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

Page 41

letting off steam. Probably the verdict men might have set down against his whole college career would have been that it was in no way remarkable. Here and there some one had taken notice of the young man, as having quite unusual powers of observation and of concentration, but nothing had happened of any extraordinary nature, though things enough happened where he was around. Later on, when the fact had long compelled public attention, I asked him how it was. His answer I recommend to the close attention and study of young men everywhere who want to get on.
  “I put myself in the way of things happening,” he said, “and they happened.”
  It may be that the longer they think of it, like myself, the more they will see in it. A plain and homely prescription, but so, when you look at it, has been the man’s whole life so far—a plain talk to plain people, on plain issues of right and wrong. The extraordinary thing is that some of us should have got up such a heat about it. Though, come to think of it, that is n’t so extraordinary either; the issues are so very plain. “Thou shalt not steal” is