The Foes of Our Own Household

By Theodore Roosevelt | Go to book overview
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APPENDIX F
NINE-TENTHS OF WISDOM IS BEING WISE IN TIME

(Part of Speech at Lincoln, Nebraska, June 14, 1917)

In the past there have been two great crises in our national life: that in which the infant nation was saved by the soldierly valor and single-minded statesmanship of Washington, and that in which, in its raw maturity, the nation was again saved by the men who followed Lincoln and Grant. In each case the victory was followed by over half a century of national unity, secured by the peace of victory; and during this peace, brought by the victory of righteousness, men forgot that all its benefits would be lost if it were turned into the peace of cowardice and slackness. The Revolution was a war for liberty; and that liberty became of permanent value only when, again under Washington's lead, it was made secure by the orderly strength of the Union. The liberty secured in the Civil War to the black man was thus secured only because the white man was willing to fight to the death for the Union, and for the flag to which we owe undivided allegiance.

The old thirteen states were born of the Revolution. Nebraska, like Kansas, was born of the Civil War. It was the struggle over the admission to statehood of Kansas and Nebraska which marked the real opening of the contest that culminated at Appomatox.

The contest settled three great principles:

1. That we were no longer to make words substitutes for facts, or accept fine phrases in lieu of great deeds; and

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