At Valley Forge Washington and his Continentals warred not against the foreign soldiery, but against themselves, against all the appeals of our nature that are most difficult to resist—against discouragement, discontent, the mean envies and jealousies, and heart-burnings sure to arise at any time in large bodies of men, but especially sure to arise when defeat and disaster have come to large bodies of men. Here the soldiers who carried our national flag had to suffer from cold, from privation, from hardship, knowing that their foes were well housed, knowing that things went easier for the others than it did for them. And they conquered, because they had in them the spirit that made them steadfast, not merely on an occasional great day, but day after day in the life of daily endeavor to do duty well. . . . The vital things for this nation to do is steadily to cultivate the quality which Washington and those under him so pre-eminently showed during the winter at Valley Forge—the quality of steady adherence to duty in the teeth of difficulty, in the teeth of discouragement, and even disaster, the quality that makes a man do what is straight and decent, not one day when a great crisis comes, but every day, day in and day out, until success comes at the end. (At Valley Forge, Pa., June 19, 1904.) Mem. Ed. XII, 616-617; Nat. Ed. XI, 332-333.
____________. The dreadful suffering of the American army in this winter camp was such that its memory has literally eaten its way into the hearts of our people, and it comes before our minds with a vividness that dims the remembrance of any other disaster. Washington’s gaunt, half-starved Continentals, shoeless and ragged, shivered in their crazy huts, worn out by want and illness, and by the bitter cold; while the members of the Continental Congress not only failed to support them in the present, but even grudged them the poor gift of a promise of half-pay in the future. (1888.) Mem. Ed. VIII, 333; Nat. Ed. VII, 288.
Van Buren faithfully served the mammon of unrighteousness, both in his own State and, later on, at Washington; and he had his reward, for he was advanced to the highest offices in the gift of the nation. He had no reason to blame his own conduct for his final downfall; he got just as far along as he could possibly get; he succeeded because of, and not in spite of, his moral shortcomings; if he had always governed his actions by a high moral standard he would probably never have been heard of. Still, there is some comfort in reflecting that, exactly as he was made President for no virtue of his own, but simply on account of being Jackson’s heir, so he was turned out of the office, not for personal failure, but because he was taken as scapegoat, and had the sins of his political fathers visited on his own head. (1887.) Mem. Ed. VIII, 139; Nat. Ed. VII, 121.
I most earnestly hope that our people won’t weaken in any way on the Venezuela matter. The antics of the bankers, brokers and anglo-maniacs generally are humiliating to a degree; but the bulk of the American people will I think surely stand behind the man who boldly and without flinching takes the American view. (To H. C. Lodge, December 27, 1895.) Lodge Letters I, 204.
____________. Great Britain has a boundary dispute with Venezuela. She claims as her own a territory which Venezuela asserts to be hers, a territory which in point of size very nearly equals the Kingdom of Italy. Our government of course, cannot, if it wishes to remain true to the traditions of the Monroe Doctrine, submit to the acquisition by England of such an enormous tract of territory, and it must therefore find out whether the English claims are or are not well founded. It would, of course, be preposterous to lay down the rule that no European power should seize American territory which was not its own, and yet to permit the power itself to decide the question of the ownership of such territory. Great Britain refused to settle the question either by amicable agreement with Venezuela or by arbitration. All that remained for the United States, was to do what it actually did; that is, to try to find out the facts for itself, by its own commission. If the facts show England to be in the right, well and good. If they show England to be in the wrong, we most certainly ought not to permit her to profit, at Venezuela’s expense, by her own wrongdoing. . . .
It would be difficult to overestimate the good done in this country by the vigorous course already taken by the national executive and legislature in this matter. The lesson taught Lord Salisbury is one which will not soon be forgotten by English statesmen. His position is false, and is recognized as false by the best English statesmen and publicists. If he does not consent to arrange the matter with Venezuela, it will have to be arranged in some way by arbitration. In either case, the United States gains its point. The only possible danger of war comes from the action of the selfish and timid men on this side of the water, who clamorously strive to misrepresent American, and to mislead English, public opinion. If they succeed in persuading Lord Salisbury that the American people will back down if he presses them, they will do the greatest damage possible to both countries, for they will render war, at some time in the future, almost inevitable. (Bachelor of Arts, March 1896.) Mem. Ed. XV, 231-233; Nat. Ed. XIII,
The Venezuelan question has very much changed my view as to the interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine with relation to public opinion here. Before the intervention I believed that the temporary landing of foreign troops in Venezuela would call forth no opposition here. I see that I was mistaken. Had the allies landed troops there, Congress and the people would have raised the most strenuous objection. I conclude from this, that a control of the finances of Venezuela through American and European financial institutions would be condemned by public opinion here. These wretched republics cause me a great deal of trouble. A second attempt of foreign powers, to collect their debts by force, would simply not be tolerated here. I often think that a sort of protectorate over South and Central America is the only way out. Personally I am absolutely against it, I would even be ready to sponsor a retrocession of New Mexico and Arizona. Foreign financial groups should make no efforts at the development of these ill-governed republics, if they lose their money, they should take the consequences. (In conversation with Speck von Sternberg, March 1903.) Dexter Perkins, The Monroe Doctrine, 1867-1907. (Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1937), p. 408.
____________. Trouble arose in connection with the Republic of Venezuela because of certain wrongs alleged to have been committed, and debts overdue, by this Republic to citizens of various foreign powers, notably England, Germany, and Italy. After failure to reach an agreement these powers began a blockade of the Venezuelan coast and condition of quasi-war ensued. The concern of our Government was of course not to interfere needlessly in any quarrel so far as it did not touch our interests or our honor, and not to take the attitude of protecting from coercion any power unless we were willing to espouse the quarrel of that power, but to keep an attitude of watchful vigilance and see that there was no infringement of the Monroe Doctrine—no acquirement of territorial rights by a European power at the expense of a weak sister republic—whether this acquisition might take the shape of an outright and avowed seizure of territory or of the exercise of control which would in effect be equivalent to such seizure. (At Chicago, Ill., April 2, 1903.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers I, 260-261.
It is difficult to express the full measure of obligation under which this country is to the men who from ’61 to ’65 took up the most terrible and vitally necessary task which has ever fallen to the lot of any generation of men in the western hemisphere. Other men have rendered great service to the country, but the service you rendered was not merely great—it was incalculable. Other men by their lives or their deaths have kept unstained our honor, have wrought marvels for our interest, have led us forward to triumph, or warded off disaster from us; other men have marshaled our ranks upward across the stony slopes of greatness. But you did more, for you saved us from annihilation. We can feel proud of what others did only because of what you did. It was given to you, when the mighty days came, to do the mighty deeds, for which the days called, and if your deeds had been left undone, all that had been already accomplished would have turned into apples of Sodom under our teeth. (At Veterans’ Reunion, Burlington, Vt., September 5, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XV, 536-537; Nat. Ed. XIII, 460-461.
____________. No other citizens deserve so well of the Republic as the veterans, the survivors of those who saved the Union. They did the one deed which if left undone would have meant that all else in our history went for nothing. But for their steadfast prowess in the greatest crisis of our history, all our annals would be meaningless, and our great experiment in popular freedom and self-government a gloomy failure. Moreover, they not only left us a united nation, but they left us also as a heritage the memory of the mighty deeds by which the nation has kept united. (First Annual Message, Washington, December 3, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 147; Nat. Ed. XV, 127.
____________. I know that no one will grudge my saying a special word of acknowledgment to the veterans of the Civil War. A man would indeed be but a poor American who could without a thrill witness the way in which, in city after city in the North as in the South, on every public occasion, the men who wore the blue and the men who wore the gray now march and stand shoulder to shoulder, giving tangible proof that we are all now in fact as well as in name a reunited people, a people infinitely richer because of the priceless memories left to all Americans by you men who fought in the great war. (At Richmond, Va., October 18, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 37; Nat. Ed. XVI, 32.
The veteran of the Civil War should be legally guaranteed preference in appointment to, and in retention in, office; that is, he should be appointed to any vacancy when he can show his fitness to fill it, and he should not be removed without trial by the appointing officer, at which he can make his defense. There is no intention to condone corruption or pass over inefficiency in a veteran; but, if he is honest and efficient, he is entitled to preference. (Annual Message as Governor, Albany, January 2, 1899.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 23; Nat. Ed. XV, 20.
See Also Confederates; Grand Army Of The Republic; Soldiers.
Vice in its cruder and more archaic forms shocks everybody; but there is very urgent need that public opinion should be just as severe in condemnation of the vice which hides itself behind class or professional loyalty, or which denies that it is vice if it can escape conviction in the courts. The public and the representatives of the public, the high officials, whether on the bench or in executive or legislative positions, need to remember that often the most dangerous criminals, so far as the life of the nation is concerned, are not those who commit the crimes known to and condemned by the popular conscience for centuries, but those who commit crimes only rendered possible by the complex conditions of our modern industrial life. (Seventh Annual Message, Washington, December 3, 1907.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 515; Nat. Ed. XV, 438-439. VICE. See also Bribery; Corruption; Crime; Honesty; Pleasure; Prostitution; White Slave Traffic.
The Vice-President is an officer unique in his character and functions, or, to speak more properly, in his want of functions while he remains Vice-President, and in his possibility of at any moment ceasing to be a functionless official and becoming the head of the whole nation. There is no corresponding position in any constitutional government. Perhaps the nearest analogue is the heir apparent in a monarchy. Neither the French President nor the British prime minister has a substitute, ready at any moment to take his place, but exercising scarcely any authority until his place is taken. The history of such an office is interesting, and the personality of the incumbent for the time being may at any moment become of vast importance. (Review of Reviews, September 1896.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 351.
____________. I can’t help feeling more and more that the Vice-Presidency is not an office in which I could do anything and not an office in which a man still vigorous and not past middle life has much chance of doing anything. . . . As Vice-President I don’t see there is anything I can do. I would be simply a presiding officer and that I should find a bore. (To Thomas C. Platt, February 1, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 156; Bishop I,
____________. In the Vice Presidency I could do nothing. I am a comparatively young man and I like to work. I do not like to be a figurehead. It would not entertain me to preside in the Senate. I should be in a cold shiver of rage at inability to answer hounds like Pettigrew and the scarcely more admirable Mason and Hale. I could not do anything; and yet I would be seeing continually things that I would like to do, and very possibly would like to do differently from the way in which they were being done. Finally the personal element comes in. Though I am a little better off than the Sun correspondent believes, I have not sufficient means to run the social side of the Vice Presidency as it ought to be run. I should have to live very simply, and would always be in the position of “poor man at a frolic.” I would not give a snap of my fingers for this if I went into the Cabinet or as a Senator, or was doing a real bit of work; but I should want to consider it when the office is in fact merely a show office. So, old man, I am going to declare decisively that I want to be Governor and do not want to be Vice President. Publicly I shall only say I don’t want to be Vice P. (To H. C. Lodge, February 2, 1900.) Lodge Letters I, 448.
____________. The more I have thought over it, the more I have felt that I would a great deal rather be anything, say professor of history, than Vice-President. (To Thomas C. Platt, February 7, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 158; Bishop I, 136.
I have found out one reason why Senator Platt wants me nominated for the Vice-Presidency. . . . The big monied men with whom he is in close touch and whose campaign contributions have certainly been no inconsiderable factor in his strength, have been pressing him very strongly to get me put in the Vice- Presidency, so as to get me out of the State. It was the big insurance companies, possessing enormous wealth, that gave Payne his formidable strength, and they to a man want me out. The great corporations affected by the franchise tax have also been at the Senator. In fact, all the high monied interests that make campaign contributions of large size and feel that they should have favors in return, are extremely anxious to get me out of the State. I find that they have been at Platt for the last two or three months and he has finally begun to yield to them and to take their view. Outside of that the feeling here is very strong against my going. In fact, all of my friends in the State would feel that I was deserting them, and are simply unable to understand my considering it. (To Henry Cabot Lodge, February 3, 1900.) Lodge Letters I, 449.
____________. Let me point out that I am convinced that I can do most good to the national ticket by running as Governor of this State. There will be in New York a very curious feeling of resentment both against myself and against the party leaders if I run as Vice-President, and this will affect our vote I believe; whereas if I run as Governor I can strengthen the national ticket more than in any other way. I do not think we can afford to take liberties in this State. (To Marcus A. Hanna, April 3, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 158; Bishop I, 136.
____________. There is unquestionably a strong desire to make me take the Vice-Presidency. Many corporations have served notice on the Republican leaders that they won’t contribute if I am nominated for Governor, and that they will do their best to beat me. This is mainly on account of the franchise tax, but also on account of various other acts which I am bound to say I still regard as extremely creditable—as, to be frank, I do their whole opposition, if it comes to that. (To John Proctor Clarke, April 15, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 160; Bishop I, 138.
____________. The Organization, pressed by the corporations, is still very anxious to have me nominated for the Vice-Presidency. It is however, entirely too late now for me to alter my position. I will not accept under any circumstances, and that is all there is about it. (To General F. V. Greene, June 12, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 161; Bishop I, 138.
____________. Well, I now join the innumerable throng of New York’s Vice-Presidential progeny in esse or posse. I should like to have stayed where there was real work; but I would be a fool not to appreciate and be deeply touched by the way I was nominated; and the one great thing at the next election is to re-elect the President, and if my candidacy helps toward that end, well and good. (To John Hay, June 25, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 163; Bishop I, 140.
____________. The thing could not be helped. There were two entirely different forces at work. The first was the desire to get me out of New York, partly because the machine naturally prefers some one more pliable, but mainly because of the corporations’ or rather the big speculative corporations’ unhealthy attitude toward me. This desire was absolutely unoperative as regards results, for I stood Mr. Platt and the machine on their heads when the trial of strength came and forced the entire New York delegation to declare for some one else. It was the feeling of the great bulk of the Republicans that I would strengthen the National ticket and they wanted me on it at all hazards. Mr. Hanna was quite as much opposed to my going on as Mr. Platt was to my staying off, but both were absolutely and utterly powerless. While of course I should have preferred to stay where there was more work, I would be both ungrateful and a fool not to be deeply touched by the way in which I was nominated. (To Anna Roosevelt Cowles, June 25, 1900.) Cowles Letters, 245.
____________. Every real friend of mine will consistently speak of me as exactly what I am—the man chosen because it is believed he will add strength to a cause which, however, is already infinitely stronger than any strength of his—a man absolutely and entirely, in the second place, whom it is grossly absurd and unjust to speak of in any other capacity. This is the attitude which must be assumed in the most emphatic way. (To George H. Lyman, June 27, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 162; Bishop I, 139.
____________. The nomination came to me at Philadelphia simply because the bulk of the enormous majority of the delegates were bent upon having me whether I wished it or not, and all the more because Senator Hanna objected to it. Senator Platt wished me nominated and, as you saw, I absolutely upset him and stood the New York machine on its head, forcing them without one exception to stand against me and support another candidate. When I did this I supposed that it completely dissipated the possibility of my nomination. The effect was just the opposite. The delegates who had already been saying that they would not have Senator Hanna dictate whom they should or should not nominate, now merely said: “So Roosevelt has stood Platt on his head, has he? Well, that settles it. We might not wish him placed on the ticket by Platt, but now we have got to have him anyway.” (To Lyman Abbott, June 27, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 161; Bishop I, 138-139.
See also Election Of 1900; Roosevelt’s Political Career.
I have really enjoyed presiding over the Senate for the week the extra session lasted. I shall get fearfully tired in the future no doubt and of course I should like a more active position. (To Cecil Arthur Spring-Rice, March 16, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 170; Bishop I, 147.
____________. Just a line in reference to my studying law. . . . Could I go into an office in New York—say Evarts & Choate—or study in New York or here in Oyster Bay, so as to get admitted to the bar before the end of my term as Vice-President? (To John Proctor Clarke, March 29, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 170-171; Bishop I, 147.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the King and Queen here, and their children. They are as nice a family as I have come across anywhere, thoroughly good citizens in every way, very cultivated, very intelligent, very simple and upright and straightforward. I should greatly like to have them as neighbors, and the King would make a first-class United States Senator, or Cabinet Minister, and, with a little change, a first-class President! (To H. C. Lodge, April 6, 1900.) Lodge Letters II, 365.
____________. He is the strongest man in Europe, that is my opinion. He is a stronger man than the German Emperor, but whether George will grow stronger than them all remains as yet to be seen. The Italian King has greater insight than any man I met on a throne. Unfortunately, he lacks confidence in himself. He is undersized, and it is always uppermost in his mind. If he is standing he wants to sit down at once so that his height will not be so apparent, and when he sits he always chooses a high chair and his little feet hardly touch the floor. If I were in his place, I would not care a hang about my height. (Recorded by Butt in letter of June 30, 1910.) Taft and Roosevelt, The Intimate Letters of Archie Butt. (Doubleday, Doran & Co., Garden City, N. Y., 1930), I, 424.
See German- Americans.
See “Watchful Waiting.”
The regulators of backwoods society corresponded exactly to the vigilantes of the Western border to-day. In many of the cases of lynch-law which have come to my knowledge the effect has been healthy for the community; but sometimes great injustice is done. Generally, the vigilantes, by a series of summary executions, do really good work; but I have rarely known them fail, among the men whom they killed for good reason, to also kill one or two either by mistake or to gratify private malice. (1889.) Mem. Ed. X, 122; Nat. Ed. VIII, 107.
I have mentioned all these experiences, and I could mention scores of others, because out of them grew my philosophy—perhaps they were in part caused by my philosophy—of bodily vigor as a method of getting that vigor of soul without which vigor of the body counts for nothing. The dweller in cities has less chance than the dweller in the country to keep his body sound and vigorous. But he can do so, if only he will take the trouble. Any young lawyer, shopkeeper, or clerk, or shop-assistant can keep himself in good condition if he tries. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 59; Nat. Ed. XX, 52.
See Also Outdoor Life; Strenuous Life
In March last, Villa made a raid into American territory. He was a bandit leader whose career of successful infamy had been greatly aided by Mr. Wilson’s favor and backing. He was at the head of Mexican soldiers, whose arms and ammunition had been supplied to them in consequence of Mr. Wilson’s reversing Mr. Taft’s policy and lifting the embargo against arms and munitions into Mexico. They attacked Columbus, New Mexico, and killed a number of civilians and a number of United States troops. On the next day the President issued an announcement that adequate forces would be sent in pursuit of Villa “with the single object of capturing him.” On April 8th the announcement was made from the White House that the troops would remain in Mexico until Villa was captured. It was furthermore announced in the press despatches from Washington that he was to be taken “dead or alive.” Fine words! Only—they meant nothing. He is not dead. He has not been taken alive. (At Lewiston, Me., August 31, 1916.) Theodore Roosevelt, Americanism and Preparedness. (New York, 1917), p. 11.
See Also Mexico.
Lawless violence inevitably breeds lawless violence in return, and the first duty of the government is relentlessly to put a stop to the violence and then to deal firmly and wisely with all the conditions that led up to the violence. (To Victor A. Olander, Illinois State Federation of Labor, July 17, 1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 177; Nat. Ed. XIX, 170.
See Also Labor Disputes; Revolution; Riots; War.
One thing I believe that we are realizing more and more, and that is the valuelessness of mere virtue that does not take a tangible and efficient shape. I do not give the snap of my finger for a very good man who possesses that peculiar kind of goodness that benefits only himself, in his own home. I think we all understand more and more that the virtue that is worth having is the virtue that can sustain the rough shock of actual living; the virtue that can achieve practical results, that finds expression in actual life. (At New York State Bar Association Banquet, January 18, 1899.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 468; Nat. Ed. XIV, 309.
There is much less need of genius or of any special brilliancy in the administration of our government than there is need of such homely virtues and qualities as common sense, honesty, and courage. (Inaugural Address as Governor, Albany, January 2, 1899.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 3; Nat. Ed. XV, 3.
____________. There are many qualities which we need alike in private citizen and in public man, but three above all—three for the lack of which no brilliancy and no genius can atone—and those three are courage, honesty, and common sense. (At Antietam, Md., September 17, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XII, 623; Nat. Ed. XI, 338.
We, the men of to-day and of the future, need many qualities if we are to do our work well. We need, first of all and most important of all, the qualities which stand at the base of individual, of family life, the fundamental and essential qualities—the homely, every-day, all-important virtues. If the average man will not work, if he has not in him the will and the power to be a good husband and father; if the average woman is not a good housewife, a good mother of many healthy children, then the state will topple, will go down, no matter what may be its brilliance of artistic development or material achievement. But these homely qualities are not enough. There must, in addition, be that power of organization, that power of working in common for a common end. (At University of Berlin, May 12, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 282; Nat. Ed. XII, 82.
Beauty, refinement, grace, are excellent qualities in a man, as in a nation, but they come second, and very far second, to the great virile virtues, the virtues of courage, energy, and daring; the virtues which beseem a masterful race—a race fit to fell forests, to build roads, to found commonwealths, to conquer continents, to overthrow armed enemies! Harper’s Weekly, December 21, 1895, p. 1216.
____________. No abundance of the milder virtues will save a nation that has lost the virile qualities; and, on the other hand, no admiration of strength must make us deviate from the laws of righteousness. (Outlook , September 23, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 31; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 26.
See Also Character; Common Sense; Courage; Fighting Virtues; Heroic Virtues; Honesty; Intellectual Acuteness; Manly Virtues; Moral Sense; Pioneer Virtues.
See Education, Industrial.
The much-praised “volunteer” system means nothing but encouraging brave men to do double duty and incur double risk in order that cowards and shirks and mere money-getters may sit at home in a safety bought by the lives of better men. (Metropolitan, November 1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, 390; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 334.
____________. The vice of the volunteer system lies chiefly, not in the men who do volunteer, but in the men who don’t. A chief, although not the only, merit in the obligatory system lies in its securing preparedness in advance. By our folly in not adopting the obligatory system as soon as this war broke out, we have forfeited this prime benefit of preparedness. You now propose to use its belated adoption as an excuse for depriving us of the benefits of the volunteer system. This is a very grave blunder. The only right course under existing conditions is to combine the two systems. My proposal is to use the volunteer system so that we can at once avail ourselves of the services of men who would otherwise be exempt, and to use the obligatory as the permanent system as to make all serve who ought to serve. You propose to use the belated adoption of the obligatory system as a reason for refusing the services of half the men of the nation who are most fit to serve, who are most eager to serve, and whose services can be utilized at once. (To Secretary Newton D. Baker, April 22, 1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 209; Nat. Ed. XIX, 198.
See Also Draft; Military Service; Military Training; Roosevelt Division; Rough Riders; Soldiers.
It is not only your right to vote, but it is your duty if you are indeed freemen and American citizens. I want to see every man vote. I would rather have you come to the polls even if you voted against me than have you shirk your duty. (At Richland, N. Y., October 29, 1898.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 463.
____________. Under our form of government voting is not merely a right but a duty, and, moreover, a fundamental and necessary duty if a man is to be a good citizen. (Seventh Annual Message, Washington, December 3, 1907.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 540; Nat. Ed. XV, 460.
See also Civic Duty; Military Service; Negro Suffrage; Politics; Suffrage; Woman Suffrage.
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