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white American might enjoy liberty forever, though his race remained in slavery.
When, in 1814, at New Orleans, the test of patriotism came again, we find the negro choosing the better part, and General Andrew Jackson himself testifying that no heart was more loyal and no arm more strong and useful in defence of righteousness.
When the long and memorable struggle came between union and separation, when he knew that victory on the one hand meant freedom, and defeat on the other his continued enslavement, with a full knowledge of the portentous meaning of it all, when the suggestion and the temptation came to burn the home and massacre wife and children during the absence of the master in battle, and thus ensure his liberty, we find him choosing the better part, and for four long years protecting and supporting the helpless, defenceless ones entrusted to his care.
When, in 1863, the cause of the Union seemed to quiver in the balance, and there was doubt and distrust, the negro was asked to come to the rescue in arms, and the valor displayed at Fort Wagner and Port Hudson and Fort Pillow testify most eloquently again that the negro chose the better part.
When, a few months ago, the safety and honor of the republic were threatened by a foreign foe, when the wail and anguish of the oppressed from a distant isle reached his ears, we find the negro forgetting his own wrongs, forgetting the laws and customs that discriminate against him in his own country, and again we find our black citizen choosing the better part. And if you would know how he deported himself in the field at Santiago, apply for answer to Shafter and Roosevelt and Wheeler. Let them tell how the negro faced death and laid down his life in defence of honor and human
ity, and when you have gotten the full story of the heroio conduct of the negro in the Spanish-American war-heard it from the lips of Northern soldiers and Southern soldiers, from ex-abolitionists and ex-masters, then decide within yourselves whether a race that is thus willing to die for its country should not be given the highest opportunity to live for its country. In the midst of all the complaints of suffering in the
camp and field, suffering from fever and hunger, where is the official or citizen that has heard a word of complaint from the lips of a black soldier? The only request that has come from the negro soldier has been that he might be permitted to replace the white soldier when heat and malaria began to decimate the ranks of the white regiment, and to occupy at the same time the post of greatest danger.
This country has been most fortunate in her victories. She has twice measured arms with England and has won. She has met the spirit of rebellion within her borders and was victorious. She has met the proud Spaniard, and he lies prostrate at her feet. All this is well; it is magnificent. But there remains one other victory for Americans to win-a victory as far-reaching and important as any that has occupied our army and navy. We have succeeded in every conflict except the effort to conquer ourselves in the blotting out of racial prejudices.
We can celebrate the era of peace in no more effectual way than by a firm resolve on the part of Northern men and Southern men, black men and white men, that the trenches which we together dug around Santiago shall be the eternal burial-place of all that which separates us in our business and civil relations. Let us be as generous in peace as we have been brave in battle. Until we thus conquer ourselves, I make no empty statement when I say that we shall have,
especially in the Southern part of our country, a cancer gnawing at the heart of the republic that shall one day prove as dangerous as an attack from an army without or within.
In this presence and on this auspicious occasion I want to present the deep gratitude of nearly ten millions of my people to our wise, patient, and brave Chief Executive for the generous manner in which my race has been recognized during this conflict,--a recognition that has done more to blot out sectional and racial lines than any event since the dawn of our freedom.
I know how vain and impotent is all abstract talk on this subject. In your efforts to “rise on stepping-stones of your dead selves,” we of the black race shall not leave you unaided. We shall make the task easier for you by acquiring property, habits of thrift, economy, intelligence, and character, by each making himself of individual worth in his own community. We shall aid you in this as we did a few days ago at El Caney and Santiago, when we helped you to hasten the peace we here celebrate. You know us; you are not afraid of us. When the crucial test comes, you are not ashamed of us. We have never betrayed or deceived you. You know that as it has been, so it will be. Whether in war or in peace, whether in slavery or in freedom, we have always been loyal to the Stars and Stripes.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, a distinguished American soldier, author,
and politician, President of the United States, was born in New York city, October 27, 1858, and was educated at Harvard University. After a year of foreign travel he sat in the New York Assembly as a Republican member, 1882-84, in which period he introduced and secured the passage of the first State Civil Service Bill. In 1886 he was an unsuccessful independent candidate for the office of mayor of New York, and in 1889 he was appointed by President Harrison a member of the United States civil service commission, holding office till 1895. In that year he became president of the board of police commissioners of New York, and during his two years' occupancy of that position he introduced several much-needed and drastic reforms. He resigned in 1897 to accept the post of assistant secretary of the navy, but at the outbreak of the Spanish-American war in 1898 he resigned this position also, and, having raised a volunteer cavalry regiment known as the Rough Riders, he entered the army as lieutenant-colonel, being shortly after commissioned colonel. With his regiment he took active part in the attack on Santiago de Cuba. At the close of 1898 he was elected governor of New York. In 1900 he was elected Vice-President, and on the assassination of President McKinley became President, September 14, 1901.
His published books include “ The Naval War of 1812" (1882); “ Hunting Trips of a Ranchman (1883); “ Life of Thomas Hart Benton' (1886); “ Life of Gouverneur Morris ” (1888); “ Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail" (1888); History of the City of New York" (1890); “ The Winning of the West” (1889-95); “ Essays on Practical Politics ” (1892); “ The Wilderness Hunter (1893); “ American Political Ideals " (1898); “ The Rough Riders (1899); Oliver Cromwell " (1900).
ON NATIONAL QUESTIONS
SPEECH DELIVERED AT CHICAGO, APRIL 10, 1899
N speaking to you, men of the greatest city of the West,
men of the State which gave to the country Lincoln
and Grant, men who pre-eminently and distinctly embody all that is most American in the American character, I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doc! trine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes
not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.
A life of ignoble ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. I ask only that what every self-respecting American demands from himself and from his sons shall be demanded of the American nation as a whole. Who among you would teach your boys that ease, that peace is to be the first consideration in their eyes—to be the ultimate goal after which they strive?
You men of Chicago have made this city great, you men of Illinois have done your share, and more than your share, in making America great, because you neither preach nor practice such a doctrine. You work yourselves, and you bring up your sons to work. If you are rich and are worth your salt, you will teach your sons that though they may have leisure it is not to be spent in idleness; for wisely used leisure merely means that those who possess it, being free from the necessity of working for their livelihood, are all the more bound to carry on some kind of non-remunerative work in science, in letters, in art, in exploration, in historical research-work of the type we most need in this country, the successful carrying out of which reflects most honor upon the nation.
We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious efforts, the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort.
Freedom from effort in the present merely means that