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

Page 61

and Roosevelt went to their rescue at once. He was not satisfied with hearsay evidence, but went through the tenements and saw for himself. The conditions he found made a profound impression upon him. They were afterward, when I wrote “How the Other Half Lives,” an introduction to him and a bond of sympathy between us. He told the Legislature what he had seen, and a bill was passed to stop the evil, but it was declared unconstitutional in the courts. The time was not yet ripe for many things in which he was afterward to bear a hand. A dozen years later, as Health Commissioner, he helped destroy some of the very tenements in which at that earlier day industrial slavery in its worst form was intrenched too strongly to be dislodged by law. The world “do move,” with honest hands to help it.
  It was so with the investigation of the city departments he headed. There was enough to investigate, but we had not yet grown a conscience robust enough to make the facts tell. Parkhurst had first to prepare the ground. The committee sat for a couple of weeks, perhaps three, at the old Metropolitan Hotel, and