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notoriously corrupt, and to concentrate responsibility in the Mayor and single heads of departments, who could be held accountable; in other words, to effect the transformation from what was suitable for town-meeting government in New England or New Holland one or two centuries ago to what was required for the complicated cosmopolitan metropolis of the nineteenth century.
While in the Legislature he still found time for literary work, and, in 1882, wrote The Naval War of 1812, which told the story of our glorious successes on the sea; it was written at a period when our merchant marine was in decadence, our navy at its lowest ebb, and public interest in the subject almost wholly lost. It was not without its effect on the rebuilding of the navy which began two years later, which fortunately for us had already reached such a splendid development before 1898, and which is still in progress.
In 1884, severe domestic affliction and ill-health caused Roosevelt to abandon his work in New York and go to Wyoming. He invested a considerable part of what he inherited from his father in a cattle ranch, and intended and expected to remain in the West for many years. The wild, outdoor life fascinated him, and it brought him health and strength; in spite of defective eyesight he became a good shot, and was particularly fond of hunting big gamewhere the other fellow had an even chance; and the peculiar characteristics of the cowboy, since called cow-puncher, appealed alike to his sense of humor
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200 CET TET: and his burning experiences are diagrama de vrbi in tk, Torres, Hunting Tring of Romiman (18) 21 The 5 lt2ruu Hamier (7393 r. Smart Witt, in his speech pod Raceret of his initiation for the Vice-Presidency. piary referreri to these hunting stories with the rerrark that "now that you are our candidate they will al te beliezeri"; but any one who enjoys or admires manly sport-such as requires courage, endurance, hardship, and a contest with animals which are superior to man in strength or speed—will take the stories on faith, regardless of political belief.
Cattle raising did not prove financially successful, though Roosevelt kept his ranch until 1896. He returned to New York in 1886, married again, and once more plunged into political life. A Mayor of New York was to be elected that year. Abram S. Hewitt had received the nomination from Tammany Hall and other Democrats; Henry George was the candidate of the Socialists; the Republican party decided to put forward a candidate, and selected Roosevelt. There was but little chance of his election, but he made a most energetic canvass, speaking in three or four places every night during the latter part of the campaign. Hewitt was elected, George being second, and Roosevelt third, with a vote of about 60,000 out of a total of 220,000.
The next three years were devoted almost wholly
to literary and historical work. The upbuilding of the great West is one of the great world movements, in some respects the most important fact of the century now closing. Roosevelt began writing the story of it in 1886, under the title of The Winning of the West; the first two volumes appearing in 1889, the third in 1894, and the fourth in 1896. Each volume describes a distinct period and is complete in itself. The last carried the story through the Louisiana Purchase. The history has been interrupted by the Spanish War and the engrossing duties of the office of Governor of New York; but it is hoped that the leisure hours of a Vice-President and the facilities of the libraries in Washington will afford the time and opportunity for its completion. Readers of the four volumes already published will understand the reasons why Roosevelt has such an extraordinary hold upon the sentiment and sympathy of the Western people. They will see that, although born and bred in the great city of the East, he realizes that the bone and sinew of this country, its strength and the sources of its wealth, are in the wide valley between the Alleghanies and the Rocky Mountains. Its origin and growth have been studied by him in every detail; he has participated enough in its life thoroughly to understand it, and he is in close touch and accord with its aspirations for the future.
In 1889, Roosevelt was appointed by President Harrison a member of the Civil Service Commission at Washington and soon became its president, retaining that office until the spring of 1895. A thorough believer in the principle of merit instead of favor in selecting and promoting appointees for the thousands of minor offices in the public service, he entered with his usual combativeness upon the task of enforcing the law for carrying this principle into effect. For six years, under his guidance, this was a fighting commission, not hesitating to grapple with any Cabinet officer or member of Congress, irrespective of their party affiliations, who tried to nullify or repeal the law. The result was the extension of the Civil Service rules to more than 50,000 government employees who were not protected by them in 1889.
In 1894 there was a union of all parties in New York City who were opposed to Tammany Hall, and W. L. Strong was elected Mayor. He invited Roosevelt to join his administration as head of one of the departments; first, as head of the StreetCleaning Department, which he declined for lack of special knowledge; and second, as head of the Police Department, which he accepted. Some of his friends in Washington urged him not to accept the place on the ground that it was beneath his dignity; others urged him with even more vehemence to accept it, partly because of the good work he could do for New York in putting this department on an honest basis, and partly because of the opportunity it would afford him of getting on the firing-line in the contest for good government in cities. He held this office for two years, and though subjected to much criticism from certain quarters for enforcing the liquor-license law, yet it can be said, in a word, that during his administration he placed the department on a thoroughly efficient basis, broke up the organized system of blackmail which had hitherto prevailed in the department, and gained the affectionate admiration of the members of the force to an extent which has never been equaled by any Police Commissioner before or since.
During the three years from 1894 to 1897 he wrote the greater part of the essays on political subjects which are printed in the volumes of American Ideals. In these will be found his whole theory of politics, based on honesty, courage, never-ending hard work, and fair play; and coupled with these a certain measure of expediency which without sacrificing principle strives to get things done, and to accept the second best if what he considers the first best is not attainable; realizing that in a government of universal suffrage many minds must be consulted and a majority of them brought to the same conclusion before anything can be accomplished.
When President McKinley took office in 1897, he offered Roosevelt the position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and it was promptly accepted. He had been only a few months in office before he reached certain conclusions, to wit: that a war with Spain was inevitable, that it was desirable, and that he should take an active part in it. He did everything that lay in his power during the nine months preceding April, 1898, to see that the Navy