Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 158
Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 158
country at will. The revolted colonists had no navy, while the mother country possessed the most powerful in the world. She was fourfold their superior in population, and a hundredfold in wealth; she had a powerful standing army, while they had none. Moreover, the colonists’ worst foes were those of their own household. The active Tories and half-hearted neutrals formed the majority of the population in many districts,—including Long Island and Staten Island. The Americans were then a race of yeomen, or small farmers, who were both warlike in temper and unmilitary in habits. They were shrewd, brave, patriotic, stout of heart and body, and proudly self-reliant, but impatient of discipline, and most unwilling to learn the necessity of obedience. Their notion of war was to enlist for a short campaign, usually after the hay was in, and to return home by winter, or sooner, if their commanding officers displeased them. They seemed unable to appreciate the need of sustained effort. The jealousies of the different States and their poverty and short-sighted parsimony, the looseness of the Federal tie, the consequent impotence of the central government, and the radical unfitness of the Continental Congress as a body to conduct war, all combined to render the prospects of the patriots gloomy. Only the heroic grandeur of Washington could have built up victory from these jarring



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