Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 152
Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 152
they owed an honest debt of gratitude to their champions in former wars; and might shrink from enduring the hundred actual evils of civil conflict merely for the sake of protesting against the violation of certain abstract rights and principles; but the high-spirited young men, the leaders in thought and action, fixed with unerring certainty upon the central and vital truth of the situation. They saw that the struggle, when resolved into its ultimate elements, was to allow Americans the chance for full and free development, uncramped by the galling sense of admitted inferiority. The material benefits conferred by the continuance of British rule might or might not offset the material disadvantages it involved; but they could not weigh against the evils of a system which dwarfed the character and intellect,—a system which condemned all colonists to remain forever in the second rank, which forbade their striving for the world’s great prizes, unless they renounced their American birthright, and which deprived them of those hopes that especially render life worth living in the eyes of the daring and ambitious. To their free, bold spirits, the mere assumption of their inferiority was an intolerable grievance, as indeed it has ever been esteemed by the master races of the world. Sooner than submit, in ignoble peace and safety, to an order of things which would have stunted



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