Publication information
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Source: Statist
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President Roosevelt”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: London, England
Date of publication: 21 September 1901
Volume number: 48
Issue number: 1230
Pagination: 515-16

“President Roosevelt.” Statist 21 Sept. 1901 v48n1230: pp. 515-16.
full text
Theodore Roosevelt (political character); Roosevelt presidency (predictions, expectations, etc.).
Named persons
William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt.


President Roosevelt

THE new President’s announcement that he will loyally carry out the policy of his predecessor was fully expected by all who have carefully followed his career. On one point only was there anything that could be called misgiving. Some over-cautious persons were not sure but that he might prove too Imperialist. With that exception, everyone placed thorough confidence in his high character and his fidelity to his plighted word. For President Roosevelt has been before the public for 20 years. And in every position he has given proof that he possessed sterling qualities. The President of the United States, it is true, wields immense power while in office. He is not only the head of the Executive. He is also the President of the Cabinet. Thus he unites in his own person the offices of the Sovereign and the Prime Minister. His Ministry is nominated by him. And as no member of it has a seat in either House of Congress, it is impossible for any of them to strike out an independent course. The President, then, is the Administration. And nobody entertains any doubt that Mr. Roosevelt will throw his whole heart and will into the work that now devolves upon him. But he is so thoroughly American, so entirely in harmony with the prevailing sentiment of his fellow-countrymen, that he will, we may be sure, zealously carry out their general wishes. He has already announced that he is in favour of the most liberal reciprocity treaties. But in that he is only following the example set by Mr. McKinley. No doubt the new President comes to the task with a fresher mind. He grew up in a younger generation, when, in spite of the McKinley and the Dingley Tariffs, Protectionism was really losing ground. And consequently he has not [515][516] had to unlearn as much as his immediate predecessor. But, like President McKinley, he recognises the will of the people, and undertakes to carry it out thoroughly. He may, perhaps, bring somewhat more zeal to the task. That is the only difference that is likely to be apparent. President Roosevelt also declares in favour of arbitration. He knows the horrors of war by experience, and he wishes to avoid it wherever possible; though any Government that would venture to trade too far upon his desire for peace would make an exceedingly grave mistake. In administration proper President Roosevelt, always in favour of efficient public service, and therefore of giving as much fixity of tenure to the servants of the State as possible, will not make any changes which are not absolutely required in the interests of the country or forced upon him by the refusal of those serving with him to continue longer. He will do what he can, we may be sure, to bring to an end the bad old maxim: “To the victors belong the spoils.” In home affairs generally he will give what encouragement is possible to the development of trade in every direction. He wishes to see the new territories of the United States joined with the American continent by cables owned altogether by the Union. He desires likewise to give assistance to the establishment of direct lines of steamers with South America, both on the east and on the west. And, in short, his maxim is to aid commercial development, both by giving greater freedom to the trader and by supplying financial assistance where he thinks it to be needed.
     As already said, amongst the older generation of Americans there has been some doubt whether the new President might not prove a little too Imperialist. That he was strongly in favour of the annexation of the new possessions of the United States is known. And the zeal with which he threw himself into the war with Spain, while it won for him general popularity, made the more cautious apprehensive lest he was still too young for the high place that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon him. The President himself has taken the best means of disabusing the public of this view. And, indeed, to the careful foreign observer there has never seemed to be very much ground for the apprehensions entertained. Vast as are the powers of an American President, he has to exercise them in accordance with the popular will. Congress has to vote the moneys necessary to carry out his policy. And the several States have to support him if he engages in war. An unpopular war, then, is an extremely difficult thing for any President, whoever he might happen to be. Moreover, it is difficult to see where at the present time there is any opportunity for an adventurous policy. The state of Cuba for an entire generation had been such that sooner or later the intervention of the United States was inevitable. If Spain, after putting down the insurrection a generation ago, had been able to win back the loyalty of the Cubans, or even to induce them to acquiesce sullenly in her rule, it would have been different. But when discontent continued, and another rebellion broke forth, it was certain that interference must take place unless the struggle was ended very quickly. It was not ended very quickly, however. And it looked as if the termination could not be expected for many a year. That being so, a war between the United States and Spain was almost inevitable. And once the conflict began the unpreparedness of Spain was revealed to all the world, and her foreign possessions were rapidly lost. But there is nothing at present to excite American sympathy or to arouse American impatience at a state of things seriously hindering their own business affairs. It is incredible that any American President will without provocation interfere with any South American Republic. And it is still more incredible that he will pick a quarrel with Europe or enter upon adventures in Asia. Another outbreak in China might, of course, lead to unexpected results, though that is exceedingly improbable. On the whole, even if President Roosevelt were as ambitious for extended territories as those most opposed to him may choose to think, he must feel that his term of office will be fully occupied in turning to the best account the new possessions which have come to the United States. That he will retain these new possessions is so highly probable that it may be accepted as certain. Indeed, it is difficult to see how he could get rid of them if he wished to do so. Anything like independence is impossible in the Philippines, for example, at the present time. And it is not to be supposed that the United States would hand over the islands to any other Power. The United States, then, will find that she has to retain what she won by the sword. And under those circumstances she has to frame a system of government that will be just to the new possessions and satisfactory to her own people. In truth, however, there are no real grounds for believing that President Roosevelt is Imperialist in the sense that he would adopt an aggressive policy. That he will maintain the honour and the interests of the United States very firmly, if anybody is so ill-advised as to challenge them, is beyond all question. But that he will refuse to respect the honour and the interests of other States there is nothing in his past life to suggest.



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