A COMPILATION OF THE MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF THE PRESIDENTS
BY JAMES D. RICHARDSON
September 14, 1901
* * * * *
Messages, Proclamations, and Executive Orders to the
end of the Fifty-seventh Congress, First Session
* * * * *
Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty-seventh President of the United States,
was born in the city of New York, October 27, 1858. His ancestors on the
paternal side were of an old Knickerbocker family, and on the maternal
side of Scotch-Irish descent. He was educated at home under private
tuition and prepared for matriculation into Harvard, where he was
graduated in 1880. He spent the year of 1881 in study and travel. During
the years 1882-1884 he was an assemblyman in the legislature of New
York. During this term of service he introduced the first civil service
bill in the legislature in 1883, and its passage was almost simultaneous
with the passage of the Civil Service Bill through Congress. In 1884
he was the Chairman of the delegation from New York to the National
Republican Convention. He received the nomination for mayor of the city
of New York in 1886 as an Independent, but was defeated. He was made
Civil Service Commissioner by President Harrison in 1889 and served as
president of the board until May, 1895. He resigned to become President
of the New York Board of Police Commissioners in May, 1895. This
position, in which the arduous duties were discharged with remarkable
vigor and fearlessness, he resigned in 1897 to become Assistant
Secretary of the Navy. On the breaking out of the Spanish-American War
in 1898, he resigned on May 6, and, entering the army, organized the
First United States Volunteer ("Rough Rider") Regiment of Cavalry,
recommending Col. L.G. Wood to the command, and taking for himself the
second-in-command as lieutenant-colonel. He had gained his military
experience as a member of the Eighth Regiment of N.Y.N.G. from
1884-1888, during which time he rose to the rank of captain. The Rough
Riders were embarked at Tampa, Fla., with the advance of Shafter's
invading army, and sailed for Cuba on June 15, 1898. They participated
in every engagement preceding the fall of Santiago. Theodore Roosevelt
led the desperate charge of the Ninth Cavalry and the Rough Riders at
the Battle of San Juan Hill on July 1. He was made a colonel on July 11.
He received the nomination on September 27, 1898, for Governor of the
State of New York, obtaining 753 votes, against 218 for Gov. Frank S.
Black. At the election Theodore Roosevelt was supported by a majority
of the Independent Republicans and many Democrats, and defeated the
Democratic candidate, Judge Augustus Van Wyck, by a plurality of 18,079.
At the Republican Convention, held at Philadelphia in June, 1900, he was
nominated for Vice-President, upon which he resigned the governorship
of New York. Was elected Vice-President in November, 1900, and took the
oath of office March 4, 1901. President McKinley was shot September 6,
1901, and died September 14. His Cabinet announced his death to the
Vice-President, who took the oath of President at the residence of
Mr. Ansley Wilcox in Buffalo, before Judge John R. Hazel, of the United
States District Court, on September 14.
VICE-PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS AS VICE-PRESIDENT.
The history of free government is in large part the history of those
representative legislative bodies in which, from the earliest times,
free government has found its loftiest expression. They must ever hold
a peculiar and exalted position in the record which tells how the great
nations of the world have endeavored to achieve and preserve orderly
freedom. No man can render to his fellows greater service than is
rendered by him who, with fearlessness and honesty, with sanity and
disinterestedness, does his life work as a member of such a body.
Especially is this the case when the legislature in which the service is
rendered is a vital part in the governmental machinery of one of those
world powers to whose hands, in the course of the ages, is intrusted a
leading part in shaping the destinies of mankind. For weal or for woe,
for good or for evil, this is true of our own mighty nation. Great
privileges and great powers are ours, and heavy are the responsibilities
that go with these privileges and these powers. Accordingly as we do
well or ill, so shall mankind in the future be raised or cast down.
We belong to a young nation, already of giant strength, yet whose
political strength is but a forecast of the power that is to come.
We stand supreme in a continent, in a hemisphere. East and west we look
across the two great oceans toward the larger world life in which,
whether we will or not, we must take an ever-increasing share. And as,
keen-eyed, we gaze into the coming years, duties, new and old, rise
thick and fast to confront us from within and from without. There is
every reason why we should face these duties with a sober appreciation
alike of their importance and of their difficulty. But there is also
every reason for facing them with highhearted resolution and eager and
confident faith in our capacity to do them aright. A great work lies
already to the hand of this generation; it should count itself happy,
indeed, that to it is given the privilege of doing such a work. A
leading part therein must be taken by this the august and powerful
legislative body over which I have been called upon to preside. Most
deeply do I appreciate the privilege of my position; for high, indeed,
is the honor of presiding over the American Senate at the outset of
the twentieth century.
MARCH 4, 1901.
WHITE HOUSE, _December 3, 1901_.
_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_
The Congress assembles this year under the shadow of a great calamity.
On the sixth of September, President McKinley was shot by an anarchist
while attending the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, and died in that
city on the fourteenth of that month.
Of the last seven elected Presidents, he is the third who has been
murdered, and the bare recital of this fact is sufficient to justify
grave alarm among all loyal American citizens. Moreover, the
circumstances of this, the third assassination of an American President,
have a peculiarly sinister significance. Both President Lincoln and
President Garfield were killed by assassins of types unfortunately not
uncommon in history; President Lincoln falling a victim to the terrible
passions aroused by four years of civil war, and President Garfield
to the revengeful vanity of a disappointed office-seeker. President
McKinley was killed by an utterly depraved criminal belonging to that
body of criminals who object to all governments, good and bad alike,
who are against any form of popular liberty if it is guaranteed by even
the most just and liberal laws, and who are as hostile to the upright
exponent of a free people's sober will as to the tyrannical and
It is not too much to say that at the time of President McKinley's
death he was the most widely loved man in all the United States; while
we have never had any public man of his position who has been so wholly
free from the bitter animosities incident to public life. His political
opponents were the first to bear the heartiest and most generous tribute
to the broad kindliness of nature, the sweetness and gentleness of
character which so endeared him to his close associates. To a standard
of lofty integrity in public life he united the tender affections and
home virtues which are all-important in the make-up of national
character. A gallant soldier in the great war for the Union, he also
shone as an example to all our people because of his conduct in the most
sacred and intimate of home relations. There could be no personal hatred
of him, for he never acted with aught but consideration for the welfare
of others. No one could fail to respect him who knew him in public or
private life. The defenders of those murderous criminals who seek to
excuse their criminality by asserting that it is exercised for political
ends, inveigh against wealth and irresponsible power. But for this
assassination even this base apology cannot be urged.
President McKinley was a man of moderate means, a man whose stock sprang
from the sturdy tillers of the soil, who had himself belonged among the
wage-workers, who had entered the Army as a private soldier. Wealth was
not struck at when the President was assassinated, but the honest toil
which is content with moderate gains after a lifetime of unremitting
labor, largely in the service of the public. Still less was power struck
at in the sense that power is irresponsible or centered in the hands of
any one individual. The blow was not aimed at tyranny or wealth. It was
aimed at one of the strongest champions the wage-worker has ever had; at
one of the most faithful representatives of the system of public rights
and representative government who has ever risen to public office.
President McKinley filled that political office for which the entire
people vote, and no President - not even Lincoln himself - was ever more
earnestly anxious to represent the well thought-out wishes of the
people; his one anxiety in every crisis was to keep in closest touch
with the people - to find out what they thought and to endeavor to give
expression to their thought, after having endeavored to guide that
thought aright. He had just been re-elected to the Presidency because
the majority of our citizens, the majority of our farmers and
wage-workers, believed that he had faithfully upheld their interests for
four years. They felt themselves in close and intimate touch with him.
They felt that he represented so well and so honorably all their ideals
and aspirations that they wished him to continue for another four years
to represent them.
And this was the man at whom the assassin struck! That there might be
nothing lacking to complete the Judas-like infamy of his act, he took
advantage of an occasion when the President was meeting the people
generally; and advancing as if to take the hand out-stretched to him
in kindly and brotherly fellowship, he turned the noble and generous
confidence of the victim into an opportunity to strike the fatal blow.
There is no baser deed in all the annals of crime.
The shock, the grief of the country, are bitter in the minds of all
who saw the dark days, while the President yet hovered between life and
death. At last the light was stilled in the kindly eyes and the breath
went from the lips that even in mortal agony uttered no words save of
forgiveness to his murderer, of love for his friends, and of unfaltering
trust in the will of the Most High. Such a death, crowning the glory of
such a life, leaves us with infinite sorrow, but with such pride in what
he had accomplished and in his own personal character, that we feel the
blow not as struck at him, but as struck at the Nation. We mourn a good
and great President who is dead; but while we mourn we are lifted up by
the splendid achievements of his life and the grand heroism with which
he met his death.
When we turn from the man to the Nation, the harm done is so great as
to excite our gravest apprehensions and to demand our wisest and most
resolute action. This criminal was a professed anarchist, inflamed by
the teachings of professed anarchists, and probably also by the reckless
utterances of those who, on the stump and in the public press, appeal to
the dark and evil spirits of malice and greed, envy and sullen hatred.
The wind is sowed by the men who preach such doctrines, and they cannot
escape their share of responsibility for the whirlwind that is reaped.
This applies alike to the deliberate demagogue, to the exploiter of
sensationalism, and to the crude and foolish visionary who, for whatever
reason, apologizes for crime or excites aimless discontent.
The blow was aimed not at this President, but at all Presidents; at
every symbol of government. President McKinley was as emphatically the
embodiment of the popular will of the Nation expressed through the
forms of law as a New England town meeting is in similar fashion the
embodiment of the law-abiding purpose and practice of the people of the
town. On no conceivable theory could the murder of the President be
accepted as due to protest against "inequalities in the social order,"
save as the murder of all the freemen engaged in a town meeting could
be accepted as a protest against that social inequality which puts a
malefactor in jail. Anarchy is no more an expression of "social
discontent" than picking pockets or wife-beating.
The anarchist, and especially the anarchist in the United States, is
merely one type of criminal, more dangerous than any other because he
represents the same depravity in a greater degree. The man who advocates
anarchy directly or indirectly, in any shape or fashion, or the man
who apologizes for anarchists and their deeds, makes himself morally
accessory to murder before the fact. The anarchist is a criminal whose
perverted instincts lead him to prefer confusion and chaos to the most
beneficent form of social order. His protest of concern for workingmen
is outrageous in its impudent falsity; for if the political institutions
of this country do not afford opportunity to every honest and
intelligent son of toil, then the door of hope is forever closed against
him. The anarchist is everywhere not merely the enemy of system and of
progress, but the deadly foe of liberty. If ever anarchy is triumphant,
its triumph will last for but one red moment, to be succeeded for ages
by the gloomy night of despotism.
For the anarchist himself, whether he preaches or practices his
doctrines, we need not have one particle more concern than for any
ordinary murderer. He is not the victim of social or political
injustice. There are no wrongs to remedy in his case. The cause of his
criminality is to be found in his own evil passions and in the evil
conduct of those who urge him on, not in any failure by others or by the
State to do justice to him or his. He is a malefactor and nothing else.
He is in no sense, in no shape or way, a "product of social conditions,"
save as a highwayman is "produced" by the fact than an unarmed man
happens to have a purse. It is a travesty upon the great and holy names
of liberty and freedom to permit them to be invoked in such a cause.
No man or body of men preaching anarchistic doctrines should be allowed
at large any more than if preaching the murder of some specified private
individual. Anarchistic speeches, writings, and meetings are essentially
seditious and treasonable.
I earnestly recommend to the Congress that in the exercise of its wise
discretion it should take into consideration the coming to this country
of anarchists or persons professing principles hostile to all government
and justifying the murder of those placed in authority. Such individuals
as those who not long ago gathered in open meeting to glorify the murder
of King Humbert of Italy perpetrate a crime, and the law should ensure
their rigorous punishment. They and those like them should be kept out
of this country; and if found here they should be promptly deported to
the country whence they came; and far-reaching provision should be made
for the punishment of those who stay. No matter calls more urgently for
the wisest thought of the Congress.
The Federal courts should be given jurisdiction over any man who kills
or attempts to kill the President or any man who by the Constitution or
by law is in line of succession for the Presidency, while the punishment
for an unsuccessful attempt should be proportioned to the enormity of
the offense against our institutions.
Anarchy is a crime against the whole human race; and all mankind should
band against the anarchist. His crime should be made an offense against
the law of nations, like piracy and that form of man-stealing known as
the slave trade; for it is of far blacker infamy than either. It should
be so declared by treaties among all civilized powers. Such treaties
would give to the Federal Government the power of dealing with the
A grim commentary upon the folly of the anarchist position was afforded
by the attitude of the law toward this very criminal who had just taken
the life of the President. The people would have torn him limb from limb
if it had not been that the law he defied was at once invoked in his
behalf. So far from his deed being committed on behalf of the people
against the Government, the Government was obliged at once to exert its
full police power to save him from instant death at the hands of the
people. Moreover, his deed worked not the slightest dislocation in our
governmental system, and the danger of a recurrence of such deeds, no
matter how great it might grow, would work only in the direction of
strengthening and giving harshness to the forces of order. No man
will ever be restrained from becoming President by any fear as to his
personal safety. If the risk to the President's life became great, it
would mean that the office would more and more come to be filled by men
of a spirit which would make them resolute and merciless in dealing
with every friend of disorder. This great country will not fall into
anarchy, and if anarchists should ever become a serious menace to its
institutions, they would not merely be stamped out, but would involve in
their own ruin every active or passive sympathizer with their doctrines.
The American people are slow to wrath, but when their wrath is once
kindled it burns like a consuming flame.
During the last five years business confidence has been restored,
and the nation is to be congratulated because of its present abounding
prosperity. Such prosperity can never be created by law alone, although
it is easy enough to destroy it by mischievous laws. If the hand of the
Lord is heavy upon any country, if flood or drought comes, human wisdom
is powerless to avert the calamity. Moreover, no law can guard us
against the consequences of our own folly. The men who are idle or
credulous, the men who seek gains not by genuine work with head or hand
but by gambling in any form, are always a source of menace not only
to themselves but to others. If the business world loses its head,
it loses what legislation cannot supply. Fundamentally the welfare of
each citizen, and therefore the welfare of the aggregate of citizens
which makes the nation, must rest upon individual thrift and energy,
resolution, and intelligence. Nothing can take the place of this
individual capacity; but wise legislation and honest and intelligent
administration can give it the fullest scope, the largest opportunity
to work to good effect.
The tremendous and highly complex industrial development which went on
with ever accelerated rapidity during the latter half of the nineteenth
century brings us face to face, at the beginning of the twentieth, with
very serious social problems. The old laws, and the old customs which
had almost the binding force of law, were once quite sufficient to
regulate the accumulation and distribution of wealth. Since the
industrial changes which have so enormously increased the productive
power of mankind, they are no longer sufficient.
The growth of cities has gone on beyond comparison faster than the
growth of the country, and the upbuilding of the great industrial
centers has meant a startling increase, not merely in the aggregate of
wealth, but in the number of very large individual, and especially of
very large corporate, fortunes. The creation of these great corporate
fortunes has not been due to the tariff nor to any other governmental
action, but to natural causes in the business world, operating in other
countries as they operate in our own.
The process has aroused much antagonism, a great part of which is wholly
without warrant. It is not true that as the rich have grown richer the
poor have grown poorer. On the contrary, never before has the average
man, the wage-worker, the farmer, the small trader, been so well off
as in this country and at the present time. There have been abuses
connected with the accumulation of wealth; yet it remains true that a
fortune accumulated in legitimate business can be accumulated by the
person specially benefited only on condition of conferring immense
incidental benefits upon others. Successful enterprise, of the type
which benefits all mankind, can only exist if the conditions are such
as to offer great prizes as the rewards of success.
The captains of industry who have driven the railway systems across
this continent, who have built up our commerce, who have developed our
manufactures, have on the whole done great good to our people. Without
them the material development of which we are so justly proud could
never have taken place. Moreover, we should recognize the immense
importance of this material development of leaving as unhampered as is
compatible with the public good the strong and forceful men upon whom
the success of business operations inevitably rests. The slightest study
of business conditions will satisfy anyone capable of forming a judgment
that the personal equation is the most important factor in a business
operation; that the business ability of the man at the head of any
business concern, big or little, is usually the factor which fixes
the gulf between striking success and hopeless failure.
An additional reason for caution in dealing with corporations is to be
found in the international commercial conditions of today. The same
business conditions which have produced the great aggregations of
corporate and individual wealth have made them very potent factors
in international commercial competition. Business concerns which have
the largest means at their disposal and are managed by the ablest men
are naturally those which take the lead in the strife for commercial
supremacy among the nations of the world. America has only just begun
to assume that commanding position in the international business world
which we believe will more and more be hers. It is of the utmost
importance that this position be not jeoparded, especially at a time
when the overflowing abundance of our own natural resources and the
skill, business energy, and mechanical aptitude of our people make
foreign markets essential. Under such conditions it would be most
unwise to cramp or to fetter the youthful strength of our Nation.
Moreover, it cannot too often be pointed out that to strike with
ignorant violence at the interests of one set of men almost inevitably
endangers the interests of all. The fundamental rule in our national
life - the rule which underlies all others - is that, on the whole, and in
the long run, we shall go up or down together. There are exceptions;
and in times of prosperity some will prosper far more, and in times
of adversity, some will suffer far more, than others; but speaking
generally, a period of good times means that all share more or less in
them, and in a period of hard times all feel the stress to a greater or
less degree. It surely ought not to be necessary to enter into any proof
of this statement; the memory of the lean years which began in 1893 is
still vivid, and we can contrast them with the conditions in this very
year which is now closing. Disaster to great business enterprises
can never have its effects limited to the men at the top. It spreads
through-out, and while it is bad for everybody, it is worst for those
farthest down. The capitalist may be shorn of his luxuries; but the
wage-worker may be deprived of even bare necessities.
The mechanism of modern business is so delicate that extreme care must
be taken not to interfere with it in a spirit of rashness or ignorance.
Many of those who have made it their vocation to denounce the great
industrial combinations which are popularly, although with technical
inaccuracy, known as "trusts," appeal especially to hatred and fear.
These are precisely the two emotions, particularly when combined with
ignorance, which unfit men for the exercise of cool and steady judgment.
In facing new industrial conditions, the whole history of the world
shows that legislation will generally be both unwise and ineffective
unless undertaken after calm inquiry and with sober self-restraint.
Much of the legislation directed at the trusts would have been
exceedingly mischievous had it not also been entirely ineffective.
In accordance with a well-known sociological law, the ignorant or