Speech of Governor Theodore Roosevelt, article and transcription (1900-11-01)


Theodore Roosevelt speech, article (Tonawanda News, 1900-11-01).pdf

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Speech of Governor Theodore Roosevelt, article and transcription (1900-11-01).jpg

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The entire speech as quoted by the Tonawanda News:

"My fellow citizens: I am glad to have the chance of meeting you this afternoon. In this contest I feel that we have a right to appeal to you. I wish to appeal to you in the first place on the ground of material self-interest. I do not want you to take any word of mine, I simply want you to look at the facts as they are, to face conditions as they were four years ago and the conditions today, and to compare Mr. Bryan's prophesy of four years ago with everything that has not happened since.

"My Bryan said four years ago, that unless we had free silver and himself we would have four years during which business would be at a standstill and wage-workers be idle, savings bank deposits decrease and mortgages go up. In every singular particular Mr. Bryan has been in error, not one thing that he foretold has come to pass. There has been more work for the wage-worker with increased wages than ever before. In the business world failures have decreased by over two-thirds, savings bank deposits have gone up 40 per cent, and the number of mortgages has gone down 40 per cent.

"Now, gentlemen, if in private life you are dealing with a man and he misleads you, the first time he fools you it is his fault, and the next time it is your fault (laughter and applause). Now, if our people go wrong they have themselves to thank for it, for they have had the experience of the last eight years to guide them. Recollect that in 1892 the argument was made that we should upset the existing policy because the capitalist had prospered over-much; because the capitalist was too prosperous, and we were told to down him and we did. We adopted the advice. By 1893 we had the capitalist down, he was down, and the rest of us were down, too (applause). That was where the hitch came in.

"And now, gentlemen, Mr. Bryan appeared with his patent remedy and told us we were destined to utter ruin unless we adopted it. We have not adopted it and we are all right. And now he wants us to trust him again."

Here he was interrupted by a cry of "Put him out." Roosevelt turned to the place whence the voice came and said, "No, let him in, he won't do any harm. He may learn something. Almost any change in him would be a change for the better.

"We read in the Bible that among the ancient Hebrews false prophets had a hard time. But we have advanced since those days. They used to stone them; we run them for the presidency on the Democratic ticket. We ask you then to trust to deeds, not words. We ask you to compare the promises we made four years ago, with the performances, and to compare Mr. Bryan's prophecies with the fact that not a single one ever has come to pass.

"Here in this city you have built up great industries under the financial and economic policy of our party. I appeal not merely to Republicans, I appeal to every man who possesses no matter what may have been his political antecedents in th epast, to stand with us because we stand for the rudimentary principle of prosperity and decent citizenship. I ask you to stand with us on the ground of civic interest. Mr. Bryan is fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson. Well, Jefferson said that the whole art of government consists in being honest; and Mr. Croker says he is in politics for his pocket every time. I am not slandering Mr. Croker, I am only quoting him. Mr. Bryan pays lip loyalty to Jefferson, but he associates with Mr. Croker.

"Mr. Bryan has been in some doubt as to what was the paramount issue. Well, I will tell you. The paramount issue for the nation is Bryanism, and for the state Crokerism: and Mr. Bryan asks us to give up our prosperity, to give up our civic interest, and why? Because, forsooth, he asks us to be afraid of militarism Afraid of the regular army. Gentlemen, there are 65,000 regular soldiers and 76,000,000 of is. There are eighty-six one-hundredths of the regular soldier for every one thousand of us. About one and one-half ounces of the regular soldier for each man here present. And if Mr. Bryan is nervous about his share I want to reassure him that Republicans will protect him.

I appeal to you then in the name of our material well-being, and I appeal to you also in the name of the old doctrine of keeping our flag floating in honor wherever it has been hoisted in honor."

Date

1900-11-01