New York: Republican National Committee, ? Letters of Theodore Roosevelt. Washington: Civil Service Commission, Letters to Kermit from Theodore Roosevelt, Life-histories of African Game Animals. New York: G. National Strength and International Duty. Princeton: Princeton University Press, New York Part of Historic Towns Series.
Notes on Some of the Birds of Qyster Bay. New York: Privately printed in reproduction, Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter. New York: Progressive National Service, Albany: Brandow Printing Co. Ranch Life and the Hunting-trail.
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Cooke, Roosevelt vs. Reseda, Calif. Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses. New York: Century Co. Salem, Mass. Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography. New York: Devin-Adair, No matter how poor he may be, he, with his health and his strength, his brisk walk and shining eyes, his face all aglow with the fullness and freshness of life and of hope for the future, will ever be the envy of the rich man made poor in health in his struggle for the almighty dollar.
The Russian Jew, Otto Raphael, was his personal favorite for a position in the police force, because he had shown courage by rescuing women and children from a fire. Furthermore, his inspections of police operations identified immigrants as model officers.
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He noticed they were the best bicyclists, for example. His inspection tours proved to him that the police force integrated all nationalities thanks to an emphasis on physical fitness and good instincts. His remedy to reduce the risk of women entering prostitution was to secure proper working conditions and time to relax lest they be tempted to seek better conditions in brothels.
Urban reform as a prelude for initiating national policies was not a unique Roosevelt feature. Urban experiences stood as the basis of welfare reform for many European and Western states. These cases mostly involved rape, prostitution, or cruelty against women and children.
He specifically remembered a case of the rape of an immigrant girl which angered and made him press for social justice. In this specific case he denied the request for a pardon and instead reprimanded the petitioners, who were wealthy and powerful. This event is a first indication that the fictional representation of Roosevelt saving Tisa was perhaps not out of character.
He expressed an understanding of the fear that wage workers or agricultural laborers from Asia would replace American workers in California by undercutting their wages. At the same time he was very much aware of the foreign policy risks of restriction. But he also underscored that this was a federal issue and not one to be left to the states. Political reform, conservation, and foreign policy strategy occupied most of the pages. The sparse mention of immigration in the autobiography could be explained by the function of the book as a preliminary report, which hampers final conclusions about Roosevelt deeper motives, as well as an absence of urgency on the immigration issue during the campaign.
Yet, Roosevelt had taken the reconstruction of his memoirs seriously, collecting first-hand information from his former associates, and indeed, there were plenty of available records on immigration. The universal side of economic interpretations grew stronger during the formation of his presidential immigration policy. For greater illumination of this phase, we shall now observe his political record more closely.
His idea of a comprehensive social policy was still limited to legal protection rather than to financial redistribution. I have no sympathy with mere dislike of immigrants; there are classes and even nationalities of them which stand at least on an equality with the citizens of native birth, as the last election showed. But in the interest of our workingmen we must in the end keep out laborers who are ignorant, vicious, and with low standards of life and comfort, just as we have shut out the Chinese.
When ethnic loyalties, labor agitation, or regional tensions disrupted the unity of the nation, these should be suppressed. To him Asian immigrants were more likely to jeopardize progress than European ones, simply because they occupied different civilization levels in his list of peoples and nations. But European nations could also lose their higher levels, when cultures weakened, and even America itself would run that risk if its birthrate would continue to decline. The event spurred Roosevelt to use his first annual message to Congress on December 3, to call for the exclusion of immigrants with similar sympathies and to suppress anarchists at home.
He turned the personal attack on McKinley into a general attack against the entire state. Roosevelt emphasized that social problems and tensions should never be an excuse for murder. Other solutions had to be found. On the contrary, the social or labor issue was the most pressing one, Roosevelt told Congress. This congressional address triggered close scrutiny of immigrants to prevent anarchy from spreading and welcomed able-bodied men wanting to earn a decent wage. The message was that unhealthy types would cause a drop in wages and threaten a balanced labor market.
A minimum educational level of the immigrant would increase the chances of success. Congress responded by submitting nineteen draft proposals leading to an immigration bill fifteen months later.
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It contained a two dollar threshold for newcomers, an extension of the period for deportation, but no literacy test, which was considered too rough a sieve for undesirables. Leon Czolgosz was born in Michigan, the son of a Prussian immigrant with a Polish name. Yet, his foreign sounding name was enough to link him to a growing fear of aliens. The barring of anarchists at the gate was the first, but not the only response.
These were still ideas, mere proposals, but they led the country in a new direction. Just as he had replaced patronage with a merit system in Washington and in the New York City police force, his reform campaign now extended to immigration officers, tax collectors, and other malfunctioning federal appointees. This intensified his inspection of performance and character and led to forced resignations of scores of malfunctioning government employees.
Roosevelt believed strongly, perhaps too strongly, that good people in the proper place would cleanse the system.
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Danish-American crime reporter Jacob Riis, Dutch editor Edward Bok, and the Jewish German entrepreneur, Oscar Straus, had all climbed the social ladder in white collar positions, but had not cut their sentimental ties to their native countries. Roosevelt was no miracle worker. We have got to do that ourselves.
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But he cut our bonds and gave us arms, if we chose to use them. In an effort to balance the lopsided emphasis on presidential leadership in late nineteenth and early twentieth century politics, historian Elizabeth Sanders has shown how Congress challenged Progressive Era presidents to expand federal control over the economy.
But no matter congressional efforts, Roosevelt was in charge, especially in the field of international relations. His administration significantly doubled the number of federal employees from one to two million. This trend continued after he left office.
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Whether speaking in his State of the Union address, or reaching out to transcend the differences between warring factions, Roosevelt became the symbol of policy making. On the executive side, he strengthened the involvement of immigrant agencies in the defense of immigrants who were accused of violating the rules. He secured the presence of two Irishmen, two Germans, and one Jew to monitor the admission process on Ellis Island in an effort to stop deportation decisions from being based on prejudice.
Earlier on, state and local authorities had tried to dominate immigrant entry inspections, and Roosevelt was unhappy with the string of scandals associated with those authorities. He concluded that the inspection agency needed federal supervision to pressure the Ellis Island commissioner to play by the official rules. He wrestled the entrance process away from corrupt hands by firing the supervisors of Ellis Island who had allowed the sale of fake citizen certificates, had appointed political friends, or had allowed labor contractors to recruit cheap labor.
He then went on to strengthen the naturalization procedure and to make the steamship companies responsible for the quality of the immigrant flow. He also believed the recruitment practices of travel agents and steamship companies attracted poor, unskilled immigrants, including those from Europe, who could undercut wages in the United States.
The deal made with Chinese labor was bound to result in a lowering of the standard of living and cause future problems. Roosevelt was convinced that a stable and healthy immigration policy preceded an advancing social welfare system. Laws should be enacted to keep out all immigrants who do not show that they have the right stuff in them to enter into our life on terms of decent equality with our own citizens. This is needed, first, in the interest of the laboring man, but furthermore in the interests of all of us as American citizens. And when in the South needed laborers in the cotton industry, labor organizations protested this settling of immigrants in the countryside saying it violated the ban on labor contracts.
The courts, however, upheld the policy. According to Roosevelt, no matter how unfortunate it may be to deport some immigrants, the public should be made aware of the careful manner in which immigrants were screened. Roosevelt thought it was very important to cooperate closely with the leaders of the immigrant communities and with Congress.
No discrimination according to race or creed could be allowed in deportation proceedings which were prone to considerable pressure and anxiety. Thus, the immigrant was entitled to a fair chance to convince the authorities of her or his innocence, before they reached a decision about deportation. New requirements for immigration included a mastery of the English language, and a homogenization of naturalization procedures which brought them under the jurisdiction of Federal courts from the five thousand state and local courts that had previously handled such matters.
Also this piece of legislation was meant to prevent and severely punish fraud in the political system. They must possess the right of collective bargaining. Based on personal experience, Roosevelt applauded the contribution of millions of immigrants to a vigorous country, but he also recognized the pressure on society of the entire immigrant inflow. Therefore he put immigration on the national agenda, deftly maneuvered between competing pressures from a variety of sources, removed obstacles to the efficient functioning of the immigration authorities, and assessed a growing number of measures to select immigrants with potential.
Roosevelt paved the way for the end of free immigration, without resorting to blatantly racist exclusion except of course, in the case of Chinese exclusion which was already in place and which he did nothing to alter. He cultivated important friendships and allegiances, flourished intellectually, and strengthened his progressive views of social justice, racial theory, and foreign relations.
It was a period altogether significant to the honing of administrative talent and intellectual acuity of the future president. Richard White Jr. He describes Roosevelt's relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and adversaries.
White explores TR's accomplishments in civil service reform, the effect of the commission experience on his presidency a decade later, and his administrative legacy. Richard D. White Jr.