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

Page 258

very firmly,” he said to the State Bar Association in New York, in 1899, “that I can best render aid to my party by doing all that in me lies to make that party responsive to the needs of the people; and just so far as I work along those lines I have the right to challenge the support of every decent man, no matter what his party may be.” That is his platform, always was. In matters of mere opinion I can conceive of his changing clear around, if he were shown that he was wrong. I should expect it; indeed, I do not see how he could help it. It was ever more important to him to be right, and to do right, than to be logical and consistent.
  And that really is his ambition, has been since the day he rose in the Assembly Hall at Albany and denounced the conspirators of his own party and of the other to their faces: to do the right, and to so do it in the sight of his fellow-men that they shall see that it is the right and follow it; that the young, especially, shall make the high and the right choice at the beginning of life that puts ever more urgent questions to the succeeding generations. That is the mainspring and the motive. “Because