Source: The Boys’ Life of Theodore Roosevelt
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “He Inaugurates a New Era” [chapter 14]
Author(s): Hagedorn, Hermann
Editor(s): Newton, H. C.
Publisher: Harper and Brothers Publishers
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1922
Pagination: 233-59 (excerpt below includes only pages 233-35)
|Hagedorn, Hermann. “He Inaugurates a New Era” [chapter 14]. The Boys’ Life of Theodore Roosevelt. Ed. H. C. Newton. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1922: pp. 233-59.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|Theodore Roosevelt (inauguration); Theodore Roosevelt (swearing in); Theodore Roosevelt (assumption of presidency).|
|Lyman J. Gage; John Hay; John R. Hazel; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt; Elihu Root; Ansley Wilcox.|
Originally copyrighted in 1918.
From title page: By Hermann Hagedorn, Author of “You Are the Hope of the World: An Appeal to the Boys and Girls of America.”
From title page: Edited for School Use by H. C. Newton, A.M., Head of the English Department, Blodgett Vocational High School, Syracuse, N. Y.
He Inaugurates a New Era [excerpt]
HE arrived at Buffalo at three o’clock that afternoon. The members
of the Cabinet, he was told, were awaiting him at the house of Ansley Wilcox,
on Delaware Avenue, where he had stayed earlier in the week; but he asked to
be driven first to the house where the body of William McKinley was lying. The
crowds on the streets were dense, and cheered him as he was driven swiftly by.
He drew back to the rear of the coach. It did not seem to him the time for cheering.
He found the members of the Cabinet assembled at the Wilcox house, when he arrived. Only Secretary Gage and Secretary Hay were absent. There were, besides, twenty or thirty personal friends in the room. Elihu Root Secretary of War, drew him aside. With arms on each other’s shoulders they conversed in whispers in the bay-window.
Judge Hazel of the Federal Circuit Court drew near.
The two men at the window turned. Then the Secretary of War spoke.
“Mr. Vice-President—” he began. His voice  broke. “I—” He dropped his head and was silent for what seemed an endless time. The silence was oppressive. No one stirred. A bird chirped suddenly outside.
Roosevelt’s eyes were brimming with tears and his face was set in a stern effort at self-control. The Secretary of War raised his head. His voice when he spoke was tremulous with feeling, but his words were deliberate and clear. The members of the Cabinet, he said, wished that, for reasons of state, he should take the oath at once.
Roosevelt, too, had difficulty in controlling his emotion and governing his voice. “I shall take the oath at once in response to your request,” he said. “And in this hour of deep and terrible bereavement I wish to state that it shall be my aim to continue absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley for the peace and prosperity of our beloved country.”
Then Judge Hazel administered the oath.
“I do solemnly swear,” Roosevelt repeated, holding his hand high, “that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
And to that he added, with what one of the men present called his “terrible earnestness”—“And thus I swear.”
A half-hour later he held his first Cabinet meeting.
“I wish each of you gentlemen,” he said, “to remain as a member of my Cabinet. I need your  advice and counsel. I tender you the office in the same manner that I would tender it if I were entering upon the discharge of my duties as the result of an election by the people, with this distinction, however, that I cannot accept a declination.”
There were no declinations, though the Secretaries had their own notions concerning the possibility of a McKinley Cabinet becoming a Roosevelt Cabinet.
And so the country again had a President. The anarchist had with his crime shaken the American people to the depths, but not for an instant had he shaken the structure of orderly government. A week passed by. The new President returned from the funeral of his predecessor and took up his residence at the White House. The business of the nation went on without a break.
It was only after months had passed that men began dimly to realize that during the night of that wild ride from Tahawus to North Creek an era had ended.