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

Page 293

sworn to enforce demanded it. And though politicians claimed that he alienated support from the administration he stood for, he taught us a lesson in civic honesty that will yet bear fruit; for while politics are allowed to play hide-and-seek with the majesty of the law, that majesty is a fraud and politics will be unclean. As Health Commissioner he gave the push to the campaign against the old murderous rookeries that broke the slum landlord’s back; abuse and threats were his reward, but hope came into the lives of two million souls in my city, and all over the land those who would help their fellow-men took heart of hope because of what he did. He offended a thousand spoilsmen as Civil Service Commissioner, and earned the gratitude and confidence of a Democratic President; but who now who has sense would have had him do otherwise?
  He compelled the corporations to pay just taxes, and though they swore to knife him for it, the Court of Appeals has said it was fair and just. I have heard some people blaming him hotly for interfering in the anthracite coal strike. Their cellars were full of coal that winter, but their factory bunkers were not;