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Average Americans   By: (1858-1919)

Average Americans by Theodore Roosevelt

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[Illustration: Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt From a photograph by LĂ©vey Dhurmer]




G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS NEW YORK AND LONDON The Knickerbocker Press 1919




All our lives my father treated his sons and daughters as companions. When we were not with him he wrote to us constantly. Everything that we did we discussed with him whenever it was possible. All his children tried to live up to his principles. In the paragraphs from his letters below, he speaks often of the citizens of this country as "our people." It is for all these, equally with us, that the messages are intended.

"New Year's greetings to you! This may or may not be, on the whole, a happy New Year almost certainly it will be in part at least a New Year of sorrow but at least you and your brothers will be upborne by the self reliant pride coming from having played well and manfully a man's part when the great crisis came, the great crisis that 'sifted out men's souls' and winnowed the chaff from the grain." January 1, 1918.

"Large masses of people still vaguely feel that somehow I can say something which will avoid all criticism of the government and yet make the government instantly remedy everything that is wrong; whereas in reality nothing now counts except the actual doing of the work and that I am allowed to have no part in. Generals Wood and Crowder have been denied the chance to render service; appointments are made primarily on grounds of seniority, which in war time is much like choosing Poets Laureate on the same grounds." August 23, 1917.

"At last, after seven months, we are, like Mr. Snodgrass, 'going to begin.' The National Guard regiments are just beginning to start for their camps, and within the next two weeks I should say that most of them would have started; and by the first of September I believe that the first of the National Army will begin to assemble in their camps.... I do nothing. Now and then, when I can't help myself, I speak, for it is necessary to offset in some measure the talk of the fools, traitors, pro Germans, and pacifists; but really what we need against these is action, and that only the government can take. Words count for but little when the 'drumming guns' have been waked." August 23, 1917.

"The regular officers are fine fellows, but for any serious work we should eliminate two thirds of the older men and a quarter of the younger men, and use the remainder as a nucleus for, say, three times their number of civilian officers. Except with a comparatively small number, too long a stay in our army with its peculiar limitations produces a rigidity of mind that refuses to face the actual conditions of modern warfare. But the wonder is that our army and navy have been able to survive in any shape after five years of Baker and Daniels." September 17, 1917.

"Along many lines of preparation the work here is now going fairly fast not much of a eulogy when we are in the ninth month of the war. But there cannot be much speed when military efficiency is subordinated to selfish personal politics, the gratification of malice, and sheer wooden headed folly." October 14, 1917 .

"The socialist vote [in the New York mayoralty election] was rather ominous. Still, on the whole, it was only about one fifth of the total vote. It included the extreme pacifist crowd, as well as the vicious red flag men, and masses of poor, ignorant people who, for example, would say. 'He'll give us five cent milk,' which he could have given as readily as he could have given the moon... Continue reading book >>

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