Page images

to the Republican National Convention. In national politics he was as uncompromising as he had been in the State. He demanded that everything should be open and above board. He believed in strict adherence to party, but he believed the party should be worthy of that fealty. He wrote articles for the magazines, made speeches before clubs and societies in all parts of the city, became a ranchman in the Bad Lands, ran for Mayor of New York city, was for six years Civil Service Commissioner under President Harrison and President of the Police Board of New York city from 1895 to 1897. Upon the election of McKinley he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy and carried his activities into the duties of the office in such a way as to attract the attention of the House and Senate.

Then came the sinking of the Maine in the harbor of Havana, and there broke upon Washington a wave of demand for war that was irresistible. The fiery spirit of Roosevelt led him at once to resign his office and seek active duty in the field. Wisely selecting for his assistant an old friend, Dr. Wood, who was a military man, he proposed the formation of that unique regi

ment of cavalry which has since become famous as the “Rough Riders," and at Las Guasimas and San Juan hill won for himself and his followers an enviable place in history. His military career was marked by the same dash, the same energy, the same demand for justice, the same comradeship that have distinguished him from childhood. He ate and slept with his men, and when the Government failed to furnish supplies at Santiago he had money cabled him and fed his half-starved regiment of American Gascons at his own expense.

He came back from Cuba to meet with an ovation in New York and was almost immediately elected Governor of that State. His acts in this office will be recorded elsewhere in this volume. His nomination and election to the Vice-Presidency and his unlooked-for and tragic elevation to the Presidency followed swiftly. Amid the tears of grief for his predecessor he quietly took the oath of office and on September 14 he became President of the United States.

This in brief is the record of the man Roosevelt. He is now something more. In his person is embodied the will of the whole people. He is no longer a partisan fighting for the tenets of

party; he is no longer a citizen representing only himself in the body politic. He is the head and front of all citizenship, the repository of the hopes and fears and aspirations of eighty millions of people, the first citizen of the United States of America.





Over east of Broadway, east of Fourth avenue, and extending from Tenth as far north as Twenty-third street, was formerly the aristocratic portion of New York city. Men of fortune lived there, and built for themselves homes of a certain old-fashioned and substantial style which is a comfort to look upon even yet. In that quarter little of the change that the rest of the city knows has intruded. The fashionable families, and those of the rich, have moved farther up town; but the good old houses remain, and they are still tenanted, for the most part, with a population as respectable, if less modest, than the original inhabitants of the quarter.

It was the region which old Peter Stuyvesant's descendants chose for their homes; and

their church and their park still remain unmolested by the modern tyranny of change.

In that substantial and presentable part of the city Theodore Roosevelt was born. His father's home was No. 28 East Twentieth street, a mansion inherited from an earlier generation. There the lad spent his boyhood, and there was his little world till the larger activities of adult life gave a broader field for his powers.

So far as racial origin is concerned, Theodore Roosevelt is one-quarter of pure Holland blood. The Scotch, Irish and French Huguenot strains, with fully three hundred years of American residence, complete the heritage that birth has bestowed upon him.

His far ancestor, Nicholas Roosevelt, a greatgreat-great-great-grandfather, was an alderman of the city in the years 1700 and 1701. The son of that founder of the house in America was John Roosevelt, a merchant; and he served as a member of the city government through the long years from 1748 to 1767, when the city had ceased to be New Amsterdam, and was become an English provincial city, named in honor of the Duke of York. He was prosperous, and laid the foundation of those fortunes which have

« PreviousContinue »