Source: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Monthly Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President Roosevelt”
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 35
Issue number: 11
|“President Roosevelt.” Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Monthly Journal Nov. 1901 v35n11: pp. 688-89.|
|Theodore Roosevelt (personal history); Theodore Roosevelt (personal character); Theodore Roosevelt (personal philosophy).|
|Grover Cleveland; Henry George; Abram S. Hewitt; William McKinley; Nicholas Roosevelt, b. 1658; Theodore Roosevelt; William L. Strong; Leonard Wood.|
We present on the cover of this issue a half-tone
picture of the successor to our late lamented President, William McKinley, Theodore
Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth President of the United States. He was born at No.
28 E. Twentieth street, New York City, Oct. 27, 1858, and is the youngest President
that has ever occupied the White House. The record of the Roosevelts goes back
more than three hundred years, and eight generations of his father’s family
have lived in New York, while members of the family have taken active parts
in all the wars of the country from the Revolution to the Spanish War, and a
rugged probity of character has marked the line from Nicholas Roosevelt, who
was an alderman in New York City in 1700, through all the generations.
The President is of mingled Dutch, Scotch-Irish and French Huguenot ancestry. When a boy he was quite delicate, though strong in mind and will power, and by careful exercise and following healthful dietetic rules he eventually became robust, and entered Harvard College abundantly able to withstand the rough side of college life, graduating from this institution in 1880, when he began the study of law. In 1881 when but 23 years of age he was elected to the Assembly from the Twenty-first District of New York, serving through 1883 and 1884, and made a good record as an energetic, honest legislator. He was chairman of the Committee on Cities, and introduced many reform measures, and as a member of the Assembly did much to further the passage of the State Civil Service Reform Law.
From 1884 to 1886 he was a ranchman in Dakota, and was as enthusiastic in that as he was in politics.
He was the Republican candidate for Mayor of New York in 1886, his opponents being Abram S. Hewitt, United Democracy, and Henry George, United Labor, Mr. Hewitt being elected by about 22,000 plurality. Subsequently, he was appointed a Republican member of the United States Civil Service Commission by President Cleveland in his first administration, and served with commendable distinction. He held this office until May 1, 1895, when he resigned to accept the office of Police Commissioner of New York, tendered him by Mayor Strong, and his record as President of the Police Board of New York will be of lasting memory, especially with many then in official place. He believed the way to get rid of a bad law was to vigorously enforce it, which resulted in many reforms. He put forth every effort to take politics out of the police department, and succeeded in bringing the department to a high degree of efficiency.
Being tendered the position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy by President McKinley, he resigned as Police Commissioner and became Assistant Secretary on April 6, 1897; but when war was declared with Spain, the family distinction of a Roosevelt in every American war must be kept up, and he resigned to organize and go to the front with a regiment, the nucleus of which were the sturdy men he had met while a ranchman in the West. These were joined by scores of young men, many of prominent families. The regiment became known as Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, though the regiment was commanded by Colonel Wood, of the regular  army, with Mr. Roosevelt as Lieutenant Colonel until promoted. His record in war was as vigorous as elsewhere. When the war was over he returned to New York City and accepted the nomination for Governor, and was elected to that responsible office on Nov. 8, 1898.
His popularity became national in scope and against his wishes he was nominated for Vice-President and elected on November 6, 1900.
A record to be exceedingly proud of. A grand example of what may be accomplished under our flag of liberty and equality when men are actuated by such principles as enunciated by Roosevelt himself in the following terse paragraph:
I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shirk from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who, out of these, wins the splendid, ultimate triumph.
It would seem almost providential that we should have one of such sturdy character and honesty of purpose ready for the unlooked for emergency that came to put our country and the world in mourning, when it seemed almost as though the wheels of government had stopped. But when the last honors had been paid to the beloved dead and he was at rest, there was no lack of confidence manifest as Theodore Roosevelt stepped into the pilot house and assumed the duties of the great office of President of the United States; President McKinley’s official family became his official family, and the ship of state moved on with no political tidal wave, nor evidence of personal ambition other than that which created the confidence the people entertain in the new President. A confidence evidently based upon a belief that his rules of life are in harmony with the following public declaration of his own:
No nation, no matter how glorious its history, can exist unless it practices—practices, mind you, not merely preaches—civic honesty, civic decency, civic righteousness. No nation can permanently prosper unless the decalogue and the golden rule are its guides in public as in private life.