Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
in a strong people and a weak government. Lincoln was the first who showed how a strong people might have a strong government and yet remain the freest on earth. He seized, half unwittingly, all that was best in the traditions of Federalism. He was the true successor of the Federal leaders, but he grafted on their system a profound belief that the great heart of the nation beats for truth, honor, and liberty.
Now do you wonder that he is the despairing riddle of the politicians the land over, the enemy, wherever they meet, of all the after-us-the-deluge plotters? They have not the key to the man; and if they had, they would not know how to use it. The key is his faith that the world is growing better right along. In their plan, it may go to the devil when they have squeezed it for what there is in it for them. They can never comprehend that the man who believes in the world growing better helps make it better, and so, in the end, is bound to win; or why he is closer to the people than any man since Lincolns day. It is all a mystery and a nuisance to them, and I am glad it is.