Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters - Vol. 2

By Joseph Bishop Bucklin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV
REFLECTIONS ON THE FUTURE OF THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY AND HIS OWN LEADERSHIP

THAT Roosevelt believed the career of the Progressive party had come to an end and that his political leadership was no longer desired by the country, his letters after election in 1912 and during 1913 leave no doubt. Writing to the Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Grey, afterwards Viscount Grey, and British Ambassador to the United States in 1919, at London, on November 15, 1913, he said:

"As for the political fight here ( 1912), I did not believe we would win, and I can say quite honestly that I have little or no personal regref in the outcome. But I do feel sorry from the broader standpoint. Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time, and if a country lets the time for wise action pass, it may bitterly repent when a generation later it strives under disheartening difficulties to do what could have been done so easily if attempted at the right moment. We Progressives were fighting for elementary social and industrial justice, and we had with us the great majority of the practical idealists of the country. But we had against us both the old political organizations and ninety-nine per cent at the very least of the corporate wealth of the country, and therefore the great majority of the newspapers. Moreover we were not able to reach the hearts of the materialists, or to stir the imagination of the well-meaning somewhat sodden men who lack vision and prefer to travel in a groove. We were fought by the Socialists as bitterly as by the representatives of the two old parties, and this for the very reason that we stand equally against government by a plutocracy and government by a mob.

"There is something to be said for government by a

-347-

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