Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
work for good government because it will better their state materially; but it is a far better thing to appeal to them to work for good government because it is right in itself to do so.
Morally, a pound of construction is worth a ton of destruction.
ON EXPEDIENCY: No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency. He is bound to do all the good possible. Yet he must consider the question of expediency, in order that he may do all the good possible, for otherwise he will do none. As soon as a politician gets to the point of thinking that to be practical he has got to be base, he has become a noxious member of the body politic. That species of practicability eats into the moral sense of the people like a cancer, and he who practices it can no more be excused than an editor who debauches public decency in order to sell his paper.
ON CYNICISM: Cynicism in public life is a curse, and when a man has lost the power of enthusiasm for righteousness it will be better