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Source: Modern Culture
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Policy of the New Administration”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 14
Issue number: 3
Pagination: 176-77

“Policy of the New Administration.” Modern Culture Nov. 1901 v14n3: pp. 176-77.
full text
Theodore Roosevelt (presidential policies); Roosevelt presidency (predictions, expectations, etc.).
Named persons
John Hay; Henry Cabot Lodge; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt; Elihu Root.


Policy of the New Administration

     It shall be my aim to continue absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley for the peace, prosperity, and honor of our beloved country.—Theodore Roosevelt.

     The absolute sincerity of this declaration will not be questioned. On all those public matters on which the late President had committed himself to a given policy we may expect his successor to pursue the same ends by substantially the same methods, bearing in mind always the “peace, prosperity, and honor of our beloved country.” This does not mean, however, that the new President will lay aside all individuality of opinion and utterance, or that his decisions upon new questions which may arise will always be those which might have been expected from President McKinley. It is apparent to the least observant that the personality of our new President is widely different from that of his predecessor. His habits of mind and of speech, his method of reasoning and of forming conclusions, and above all the temper in which he deals with opposition are quite foreign to our conceptions of William McKinley. Mr. Roosevelt possesses more imagination and greater enthusiasm than the late President, and he stands with firmer emphasis on his own opinions. These three qualities, with possibly their accompanying defects, mark him off as a distinct personality, and however praiseworthy his intention to “continue absolutely unbroken the policy” of his predecessor, it is clear to most of us that the man is not the same, and that therefore the policy must be different. President McKinley’s relations with Congress, his sparing use of the veto, his complaisance towards popular misconceptions and towards abuses which are fixed in the habits of public men, will hardly be repeated by his successor, since they originated in traits of mind peculiar to the late President. The first sign of a change of policy will probably appear in this quarter. Congressmen and office-seekers will discover that the new President is less pliable in yielding to pressure, or less tactful and sympathetic in declining to yield to pressure, than the old, and the discovery will cause friction. We may hardly expect the White House and the Capitol to harmonize under the new administration as under the old. The retention of the old cabinet would seem to preclude any distinct change of policy in the various departments of the Government, and yet as President McKinley was not always governed by the advice of his cabinet, it is impossible that President Roosevelt should be, or that, in being so governed, he should always “continue unbroken the policy” of his predecessor. In foreign affairs we should expect the opinions of Senator Lodge to have greater influence with the new President than with the old, and if Secretary Hay has not already abandoned his contention for a strictly neutral canal that he will soon do so. Whatever our relations with England [176][177] may be during the next three years, we may assume that they will not be governed solely by the sentiment of Anglo-Saxon kinship, since the Dutch strain predominates in Mr. Roosevelt’s ancestry. The likeness of the young President to the young emperor of Germany in point of temperament, restless energy, etc., has been noted by some critics; but the effect of his elevation to power on our relations with the German empire may not be easily foreseen. Those champions of the Monroe doctrine who read the London Spectator have grown accustomed to thinking of Germany as a possible aggressor in this hemisphere. Whether the habit of mind thus formed will have an appreciable influence upon the State Department under the new administration is to be doubted, and yet we may assume that any unusual activity of Germany in South American affairs will be closely watched in Washington. Concerning the rest of the world, a peaceable extension of our trade relations is the not unselfish desire of this as of former administrations; but we may look for prompt and positive measures for the protection of American citizens wherever their rights are assailed.
     Perhaps the personality of President Roosevelt will find its most active expression in the War and Navy Departments of the Government. Secretary Root has recently made an allotment of revenue for the establishment of the army war college at Washington. He proposes also to secure the passage of a bill for the better instruction of the militia and their closer assimilation to the regular establishment. In all these matters he would no doubt have had the approval of President McKinley, while now he may count on the enthusiastic support of President Roosevelt. So in naval matters the new President’s keen interest in sea-power is well known and the earnest attention he will give to the needs of these two departments will mark his administration as one of military and naval progress, if nothing more.



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