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

Page 367

government of the people than to have the feeling grow that money can buy unfair privilege. “But it is true, and always has been,” says my Wall Street neighbor who has the courage of his convictions. Then, if that be so, is he so blind that he cannot see the danger of it, since the very soul of the Republic is in the challenge that it shall not be true forever; that, with every just premium on honest industry, men shall have somewhere near a fair chance at the start; that they shall not be damned into economic slavery any more than into political slavery? Is he so blind that he cannot see that the irrepressible conflict cannot be sidetracked by any subterfuge, by the purchase of delegations, the plotting of politicians, the defeat of Presidents? I used to think that the great captains of industry must be the wisest of men, and so indeed they need be in their special fields. But where is their common sense that they cannot see so plain a thing?
  Unless, indeed, they think that the Republic is a mere fake, government by the people and of the people and for the people a fad, a phrase behind which to plot securely for a hundred years more,—life with no other meaning