Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters - Vol. 1

By Joseph Bucklin Bishop | Go to book overview

the voice of the just man armed is potent. We need to keep in a condition of preparedness, especially as regards our navy, not because we want war, but because we desire to stand with those whose plea for peace is listened to with respectful attention.

This was not the first utterance of the kind that Roosevelt had made, but was in fact a repetition of what he had said twenty years earlier in the preface to his "History of the War of 1812," which he wrote in 1882, quoted in Chapter VI, and in his address before the Naval War College in 1897, quoted in Chapter IX.

In his Chamber of Commerce speech the President gave an outline of his ideas on the subject of social and industrial reform--a question that was steadily growing to larger importance in his mind:

"No patent remedy can be devised for the solution of these grave problems in the industrial world; but we may rest assured that they can be solved at all only if we bring to the solution certain old-time virtues, and if we strive to keep out of the solution some of the most familiar and most undesirable of the traits to which mankind has owed untold degradation and suffering throughout the ages. Arrogance, suspicion, brutal envy of the well-to-do, brutal indifference toward those who are not well-to-do, the hard refusal to consider the rights of others, the foolish refusal to consider the limits of beneficent action, the base appeal to the spirit of selfish greed, whether it take the form of plunder of the fortunate or of oppression of the unfortunate--from these and from all kindred vices this Nation must be kept free if it is to remain in its present position in the forefront of the peoples of mankind. On the other hand, good will come, even out of the present evils, if we face them armed with the old homely virtues; if we show that we are fearless of soul, cool of head, and kindly of heart; if, without betraying the weakness that cringes before wrongdoing, we yet show by deeds and words our

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