The New President
Theodore Roosevelt, the youngest
man to serve as President, has, nevertheless, had twenty years’
experience in public affairs. But, like the last President from
the State of New York, Grover Cleveland, he never served in Congress.
He is the fifth President of New York citizenship, and the third
of New York birth, Arthur and Cleveland having been born in other
States. He is the fifth Vice-President to become President by reason
of the death of the Chief Executive, and the third New Yorker thus
to enter the White House. He is the third Governor of New York to
become President, the other two having been Van Buren and Cleveland.
He is the only President born in the city of New York, and his ancestors
for several generations made their home here, several of them reaching
to places of distinction in the business and political world.
He has reached the Presidency by the
hand of fate. It is well known that he rebelled against being nominated
for Vice-President, much preferring to be re-elected Governor. When
he was made Vice-President, the Republican machine in New York regarded
him as having been put “on the shelf,” and all the political forces
here have been at work to groom Governor Odell for the Presidential
nomination in 1904. While Roosevelt possessed great popularity throughout
the country, it is probable that he would have been unable, as Vice-President,
to command the support of the New York delegation in the next National
Convention. But the death of McKinley has changed the whole political
situation, so far as this State is concerned.
While it is not likely that he will
pursue a policy of revenge, and he has the experience of Arthur
in 1882 to show him what is the result of a President interfering
in the political policy of this State, nevertheless, he enters the
Presidency with no personal pledges to hamper him, and his presence
in that powerful office changes completely his position as regards
Senator Platt, Governor Odell and the Republican organization. Four
years is a long time in the politics of this country. In 1881 Grover
Cleveland was merely a citizen of Buffalo, unknown outside of that
city. In 1885 he was President of the United States. Four years
ago Theodore Roosevelt was Police Commissioner in this city and
an applicant for the position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
That he secured that appointment, which entered him upon his later
great career, was mostly due to the efforts of Senator Lodge, of
Massachusetts, who spoke for him both to President McKinley and
Senator Platt. It is making no rash prediction to say that Senator
Lodge will be as close to the Roosevelt Administration as Hanna
was to the McKinley Administration.