Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
when orders were cabled under the Pacific to the man with the lion heart to go in and smash the enemy. Capture or destroy! We know the rest.
Roosevelts work was done. There is nothing more for me to do here, he said. Ive got to get into the fight myself.
They told him to stay, he was needed where he was. But he was right: his work was done. It was to prepare for war. With the fighting of the ships he had, could have, nothing to do. Merely to sit in an office and hold down a job, a title, or a salary, was not his way. He did not go lightly. His wife was lying sick, with a little baby; his other children needed him. I never had the good fortune to know a man who loves his children more devotedly and more sensibly than he. There was enough to keep him at home; there were plenty to plead with him. I did myself, for I hated to see him go. His answer was as if his father might have spoken: I have done all I could to bring on the war, because it is a just war, and the sooner we meet it the better. Now that it has come, I have no business to ask others to do the fighting and stay at home myself.