Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 57

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

Page 57

his name was known from Buffalo to Montauk Point, and everywhere the people were applauding him. On the eighth day of his bold, smashing attack the resolution to take up the charges was again voted upon at his demand. And the Assemblymen, with the eyes of the whole people upon them, did not dare longer to keep themselves on record as defenders of a judge who feared to demand an investigation. The opposition collapsed. Roosevelt won by 104 to 6.”
  In the end the corruptionists escaped. The committee made a whitewashing report. But the testimony was damning and more than vindicated the attack. A victory had been won; open corruption had been driven to the wall. Roosevelt had met his party on a moral issue and had forced it over on the side of right. He had achieved backing. Out of that fight came the phrase “the wealthy criminal class” that ran through the country. In his essay on “true American ideals” he identifies it with “the conscienceless stock speculator who acquires wealth by swindling his fellows, by debauching judges and legislatures,” and his kind. “There is not,” he exclaims, “in the