« PreviousContinue »
any great chances for political preferment. They had gone out to war together, and now they sat in the White House, the one at the top of the ladder, and the other with like responsibilities of a less weight upon his shoulders. President Roosevelt expressed a great desire to know as much as possible about the situation in Cuba. He believed in giving the Cubans full power over their country, and then leaving it to them whether they should finally become a part of the United States or not.
President Roosevelt welcomed the representatives of labor, and told them he was anxious to talk with them, to know their plans, to help them in every way to better the condition of honest toil. He gave ready audience to every citizen who came to him with any purpose, being as democratic in his ideas and practice as it is possible for any one to be. In a word, he was carrying out his promise concerning the policy of his predecessor, and at the same time fulfilling the pledge he made to the country that he was "going to be President of the United States."
WHAT MAY REASONABLY BE EXPECTED FROM SUCH A PRESIDENT
OF SUCH A NATION-BELIEVING IN THE MONROE DOCTRINE AND AMERICAN CONTROL OF THE CANAL AT THE ISTHMUS, IN RECIPROCITY AND EXPANSION, MR. ROOSEVELT IS STRONG, UPRIGHT, HONEST AND AGGRESSIVE, AND IMPLICITLY TRUSTED BY A UNITED PEOPLE-AMERICA'S GOLDEN ERA.
The life of a nation is much like the life of a man. It begins with an infancy of weakness, of reliance upon others, a seeking for guidance in the experience of those who are older, in the conservation of all the forces available, and the development to a strength which is not taken seriously by the neighbor nations of the earth. Extension of territory and accumulation of wealth follow, with increasing time for the arts and luxuries which opportunity brings, and then the serene stages where full growth is achieved, and when the hot passions of youth have faded into the dignified serenity of established position. In this period is the nation's peril. Shakespeare
has told us of the “Seven Ages of Man”; of the progress from infancy, through strength, to the period of decay, when human senses all have vanished, yet life still lurks in the slowly-pulsing heart; and after that comes dissolution, and the gathering again of elements in other formations; the disappearance of factors as they had been known before, and their reassembling in newer combinings, that shall begin again the strange experiment of life. Some flash into glorious promise, and pass before that promise is fulfilled. Some linger superfluous upon the stage, the glow of a splendid past behind them, the certainty of extinction before.
So with the nations that have made procession across the page of history. It is fair to gather from the record of those that have vanished some rules that must apply to those that still exist; for those departed have trod one way, and all their exits have led through a single gate.
This nation we call the United States has seen its time of infancy. It passed impetuous boyhood in 1812. It proved adventurous in 1848. It came to quick blows in its full maturity, and reveled in the exuberance of unmeasured strength from 1861 to 1865. Then came the time of judg
ment, of serene self-valuation, of conscious equality with any other, and then utility arrived. Opportunity was seized-opportunity was made. All the resources that lay in the land, that lurked in the air, that thrilled in the brains and the hearts of men were developed, until the nation in wealth, in power and in magnificence stood at the very apex of existence. After that one thing of two must come. In Rome, riches and culture crumbled the foundation stones of empire; and she who from her seven hills had ruled the world passed through the gate, and was buried in that cemetery of the nations beside Greece, and Babylon, and distant Nineveh. There was a time in each when its armies marched whithersoever they pleased, and when its ships came from every port in the known world with gold in the ingot, with silks in the bale. But a nation drunk with power or debauched with vice is a nation diseased and hurrying on to death.
Perhaps no country in the whole lapse of time has possessed the genius, the wealth or the power of the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. If the leaders of the nation should abandon themselves to the gratification of bense,
if the corrosion of idleness should eat at the