A Typical American
Roosevelt represents the entire American
nation. He is the first President of the New United States. His
antecedents make him the typical American. He inherited no prejudices.
He owes party allegiance to no political machine. A hero before
the election, he is now an inspiration to every American boy. Though
born in New York, the entire country claims him. His mother was
from Georgia, and he himself was a cowboy in the West. One of his
uncles was a commodore in the Confederate navy, and he recently
remarked that more than half of the Rough Riders were the sons of
men who fought in the army of the South. It would be difficult to
find a man so “geographically universal.” For the first time in
our history a man of letters is at the head of the Government. Nearly
all of our Presidents have been strong and graceful writers on economic
subjects—some of them have made startling phrases and have dealt
in  periods that would put
to shame the literary hack; but Roosevelt is an all-round literary
worker. He is prepared to write anything, on any subject—adventure,
philosophy, international law. His education is thorough; he represents
the college student and the college athlete. He is of the new and
the old. While he reveres the traditions of his grandfather, he
recognizes the force of his brother. With him old things have become
new. He is the epitome of David’s strength. Old things may have
been wise for that day, but new things represent our power this
day. If the man who is struggling on the hill-side will only stop
to think of this fact it may be of advantage to him. We revere the
past, but tradition may have hampered us. America, the most progressive
of nations, may have been hampered by tradition.
For their day our forefathers were
unquestionably wise. To them the Constitution was a dead-set faith.
At that time man’s vision extended only to the limit bordering his
lands. Beyond that was dark experiment. Shrinking within the limits
of a narrow shell, “hands off” was the nation’s watchword. Broad-minded
Jeffersonism did not comprehend the entire 
world. It did not gather the spreading force of geography. Isolation
was his watchword and the national cry of his successors. “Hands
off” they said, and our Congressmen were on that platform elected.
Europe smiled, and we contented ourselves with what they condemned
as our narrowness.
Years passed, and we had a merciless
war. Premiers said, “I told you so.” There was no hope for America.
With the hot wax of impulsiveness, she had sealed the letter of
her doom. Germany, believing in the failure of all republics, gathered
herself into a sardonic laugh. England, though a monarchy—the father,
the mother of all modern republics—cried “Long live the queen,”
and yet mourned for us. Our war came to an end. In one part of the
country there seemed to be chaos. Senators said, “We have failed.”
But out of that chaos came order. Up arose leaders of men who declared
that secession had been a failure. They joined the Government without
having changed their principle of the rights of States. Upon that
platform they were elected, and the world of mankind was forced
to declare that history had been baffled. The old order of things,
the kings and queens,  said
they, were sleeping. Soon they will wake up. Rome taught us that
such a thing could not be. Ancient Egypt declared its failure. Modern
France laughs with us. The French revolution was a failure. Therefore
this thing cannot stand. They called it a thing. They had lost sight
of immortality. The assassin lifted his weapon as if to prove that
monarchy was the only enduring form of government. Presidents sank
down to die, but the Government still lived. Office may be ephemeral,
but the people are eternal. The crown did not know this. They said
that the scepter was God’s word. We have taught the world that this
is wrong. The people are immortal. The death of McKinley proved
the ever-enduring life of his nation. Before the day of enlightenment
such a death would have meant chaos. The education of man means
the eternal element of society. Presidents die; the country lives.
But confidence is the essence of prosperity.
Without confidence we are unsteady of gaze, fixing cross-eyes upon
uncertainty. With confidence we are strong, and Roosevelt gives
us strength. They said that he was lacking in dignity and he became
the most dignified of men. 
They said that he might not be executive, and one word put the nation
at rest. They acknowledged that he was brave, but they said that
bravery was not wisdom. The bravest were the wisest men of Rome.
Bravery, sobered with responsibility, is the most conservative ruler.
They did not know this at first but they know it now. Roosevelt
is a patriot, and of such is the safe statesman composed. Men who
stood closest to him were astonished. He surprised his most intimate
friends. They had not taken into account his devoted study of governments.
Now they wonder at our short-sightedness. While riding in a carriage
toward the McKinley house, Roosevelt pointed to a large building
and remarked: “There is the future President for all time.” It was
a public school. Some of the men who were with him did not understand
this, but some of them did; and one man, a Congressman, reached
over and took his hand. To Roosevelt old men came and centered their
hope. They felt that American institutions were safe. In him they
knew was centered the entire country. At Canton were men of every
party. For the first time in the history of the States there was
no political creed. America was united 
against sorrow—against the world. At the steps of the house of woe
the new President spoke words which must appeal to every American.
“Boys”—he did not say “gentlemen,” he did not say “fellow citizens,”
he said “boys,” for his mind had flown back to a time when he was
fighting for his country—“Boys, we must stand together. We have
met at the bier of one whom we loved. He was the product of the
entire country. We are the product of all the country. He loved
us and we loved him. Among you I see men from Texas and men from
Maine. Is it not a glory to know that we are all as one? They predicted
that this could not be. We have shown them their error. I have one
word to pledge you—that we are all of us American citizens. My life
and my work belong to you. I am not your ruler but your friend in
council. I ask no higher honor than to serve my country. The North
and the South have passed away, and we have become as one. These
soldiers that you see are but the expressive force of a State—Ohio.
They are the sons of the men who followed our dead chieftain to
the war. Some of them were on the other side. Let us honor them,
for they are representative of our country. Among you occasionally
I catch  the glimpse of a countenance
which I saw in battle—at a time when we charged up a hill. And to
you I would extend my love and my sympathy. The nation has called
upon us to do our duty. Let us do it. To public life there is due
a sort of compliance. Let us conform; but at the same time let us
remember that to you and your bravery is due our greatness to-day.”
The mournful dirge began and the President
stood upon the steps. Sorrow en masse had gathered in the
street. The President had nothing more to say. He had said enough.
He had told us all what was needed. We knew that McKinley was dead;
those who stood there in that throng told us that. We knew that
our country was living. And that is the reason that those who followed
McKinley to the tomb knew that the flag could not be pulled down.
We were there to bury a tender sentiment; we were there to shed
the tears of a nation—to weep with a devoted wife and mother—but
to stand firm with a man who himself stood firm with a nation.
And this book gives the life of that
man. Never before has it been written. And to it do I gladly subscribe