Today's Debs

The only time in my life I ever saw Theodore Roosevelt was years before he became president of the United States. I was aboard of a train in the far west, where Roosevelt was then said to be following ranch life, and as he and several companions in cowboy costume entered the car at a station stop, he was pointed out to me. I did not like him. The years since have not altered that feeling of aversion except to accentuate it.

I have since seen the nation mad with hero worship over this man Roosevelt, but I have not been impressed by it. Very “great” men sometimes shrivel into very small ones and finally vanish in oblivion in the short space of a single generation.

The American people are more idolatrous than any “heathen” nation on earth. They worship their popular “heroes,” while they last, with passionate frenzy, and with equal madness do they hunt down the sane “fools” who vainly try to teach them sense. Theodore Roosevelt and George Dewey as “heroes” and Wendell Phillips and John Brown as “fools” are notable illustrations. American history is filled with them.

But my personal dislike of the cowboy in imitation who has since become president, however justifiable, would scarcely warrant a public attack upon his official character, and this review, being of such a nature, is inspired, as will appear, by entirely different motives.

-from “Roosevelt and His Regime”