Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen > Page 135
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen.  1904.

Page 135
 
kind of hold-up, if you like, in the plain interests of the city’s welfare.
  But “the system” Roosevelt was called to break up. I shall not attempt to describe it. The world must be weary of it to the point of disgust. We fought it then; we fight it now. We shall have to fight it no one can tell how often or how long; for just as surely as we let up for ever so little a while, and Tammany, which is always waiting without, gets its foot between the door and the jamb, the old blackmail rears its head once more. It is the form corruption naturally takes in a city with twelve or thirteen thousand saloons, with a State law that says they shall be closed on Sundays, and with a defiant thirst which puts a premium on violating the law by making it the most profitable day in the week to the saloon-keeper who will take the chances. Those chances are the opportunities of the politician and of the police where the two connect. The politicians use the law as a club to keep the saloons in line, all except the biggest, the keepers of which sit in the inner councils of “the Hall”; the police use it for extorting blackmail. “The result

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