Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

THE MAN ROOSEVELT

CHAPTER I

THE KEY TO A REMARKABLE CAREER

Reversing the ride of rate—A good use for disappointments— "Going ahead"—The Isthmian imbroglio—One of four alternatives—Warning to Turkey—A recipe for success.

When Senator Depew, in his speech nominating Theodore Roosevelt for Vice-President, called him "an Eastern man with Western characteristics," he stated only a half-truth. He might have described his candidate as the greatest living all-around antithesis. Reared amid conditions which pointed to a life of leisure, Theodore Roosevelt voluntarily chose a life of hard work. Educated in a social atmosphere in which practical politics is numbered among the vices, he deliberately elected to become a politician. Physically a weakling in his boyhood, he has acquired, by Spartan training, a body like spring steel. Born with the mental and moral equipment of an independent, he has made of himself, by unremitting endeavor, a pretty good partizan.

Let it be noted that these changes have been wrought by the sheer exercise of will. The man has conquered nature. Every fresh victory has strengthened his self-confidence, and this confidence has furnished the propulsive force for his next assault. It is said that Heaven helps him who helps himself. Heaven has certainly been very kind to Theodore Roosevelt; for in those few instances where he has helped himself to the best of his ability and failed, some other power has intervened to turn defeat into a surprising success. Had he been elected Mayor of the city of New York when he ran in 1886, he would undoubtedly have followed the local fashion of the day and sought a reelection at the end of his term, and thus been carried too far out of the track of Federal politics to have become a candidate for Assistant Secretary of State under President Harrison. Had Secretary Blaine favored his appointment as Assistant Secretary of State, the President would undoubtedly have appointed him, with the result that he would have been kept in perpetual eclipse by the greater luminary at the head of the department, as Mr. Wharton was; instead, a Civil-Service commissionership was offered him and he accepted it, and the free swing he GOOD USE FOR DISAPPOINTMENTS

had in that place enabled him to become a national character and paved the way for his later promotions. His old thirst to have a hand in the government of his native city came back to him after he had passed six years at Washington, and he yielded to Mayor Strong's solicitation to become a member of the reorganized Police Commission. The result was disappointing, however; for, in spite of a series of notable reforms, the influence of one of his colleagues blocked so many of his projects for improvement that he was glad of the chance afforded by President McKinley's election to go to Washington as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. In this position he was largely instrumental in bringing the Cuban controversy to a head and making ready for his experience as a soldier. Again observe the part played by mischance. If, when war came, he had obtained the place on the staff of General Fitzhugh Lee for which he originally applied, he would not have organized the Rough Riders and become the most picturesque figure in the volunteer army; and it was on his war record that he made his campaign for the governorship of New York.

Then came another bitter disappointment. He craved a second term as Governor. The

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »