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every citizen. We have realized that the right of every man to live his own life, provide for his family, and endeavor, according to his abilities, to secure for himself and for them'a fair share of the good things of existence, should be subject to one limitation and to no other. The freedom of the individual should be limited only by the present and future rights, interests, and needs of the other individuals who make up the community. We should do all in our power to develop and protect individual liberty, individual initiative, but subject always to the need of preserving and promoting the general good. When necessary, the private right must yield, under due process of law and with proper compensation, to the welfare of the commonwealth. The man who serves the community greatly should be greatly rewarded by the community; as there is great inequality of service so there must be great inequality of reward; but no man and no set of men should be allowed to play the game of competition with loaded dice.
All this is simply good common sense. The underlying principle of conservation has been described as the application of common sense to common problems for the common good. Our aim is so far as possible to provide such conditions that there shall be equality of opportunity where there is equality of energy, fidelity, and intelligence; when there is a reasonable equality of opportunity the distribution of rewards will take care of itself.
The unchecked existence of monopoly is incompatible with equality of opportunity. The reason for the exercise of government control over great monopolies is to equalize opportunity. We are fighting against privilege.
It was made unlawful for corporations to contribute money for election expenses in order to abridge the power of special privilege at the polls. Railroad-rate control is an attempt to secure an equality of opportunity for all men affected by rail transportation, and that means all of us. The great anthracite coal strike was settled, and the pressing danger of a coal famine averted, because we recognized that the control of a public necessity involves a duty to the people, and that public intervention in the affairs of a public-service corporation is neither to be resented as usurpation nor permitted as a privilege by the corporations, but on the contrary to be accepted as a duty and exercised as a right by the Government in the interest of all the people. The efficiency of the army and the navy has been increased so that our people may follow in peace the great work of making this country a better place for Americans to live in, and our navy was sent round the world for the same ultimate purpose. All the acts taken by the Government during the last seven years, and all the policies now being pursued by the Government, fit in as parts of a consistent whole.
Our public-land policy has for its aim the use of the public land so that it will promote local development by the settlement of home makers; the policy we champion is to serve all the people legitimately and openly, instead of permitting the lands to be converted, illegitimately and under cover, to the private benefit of a few. Our forest policy was established so that we might use the public forests for the permanent public good, instead of merely for temporary private gain. The reclamation act, under which the desert parts of the public domain
are converted to higher uses for the general benefit, was passed so that more Americans might have homes on the land.
These policies were enacted into law and have justified their enactment. Others have failed, so far, to reach the point of action. Among such is the attempt to secure public control of the open range and thus to convert its benefits to the use of the small man, who is the home maker, instead of allowing it to be controlled by a few great cattle and sheep owners.
The enactment of a pure food law was a recognition of the fact that the public welfare outweighs the right to private gain, and that no man may poison the people for his private profit. The employers' liability bill recognized the controlling fact that while the employer usually has at stake no more than his profit, the stake of the employee is a living for himself and his family.
We are building the Panama Canal; and this means that we are engaged in the giant engineering feat of all time. We are striving to add in all ways to the habitability and beauty of our country. We are striving to hold in the public hands the remaining supply of unappropriated coal, for the protection and benefit of all the people. We have taken the first steps toward the conservation of our natural resources, and the betterment of country life, and the improvement of our waterways. We stand for the right of every child to a childhood free from grinding toil, and to an education; for the civic responsibility and decency of every citizen; for prudent foresight in public matters, and for fair play in every relation of our national and economic life. All these efforts are integral parts of the same attempt, the attempt to enthrone justice and righteousness, to secure freedom of opportunity to all of our citizens, now and hereafter, and to set the ultimate interest of all of us above the temporary interest of any individual, class, or group.
The obligations, and not the rights, of citizenship increase in proportion to the increase of a man's wealth or power. The time is coming when a man will be judged, not by what he has succeeded in getting for himself from the common store, but by how well he has done his duty as a citizen, and by what the ordinary citizen has gained in freedom of opportunity because of his service for the common good. The highest value we know is that of the individual citizen and the highest justice is to give him fair play in the effort to realize the best there is in him.
The tasks this Nation has to do are great tasks. They can only be done at all by our citizens acting together, and they can be done best of all by the direct and simple application of homely common sense. The application of common sense to common problems for the common good, under the guidance of the principles upon which this Republic was based, and by virtue of which it exists, spells perpetuity for the Nation, civil and industrial liberty for its citizens, and freedom of opportunity in the pursuit of happiness for the plain American, for whom this Nation was founded, by whom it was preserved, and through whom alone it can be perpetuated. Upon this platform - larger than party differences, higher than class prejudice, broader than any question of profit and loss there is room for every American who realizes that the common good stands first.1
1 Special message to the two Houses of Congress, January 22, 1909.
V. THE SQUARE DEAL
I This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in if it is not a reasonably good place for all of us to live in.
Laws are enacted for the benefit of the whole people, and can not and must not be construed as permitting discrimination against some of the people. I am President of all the people of the United States, without regard to creed, color, birthplace, occupation, or social condition. My aim is to do equal and exact justice as among them all. In the employment and dismissal of men in the Government service I can no more recognize the fact that a man does or does not belong to a union as being for or against him than I can recognize the fact that he is a Protestant or a Catholic, a Jew or Gentile, as being for or against him,2
WHEN I say I believe in a square deal I do not mean, and nobody who speaks the truth can mean, that he believes it possible to give every man the best hand. If the cards
1 Address at Louisville, Kentucky, April 3, 1912. From Progressive Principles. Copyright, 1913, by Elmer H. Youngman. Progressive National Service, publishers.
2 Public statement concerning the case of William A. Miller, September 29, 1903.