Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 241
Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 241
group of poets which included men like Rodman Drake. For the first time we had a literature worthy of being so called, which was not saturated with the spirit of servile colonialism, the spirit of humble imitation of things European. Our political life became full and healthy only after we had achieved political independence; and it is quite as true that we never have done, and never shall do, anything really worth doing, whether in literature or art, except when working distinctively as Americans.
  We are not yet free from the spirit of colonialism in art and letters; but the case was, and is, much worse with our purely social life,—or at least with that portion of it which ought to be, and asserts itself to be, but emphatically is not, our best social life. In the “Potiphar Papers,” Mr. Curtis, a New Yorker of whom all New Yorkers can be proud, has left a description which can hardly be called a caricature of fashionable New York society as it was in the decade before the war. It is not an attractive picture. The city then contained nearly three-quarters of a million inhabitants, and the conditions of life were much as they are to-day. The era of railroads and steamships was well under way; all the political and social problems and evils which now exist, existed then, often in aggravated form. The mere commercial classes were absorbed in making money,—a pursuit



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