Source: Gunton’s Magazine
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The New President”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 21
Issue number: 4
|“The New President.” Gunton’s Magazine Oct. 1901 v21n4: pp. 294-96.|
|Theodore Roosevelt (assumption of presidency); Theodore Roosevelt (public statements); Theodore Roosevelt (assumption of presidency: public response); Theodore Roosevelt (fitness for office).|
|William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt.|
The New President
Vice-President Roosevelt was in the heart of the Adirondacks when the president’s fatal relapse came, having gone there in the firm belief, shared by everybody, that all danger was past. Consequently, it was afternoon of the day of the president’s death, September 14th, before Mr. Roosevelt reached Buffalo. The oath of office was then promptly taken and a proclamation issued, setting apart Thursday, the 19th, as a day of national mourning. Just before taking the oath the new president made the following declaration:
“I wish to state that it shall be my aim to continue absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley for the peace, prosperity and honor of our beloved country.”
Probably he could have said nothing
more reassur-  ing to public sentiment
and business interests, for of all things the industrial community most dreads
a sudden change. President Roosevelt further strengthened this confidence by
requesting all the members of the McKinley cabinet to remain to the end of their
terms, which it is understood they will do.
It will be remembered that, at the time Mr. Roosevelt was named for the vice-presidency, fear was expressed in many quarters that he was not sufficiently conservative or “safe” for an office which might at almost any moment transfer him to the headship of the nation. If this feeling had any real depth in the community, it must have been dispelled by this time; the test has now been applied and the public has responded with every evidence of confidence. The stock market, which of all indexes is most sensitive, responded immediately with an encouraging upward trend of prices, and there are no signs of industrial disturbance anywhere.
Mr. Roosevelt is the youngest president the nation has ever had, and is of a temperament which stands somewhat in need of sobering and perhaps steadying influences. These characteristics, in a president of the United States, might not in themselves be reassuring, but Mr. Roosevelt is neither stubborn, self-willed, nor over-impressed with his own infallibility. With this combination of qualities, it is safe to predict that the accession of great responsibility will furnish whatever balancing and broadening influences may yet be necessary to supplement the many admirable characteristics now well known to the public. Because he proposes no immediate changes, there need be no fear that Mr. Roosevelt will not be an individual force in the government. The new president does well to follow, for the present at least, the lines of policy already laid down, letting his own develop gradually as the need may arise  and as his own foothold become surer. That this is President Roosevelt’s evident intention is primary evidence of that sound good sense so essential to wise statesmanship. The presidency has come to him in a way unsought and undesired, but this very fact will probably insure the new president a more considerate public opinion and more generous cooperation than if he had won this high post in a bitter political struggle. The responsibilities are heavy, but the opportunities are great.