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personal liberty; here a man could try to make what he pleased of himself, be it cobbler or President.
The young college graduate had an uncle in New York, named Robert B. Roosevelt, who was a well-known lawyer. On his return to this country Theodore Roosevelt entered his uncle's office, and likewise took up the study of law at Columbia University, attending the lectures given by Professor Dwight. Here again his search after what he termed “bottom facts" came to light, and he is well remembered as a member of the law class because of the way he frequently asked questions and called for explanations - accepting nothing as a fact until it was perfectly clear in his own mind. The interruptions did not always suit the professor or the other students, yet they were often the means of clearing up a point that was hazy to many others who had not the courage to thrust forth their inquiries as did Theodore Roosevelt.
“He wants to know it all,” said one student, in disgust.
Well, never mind; I wish I knew it all,” answered another. “I guess he knows
what he is doing.” And in this he was right; Theodore Roosevelt knew exactly what he was trying to accomplish.
The young man was now twenty-three years of age, broad-shouldered, and in much better health than ever before. He had not abandoned his athletic training, and would often run out to the old home at Oyster Bay for a tramp into the woods or on a hunting tour.
While still studying law, Theodore Roosevelt entered politics by taking an active part in a Republican primary. He lived in the twenty-third assembly district of the state. The district included a great number of rich and influential citizens, and on that account was called the “Diamond Back District."
“Let us put up young Roosevelt for Assembly,” said one of the politicians. “ He's a clever fellow."
“ That may be,” said another. “But I don't know that we can manage him. He seems a fellow who wants his own way.”
“ Yes, he'll want his own way, but I reckon that way will be the right way," put in a third speaker.
No sooner had Theodore Roosevelt's name been mentioned as a possible candidate than there was a storm of opposition from some politicians who had in the past ruled the district with a rod of iron. It was a Republican district, so that the contest for the place was entirely in the primary.
“If he is nominated and elected, our power will be gone,” they told themselves; and set to work without delay to throw the nomination into the hands of somebody else.
Theodore Roosevelt suspected what was going on, but he said nothing to those who opposed him.
With his friends he was very frank, and told them that if he was nominated he would do his best to win the election and serve them honestly in the legislature.
His open-heartedness won him many friends, and when the primary was held, those who had opposed him were chagrined to see him win the nomination with votes to spare.
Some at once predicted that he would not be elected.
“Those who opposed him at the primary
will not vote for him," they said. would rather help the Democrats.'
But this prediction proved false. At the election Theodore Roosevelt was elected with a good majority. It was his first battle in the political arena, and if he felt proud over it, who can blame him?
The State Capitol of New York is, as my young readers must know, at Albany, on the Upper Hudson, and hither the young assemblyman journeyed. The assemblymen poured in from all over the state, and were made up of all sorts and conditions of men, including bankers, farmers, merchants, contractors, liquor dealers, and even prize-fighters. Many of these men were thoroughly honest, but there were others who were there for gain only, and who cared little for the passing of just laws.
The party to which Theodore Roosevelt belonged was in the minority, so that the young assemblyman found he would have to struggle hard if he expected to be heard at all. But the thoughts of such a struggle only put him on his mettle, and he plunged in with a vigor that astonished his oppo
nents and caused great delight to his friends.
“ He is fearless,” said one who had voted for him. “He will make things warm for those who don't want to act on the square. And he certainly did make it warm, until a certain class grew to fear and hate him to such a degree that they plotted to do him bodily harm.
“He has got to learn that he must mind his own business," was the way one of these corruptionists reasoned.
“But what can we do?" asked another. “He's as sharp on the floor of the Assembly as a steel trap."
“We'll get Stubby to brush up against him," said a third.
Stubby was a bar-room loafer who had been at one time something of a pugilist. He was a thoroughly unprincipled fellow, and it was known that he would do almost anything for money.
“Sure, I'll fix him," said Stubby. “You just leave him to me and see how I polish him off."
The corruptionists and their tool met at the Delavan House, an old-fashioned hotel at