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

Page 139

and quoted to them Lincoln’s words, “Let reverence of law be taught in schools and colleges, be written in primers and spelling-books, be published from pulpits and proclaimed in legislative houses, and enforced in the courts of justice—in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.” He was doing nothing worse than enforcing honestly a law that had been enforced dishonestly in all the years. Still the clamor rose. The yellow newspapers pursued Roosevelt with malignant lies. They shouted daily that the city was overrun with thieves and murderers, that crime was rampant and unavenged, because the police were worn out in the Sunday-closing work. Every thief, cut-throat, and blackmailer who had place and part in the old order of things joined in the howl. Roosevelt went deliberately on, the only one who was calm amid all the hubbub. And when, after many weeks of it, the smoke cleared away; when the saloon-keepers owned in court that they were beaten; when the warden of Bellevue Hospital reported that for the first time in its existence there had not been a “case,” due to a drunken brawl, in the hospital all Monday; when the police courts gave