To the Barricades Once More

Neither Hiram Johnson nor the other progressiveshad to be geniuses to recognize that this was far short of the definitive denial that would have taken Roosevelt out of the race for good. Indeed, by premising his refusal on grounds of his presumed unpopularity, Roosevelt made obvious what was necessary to bring him into the race--namely, a draft.

Many skeptics on the subject of Roosevelt reckoned, especially in light of the events of the next several months, that this was exactly what he had in mind. But those skeptics didn't know Roosevelt. The former president was absolutely sincere in not wanting to be nominated. Campaigning was hard work, and where he once had embraced hard work as a necessary part of every man's responsibility, his thinking had changed. "Twenty or even ten years ago, I should have felt sorry to retire from the activities of the universe," he told a friend, " because I should have felt that I had not earned the right thus to retire." But no more. "Now I feel that I have worked hard for thirty years, I have done everything I could, and have accomplished a certain amount." The old compulsion had dissipated. "I no longer feel that I am recreant unless I have the harness on." There was a season for everything. "I am glad to rest and to turn my attention to other things, and I am enjoying myself to the full for I feel that I thus enjoy myself with a full heart and without any unpleasant suspicion that I am not doing my duty unless I am hard at work."

Roosevelt went on to reflect on his place in history. "I hope you won't think me priggish or affected or conceited, when I add that I


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T.R.: The Last Romantic
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