then in its initial stages. The law establishing it, limited in extent and forced through by a few leaders of both parties in the Senate, was only six years old. The promoters of the reform, strong in quality, but weak in numbers, had compelled a reluctant acceptance of the law by exercising a balance-of-power vote in certain States and districts. It had few earnest supporters in Congress, some lukewarm friends, and many strong opponents. All the active politicians were practically against it. Mr. Conkling had said that when Dr. Johnson told Boswell “that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel” he was ignorant of the possibilities of the word “reform,” and this witticism met with a large response.

Civil-service reform, meaning the establishment of a classified service and the removal of routine administrative offices from politics, had not reached the masses of the people at all. The average voter knew and cared nothing about it. When six years later Roosevelt resigned from the commission the great body of the people knew well what civil-service reform meant, large bodies of voters cared a great deal about it, and it was established and spreading its control. We have had many excellent men who have done good work in the Civil Service Commission, although that work is neither adventurous [19] nor exciting and rarely attracts public attention, but no one has ever forgotten that Theodore Roosevelt was once civil-service commissioner.

He found the law struggling for existence, laughed at, sneered at, surrounded by enemies in Congress, and with but few fighting friends. He threw himself into the fray. Congress investigated the commission about once a year, which was exactly what Roosevelt desired. Annually, too, the opponents of the reform would try to defeat the appropriation for the commission, and this again was playing into Roosevelt’s hands, for it led to debates, and the newspapers as a rule sustained the reform. Senator Gorman mourned in the Senate over the cruel fate of a “bright young man” who was unable to tell on examination the distance of Baltimore from China, and thus was deprived of his inalienable right to serve his country in the post office. Roosevelt proved that no such question had ever been asked and requested the name of the “bright young man.” The name was not forthcoming, and the victim of a question never asked goes down nameless to posterity in the Congressional Record as merely a “bright young man.” Then General Grosvenor, a leading Republican of the House, denounced the commissioner for crediting his district with an appointee named Rufus Putnam who was not a resident of the district, and Roosevelt produced a letter from the general recommending Rufus Putnam as a resident of his district and a constituent. All this was unusual. Hitherto it had [20] been a safe amusement to ridicule and jeer at civil-service reform, and here was a commissioner who dared to reply vigorously to attacks, and even to prove Senators and Congressmen to be wrong in their facts. The amusement of baiting the Civil Service Commission seemed to be less inviting than before, and, worse still, the entertaining features seemed to have passed to the public, who enjoyed and approved the commissioner who disregarded etiquette and fought hard for the law he was appointed to enforce. The law suddenly took on new meaning and became clearly visible in the public mind, a great service to the cause of good government.

After six years' service in the Civil Service Commission Roosevelt left Washington to accept the position of president of the Board of Police Commissioners of the city of New York, which had been offered to him by Mayor Strong. It is speaking within bounds to say that the history of the police force of New York has been a checkered one in which the black squares have tended to predominate. The task which Roosevelt confronted was then, as always, difficult, and the machinery of four commissioners and a practically irremovable chief made action extremely slow and uncertain. Roosevelt set himself to expel politics and favoritism in appointments and promotions and to crush corruption everywhere. In some way he drove through the obstacles and effected great improvements, although permanent betterment was perhaps impossible. [21] Good men were appointed and meritorious men promoted as never before, while the corrupt and dangerous officers were punished in a number of instances sufficient, at least, to check and discourage evildoers. Discipline was improved, and the force became very loyal to the chief commissioner, because they learned to realize that he was fighting for right and justice without fear or favor. The results were also shown in the marked decrease of crime, which judges pointed out from the bench. Then, too, it was to be observed that a New York police commissioner suddenly attracted the attention of the country. The work which was being done by Roosevelt in New York, his midnight walks through the worst quarters of the great city, to see whether the guardians of the peace did their duty, which made the newspapers compare him to Haroun Al Raschid, all appealed to the popular imagination. A purely local office became national in his hands, and his picture appeared in the shops of European cities. There was something more than vigor and picturesqueness necessary to explain these phenomena. The truth is that Roosevelt was really laboring through a welter of details to carry out certain general principles which went to the very roots of society and government. He wished the municipal administration to be something far greater than a business man’s administration, which was the demand that had triumphed at the polls. He wanted to make it an administration of the workingmen, of the dwellers in the tenements, [22] of the poverty and suffering which haunted the back streets and hidden purlieus of the huge city. The people did not formulate these purposes as they watched what he was doing, but they felt them and understood them by that instinct which is often so keen in vast bodies of men. The man who was toiling in the seeming obscurity of the New York police commission again became very distinct to his fellow countrymen and deepened their consciousness of his existence and their comprehension of his purposes and aspirations.

Striking as was the effect of this police work, it only lasted for two years. In 1897 he was offered by President McKinley, whom he had energetically supported in the preceding campaign, the position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He accepted at once, for the place and the work both appealed to him most strongly. The opportunity did not come without resistance. The President, an old friend, liked him and believed in him, but the Secretary of the Navy had doubts, and also fears that Roosevelt might be a disturbing and restless assistant. There were many politicians, too, especially in his own State, whom his activities as civil-service and police commissioner did not delight, and these men opposed him. But his friends were powerful and devoted, and the President appointed him.

His new place had to him a peculiar attraction. He loved the Navy. He had written its brilliant history in the War of 1812. He had done all in his power in stimulating public opinion to support the [23] “new Navy” we were just then beginning to build. That war was coming with Spain he had no doubt. We were unprepared, of course, even for such a war as this, but Roosevelt set himself to do what could be done. The best and most farseeing officers rallied round him, but the opportunities were limited. There was much in detail accomplished which can not be described here, but two acts of his which had very distinct effect upon the fortunes of the war must be noted. He saw very plainly—although most people never perceived it at all—that the Philippines would be a vital point in any war with Spain. For this reason it was highly important to have the right man in command of the Asiatic Squadron. Roosevelt was satisfied that Dewey was the right man, and that his rival was not. He set to work to secure the place for Dewey. Through the aid of the Senators from Dewey’s native State and others, he succeeded. Dewey was ordered to the Asiatic Squadron. Our relations with Spain grew worse and worse. On February 25, 1898, war was drawing very near, and that Saturday after-noon Roosevelt happened to be Acting Secretary, and sent out the following cablegram:


Order the squadron, except the Monocacy, to Hongkong. Keep full of coal. In the event of declaration of war, Spain, your duty will be to see that the Spanish Squadron does not leave the Asiatic coast, and then offensive operations in the Philippine Islands. Keep Olympia until further orders.



I believe he was never again permitted to be Acting Secretary. But the deed was done. The wise word of readiness had been spoken and was not recalled. War came, and as April closed, Dewey, all prepared, slipped out of Hongkong and on May 1st fought the battle of Manila Bay.

Roosevelt, however, did not continue long in the Navy Department. Many of his friends felt that he was doing such admirable work there that he ought to remain, but as soon as war was declared he determined to go, and his resolution was not to be shaken. Nothing could prevent his fighting for his country when the country was at war. Congress had authorized three volunteer regiments of Cavalry, and the President and the Secretary of War gave to Leonard Wood—then a surgeon in the Regular Army—as colonel, and to Theodore Roosevelt, as lieutenant colonel, authority to raise one of these regiments, known officially as the First United States Volunteer Cavalry, and to all the country as the “Rough Riders.” The regiment was raised chiefly in the Southwest and West, where Roosevelt’s popularity and reputation among the cowboys and the ranchmen brought many eager recruits to serve with him. After the regiment had been organized and equipped they had some difficulty in getting to Cuba, but Roosevelt as usual broke through all obstacles, and finally succeeded, with Colonel Wood, in getting away with two battalions, leaving one battalion and the horses behind.

The regiment got into action immediately on [25] landing and forced its way, after some sharp fighting in the jungle, to the high ground on which were placed the fortifications which defended the approach to Santiago. Colonel Wood was almost immediately given command of a brigade, and this left Roosevelt colonel of the regiment. In the battle which ensued and which resulted in the capture of the positions commanding Santiago and the bay, the Rough Riders took a leading part, storming one of the San Juan heights, which they christened Kettle Hill, with Roosevelt leading the men in person. It was a dashing, gallant assault, well led and thoroughly successful. Santiago fell after the defeat of the fleet, and then followed a period of sickness and suffering—the latter due to unreadiness—where Roosevelt did everything with his usual driving energy to save his men, whose loyalty to their colonel went with them through life. The war was soon over, but brief as it had been Roosevelt and his men had highly distinguished themselves, and he stood out in the popular imagination as one of the conspicuous figures of the conflict. He brought his regiment back to the United States, where they were mustered out, and almost immediately afterwards he was nominated by the Republicans as their candidate for governor of the State of New York. The situation in New York was unfavorable for the Republicans, and the younger men told Senator Platt, who dominated the organization and who had no desire for Roosevelt, that unless he was nominated they could not win. Thus [26] forced, the organization accepted him, and it was well for the party that they did so. The campaign was a sharp one and very doubtful, but Roosevelt was elected by a narrow margin and assumed office at the beginning of the new year of 1899. He was then in his forty-first year.

Many problems faced him and none were evaded. He was well aware that the “organization” under Senator Platt would not like many things he was sure to do, but he determined that he would have neither personal quarrels nor faction fights. He knew, being blessed with strong common sense, that the Republican Party, his own party, was the instrument by which alone he could attain his ends, and he did not intend that it should be blunted and made useless by internal strife. And yet he meant to have his own way. It was a difficult role which he undertook to play, but he succeeded. He had many differences with the organization managers, but he declined to lose his temper or to have a break, and he also refused to yield when he felt he was standing for the right and a principle was at stake. Thus he prevailed. He won on the canal question, changed the insurance commissioner, and carried the insurance legislation he desired. As in these cases, so it was in lesser things. In the police commission he had been strongly impressed by the dangers as he saw them of the undue and often sinister influence of business, finance, and great money interests upon government and politics. These feelings were deepened and broadened by [27] his experience and observation on the larger stage of State administration. The belief that political equality must be strengthened and sustained by industrial equality and a larger economic opportunity was constantly in his thoughts until it became a governing and guiding principle.

Meantime he grew steadily stronger among the people, not only of his own State but of the country, for he was well known throughout the West, and there they were watching eagerly to see how the ranchman and colonel of Rough Riders, who had touched both their hearts and their imagination, was faring as governor of New York. The office he held is always regarded as related to the Presidency, and this, joined to his striking success as governor, brought him into the presidential field wherever men speculated about the political future It was universally agreed that McKinley was to be renominated, and so the talk turned to making Roosevelt Vice President. A friend wrote to him in the summer of 1899 as to this drift of opinion, then assuming serious proportions. “Do not attempt,” he said, “to thwart the popular desire. You are not a man nor are your close friends men who can plan, arrange, and manage you into office. You must accept the popular wish, whatever it is, follow your star, and let the future care for itself. It is the tradition of our politics, and a very poor tradition, that the Vice Presidency is a shelf. It ought to be, and there is no reason why it should not be, a stepping-stone. Put there by the popular desire, it [28] would be so to you.” This view, quite naturally, did not commend itself to Governor Roosevelt at the moment. He was doing valuable work in New York; he was deeply engaged in important reforms which he had much at heart and which he wished to carry through; and the Vice Presidency did not attract him. A year later he was at Philadelphia, a delegate at large from his State, with his mind unchanged as to the Vice Presidency, while his New York friends, anxious to have him continue his work at Albany, were urging him to refuse. Senator Platt, for obvious reasons, wished to make him Vice President, another obstacle to his taking it. Roosevelt forced the New York delegation to agree on some one else for Vice President, but he could not hold the convention, nor could Senator Hanna, who wisely accepted the situation. Governor Roosevelt was nominated on the first ballot, all other candidates withdrawing. He accepted the nomination little as he liked it.

Thus when it came to the point he instinctively followed his star and grasped the unvacillating hand of destiny. Little did he think that destiny would lead him to the White House through a tragedy which cut him to the heart. He was on a mountain in the Adirondacks when a guide made his way to him across the forest with a telegram telling him that McKinley, the wise, the kind, the gentle, with nothing in his heart but good will to all men, was dying from a wound inflicted by an anarchist murderer, and that the Vice President [29] must come to Buffalo at once. A rapid night drive through the woods and a special train brought him to Buffalo. McKinley was dead before he arrived, and that evening Governor Roosevelt was sworn in as President of the United States.

Within the narrow limits of an address it is impossible to give an account of an administration of seven years which will occupy hundreds of pages when the history of the United States during that period is written. It was a memorable administration, memorable in itself and not by the accident of events, and large in its accomplishment It began with a surprise. There were persons in the United States who had carefully cultivated and many people who had accepted without thought, the idea that Roosevelt was in some way a dangerous man. They gloomily predicted that there would be a violent change in the policies and in the officers of the McKinley administration. But Roosevelt had not studied the history of his country in vain. He knew that in three of the four cases where Vice Presidents had succeeded to the Presidency through the death of the elected President their coming had resulted in a violent shifting of policies and men, and, as a consequence, in most injurious dissensions, which in two cases at least proved fatal to the party in power. In all four instances the final obliteration of the Vice President who had come into power through the death of his chief was complete. President Roosevelt did not intend to permit any of these results. As soon as he came [30] into office he announced that he intended to retain President McKinley’s Cabinet and to carry out his policies, which had been sustained at the polls. To those overzealous friends who suggested that he could not trust the appointees of President McKinley and that he would be but a pallid imitation of his predecessor he replied that he thought, in any event, the administration would be his, and that if new occasions required new policies he felt that he could meet them, and that no one would suspect him of being a pallid imitation of anybody. His decision, however, gratified and satisfied the country and it was not apparent that Roosevelt was hampered in any way in carrying out his own policies by this wise refusal to make sudden and violent changes.

Those who were alarmed about what he might do had also suggested that with his combative propensities he was likely to involve the country in war. Yet there never has been an administration, as afterwards appeared, when we were more perfectly at peace with all the world, nor were our foreign relations ever in danger of producing hostilities. But this was not due in the least to the adoption of a timid or yielding foreign policy; on the contrary, it was owing to the firmness of the President in all foreign questions and the knowledge which other nations soon acquired that President Roosevelt was a man who never threatened unless he meant to carry out his threat, the result being that he was not obliged to threaten at all. One of his earliest successes [31] was forcing the settlement of the Alaskan boundary question, which was the single open question with Great Britain that was really dangerous and contained within itself possibilities of war. The accomplishment of this settlement was followed later, while Mr. Root was Secretary of State, by the arrangement of all our outstanding difference with Canada, and during Mr. Root’s tenure of office over thirty treaties were made with different nations, including a number of practical and valuable treaties of arbitration. When Germany started to take advantage of the difficulties in Venezuela the affair culminated in the dispatch of Dewey and the fleet to the Caribbean, the withdrawal of England at once, and the agreement of Germany to the reference of all subjects of different to arbitration. It was President Roosevelt whose good offices brought Russia and Japan together in a negotiation which closed the war between those two powers. It was Roosevelt’s influence which contributed powerfully to settling the threatening controversy between Germany, France, and England in regard to Morocco, by the Algeciras conference. It was Roosevelt who sent the American fleet of battleships round the world, one of the most convincing peace movements ever made on behalf of the United States. Thus it came about that this President, dreaded at the beginning on account of his combative spirit, received the Nobel prize in 1906 as the person who had contribute most to the peace of the world in the preceding [32] years, and his contribution was the result of strength and knowledge and not of weakness.

At home he recommended to Congress legislation which was directed toward a larger control of the railroads and to removing the privileges and curbing the power of great business combinations obtained through rebates and preferential freight rates. This legislation led to opposition in Congress and to much resistance by those affected. As we look back, this legislation, so much contested at the time, seems very moderate, but it was none the less momentous. President Roosevelt never believed in Government ownership, but he was thoroughly in favor of strong and effective Government supervision and regulation of what are now known generally as public utilities. He had a deep conviction that the political influence of financial and business interests and of great combinations of capital had become so great that the American people were beginning to distrust their own Government, than which there could be no greater peril to the Republic. By his measures, and by his general attitude toward capital and labor both, he sought to restore and maintain the confidence of the people in the Government they had themselves created.

In the Panama Canal he left the most enduring, as it was the most visible, monument of his administration Much criticized at the moment for his action in regard to it, which time since then has justified and which history will praise, the great fact remains that the canal is there. He said him-self [33] that he made up his mind that it was his duty to establish the canal and have the debate about it afterwards, which seemed to him better than to begin with indefinite debate and have no canal at all. This is a view which posterity both at home and abroad will accept and approve.

These, passing over as we must in silence many other beneficent acts, are only a few of the most salient features of his administration, stripped of all detail and all enlargement. Despite the conflict which some of his domestic policies had produce not only with his political opponents but within the Republican ranks, he was overwhelmingly reelected in 1904, and when the seven years had closed the country gave a like majority to his chosen successor, taken from his own Cabinet. On the 4th of March, 1909, he returned to private life at the age of fifty, having been the youngest President known to our history.

During the brief vacations which he had been able to secure in the midst of the intense activities of his public life after the Spanish War he had turned for enjoyment to expeditions in pursuit of big game in the wildest and most unsettled regions of the country. Open-air life and all its accompaniment of riding and hunting were to him the one thing that brought him the most rest and relaxation. Now, having left the Presidency, he was able to give full scope to the love of adventure, which had been strong with him from boyhood. Soon after his retirement from office he went to Africa, accompanied [34] by a scientific expedition sent out by the Smithsonian Institution. He landed in East Africa, made his way into the interior, and thence to the sources of the Nile, after a trip in every way successful both in exploration and in pursuit of big game. He then came down the Nile through Egypt and thence to Europe, and no private citizen of the United States—probably no private man of any country—was ever received in a manner comparable to that which met Roosevelt in every country in Europe which he visited. Everywhere it was the same—in Italy, in Germany, in France, in England Every honor was paid to him that authority could devise, accompanied by every mark of affection and admiration which the people of those countries were able to show. He made few speeches while in Europe, but in those few he did not fail to give to the questions and thought of the time real and genuine contributions, set forth in plain language always vigorous and often eloquent. He returned in the summer of 1910 to the United States and was greeted with a reception on his landing in New York quite equaling in interest and enthusiasm that which had been given to him in Europe.

For two years afterwards he devoted himself to writing, not only articles as contributing editor of the Outlook, but books of his own, and addresses and speeches which he was constantly called upon to make. No man in private life probably ever had such an audience as he addressed, whether with tongue or pen, upon the questions of the day, with [35] a constant refrain as to the qualities necessary to make men both good citizens and good Americans. In the spring of 1912 he decided to become a candidate for the Republican nomination for the residency and a very heated struggle followed between himself and President Taft for delegations to the convention. The convention when it assembled in Chicago was the stormiest ever known in our history President Taft was renominated, most of the Roosevelt delegates refusing to vote, and a large body of Republicans thereupon formed a new party called the “Progressive” and nominated Mr. Roosevelt as their candidate. This division into two nearly equal parts of the Republican Party, which had elected Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Taft in succession by the largest majorities ever known, made the victory of the Democratic candidate absolutely certain. Colonel Roosevelt, however, stood second in the poll, receiving 4,119,507 votes, carrying six States and winning eighty-eight electoral votes. There never has been in political history, when all conditions are considered, such an exhibition of extraordinary personal strength. To have secured eighty-eight electoral votes when his own party was hopelessly divided, with no great historic party name and tradition behind him, with an organization which had to be hastily brought together in a few weeks, seems almost incredible, and in all his career there is no display of the strength of his hold upon the people equal to this.

In the following year he yielded again to the [36] longing for adventure and exploration. Going to South America, he made his way up through Paraguay and western Brazil, and then across a trackless wilderness of jungle and down an unknown river into the Valley of the Amazon. It was a remarkable expedition and carried him through what is probably the most deadly climate in the world. He suffered severely from the fever, the poison of which never left him and which finally shortened his life.

In the next year the great war began, and Colonel Roosevelt threw himself into it with all the energy of his nature. With Major Gardner he led the great fight for preparedness in a country utterly unprepared He saw very plainly that in all human probability it would be impossible for us to keep out of the war. Therefore in season and out of season he demanded that we should make ready. He and Major Gardner, with the others who joined them, roused a widespread and powerful sentiment in the country, but there was no practical effect on the Army. The Navy was the single place where anything was really done, and that only in the bill of 1916, so that war finally came upon us as unread as Roosevelt had feared we should be. Yet the campaign he made was not in vain, for in addition to the question of preparation he spoke earnestly of other things, other burning questions, and he always spoke to an enormous body of listeners everywhere. He would have had us protest and take action at the very beginning, in 1914, when [37] Belgium was invaded. He would have had us go to war when the murders of the Lusitania were perpetrated He tried to stir the soul and rouse the spirit of the American people, and despite every obstacle he did awaken them, so that when the hour came, in April, 1917, a large proportion of the American people were even then ready in spirit and in hope. How telling his work had been was proved by the confession of his country’s enemies, for when he died the only discordant note, the only harsh words, came from the German press. Germany knew whose voice it was that more powerfully than any other had called Americans to the battle in behalf of freedom and civilization, where the advent of the armies of the United States gave victory to the cause of justice and righteousness.

When the United States went to war Colonel Roosevelt’s one desire was to be allowed to go to the fighting line. There if fate had laid its hand upon him it would have found him glad to fall in the trenches or in a charge at the head of his men, but it was not permitted to him to go, and thus he was denied the reward which he would have ranked above all others, “the great prize of death in battle.” But he was a patriot in every fiber of his being, and personal disappointment in no manner slackened or cooled his zeal. Everything that he could do to forward the war, to quicken preparation to stimulate patriotism, to urge on efficient action, was done. Day and night, in season and out of season, he never ceased his labors. Although [38] prevented from going to France himself, he gave to the great conflict that which was far dearer to him than his own life. I can not say that he sent his four sons, because they all went at once, as everyone knew that their father’s sons would go. Two have been badly wounded; one was killed. He met the blow with the most splendid and unflinching courage, met it as Siward, the Earl of Northumberland receives in the play the news of his son’s death:

Siw. Had he his hurts before?
Ross. Ay, on the front.
Siw. Why, then, God’s soldier be he!
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so his knell is knoll’d.

Among the great tragedies of Shakespeare, and there are none greater in all the literature of man, Macbeth was Colonel Roosevelt’s favorite, and the moving words which I have just quoted I am sure were in his heart and on his lips when he faced with stern resolve and self-control the anguish brought to him by the death of his youngest boy, killed in the glory of a brave and brilliant youth.

He lived to see the right prevail; he lived to see civilization triumph over organized barbarism; and there was great joy in his heart. In all his last days the thoughts which filled his mind were to secure a peace which should render Germany forever harmless and advance the cause of ordered freedom in every land and among every race. This [39] occupied him to the exclusion of everything else, except what he called and what we like to call Americanism. There was no hour down to the end when he would not turn aside from everything else to preach the doctrine of Americanism, of the principles and the faith upon which American government rested, and which all true Americans should wear in their heart of hearts. He was a great patriot, a great man; above all, a great American. His country was the ruling, mastering passion of his life from the beginning even unto the end.

So closes the inadequate, most incomplete account of a life full of work done and crowded with achievement, brief in years and prematurely ended. The recitation of the offices which he held and of some of the deeds that he did is but a bare, imperfect catalogue into which history when we are gone will breathe a lasting life. Here to-day it is only a background, and that which most concern us now is what the man was of whose deeds done it is possible to make such a list. What a man was is ever more important than what he did, because it is upon what he was that all his achievement depends and his value and meaning to his fellow men must finally rest.

Theodore Roosevelt always believed that character was of greater worth and moment than anything else. He possessed abilities of the first order, which he was disposed to underrate, because he set so much greater store upon the moral qualities [40] which we bring together under the single word “character.”

Let me speak first of his abilities. He had a powerful, well-trained, ever-active mind. He thought clearly, independently, and with originality and imagination. These priceless gifts were sustained by an extraordinary power of acquisition joined to a greater quickness of apprehension, a greater swiftness in seizing upon the essence of a question, than I have ever happened to see in any other man. His reading began with natural history, then went to general history, and thence to the whole field of literature. He had a capacity for concentration which enabled him to read with remarkable rapidity anything which he took up, if only for a moment, and which separated him for the time being from everything going on about him. The subjects upon which he was well and widely informed would, if enumerated, fill a large space, and to this power of acquisition was united not only a tenacious but an extraordinarily accurate memory. It was never safe to contest with him on any question of fact or figures, whether they relate to the ancient Assyrians or to the present-day conditions of the tribes of central Africa, to the Syracusan Expedition, as told by Thucydides, or to protective coloring in birds and animals. He knew and held details always at command, but he was not mastered by them. He never failed to see the forest on account of the trees, or the city on account of the houses.


He made himself a writer, not only of occasional addresses and essays, but of books. He had the trained thoroughness of the historian, as he showed in his history of the War of 1812 and of the Winning of the West, and nature had endowed him with that most enviable of gifts, the faculty of narrative and the art of the teller of tales. He knew how to weigh evidence in the historical scales and how to depict character. He learned to write with great ease and fluency. He was always vigorous, always energetic, always clear and forcible in everything he wrote—nobody could ever misunderstand him—and when he allowed himself time and his feelings were deeply engaged he gave to the world many pages of beauty as well as power, not only in thought but in form and style. At the same time he made himself a public speaker, and here again, through a practice probably unequaled in amount, he became one of the most effective in all our history. In speaking, as in writing, he was always full of force and energy; he drove home his arguments and never was misunderstood. In many of his more carefully prepared addresses are to be found passages of impressive eloquence, touched with imagination and instinct with grace and feeling.

He had a large capacity for administration, clearness of vision, promptness in decision, and a thorough apprehension of what constituted efficient organization. All the vast and varied work which he accomplished could not have been done unless [42] he had had most exceptional natural abilities, but behind them, most important of all, was the driving force of an intense energy and the ever-present belief that a man could do what he willed to do. As he made himself an athlete, a horseman, a good shot, a bold explorer, so he made himself an exceptionally successful writer and speaker. Only a most abnormal energy would have enabled him to enter and conquer in so many fields of intellectual achievement. But something more than energy and determination is needed for the largest success especially in the world’s high places. The first requisite of leadership is ability to lead, and that ability Theodore Roosevelt possessed in full measure. Whether in a game or in the hunting field, in a fight or in politics, he sought the front, where, as Webster once remarked, there is always plenty of room for those who can get there. His instinct was always to say “come” rather than “go,” and he had the talent of command.

His also was the rare gift of arresting attention sharply and suddenly, a very precious attribute, and one easier to illustrate than to describe. This arresting power is like a common experience, which we have all had on entering a picture gallery, of seeing at once and before all others a single picture among the many on the walls. For a moment you see nothing else, although you may be surrounded with masterpieces. In that particular picture lurks a strange, capturing, gripping fascination as impalpable as it is unmistakable. Roosevelt had this [43] same arresting, fascinating quality. Whether in the legislature at Albany, the Civil Service omission at Washington, or the police commission in New York, whether in the Spanish War or on the plains among the cowboys, he was always vivid, at times startling, never to be overlooked. Nor did this power stop here. He not only without effort or intention drew the eager attention of the people to himself, he could also engage and fix their thoughts upon anything which happened to interest him. It might be a man or a book, reformed spelling or some large historical question, his traveling library or the military preparation of the United States, he had but to say, “See how interesting, how important, is this man or this event!” and thousands, even millions, of people would reply, “We never thought of this before, but it certainly is one of the most interesting, most absorbing things in the world.” He touched a subject and it suddenly began to glow as when the high-power electric current touches the metal and the white light starts forth and dazzles the onlooking eyes. We know the air played by the Pied Piper of Hamlin no better than we know why Theodore Roosevelt thus drew the interest of men after him. We only know they followed wherever his insatiable activity of mind invited them.

Men follow also most readily a leader who is always there before them, clearly visible and just where they expect him. They are especially eager to go forward with a man who never sounds a retreat. [44] Roosevelt was always advancing, always struggling to make things better, to carry some much-needed reform, and help humanity to a larger chance, to a fairer condition, to a happier life. Moreover, he looked always for an ethical question. He was at his best when he was fighting me battle of right against wrong. He thought soundly and wisely upon questions of expediency or of political economy, but they did not rouse him or bring him the absorbed interest of the eternal conflict between good and evil. Yet he was never impractical, never blinded by counsels of perfection, never seeking to make the better the enemy of the good. He wished to get the best, but he would strive for all that was possible even if it fell short of the highest at which he aimed. He studied the lessons of history, and did not think the past bad simply because it was the past, or the new good solely because it was new. He sought to try all questions on their intrinsic merits, and that was why he succeeded in advancing, in making government and society better, where others, who would be content with nothing less than an abstract perfection, failed. He would never compromise a principle, but he was eminently tolerant of honest differences of opinion. He never hesitated to give generous credit where credit seemed due, whether to friend or opponent, and in this way he gathered recruits and yet never lost adherents.

The criticism most commonly made upon Theodore Roosevelt was that he was impulsive and [45] impetuous; that he acted without thinking. He would have been the last to claim infallibility. His head did not turn when fame came to him and choruses of admiration sounded in his ears, for he was neither vain nor credulous. He knew that he made mistakes, and never hesitated to admit them to be mistakes and to correct them or put them behind him when satisfied that they were such. But he wasted no time in mourning, explaining, or vainly regretting them. It is also true that the middle way did not attract him. He was apt to go far, both in praise and censure, although nobody could analyze qualities and balance them justly in judging men better than he. He felt strongly, and as he had no concealments of any kind, he expressed himself in like manner. But vehemence is not violence nor is earnestness anger, which a very wise man defined as a brief madness. It was all according to his nature, just as his eager cordiality in meeting men and women, his keen interest in other people’s care or joys, was not assumed, as some persons thought who did not know him. It was all profoundly natural, it was all real, and in that way and in no other was he able to meet and greet his fellow men. He spoke out with the most unrestrained frankness at all times and in all companies Not a day passed in the Presidency when he was not guilty of what the trained diplomatist would call indiscretions. But the frankness had its own reward. There never was a President whose confidence was so respected or with whom the barriers [46] of honor which surround private conversation were more scrupulously observed. At the same time, when the public interest required, no man could be more wisely reticent. He was apt, it is true, to act suddenly and decisively, but it was a complete mistake to suppose that he therefore acted without thought or merely on a momentary impulse When he had made up his mind he was resolute and unchanging, but he made up his mind only after much reflection, and there never was a President in the White House who consulted not only friends but political opponents and men of all kinds and conditions more than Theodore Roosevelt When he had reached his conclusion he acted quickly and drove hard at his object, and this it was, probably, which gave an impression that he acted sometimes hastily and thoughtlessly, which was a complete misapprehension of the man. His action was emphatic, but emphasis implies reflection not thoughtlessness. One can not even emphasize a word without a process, however slight, of mental differentiation.

The feeling that he was impetuous and impulsive was also due to the fact that in a sudden, seemingly unexpected crisis he would act with great rapidity. This happened when he had been for weeks, perhaps for months, considering what he should do if such a crisis arose. He always believe that one of the most important elements of success, whether in public or in private life, was to know what one meant to do under given circumstances. [47] If he saw the possibility of perilous questions arising, it was his practice to think over carefully just how he would act under certain contingencies Many of the contingencies never arose. Now and then a contingency became an actuality, and then he was ready. He knew what he meant to do, he acted at once, and some critics considered him impetuous, impulsive, and, therefore, dangerous because they did not know that he had thought the question all out beforehand.

Very many people, powerful elements in the community, regarded him at one time as a dangerous radical, bent upon overthrowing all the safe-guard of society and planning to tear out the foundations of an ordered liberty. As a matter of fact, what Theodore Roosevelt was trying to do was to strengthen American society and American Government by demonstrating to the American people that he was aiming at a larger economic equality and a more generous industrial opportunity for all men, and that any combination of capital or of business, which threatened the control of the Government by the people who made it, was to be curbed and resisted, just as he would have resisted an enemy who tried to take possession of the city of Washington. He had no hostility to a man because he had been successful in business or because he had accumulated a fortune. If the man had been honestly successful and used his fortune wisely and beneficently, he was regarded by Theodore Roosevelt as a good citizen. The vulgar hatred of wealth [48] found no place in his heart. He had but one standard one test, and that was whether a man, rich or poor, was an honest man, a good citizen, and a good American. He tried men, whether they were men of “big business” or members of a labor union, by their deeds, and in no other way. The tyranny of anarchy and disorder, such as is now desolating Russia, was as hateful to him as any other tyranny, whether it came from an autocratic system like that of Germany or from the misuse of organized capital. Personally he believed in every man earning his own living, and he earned money and was glad to do so; but he had no desire or taste for making money, and he was entirely indifferent to it. The simplest of men in his own habits, the only thing he really would have liked to have done with ample wealth would have been to give freely to the many good objects which continually interested him.

Theodore Roosevelt’s power, however, and the main source of all his achievement, was not in the offices which he held, for those offices were to him only opportunities, but in the extraordinary hold which he established and retained over great bodies of men. He had the largest personal following ever attained by any man in our history. I do not mean by this the following which comes from great political office or from party candidacy. There have been many men who have held the highest offices in our history by the votes of their fellow country-me who have never had anything more than a very [49] small personal following. By personal following is meant here that which supports and sustains and goes with a man simply because he is himself; a following which does not care whether their leader and chief is in office or out of office, which is with him and behind him because they, one and all, believe in him and love him and are ready to stand by him for the sole and simple reason that they have perfect faith that he will lead them where they wish and where they ought to go. This following Theodore Roosevelt had, as I have said, in a larger degree than anyone in our history, and the fact that he had it and what he did with it for the welfare of his fellow men have given him his great place and his lasting fame.

This is not mere assertion; it was demonstrated, as I have already pointed out, by the vote of 1912, and at all times, from the day of his accession to the Presidency onward, there were millions of people in this country ready to follow Theodore Roosevelt and vote for him, or do anything else that he wanted, whenever he demanded their support or raised his standard. It was this great mass of support among the people, and which probably was never larger than in these last years, that gave him his immense influence upon public opinion, and public opinion was the weapon which he used to carry out all the policies which he wished to bring to fulfillment and to consolidate all the achievement upon which he had set his heart. This extraordinary popular strength was not given to him [50] solely because the people knew him to be honest and brave, because they were certain that physical fear was an emotion unknown to him, and that his moral courage equaled the physical. It was not merely because they thoroughly believed him to be sincere. All this knowledge and belief, of course, went to making his popular leadership secure; but there was much more in it than that, something that went deeper, basic elements which were not upon the surface which were due to qualities of temperament interwoven with his very being, inseparable from him and yet subtle rather than obvious in their effects.

All men admire courage, and that he possessed in the highest degree. But he had also something larger and rarer than courage, in the ordinary acceptation of the word. When an assassin shot him at Milwaukee he was severely wounded; how severely he could not tell, but it might well have been mortal. He went on to the great meeting awaiting him and there, bleeding, suffering, ignorant of his fate, but still unconquered, made his speech and went from the stage to the hospital. What bore him up was the dauntless spirit which could rise victorious over pain and darkness and the unknown and meet the duty of the hour as if all were well. A spirit like this awakens in all men more than admiration, it kindles affection and appeal to every generous impulse.

Very different, but equally compelling, was another quality. There is nothing in human beings at [51] once so sane and so sympathetic as a sense of humor. This great gift the good fairies conferred upon Theodore Roosevelt at his birth in unstinted measure. No man ever had a more abundant sense of humor—joyous, irrepressible humor—and it never deserted him. Even at the most serious and even perilous moments if there was a gleam of humor anywhere he saw it and rejoiced and helped himself with it over the rough places and in the dark hour. He loved fun, loved to joke and chaff, and, what is more uncommon, greatly enjoyed being chaffed himself. His ready smile and contagious laugh made countless friends and saved him from many an enmity. Even more generally effective than his humor, and yet allied to it, was the universal knowledge that Roosevelt had no secrets from the American people.

Yet another quality—perhaps the most engaging of all—was his homely, generous humanity which enabled him to speak directly to the primitive instinct of man.

He dwelt with the tribes of the marsh and moor,
He sate at the board of kings;
He tasted the toil of the burdened slave
And the joy that triumph brings.
But whether to jungle or palace hall
Or white-walled tent he came,
He was brother to king and soldier and slave
His welcome was the same.

He was very human and intensely American, and this knit a bond between him and the American [52] people which nothing could ever break. And then he had yet one more attraction, not so impressive, perhaps, as the others, but none the less very important and very captivating. He never by any chance bored the American people. They might laugh at him or laugh with him, they might like what he said or dislike it, they might agree with him or disagree with him, but they were never wearied of him, and he never failed to interest them. He was never heavy, laborious, or dull. If he had made any effort to be always interesting and entertaining he would have failed and been tiresome. He was unfailingly attractive, because he was always perfectly natural and his own unconscious self. And so all these things combined to give him his hold upon the American people, not only upon their minds, but upon their hearts and their instincts, which nothing could ever weaken, and which made him one of the most remarkable, as he was one of the strongest, characters that the history of popular government can show. He was also—and this is very revealing and explanatory, too, of his vast popularity—a man of ideals. He did not expose them daily on the roadside with language fluttering about them like the Thibetan who ties his slip of paper to the prayer wheel whirling in the wind. He kept his ideals to himself until the hour of fulfillment arrived. Some of them were the dreams of boyhood, from which he never departed, and which I have seen him carry out shyly and yet thoroughly and with intense personal satisfaction.


He had a touch of the knight errant in his daily life, although he would never have admitted it; but it was there. It was not visible in the medieval form of shining armor and dazzling tournaments, but in the never-ceasing effort to help the poor and the oppressed, to defend and protect women and children, to right the wronged and succor the downtrodden Passing by on the other side was not a mode of travel through life ever possible to him; and yet he was as far distant from the professional philanthropist as could well be imagined, for all he tried to do to help his fellow men he regarded as part of the day’s work to be done and not talked about. No man ever prized sentiment or hated sentimentality more than he. He preached unceasingly the familiar morals which lie at the bottom of both family and public life. The blood of some ancestral Scotch covenanter or of some Dutch reformed preacher facing the tyranny of Philip of Spain was in his veins, and with his large opportunities and his vast audiences he was always ready to appeal for justice and righteousness. But his own personal ideals he never attempted to thrust upon the world until the day came when they were to be translated into realities of action.

When the future historian traces Theodore Roosevelt’s extraordinary career he will find these embodied ideals planted like milestones along the road over which he marched. They never left him. His ideal of public service was to be found in his life, and as his life drew to its close he had to meet [54] his ideal of sacrifice face to face. All his sons went from him to the war, and one was killed upon the field of honor. Of all the ideals that lift men up, the hardest to fulfill is the ideal of sacrifice. Theodore Roosevelt met it as he had all others and fulfilled it to the last jot of its terrible demands. His country asked the sacrifice and he gave it with solemn pride and uncomplaining lips.

This is not the place to speak of his private life, but within that sacred circle no man was ever more blessed in the utter devotion of a noble wife and the passionate love of his children. The absolute purity and beauty of his family life tell us why the pride and interest which his fellow countrymen felt in him were always touched with the warm light of love. In the home so dear to him, in his sleep, death came, and—

So Valiant-for-Truth passed over and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.


McGrath-Sherrill Press, Boston

Transcriber's Note

Cover modified from an image obtained from The Internet Archive and placed in the Public Domain.