The Cockpit of Empire
"You may easily imagine our relief over the election," Roosevelt told Bamie shortly after the results of the polling came in. The stakes, he said, had been higher than many people realized. "It was the greatest crisis in our national fate, save only the Civil War." But right had emerged victorious. "And I am more than glad I was able to do my part in the contest."
For a person who studied history professionally, Roosevelt curiously lacked perspective on current events. The election of 1896 was hardly as critical as the election of 1800, for example, which had demonstrated that the ruling party in America would relinquish power peacefully. Yet Roosevelt would never concede that anything having to do with Democratic idol Jefferson was a turning point in American history. And besides, even more than most historians, Roosevelt went hunting in the past for trophies that would impress the present. Thus, while he often lacked historical perspective on the present, he never lacked presentist perspective on the past.
What Roosevelt really meant was that the election of 1896 was critical to him. He appreciated that his days on the police board were numbered, and if he didn't find another position quickly, he'd be in a worse fix than during his final days on the Civil Service Commission when he thought he had missed the last train to any chance of career success.
Besides, the police job had become well-nigh impossible. "I have to contend with the hostility of Tammany, and the almost equal hostility of the Republican machine," he told Bamie. "I have to contend with