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said that “Theodore Roosevelt was born with a gold spoon in his mouth.” But the imputation is hardly fair. He was an average boy as to mental attainments, and considerably under the average in bodily strength. Whatever successes he has achieved seem to have come more from an inherent will that would not brook defeat in any line rather than from peculiar advantages gratuitously bestowed upon him. He was rich, it is true, and possessed of many social advantages. But these could not have won him a place in the fields of physical, mental and political activity which he has chosen. A careful estimate of his life must lodge much of the credit for his equipping in those years of later boyhood when his own motive was the impelling force; when he would not permit other boys to excel him in studies, and when he went systematically at such training as would render it impossible for them long to excel him in sports. And on the basis of these two elements in his boyhood has probably been builded the traits and the powers which have made him a type of very creditable American manhood. Out of these may grow, if one have the purpose to achieve it, an equal success in any line of endeavor.
ENTERS COLLEGE AT THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN-DEVELOPS A TASTE
FOR HUNTING AND NATURAL HISTORY -IS ACTIVE IN ALL COL
LEGE SPORTS, ESPECIALLY WRESTLING AND BOXING-GRADUATES IN 1880 WITH HIGH HONORS-MEMBERSHIP IN CLUBS,
Slender of figure and pale of face, Theodore Roosevelt entered Harvard in the fall of the Centennial year, a youth of eighteen. He had been reared in a home of refinement and comfortable wealth in the city of New York. He was well aware of his position in society and of what would be expected of him at home when his graduation day had arrived. He had been drilled by his parents in the knowledge of selfdependence and already had a mind leaning to investigation and discovery.
At the university, Mr. Roosevelt was a unique figure. Sterling, rugged, old-fashioned honesty and a keen sense of duty brought him up sharply before every proposition, and he made it the
paramount business of the present to find out just what was implied in that proposition. If it squared with his ideas of right he adopted it; if not, it was rejected until he had been convinced that it contained more of virtue than of evil. His career in those student days differed very little from the swift and fearless march he has since made to the mountain peak of Americanism. He was not so strong of body then as he has since grown to be, but he did not hesitate to join in any reputable sport or serious task attempted by his fellows. In one of his later essays Mr. Roosevelt says: " One plain duty of every man is to face the future as he faces the present, regardless of what it may have in store for him, and turning toward the light as he sees the light, to play his part manfully, as a man among men.” A similar spirit seems to have animated him in all his actions, even before he had announced his intention of embarking in a public career. He literally fought his way through college as he has since fought his way through life, accepting nothing from any source that did not seem to him to be fair and founded in truth.
Mr. Roosevelt took with him to Cambridge a habit of hard work and a disdain for idleness.
Had he not been well equipped with these attributes his career must have been one of far less moment to his generation, for he was neither a ready student nor a rugged athlete. It is not known that he at this time set a high mark for himself as a historian, a scientist, a politician, a warrior, or a statesman, in all of which fields he has since reached distinction. If we may believe his own words he was not so much given to dreams of achievement as the average healthy youth, who has far less chances to inspire his imagination. When Julian Ralph once asked him, “What did you expect to be or dream of being when you were a boy?” Mr. Roosevelt answered:
“I do not recollect that I dreamed at all or planned at all. I simply obeyed the injunction, 'Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do that with all thy might,' and so I took up what came along as it came. Since then I have gone on Lincoln's motto, 'Do the best; if not, then the best possi
There seems to be no question as to the application of these precepts to his own conduct by Mr. Roosevelt while he was in college. He entered upon his studies with the same earnest
ness and enthusiasm that he has since shown in all his undertakings, and supplemented them by hearty coöperation in all college sports. He says of himself previous to his arrival in Cambridge: "I was a slender, sickly boy. I had made my health what it was. I determined to be strong and well, and did everything to make myself so. Of his college days we have this explicit declaration: “By the time I entered Harvard I was able to take my part in whatever sports I liked. I wrestled and sparred and ran a great deal during my four years in Cambridge, and though I never came out first I got more good out of the exercise than those who did, because I immensely enjoyed it and never injured myself. I was very fond of wrestling and boxing. I think I was a good deal of a wrestler, and though I never won a championship, yet more than once I won my trial heats and got into the final round.”
Mr. Roosevelt is the first graduate of Harvard to become President of the United States since the election of John Quincy Adams to that office in 1824. But his experiences have been so varied and his occupations so general and democratic that he will be claimed as often by the plainsman, the farmer, the soldier, the sailor or the author,