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

Page 146

to a system that could break them, but against which they were powerless, came quickly to accept him as their hope of delivery. For the first time in the history of the department every man had a show on his merits. Amazing as it was, “pull” was dead. Politics or religion cut no figure. No one asked about them. But did a policeman, pursuing a burglar through the night, dive running into the Park Avenue railroad tunnel, risking a horrible death to catch his man, he was promptly promoted; did a bicycle policeman lie with broken and bruised bones after a struggle with a runaway horse that meant his life or the lives of helpless women and children if he let go, he arose from his bed a roundsman with the medal for bravery on his breast. Did a gray-haired veteran swim ashore among grinding ice-floes with a drowning woman, he was called to headquarters and made a sergeant. I am speaking of cases that actually occurred. The gray-haired veteran of the Civil War had saved twenty-eight lives at the risk of his own,—his beat lay along the river shore,—had been twice distinguished by Congress with medals for valor, bore the life-saving medal, and had never a complaint against