Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
Governor of the Empire State must needs be in politics up to his neck if he would do his duty; that is, he must be concerned about the welfare of his people rather than about putting his backers into fat jobs and seeing that the party is made solid in every county. But then, they are different brands. Roosevelt had his own brand from the start. Long before, he had identified and carefully charted it, lest the party managers make a mistake. Practical politics, he wrote, must not be construed to mean dirty politics. On the contrary, in the long run, the politics of fraud and treachery and foulness is unpractical politics, and the most practical of all politicians is the one who is clean and decent and upright. The party man who offers his allegiance to party as an excuse for blindly following his party, right or wrong, and who fails to try to make that party in any way better, commits a crime against the country.
To this place had I come when I was asked to go over and tell the Young Mens Christian Association on the West Side what the battle with the slum meant to my city. And I did, and when I had told them the story I