Early Political Experiences [excerpt]
The Republicans [. . .] have perfected to a greater
degree the machine control of their party, and for many years their
senatorial oligarchy has controlled the party machinery.
At the convention that nominated McKinley
this machinery worked perfectly, and Mark Hanna, afterward senator
from Ohio, was at the throttle. When, however, McKinley died at
the hand of an assassin, in Buffalo, the party leaders as well as
the country’s leading  business
men were tremendously concerned lest Roosevelt should disregard
their wishes. The man that the bosses had reluctantly named Vice-President
had hurried down from the Adirondacks, but none of the oligarchs
had been able to get a word with him. Leaving Buffalo, he got aboard
a train for New York, en route to Washington; the leaders boarded
the same train. A member of that group himself told me what followed.
The leaders agreed that Hanna should
come to a personal understanding with the new President. They went
to Roosevelt, who welcomed the idea of the interview.
“I should be de-lighted to have him
lunch with me here,” said Roosevelt.
The table was laid in the drawing-room,
and as Hanna entered Roosevelt held out both his hands.
“Now, old man,” he said, “let’s be
Hanna did not take the proffered hands.
“On two conditions,” he stipulated.
“State them,” said Roosevelt.
“First,” said the Senator, “we expect
you to carry out McKinley’s policies for the rest of his unexpired
Roosevelt nodded. “I’ll do that, of
course. What is your other condition?”
“It’s this,” said the Senator, “never
call me ‘old man’ again.”
Then he shook hands. He did more;
on his part he promised that if Roosevelt kept his word, and if
he retained McKinley’s cabinet and other appointments, he would
have Hanna’s support at the next National Convention.
It was a compact that neither man
forgot. Before many months were over rumour reported a conspiracy
on Hanna’s part and Roosevelt unhesitatingly repeated this to him.
“You are carrying out your part of
the bargain,” said  the Senator,
“as long as you continue to do so, I’ll carry out mine.”
When Hanna died, the machine that
he had controlled fell for a time into disuse and Roosevelt, taking
advantage of the temporary absence of a machine-bred leader, assumed
leadership, not as the head of the old machine, but by virtue of
his position as President. He did not recognize the machine leaders
of the various states, nor did they stand behind him[. . . .]