Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensible to every duty, regardless of every principle, bent only on amassing a fortune, and putting his fortune only to the basest useswhether these uses be to speculate in stocks and wreck railroads himself, or to allow his son to lead a life of foolish and expensive idleness and gross debauchery, or to purchase some scoundrel of high social position, foreign or native, for his daughter.
Young Mr. Roosevelt went into the next Legislature re-elected with a big majority in a year that saw his party go down in defeat all along the line, as its leader on the floor of the house. At twenty-four he was proposed for Speaker. Then came his real test. Long after, he told me of it.
I suppose, he said, that my head was swelled. It would not be strange if it was. I stood out for my own opinion, alone. I took the best mugwump stand: my own conscience, my own judgment, were to decide in all things. I would listen to no argument, no advice. I took the isolated peak on every issue, and my people left me. When I looked around, before the session was well under way, I found myself