Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 41
Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 41
with the patroon of Rensselaerswyck; but generally he managed merely to harass and worry the settlers until they became so irritated as to be almost mutinous. He struggled hard, not only to retain his own power as dictator, but to establish an aristocratic framework for the young society. With this end in view, he endeavored to introduce as a permanent feature the division of the burghers into two classes, minor and major,—the major burghers' rights being hereditary, and giving many privileges, among others the sole right to hold office. He failed ignominiously in this, for the democratic instincts of the people, and the democratic tendencies of their surroundings, proved too strong for him. He himself strove to be just toward all men; but he chose his personal representatives and agents without paying the least heed to the popular estimate in which they were held. In consequence, some of those most obsequious to him turned out mere profligate, petty tyrants, to whom, nevertheless, he clung obstinately, in spite of all complaints, until they had thoroughly disgusted the people at large. He threw his political opponents into jail without trial, or banished them after a trial in which he himself sat as the judge, announcing that he deemed it treason to complain of the chief magistrate, whether with or without cause; and this naturally threw into a perfect ferment the citizens



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