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

Page 160

trip he had traveled to some inland towns where he was in the habit of doing business, but where now all had been laid waste; how when he sat down in the inn to eat such food as he could get, a famished horde of gaunt, half-naked women, with starving babies at barren breasts, crept up like dogs to his chair, fighting for the crumbs that fell from his plate. Big tears rolled down the honest German’s face as he told of it. He could not eat, he could not sleep until he had gone straight to Washington to tell there what he had witnessed. I can see the black look come into Roosevelt’s face and hear him muttering under his breath, for he, too, had little children whom he loved. And the old anger wells up in me at the thought of those who would have stayed our hand. Better a thousand times war with all its horrors than a hell like that. That was murder, and of women and innocent children. The war that avenges such infamy I hail as the messenger of wrath of an outraged God.
  The war was a moral issue with him, as indeed it was with all of us who understood. It was with such facts as these—and there was no lack of them—in mind and heart that he