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It was Senator Foraker who put up President McKinley for nomination, and the vigorous cheering at that time will never be forgotten. Fifteen thousand throats yelled themselves hoarse, and then broke into the ringing words and music of “ The Union Forever!” in a manner that made the very convention hall tremble. Then came cries for Roosevelt, “ For our own Teddy of the Rough Riders!” and, written speech in hand, he arose amid that vast multitude to second the candidacy of William McKinley. Not once did he look at the paper he held in his band, but with a force that could not be misunderstood he addressed the assemblage.
“I rise to second the nomination of William McKinley, because with him as a leader this people has trod the path of national greatness and prosperity with the strides of a giant,” said he, “and because under him we can and will succeed in the election. Exactly as in the past we have remedied the evils which we undertook to remedy, so now when we say that a wrong shall be righted, it most assuredly will be righted.
6 We stand on the threshold of a new
century, a century big with the fate of the great nations of the earth. It rests with us to decide now whether in the opening years of that century we shall march forward to fresh triumphs, or whether at the outset we shall deliberately cripple ourselves for the contest.”
His speech was the signal for another burst of applause, and when finally Theodore Roosevelt was named as the candidate for Vice-President, the crowd yelled until it could yell no longer, while many sang “ Yankee Doodle" and other more or less patriotic airs, keeping time with canes and flag-sticks. When the vote was cast, only one delegate failed to vote for Theodore Roosevelt, and that was Theodore Roosevelt himself.
The platform of the party was largely a repetition of the platform of four years before. Again the cry was for “ sound money," and for the continuance of President McKinley's policy in the Philippines.
The campaign which followed was truly a strenuous one — to use a favorite word of the candidate. President McKinley decided not to make many speeches, and
thus the hard work previous to election day fell upon Theodore Roosevelt.
He did not shirk the task. As with everything he undertook, he entered into the campaign with vigor, resolved to deserve success even if he did not win it.
“I will do my best in the interests of our party, and for the benefit of the people at large,” said Theodore Roosevelt. can do more than that."
In the few short months between the time when he was nominated and when the election was held, Governor Roosevelt travelled over 20,000 miles by rail, visiting nearly 600 towns, and addressing, on a rough estimate, fully 3,000,000 of people ! In that time he delivered 673 speeches, some of them half an hour and some an hour in length.
In his thousands of miles of travel the candidate for the Vice-Presidency visited many States, particularly those lying between New York and Colorado. At nearly every town he was greeted by an immense crowd, all anxious to do the leader of the Rough Riders honor. In the large cities great banquets were held, and he was shown
much respect and consideration. In many places those who had fought under him came to see and listen to him, and these meetings were of especial pleasure. Often he would see an old Rough Rider hanging back in the crowd, and would call him to the front or do his best to reach the ex-soldier and shake him by the hand.
One occurrence is worthy of special mention. The Democratic party had nominated William Jennings Bryan as their candidate for President. There was a great labor picnic and demonstration at Chicago, and both Governor Roosevelt and Mr. Bryan were invited to speak.
6 You had better not accept, governor, said some friends to Theodore Roosevelt. “There may be trouble.”
“I am not afraid," answered the former leader of the Rough Riders.
“But Mr. Bryan and yourself are to be there at practically the same time."
“ That does not matter," said the governor. And he went to Chicago on September 3, to attend the Labor Day celebrations. The picnic was held at Electric Park, and in the
presence of fifteen thousand people Gov
ernor Roosevelt and Mr. Bryan “ buried the hatchet” for the time being, and spoke to those surrounding them on the dignity of labor and the duties of the laboring man to better himself and his social conditions. In that motley collection of people there were frequent cries of “Hurrah for Teddy!” and “What's the matter with Bryan ? He's all right !” but there was no disturbance, and each speaker was listened to with respectful attention from start to finish. It was without a doubt a meeting to show true American liberty and free speech at its best.
But all of the stops on his tours were not so pleasant to Governor Roosevelt. In
every community there are those who are low-bred and bound to make an exhibition of their baseness. At Waverly, New York, a stone was flung at him through the car window, breaking the glass but missing the candidate for whom it was intended. At once there was excitement. “Are you hurt, Governor ?” was the
“No," returned Theodore Roosevelt. And then he added, with a faint smile, “ It's