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CHAPTER XXI

THE CONVENTION

AT PHILADELPHIA THEODORE ROOSEVELT SECONDS THE NOMINATION OF PRESIDENT MCKINLEY - BECOMES CANDIDATE FOR THE VICE-PRESIDENCY - REMARKABLE TOURS THROUGH MANY STATES

As the time came on to nominate parties for the office of President and Vice-President of the United States, in 1900, there was considerable speculation in the Republican party regarding who should be chosen for the second name on the ticket.

It was felt by everybody that President McKinley had honestly earned a second term, not alone by his management of the war with Spain, but also because of his stand touching the rebellion in the Philippines, and on other matters of equal importance.

About the Vice-Presidency the political managers were not so sure, and they mentioned several names. But in the hearts of the people there was but one name, and that was Theodore Roosevelt.

every side.

“ We must have him," was heard upon

“ He will be just the right man in the right place. He will give to the office an importance never before attached to it, and an importance which it deserves.

Personally, Governor Roosevelt did not wish this added honor. As the Executive of the greatest State in our Union, he had started great reforms, and be wanted to finish them.

“My work is here,” he said to many. “Let me do what I have been called to do, and then I will again be at the service of the whole nation once more."

The National Republican Convention met in Philadelphia, June 19, in Exposition Hall, beautifully decorated with flags and banners. Senator Mark Hanna, President McKinley's warmest personal friend, was chairman, and the delegates, numbering over seven hundred, came, as usual at such conventions, from every State in the Union. Governor Roosevelt himself was a delegate, and sat near the middle aisle, five or six seats from the front. He was recognized by everybody, and it is safe to say that

he was the most conspicuous figure at the convention.

Up to the last minute many of the political leaders were, in a measure, afraid of Theodore Roosevelt. They understood his immense popularity, and were afraid that the convention might be “ stampeded” in his favor.

“If they once start to yell for Roosevelt, it will be good-by to everybody else,” said one old politician. “They are just crazy after the leader of the Rough Riders.”

But this man did not understand the stern moral honesty of the man under consideration. Roosevelt believed in upholding William McKinley, and had said so, and it was no more possible for him to seek the Presidential nomination by an underhanded trick than it was for President McKinley to do an equally base thing when he was asked to allow his name to be mentioned at the time he had pledged himself to support John Sherman. Both men were of equal loyalty, and the word of each was as good as his bond.

1 See “ American Boys' Life of William McKinley,"

p. 191.

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