Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography

By Henry F. Pringle | Go to book overview

Chapter XI
SWORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

THE appointment of Theodore Roosevelt in 1895 to the police board of New York, which brought friction and fighting enough to surfeit even his restless spirit, may be traced back to two events some years before. The first was a legislative investigation in 1884, which initiated Roosevelt into certain irregularities practiced by guardians of the law. The second took place on Sunday, February 14, 1892, when the Rev. Charles F. Parkhurst told his congregation that New York was "a very hotbed of knavery, debauchery and bestiality."1 Subsequent fulminations by the pastor of the Madison Square Church resulted in 1894 in the momentary downfall of Tammany Hall.

A member of the State legislature in 1884, Roosevelt had led in the fight for the passage of four or five bills backed by civic organizations in New York. It was their hope, as it has been the hope of similar organizations ever since, that the legislation would put an end to graft and corruption in police and other municipal circles. Enthusiastic rallies were held at which orators pointed to Assemblyman Roosevelt as their champion. Upon his "young shoulders were carried the earnestness and the wisdom of years."2 One of the reform bills called, specifically, for an inquiry into the city's police force. In due time Roosevelt was presiding over hearings conducted in the ornate parlor of the old Metropolitan Hotel, once owned by Boss Tweed, and before him passed witnesses who told unsavory stories of police incapacity and dishonesty. 3

Roosevelt was convinced, after the hearings in 1884, that police reform was vitally needed in New York. His reports to the legislature called for civil service and for a single police commissioner to take the

____________________
1
Parkhurst Charles F., My Forty Years in New York, pp. 106-25.
2
New York Times, Mar. 28, 1884.
3
New York State, Committee to Investigate Local Government of the City of New York, Hearings, Vol. II, 1884.

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Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Book I 1
  • Chapter I - Teedie 3
  • Chapter II - Growth 16
  • Chapter III - Thou Goddess, Indifference! 26
  • Chapter IV - Alice Lee 40
  • Chapter V - Butter and Jam 54
  • Chapter VI - I Rose like a Rocket 65
  • Chapter VII - Practical Politician 79
  • Chapter VIII - Gentleman Cowhand 92
  • Chapter IX - The Years Between 106
  • Chapter X - A Job Once More 120
  • Chapter XI - Sword of Righteousness 132
  • Chapter XII - The Nation in Peril 152
  • Chapter XIII - Lord of the Navy 165
  • Chapter XIV - A Bully Fight 181
  • Chapter XV - Reward for a Hero 201
  • Chapter XVI - Yearnings and Consummation 216
  • Book II 235
  • Chapter I - Middle of the Road 237
  • Chapter II - The First Attack 251
  • Chapter III - The Rights of Labor 264
  • Chapter IV - The Big Stick 279
  • Chapter V - Setting for a Melodrama 301
  • Chapter VI - I Took Panama 315
  • Chapter VII - Trimming Sail 339
  • Chapter VIII - The Imperial Years Begin 359
  • Chapter IX - Imperial Years 372
  • Chapter X - The Japanese Menace 398
  • Chapter XI - Malefactors of Great Wealth 413
  • Chapter XII - The Wicked Speculators 432
  • Chaper XIII - Substantial Justice 446
  • Chapter XIV - Handing Down the Law 465
  • Chapter XV - End of the Reign 476
  • Book III 495
  • Chapter I - The First Error 497
  • Chapter II - Among the Kings 508
  • Chapter III - Return Triumphant 525
  • Chapter IV - True Democracy 540
  • Chapter V - Battling for the Lord 553
  • Chapter VI - Drums of War 572
  • Chapter VII - The Final Blow 589
  • Appendix 605
  • Bibliography 607
  • Index 613
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