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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.

Page 103

I know I have to do with a man who does not read or reason; or he would have made out how straight has been his course from the beginning. What he said then to the electors of New York, he did as President when he appointed the Coal Strike Commission, when he blocked the way of illegal trust combinations, and when he killed the power of “pull” in the Police Department and kept the peace of the city. He said it again the other day in his Labor Day speech at Syracuse.
  “They will say, most likely, that it is made up of platitudes,” he told me when he had finished it, referring to his newspaper critics; “and so I suppose it is. Only they need to be said just here and now.”
  They did need to. The Ten Commandments are platitudes, I expect; certainly they have been repeated often enough. And yet even the critics will hardly claim that we have had enough of them. I noticed, by the way, that they were dumb for once. Perhaps it occurred to them that it took a kind of courage to insist, as he did, on the elementary virtues in the dealings of man with man as the basis of all human fellowship, against which their shafts