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La Follette, Robert M

Thanks to the movement for genuinely democratic popular government which Senator La Follette led to overwhelming victory in Wisconsin, that state has become literally a laboratory for wise experimental legislation aiming to secure the social and political betterment of the people as a whole. Nothing is easier than to demand, on the stump, or in essays and editorials, the abolition of injustice and the securing to each man of his rights.

mental legislation aiming to secure the social and political betterment of the people as a whole. Nothing is easier than to demand, on the stump, or in essays and editorials, the abolition of injustice and the securing to each man of his rights. But actually to accomplish practical and effective work along the line of such utterances is so hard that the average public man, and average public writer, have not even attempted it; and unfortunately too many of the men in public life who have seemed to attempt it have contented themselves with enacting legislation which, just because it made believe to do so much, in reality accomplished very little.

But in Wisconsin there has been a successful effort to redeem the promises by performances, and to reduce theories into practice. . . .

The Wisconsin reformers have accomplished the extraordinary results for which the whole nation owes them so much, primarily because they have not confined themselves to dreaming dreams and then to talking about them. They have had power to see the vision, of course; if they did not have in them the possibility of seeing visions, they could accomplish nothing; but they have tried to make their ideals realizable, and then they have tried, with an extraordinary measure of success, actually to realize them. As soon as they decided that a certain object was desirable they at once set to work practically to study how to develop the constructive machinery through which it could be achieved Introduction to The Wisconsin Idea by Charles McCarthy. (Macmillan Co., N. Y., 1912), pp. Vii-Viii.


It has never been any effort on my part to respect the first-class railway man or blacksmith or carpenter or cow-hand as much as I respect a competent banker or lawyer; indeed, I have always felt a certain impatience with any one who does not admire physical address and daring; and there are many men who work with their hands among those whose judgment I desire on any question relating to the essential needs, social, political, and industrial, of our civilization. I do not mean that a man should limit himself simply to doing physical work, or adopt the principles of the well- meaning but unbalanced enthusiasts who would require every man always to do manual work in addition to his other labor. Such conduct is not idealism but folly. I do mean, however, that, in my judgment, it is best, where possible, to combine physical and mental efficiency, and that the highest type of citizen is most apt to be a man who can thus combine them; and I mean, furthermore, that the high type of man who in driving an engine or erecting a building or handling deep-sea fishing-craft shows the necessary moral, intellectual, and physical qualities demanded by his task ought to be instantly accepted as standing upon as high a plane of citizenship as any human being in the community. But he can never stand on such a plane unless he regards his work with such devotion that he is not content to do less than his very best. He ought to join with his fellows in a union, or in some similar association, for mutual help and betterment, and in that association he should strive to raise higher his less competent brothers; but he should positively decline to allow himself to be dragged down to their level, and if he does thus permit himself to be dragged down, the penalty is the loss of individual, of class, and finally of national efficiency. (Outlook , February 4, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 102; Nat. Ed. XVII, 67.


See also Child Labor; Convict Labor; Domestic Service; Employment; Immigration; Leisure; Unemployment; Work.

Labor—Duty Toward

The first charge on the industrial statesmanship of the day is to prevent human waste. The dead weight of orphanage and depleted craftsmanship, of crippled workers and workers suffering from trade diseases, of casual labor, of insecure old age, and of household depletion due to industrial conditions are, like our depleted soils, our gashed mountainsides and flooded river-bottoms, so many strains upon the national structure, draining the reserve strength of all industries and showing beyond all peradventure the public element and public concern in industrial health. Ultimately we desire to use the government to aid, as far as can safely be done, in helping the industrial tool-users to become in part tool-owners, just as our farmers now are. Ultimately the government may have to join more efficiently than at present in strengthening the hands of the working men who already stand at a high level, industrially and socially, and who are able by joint action to serve themselves. But the most pressing and immediate need is to deal with the cases of those who are on the level, and who are not only in need themselves, but because of their need tend to jeopardize the welfare of those who are better off. (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, August 6, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 372, Nat. Ed. XVII, 266.

Labor—Duty Toward

See Also Square Deal Workers.

Labor—Efficiency of

The wage-worker should not only receive fair treatment; he should give fair treatment. In order that prosperity may be passed around it is necessary that the prosperity exist. In order that labor shall receive its fair share in the division of reward it is necessary that there be a reward to divide. Any proposal to reduce efficiency by insisting that the most efficient shall be limited in their output to what the least efficient can do is a proposal to limit by so much production, and therefore to impoverish by so much the public, and specifically to reduce the amount that can be divided among the producers. This is all wrong. Our protest must be against unfair division of the reward for production. . . . But increased productiveness is not secured by excessive labor amid unhealthy surroundings. The contrary is true. Shorter hours, and healthful conditions, and opportunity for the wage-worker to make more money, and the chance for enjoyment as well as work, all add to efficiency. My contention is that there should be no penalization of efficient productiveness, brought about under healthy conditions; but that every increase of production brought about by an increase in efficiency should benefit all the parties to it, including wage-workers as well as employers or capitalists, men who work with their hands as well as men who work with their heads. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 556; Nat. Ed. XX, 477.

Labor—Organization of

I believe emphatically in organized labor. I believe in organizations of wage-workers. Organization is one of the laws of our social and economic development at this time. But I feel that we must always keep before our minds the fact that there is nothing sacred in the name itself. To call an organization an organization does not make it a good one. The worth of an organization depends upon its being handled with the courage, the skill, the wisdom, the spirit of fair dealing as between man and man, and the wise self-restraint which, I am glad to be able to say, your Brotherhood has shown. (Before Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, Chattanooga, Tenn., September 8, 1902.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 201-202; Nat. Ed. XVI, 152.

____________. Wage-workers have an entire right to organize and by all peaceful and honorable means to endeavor to persuade their fellows to join with them in organizations. They have a legal right, which, according to circumstances, may or may not be a moral right, to refuse to work in company with men who decline to join their organizations. They have under no circumstances the right to commit violence upon those, whether capitalists or wage-workers, who refuse to support their organizations, or who side with those with whom they are at odds. (Fourth Annual Message, Washington, December 6, 1904.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 253; Nat. Ed. XV, 217.

____________. It is essential that there should be organizations of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize. My appeal for organized labor is twofold; to the outsider and the capitalist I make my appeal to treat the laborer fairly, to recognize the fact that he must organize, that there must be such organization, that the laboring man must organize for his own protection, and that it is the duty of the rest of us to help him and not hinder him in organizing. That is one-half of the appeal that I make.

Now, the other half is to the labor man himself. My appeal to him is to remember that as he wants justice, so he must do justice. I want every labor man, every labor leader, every organized union man, to take the lead in denouncing crime or violence. I want them to take the lead in denouncing disorder and in denouncing the inciting of riot; that in this country we shall proceed under the protection of our laws and with all respect to the laws, and I want the labor men to feel in their turn that exactly as justice must be done them so they must do justice. That they must bear their duty as citizens, their duty to this great country of ours, and that they must not rest content unless they do that duty to the fullest degree. (At Milwaukee, Wis., October 14, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 447; Nat. Ed. XVII, 325.

____________. While we must repress all illegalities and discourage all immoralities, whether of labor organizations or of corporations, we must recognize the fact that to-day the organization of labor into trade- unions and federations is necessary, is beneficent, and is one of the greatest possible agencies in the attainment of a true industrial, as well as a true political, democracy in the United States. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 547; Nat. Ed. XX, 470.

____________. Labor has as much right as capital to organize. It is tyranny to forbid the exercise of this right, just as it is tyranny to misuse the power acquired by organization. The people of the United States do not believe in tyranny and do believe in cooperation. (June 27, 1918.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 171.

Labor—Organization of

See also Capital and Labor; Collective Bargaining; Combinations; Labor Unions.

Labor—Progressive Plank on

In the Progressive National platform we inserted the following plank:

“The supreme duty of the nation is the conservation of human resources through an enlightened measure of social and industrial justice. We pledge ourselves to work unceasingly in State and nation for:

“Effective legislation looking to the prevention of industrial accidents, occupational diseases, overwork, involuntary unemployment, and other injurious effects incident to modern industry;

“The fixing of minimum safety and health standards for the various occupations, and the exercise of the public authority of State and nation, including the Federal control over interstate commerce and the taxing power, to maintain such standards;

“The prohibition of child labor;

“Minimum-wage standards for working women, to provide a living scale in all industrial occupations;

“The prohibition of night-work for women and the establishment of an eight-hour day for women and young persons; “One day's rest in seven for all wage-workers;

“The eight-hour day in continuous twenty-four- hour industries; “The abolition of the convict contract-labor system; substituting a system of prison production for governmental consumption only; and the application of prisoners' earnings to the support of their dependent families;

“Publicity as to wages, hours, and conditions of labor; full reports upon industrial accidents and diseases, and the opening to public inspection of all tallies, weights, measures, and check systems on labor products;

“Standards of compensation for death by industrial accident and injury and trade diseases which will transfer the burden of lost earnings from the families of working people to the industry, and thus to the community;

“The protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment, and old age through the adoption of a system of social insurance adapted to American use;

“The development of the creative labor power of America by lifting the last load of illiteracy from American youth and establishing continuation schools for industrial education under public control, and encouraging agricultural education and demonstration in rural schools;

“The establishment of industrial research laboratories to put the methods and discoveries of science at the service of American producers.

“We favor the organization of the workers, men and women, as a means of protecting their interests and of promoting their progress.”

These propositions are definite and concrete. They represent for the first time in our political history the specific and reasoned purpose of a great party to use the resources of the government in sane fashion for industrial betterment. (Century Magazine, October 1913.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 544; Nat. Ed. XVII, 400.

Labor—Protection of

The minute that the democracy becomes convinced that the workman and the peasant are suffering from competition with cheap labor, whether this cheap labor take the form of alien immigration, or of the importation of goods manufactured abroad by low-class working men, or of commodities produced by convicts, it at once puts a stop to the competition. We keep out the Chinese, very wisely; we have put an end to the rivalry of convict contract labor with free labor; we are able to protect ourselves, whenever necessary, by heavy import duties, against the effect of too cheap labor in any foreign country; and, finally, in the Civil War, we utterly destroyed the system of slavery, which really was threatening the life of the free working man in a way in which it cannot possibly be threatened by any conceivable development of the “capitalistic” spirit. (Forum, January 1897.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 138; Nat. Ed. XIII, 250.

____________. No body of officials, no matter how well-meaning and personally honest, no matter whether they be legislators, judges, or executives, have any right to say that we, the people, shall not make laws to protect women and children, and also men in hazardous industry, to protect men, women and children from working under unhealthy conditions or for manifestly excessive hours, or to prevent the conditions of life in tenement-houses from becoming intolerable. Outlook , January 6, 1912, p. 44.

____________. By the time I became President I had grown to feel with deep intensity of conviction that governmental agencies must find their justification largely in the way in which they are used for the practical betterment of living and working conditions among the mass of the people. I felt that the fight was really for the abolition of privilege; and one of the first stages in the battle was necessarily to fight for the rights of the working man. For this reason I felt most strongly that all that the government could do in the interest of labor should be done. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 526; Nat. Ed. XX, 452.

Labor—Protection of

See also Contract; Social Insurance; Square Deal; Workers; Workmen's Compensation.

Labor—Rights of

There can be no doubt but that labor must have a new voice in the management of industrial affairs. The right of labor to collective bargaining, and in that right, the further right to know exactly how the books stand in every industrial concern is going to be a vital political question and the Republican party should take a constructive stand. It cannot afford to talk about constitutional rights of capital and try to dam the moving current of the times. I am satisfied that many Republicans who did not believe these things three and six years ago, are going to believe them now. And I feel that if you will give the Republican organization a free opportunity for development it will develop into a constructive liberty party. (To Will H. Hays, May 15, 1918.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 523; Bishop II, 446.

Labor—Training of

Progress cannot permanently consist in the abandonment of physical labor, but in the development of physical labor so that it shall represent more and more the work of the trained mind in the trained body. To provide such training, to encourage in every way the production of the men whom it alone can produce, is to show that as a nation we have a true conception of the dignity and importance of labor. The calling of the skilled tiller of the soil, the calling of the skilled mechanic, should alike be recognized as professions, just as emphatically as the callings of lawyer, of doctor, of banker, merchant, or clerk. The printer, the electrical worker, the house-painter, the foundryman, should be trained just as carefully as the stenographer or the drug clerk. They should be trained alike in head and in hand. They should get over the idea that to earn twelve dollars a week and call it "salary" is better than to earn twenty- five dollars a week and call it "wages." The young man who has the courage and the ability to refuse to enter the crowded field of the so-called professions and to take to constructive industry is almost sure of an ample reward in earnings, in health, in opportunity to marry early, and to establish a home with reasonable freedom from worry. (At semicentennial celebration, founding of Agricultural Colleges, Lansing, Mich., May 31, 1907.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 174; Nat. Ed. XVI, 131.

Labor—Training of

See Also Education, Industrial.

Labor—Treatment of

While I am President I wish the labor man to feel that he has the same right of access to me that the capitalist has; that the doors swing open as easily to the wage-worker as to the head of a big corporation—and no easier. Anything else seems to be not only un-American, but as symptomatic of an attitude which will cost grave trouble if persevered in. (Letter of November 26, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 566; Nat. Ed. XX, 486.

____________. Hereafter in a very real sense labor should be treated, both as regards conditions of work and conditions of reward, as a partner in the enterprises in which he is associated; housing and living conditions must be favorable; effort must be made to see that the work is interesting, there must be insurance against old age, sickness and involuntary unemployment; and a share in the money reward for increased business success, whether it comes from efficiency shown in speeding up or from labor-saving machinery or from any other cause. And on the other side there must be no restriction of output, no levelling down, no failure by the man to exert his full powers, and to receive the full reward to which his individual excellence entitles him, and no failure to recognize that unless there is a proper reward for the capital invested and for the management provided, absolute industrial disaster will result to every human being in this country. (Before Republican State Convention, Saratoga Springs, N. Y., July 18, 1918.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 401; Nat. Ed. XIX, 364.

Labor—Treatment of

See also Capital and Labor; Contract; Square Deal; Workers.

Labor—Wages and Hours of

We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living for those who devote their time and energy to industrial occupations. The monetary equivalent of a living wage varies according to local conditions, but must include enough to secure the elements of a normal standard of living—a standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the  family during periods of sickness, and to permit of reasonable saving for old age. Hours are excessive if they fail to afford the worker sufficient time to recuperate and return to his work thoroughly refreshed. We hold that the night labor of women and children is abnormal and should be prohibited; we hold that the employment of women over forty-eight hours per week is abnormal and should be prohibited. We hold that the seven-day working week is abnormal, and we hold that one day of rest in seven should be provided by law. We hold that the continuous industries, operating twenty-four hours out of twenty-four, are abnormal, and where, because of public necessity or of technical reasons (such as molten metal), the twenty-four hours must be divided into two shifts of twelve hours or three shifts of eight, they should by law be divided into three of eight. (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, August 6, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 374; Nat. Ed. XVII, 268.

Labor—Wages and Hours of

See Also Eight-Hour Day; Wages.

Labor Agitators—Danger of

Of course the worst foes of America are the foes to that orderly liberty without which our Republic must speedily perish. The reckless labor agitator who arouses the mob to riot and bloodshed is in the last analysis the most dangerous of the working man's enemies. This man is a real peril; and so is his sympathizer, the legislator, who to catch votes denounces the judiciary and the military because they put down mobs (Forum, February 1895.) Mem. Ed. XV, 7; Nat. Ed. XIII, 7.

Labor Agitators

See Also Class Lines; Industrial Workers of The World.

Labor Conditions—Improvement of

We wish to reshape social and industrial conditions so that it shall no longer be possible for masses of men- still less, masses of women and children-to be worked for excessive hours, or under conditions disastrous to their health, or at their own personal risk to life and limb, or for a wage too small to permit the living of a self-respecting life. (Outlook, February 4, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 101; Nat. Ed. XVII, 66.

____________. New York State should put a stop to manufacturing in tenement houses. I know perfectly well that trouble would be caused, dislocation of industry, hardship, when that was done, but I am convinced by thirty years' experience of work in New York that we can not work the reform that must be  worked without putting a stop to manufacturing in tenement houses. This State leads in the amount of manufacturing carried on in tenement houses. The Labor Law contains no provisions to prevent the employment of children nor to restrict the working hours of minors or women in tenements. It provides merely that work of certain specified articles (41 in number), may not be carried on in a tenement living- room without a license. No one knows the actual extent of home work in New York City, as the inadequate force of inspectors of the State Labor Department can not cover all the tenements where work may be carried on. Any of you who have had actual experience, as I have had, in acting with legislatures . . . know that after passing a law which they are reluctant to pass, one of their favorite methods of nullifying that law is to refuse a sufficient appropriation to have it carried really into effect. The incomplete figures from the labor records show over 12,000 tenements licensed for home work. Actual experience has shown that under present conditions home work is a serious menace both for the workers and for the public. A home workshop is neither a home nor a factory. The institution of the home from earliest times has surrounded itself with peculiar rights and traditions. To make it a "factory annex" is an invasion of the home which should not be tolerated. The home workshop is a factory without a closing hour. I mean that literally. Home work and congestion, bad ventilation and dark rooms go hand in hand. (Before Civic Forum and the Child Welfare League, Carnegie Hall, N. Y. C., October 20, 1911.) Theodore Roosevelt, The Conservation of Womanhood and Childhood. (Funk & Wagnalls Co., N. Y., 1912), pp. 21-24 

____________. When I plead the cause of the crippled brakeman on a railroad, of the overworked girl in a factory, of the stunted child toiling at inhuman labor, of all who work excessively or in unhealthy surroundings, of the family dwelling in the squalor of a noisome tenement, of the worn-out farmer in regions where the farms are worn out also; when I protest against the unfair profits of unscrupulous and conscienceless men or against the greedy exploitation of the helpless by the beneficiaries of privilege; in all these cases I am not only fighting for the weak, I am also fighting for the strong.

The sons of all of us will pay in the future if we of the present do not do justice in the present.

If the fathers cause others to eat bitter bread, the teeth of their own sons shall be set on edge. (At Louisville, Ky., April 3, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 254; Nat. Ed. XVII, 189.

Labor Conditions—Regulation of

The right to regulate the use of wealth in the public interest is universally admitted. Let us admit also the right to regulate the terms and conditions of labor, which is the chief element of wealth, directly in the interest of the common good. The fundamental thing to do for every man is to give him a chance to reach a place in which he will make the greatest possible contribution to the public welfare. . . . No man can be a good citizen unless he has a wage more than sufficient to cover the bare cost of living, and hours of labor short enough so that after his day's work is done he will have time and energy to bear his share in the management of the community, to help in carrying the general load. We keep countless men from being good citizens by the conditions of life with which we surround them. We need comprehensive workmen's compensation acts, both State and national laws to regulate child labor and work for women, and, especially, we need in our common schools not merely education in book- learning, but also practical training for daily life and work. We need to enforce better sanitary conditions for our workers and to extend the use of safety appliances for our workers in industry and commerce, both within and between the States. (At Osawatomie, Kan., August 31, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 24; Nat. Ed. XVII, 17.

____________. We also maintain that the nation and the several States have the right to regulate the terms and conditions of labor, which is the chief element of wealth, directly in the interest of the common good. It is our prime duty to shape the industrial and social forces so that they may tell for the material and moral upbuilding of the farmer and the wage-worker, just as they should do in the case of the business man. (Before Ohio Constitutional Convention, Columbus, February 21, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 177; Nat. Ed. XVII, 131.

Labor Conditions

See Also Child Labor; Convict Labor; Domestic Service; Eight -Hour Day; Wages; Workmen's Compensation.

Labor Disputes—Public Interest in

In all great labor struggles, not only are the capitalists and the employees parties in interest, but there is another party, and that third party is the people as a whole. You  here are the party in interest, and peculiarly so in a controversy . . . where a public-service corporation is involved which has a peculiar and special connection with the government and with the people. (At Columbus, O., September 10, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 217.

____________. In any labor disturbance of a size or character to jeopardize the public welfare, there are three parties in interest—the property-owners, the wage-earners, and the general public. I refuse to assent to the view that either the owners of the property or the workers have interests paramount to the general interest of the public at large. This position was formerly taken by the owners, who insisted that the property was theirs, and that the government had nothing whatever to do with their management of it, except to furnish them protection if they were threatened by lawless violence on the part of the workers. I then declined to accept this view. In exactly the same way I now decline to accept any claim put forth in their turn by the workers that they must not be interfered with by the government, and that the public has no rights which it can assert—as against the will of the workers—to do whatever they choose in the premises. One view is precisely as untenable as the other. The public servant who is worth his salt will do what is right, no matter which side is hurt, and will pay no heed to the threats of either side when the question is one affecting the public interests. (1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 78; Nat. Ed. XIX, 67.

Labor Disputes-use of Police in

While this feeling against the police is entirely improper, it is perfectly natural; because in labor disturbances the action of the police, when it has been called out, in nineteen-twentieths of the cases is against the interest of the wrong-doing wage-worker, and not against the interest of the wrong-doing capitalist. The wage-worker is right in resenting this fact. But he is wholly wrong in failing to see where the trouble comes in. He makes his attack on the wrong point. The trouble is not that the government represses the wrong-doing of one side. The trouble is that it does not also repress the wrong-doing of the other side. The protest should be not against the efficient use of the police power but against the failure to use it with equal efficiency against both sides. The trouble is not in the use of the police force to restore order. No government has any warrant for existing, if it cannot keep order, and suppress disorder and violence. This is the first step to take, and until it has been taken all further  progress is impossible. The trouble is that the government is apt to confine itself to keeping order, whereas it ought by rights to treat keeping order, not as in itself an end, but as a means for securing justice. (1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 73; Nat. Ed. XIX, 63.

Labor Legislation—Purpose of

It is not only highly desirable but necessary that there should be legislation which shall carefully shield the interests of wage-workers, and which shall discriminate in favor of the honest and humane employer by removing the disadvantage under which he stands when compared with unscrupulous competitors who have no conscience and will do right only under fear of punishment. (At Minnesota State Fair, September 2, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XV, 331; Nat. Ed. XIII, 472.

Labor Disputes

See also Altgeld, John Peter; Coal Strike; Collective Bargaining; Employer- Employee Relations; Industrial Arbitration; Injunctions; Strikes.

Labor Exchanges

We have only begun to realize that, as regards the father, the man, we must help him to help himself; help him to learn the vitally important and difficult business of co-operation; help him to learn industrial citizenship by beginning to exercise industrial power; and also help him along many different lines by outright governmental action— insurance against sickness, accident, and undeserved unemployment, provision for old age, provision against overwork and unsanitary conditions. To this end we shall ultimately need a system of nationally federated labor exchanges, co-ordinated with the schools, so that both the capacity of the pupil and the demands of industry may be considered. (Metropolitan, May 1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 97; Nat. Ed. XIX, 84.

Labor Exchanges

See also Employment Bureaus.

Labor Leaders

See Capitalist and Labor Leader.

Labor Legislation

In nothing do we need to exercise cooler judgment than in labor legislation. Such legislation is absolutely necessary, alike from the humanitarian and the industrial standpoints, and it is as much our duty to protect the weaker wage-workers from oppression as to protect helpless investors from fraud. But we must beware above all things of that injudicious and ill-considered benevolence which usually in the long run defeats its own ends. To discourage industry and thrift ultimately amounts to putting a premium on poverty and shiftlessness. It is neither of benefit to the individual nor to society needlessly to handicap superior ability and energy, and to reduce their possessor to the level of work and gain suited for his less able and energetic rivals. (Annual Message as Governor, Albany, January 3, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 55; Nat. Ed. XV, 48. 

Labor Legislation—Purpose of

It is not only highly desirable but necessary that there should be legislation which shall carefully shield the interests of wage-workers, and which shall discriminate in favor of the honest and humane employer by removing the disadvantage under which he stands when compared with unscrupulous competitors who have no conscience and will do right only under fear of punishment. (At Minnesota State Fair, September 2, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XV, 331; Nat. Ed. XIII, 472.

Labor Disputes

See Also Altgeld, John Peter; Coal Strike; Collective Bargaining; Employer- Employee Relations; Industrial Arbitration; Injunctions; Strikes.

Labor Exchanges

We have only begun to realize that, as regards the father, the man, we must help him to help himself; help him to learn the vitally important and difficult business of co-operation; help him to learn industrial citizenship by beginning to exercise industrial power; and also help him along many different lines by outright governmental action— insurance against sickness, accident, and undeserved unemployment, provision for old age, provision against overwork and unsanitary conditions. To this end we shall ultimately need a system of nationally federated labor exchanges, co-ordinated with the schools, so that both the capacity of the pupil and the demands of industry may be considered. (Metropolitan, May 1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 97; Nat. Ed. XIX, 84.

Labor Legislation

See also Child Labor; Housing; Social Insurance; Workmen's Compensation.

Labor Party

The difficulty with the Labor-Party idea is that it is based upon a false premise. It is based on the theory that the interests of so-called labor are different from the interests of the community as a whole. That is a foolish doctrine, just as foolish as it would be to try and maintain that the interests of the manufacturer or other employer are different from those of the rest of the community. It is entirely a selfish and wicked doctrine, and, if successful, would work hardships on labor more than on any other group in the community. (Fall 1917; reported by Leary.) Talks with T. R. From the diaries of John J. Leary, Jr. (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1920), p. 151.

Labor Problem—Nature of the

The labor problem is a human and a moral as well as an economic problem; . . . a fall in wages, an increase in hours, a deterioration of labor conditions mean wholesale moral as well as economic degeneration, and the needless sacrifice of human lives and human happiness; while a rise of wages, a lessening of hours, a bettering of conditions, mean an intellectual, moral, and social uplift of millions of American men and women. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 547; Nat. Ed. XX, 470.

Labor Relations—Violence in

In every way I shall support the law-abiding and upright representatives of labor; and in no way can I better support them than by drawing the sharpest possible line between them on the one hand, and, on the other hand, those preachers of violence who are themselves the worst foes of the honest laboring man. (Letter of April 22, 1907.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 73; Bishop II, 62.

____________. Violence must be vigorously repressed; but the law must be enforced by lawful methods. This means that the government must supply the police, and must not only eliminate the mob on one side, but must eliminate on the other the private mine-guard and imported thug. Moreover, the police power should always be exercised in conjunction with a thoroughgoing and impartial governmental inquiry into the causes of the strike; and until this government commission has had time to investigate the facts and make its findings, it would be wise to forbid the importing of strike-breakers—for the imported strike-breaker stands on an entirely different footing from the non-unionist (or unionist) who refuses to go on strike. (1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 77; Nat. Ed. XIX, 66.

____________. I hold, with the utmost intensity of conviction, that it is absolutely impossible for us to succeed along the lines of an orderly democracy, a democracy which shall be industrial as well as political, unless we treat the repression of crime, including crimes of violence, and the insistence on justice obtained through the enforcement of law, as prime necessities. I, of course, refuse, under any conditions, to accept the fact that certain persons decline "to unionize and strike" as warranting their murder, or as warranting any kind of violence against them. But I go much further than this. I will aid in every way in my power to secure, by governmental as well as private action, the remedying of all the wrongs of labor, and in so acting I shall pay no heed to any capitalistic opposition. But I refuse to treat any industrial condition as warranting riot and murder; and I condemn all persons, whether representatives of organized labor or not, who attempt to palliate or excuse such crimes, or who fail to condemn them in clear-cut and unequivocal fashion. I heartily believe in organized labor, just as, and even more than, I believe in organized capital; I am very proud of being an honorary member of one labor organization; but I will no more condone crime or violence by a labor organization or by working men than I will condone crime or wrong-doing by a corporation or by capitalists. (To Victor A. Olander, Secretary-Treasurer, Illinois State Federation of Labor, July 17, 1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 175; Nat. Ed. XIX, 168.

Labor Relations

See Also Employer- Employee Relations; Industrial Arbitration; Nobel Peace Prize; Strikes.

Labor-Saving Machinery

When the tool- user has some ownership in and some control over the tool, the matter of opposition to labor-saving machinery will largely solve itself; for then a substantial part of the benefit will come to the working man, instead of having it all come as profit to the capitalist, while the working man may see his job vanish. (1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 94; Nat. Ed. XIX, 81.

Labor Unions

I am a believer in unions. I am an honorary member of one union. But the union must obey the law just as the corporation must obey the law. Just as every man, rich or poor, must obey the law. As yet, no action has been called for by me and most certainly if action is called for I shall try to do justice under the law to every man, so far as I have power. But the first essential is the preservation of law and order, the suppression of violence by mobs or individuals. (To Chicago Strikers, May 1905.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 505; Bishop I, 440.

____________. Labor organizations are like other organizations, like organizations of capitalists; sometimes they act very well, and sometimes they act very badly. We should consistently favor them when they act well, and as fearlessly oppose them when they act badly. I wish to see labor organizations powerful; and the minute that any organization becomes powerful it becomes powerful for evil as well as for good; and when organized labor becomes sufficiently powerful the State will have to regulate the collective use of labor just as it must regulate the collective use of capital. Therefore the very success of the effort we are making to increase the power of labor means that among labor leaders and among other citizens there must be increased vigilance and courage in unhesitatingly rebuking anything that labor does that is wrong. (Outlook , February 4, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 108; Nat. Ed. XVII, 72.

____________. No straightforward man can believe, and no fearless man will assert, that a trade-union is always right. That man is an unworthy public servant who by speech or silence, by direct statement or cowardly evasion, invariably throws the weight of his influence on the side of the trade-union, whether it is right or wrong. It has occasionally been my duty to give utterance to the feelings of all right-thinking men by expressing the most emphatic disapproval of unwise or even immoral actions by representatives of labor. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 546; Nat. Ed. XX, 469.

Labor Unions—Faults of

The worst faults of trades-unionism to-day are largely, and probably mainly, due to past and present misconduct and shortcoming by the capitalists, the corporations. Trades-unionism grew up as an effort to organize the resistance of labor to capitalistic exaction; and it has acquired or inherited many of the vices against which it warred. Corporations and labor-unions are alike bound to serve the commonwealth. Each must recognize in the future its public duty; and this can only come as the result of the state becoming the partner of both, a partner sincerely anxious to help both, but determined that each shall do its duty. (1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 91; Nat. Ed. XIX, 79.

Labor Unions—need for

In our cities, or where men congregate in masses, it is often necessary to work in combination, that is, through associations; and here it is that we can see the great good conferred by labor organizations, by trade-unions. Of course, if managed unwisely, the very power of such a union or organization makes it capable of doing much harm; but, on the whole, it would be hard to overestimate the good these organizations have done in the past, and still harder to estimate the good they can do in the future if handled with resolution, forethought, honesty, and sanity. (At Labor Day Picnic, Chicago, September 3, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 512; Nat. Ed. XIII, 484.

Labor Unions—Praise of

There are certain labor-unions, certain bodies of organized labor— notably those admirable organizations which include the railway conductors, the locomotive engineers and the firemen—which to my mind embody almost the best hope that there is for healthy national growth in the future. (Review of Reviews, January 1897.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 379; Nat. Ed. XIII, 163.

Labor Unions-Progress of

[I] think—and this is a belief which has been borne upon me through many years of practical experience—that the trade- union is growing constantly in wisdom as well as in power, and is becoming one of the most efficient agencies toward the solution of our industrial problems, the elimination of poverty and of industrial disease and accidents, the lessening of unemployment, the achievement of industrial democracy, and the attainment of a larger measure of social and industrial justice. If I were a factory employee, a workman on the railroads or a wage-earner of any sort, I would undoubtedly join the union of my trade. If I disapproved of its policy, I would join in order to fight that policy; if the union leaders were dishonest, I would join in order to put them out. I believe in the union and I believe that all men who are benefited by the union are morally bound to help to the extent of their power in the common interests advanced by the union. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 549; Nat. Ed. XX, 472.

Labor Unions-Recognition of

If I were a wage-worker, I should certainly join a union; but when I was in I would remember that I was first of all an American citizen. . . . In our modern industrial system the union is just as necessary as the corporation, and in the modern field of industrialism it is often an absolute necessity that there should be collective bargaining by the employees with the employers; and such collective bargaining is but one of the many benefits conferred by wisely and honestly organized unions that act properly. . . . The union has the same right to exist that the corporation has, and it is unfair to refuse to deal with it as it is to refuse to deal with the corporation. Show your willingness to give the union its full rights, and you will be stronger when you set your faces like flint, as I have set mine, against the union when it is wrong. (At Columbus, O., September 10, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 218.

Labor Unions and the Government

In the employment and dismissal of men in the government service I can no more recognize the fact that a man does or does not belong to a union as being for or against him than I can recognize the fact that he is a Protestant or a Catholic, a Jew or a Gentile, as being for or against him. (Statement to Executive Council, Amer. Fed. of Labor, September 29, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 289; Bishop I, 251.

____________. There is no objection to employees of the government forming or belonging to unions; but the government can neither discriminate for nor discriminate against non-union men who are in its employment, or who seek to be employed under it. Moreover, it is a very grave impropriety for government employees to band themselves together for the purpose of extorting improperly high salaries from the government. (Fourth Annual Message, Washington, December 6, 1904.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 255-256; Nat. Ed. XV, 219-220.  

____________. I believe in trade-unions. I always prefer to see a union shop. But my private preferences cannot control my public actions. The government can recognize neither union men nor non-union men as such, and is  bound to treat both exactly alike. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 550; Nat. Ed. XX, 472.

Labor Unions

See Also Collective Bargaining; Combinations; Employer-Employee Relations; Industrial Arbitration; Injunctions; Open Shop; Strikes.

Lafayette, Marquis de.

To Lafayette . . . America owes as much as to any of her own children, for his devotion to us was as disinterested and sincere as it was effective; and it is a pleasant thing to remember that we, in our turn, not only repaid him materially, but, what he valued far more, that our whole people yielded him all his life long the most loving homage a man could receive. No man ever kept pleasanter relations with a people he had helped than Lafayette did with us. (1888.) Mem. Ed. VIII, 340; Nat. Ed. VII, 294.

Lafayette, Marquis de.

See also Popularity


It is perfectly true that the laissez- faire doctrine of the old school of political economists is receiving less and less favor; but after all, if we look at events historically, we see that every race, as it has grown to civilized greatness, has used the power of the State more and more. A great State cannot rely on mere unrestricted individualism, any more than it can afford to crush out all individualism. Within limits, the mercilessness of private commercial warfare must be curbed as we have curbed the individual's right of private war proper. (Sewanee Review, August 1894.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 247-248; Nat. Ed. XIII, 215.

____________. The laissez-faire doctrine of the English political economists three-quarters of a century ago . . . can be applied with profit, if anywhere at all, only in a primitive community under primitive conditions, in a community such as the United States at the end of the eighteenth century, a community before the days of Fulton, Morse and Edison. To apply it now in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century, with its highly organized industries, with its railways, telegraphs, and telephones, means literally and absolutely to refuse to make a single effort to better any one of our social or industrial conditions. (At San Francisco, September 14, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 420; Nat. Ed. XVII, 307.


See Also Competition; Contract ; Free Trade; Government Control; Individualism; Liberty; Political Issues.

Land—Settlement of

See Homestead Law; Indian Lands; Manifest Destiny; Westward Movement.

Land Reserves

See Forest Reserves. 

Lands, Public

See Public Lands.

Language, English

We have room for but one language, the language of Washington and Lincoln, the language of the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg speech; the English language. English should be the only language used or taught in the primary schools, public or private; in higher schools of learning other modern languages should be taught, on an equality with one another; but the language of use and instruction should be English. We should require by law that within a reasonable length of time, a time long enough to prevent needless hardship, every newspaper should be published in English. The language of the church and the Sunday-school should be English. The government should provide night schools free for every immigrant who comes here, require him to attend them, and return him to his own country unless at the end of five years he has learned to speak and read English. (1918.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 329; Nat. Ed. XIX, 301.

Language, English, in Schools

We stand unalterably in favor of the public-school system in its entirety. We believe that English, and no other language, is that in which all the school exercises should be conducted. (Forum, April 1894.) Mem. Ed. XV, 25; Nat. Ed. XIII, 21.

Language Differences

It would be not merely a misfortune but a crime to perpetuate differences of language in this country, for it would mean failure on our part to become in reality a nation. Many of the newspapers published in foreign tongues are of high character and have done and are doing capital work, by helping the immigrants who speak these tongues during the transition period before they become citizens. These papers deserve hearty recognition for their work. But it must be recognized as transition work, and therefore its usefulness must be recognized as conditioned upon its finally coming to an end. This is as true of the use of a foreign language in schools and churches as in newspapers. (New York Times, September 10, 1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 46; Nat. Ed. XIX, 39. 


See also Americanization; Citizenship ; Foreign Language Press; Immigrants; Spelling Reform. 

Lark—Song of the

I spoke above of the sweet singing of the Western meadow-lark and plains skylark; neither of them kin to the true skylark, by the way, one being a cousin of the grackles and hang-birds, and the other a kind of pipit. To me both of these birds are among the most attractive singers to which I have ever listened; but with all bird music much must be allowed for the surroundings and much for the mood and the keenness of sense of the listener. The lilt of the little plains skylark is neither very powerful nor very melodious; but it is sweet, pure, long-sustained, with a ring of courage befitting a song uttered in highest air. . . . I doubt if any man can judge dispassionately the bird songs of his own country; he can not disassociate them from the sights and sounds of the land that is so dear to him.

This is not a feeling to regret, but it must be taken into account in accepting any estimate of bird music— even in considering the reputation of the European skylark and nightingale. To both of these birds I have often listened in their own homes; always with pleasure and admiration, but always with a growing belief that relatively to some other birds they were ranked too high. They are pre-eminently birds with literary associations; most people take their opinions of them at second-hand, from the poets. (1893.) Mem. Ed. II, 59; Nat. Ed. II, 52.

Lark and Nightingale

No one can help liking the lark; it is such a brave, honest, cheery bird, and, moreover, its song is uttered in the air, and is very long- sustained. But it is by no means a musician of the first rank. The nightingale is a performer of a very different and far higher order; yet, though it is indeed a notable and admirable singer, it is an exaggeration to call it unequalled. In melody, and above all in that finer, higher melody where the chords vibrate with the touch of eternal sorrow, it cannot rank with such singers as the wood-thrush and hermit-thrush. (1893.) Mem. Ed. II, 6o-61; Nat. Ed. II, 53.


See also Meadow -Lark.

Latin-Study of

See Education, Liberal.

Latin America—Future of

In the century that has passed the development of North America has, on the whole, proceeded faster than the development of South America; but in the century that has now opened I believe that no other part of the world will see such extraordinary development in wealth, in population, in all that makes for progress, as will be seen from the northern boundary of Mexico, through all Central and South America, and I can assure you that the people of this nation look with the most profound satisfaction upon the great growth that has already taken place in the countries which you represent—a growth alike in political stability and in the material well-being which can only come when there is political stability. (At Bureau of American Republics, Washington, May 11, 1908.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 374; Nat. Ed. XVI, 280.

____________. I believe that the century that is opening will see South America, will see Latin America, so grow in power and prosperity as to make this growth the central feature in the growth of the world in the twentieth century, precisely as the growth of North America was the central feature in the growth of the civilized world during the nineteenth century. As the several countries of Latin America thus grow in orderly strength and well-being, they will themselves naturally and inevitably assume for themselves the guardianship of the [Monroe] doctrine; and if, and so long as, this orderly growth continues, our responsibility for the doctrine and the need for exercising the responsibility will gradually, step by step, cease until we either share it with many others or the need for its assertion altogether vanishes. (At New York City, October 3, 1913.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 399-400; Nat. Ed. XVI, 299.

Latin America

See Also Brazil; Colombia; Cuba; Germany; Haiti; Intervention; Mexico; Monroe Doctrine; Panama; Porto Rico; Santo Domingo; South America; Venezuela.

Latin Literature — Character of

Latin literature was not really an expression of the soul of the Latin race at all, and this will seem strange only to the men who have not succeeded in freeing their thought from the narrow type of scholastic education prevalent in our universities and schools up to the present day. Latin literature was merely an elegant accomplishment developed by small groups of Latin-speaking men who self-consciously set themselves to the production of a literature and an art modelled on Greek lines. The result of the efforts of these men has had a profound effect upon the civilization of the  last two thousand years throughout the world; but this effect has come merely because the race to which this artificial literature belonged was a race of conquerors, of administrators, of empire-builders. Greek literature and art, Greek philosophy, Greek thought, have profoundly shaped the after-destinies of the world, although the Greek was trampled under foot by the Roman. But Roman literature, Latin literature, would not be heard of at this day if it were not for the fact that the Latin stamped his character on all occidental and central Europe. (Before Amer. Acad. and Nat. Inst. of Arts and Letters, New York City, November 16, 1916.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 452; Nat. Ed. XII, 328.

Law—Interpretation of

There is no need of discussing the question whether or not judges have a right to make law. The simple fact is that by their interpretation they inevitably do make the law in a great number of cases. Therefore it is vital that they should make it aright. (Outlook , March 4, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 122; Nat. Ed. XVII, 84.

____________. I believe in the cumulative value of the law and in its value as an impersonal, disinterested basis of control. I believe in the necessity for the courts' interpretation of the law as law without the power to change the law or to substitute some other thing than law for it. But I agree with every great jurist, from Marshall downward, when I say that every judge is bound to consider two separate elements in his decision of a case, one the terms of the law, and the other the conditions of actual life to which the law is to be applied. Only by taking both of these elements into account is it possible to apply the law as its spirit and intent demand that it be applied. Both law and life are to be considered in order that the law and the Constitution shall become, in John Marshall's words, "a living instrument and not a dead letter.” Justice between man and man, between the State and its citizens, is a living thing, whereas legalistic justice is a dead thing. (Before Ohio Constitutional Convention, Columbus, February 21, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 184; Nat. Ed. XVII, 137.

____________. The power to interpret is the power to establish; and if the people are not to be allowed finally to interpret the fundamental law, ours is not a popular government. (Before Ohio Constitutional Convention, Columbus, February 21, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 190; Nat. Ed. XVII, 141.

Law—Obedience to

All individuals, rich or poor, private or corporate, must be subject to the law of the land; and the Government will hold them to a rigid obedience thereto. The biggest corporation, like the humblest private citizen, must be held to strict compliance with the will of the people as expressed in the fundamental law. The rich man who does not see that this is in his interests is indeed short-sighted. When we make him obey the law, we insure for him the absolute protection of the law. Outlook , September 27, 1902, p. 206.

____________. No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor (Third Annual Message, Washington, December 7, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 200; Nat. Ed. XV, 172.

____________. Individual capitalist and individual wage-worker, corporation and union, are alike entitled to the protection of the law, and must alike obey the law. (Fifth Annual Message, Washington, December 5, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 335; Nat. Ed. XV, 287.

____________. We ask no man's permission when we require him to obey the law; neither the permission of the poor man nor yet of the rich man. (At State Fair, Syracuse, N. Y., September 7, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 64; Nat. Ed. XVI, 55.

____________. Having made a real democracy, we must remember that however good we make the law, more important still is it that the people themselves shall show loyalty in support of the law. I wish to see this made a real democracy, because I believe that our people have the capacity for self-control, for self- mastery. Ever in government there must be control somewhere, mastery somewhere. Ever in government there must be loyalty and obedience to law if law is to prevail. Our purpose should be twofold. We should take from the boss, from the big financier, from the judge himself where the judge even though well-meaning acts against the cause of justice, the power to misrepresent us. We should give that power into the hands of the people. Then we should make it understood by the people that power is a curse to the holder if it is abused, that we the people must show obedience to the law, loyalty to our ideals, self-control, self-mastery, self- restraint. We must act with justice and broad generosity and charity toward one  another and toward all men if we are to make this Republic what it must and shall be made, the nation in all the earth where each man can in best and freest fashion live his own life unwronged by others and proudly careful to wrong no other man. (Before National Conference of Progressive Service, Portsmouth, R. I., July 2, 1913.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 507; Nat. Ed. XVII, 378.

Law—Resistance to

Resistance to the law is justified only on grounds that justify a revolution. (At Buffalo, N. Y., September 11, 1895.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 297. LAW—RESPECT FOR. No nation ever yet retained its freedom for any length of time after losing its respect for the law, after losing the law-abiding spirit, the spirit that really makes orderly liberty. (At Galena, III., April 27, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XII, 466; Nat. Ed. XIII, 437.

Law, Criminal

Centuries ago it was especially needful to throw every safeguard round the accused. The danger then was lest he should be wronged by the State. The danger is now exactly the reverse. Our laws and customs tell immensely in favor of the criminal and against the interests of the public he has wronged. Some antiquated and outworn rules which once safeguarded the threatened rights of private citizens, now merely work harm to the general body politic. The criminal law of the United States stands in urgent need of revision. The criminal process of any court of the United States should run throughout the entire territorial extent of our country. The delays of the criminal law, no less than of the civil, now amount to a very great evil. (Fifth Annual Message, Washington, December 5, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 365-366; Nat Ed. XV, 312-313.

 ____________. The two great evils in the execution of our criminal laws to-day are sentimentality and technicality. For the latter the remedy must come from the hands of the legislatures, the courts, and the lawyers. The other must depend for its cure upon the gradual growth of a sound public opinion which shall insist that regard for the law and the demands of reason shall control all other influences and emotions in the jury-box. Both of these evils must be removed or public discontent with the criminal law will continue. (Seventh Annual Message, Washington, December 3, 1907.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 506; Nat. Ed. XV, 431.

Law, Municipal and International

The whole fabric of municipal law, of law within each nation, rests ultimately upon the judge and the policeman; and the complete absence of the policeman, and the almost complete absence of the judge, in international affairs, prevents there being as yet any real homology between municipal and international law. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 605; Nat. Ed. XX, 520.

Law and Civilization

he first essential of civilization is law. Anarchy is simply the handmaiden and forerunner of tyranny and despotism. Law and order enforced with justice and by strength lie at the foundations of civilization. Law must be based upon justice, else it cannot stand, and it must be enforced with resolute firmness, because weakness in enforcing it means in the end that there is no justice and no law, nothing but the rule of disorderly and unscrupulous strength. Without the habit of orderly obedience to the law, without the stern enforcement of the laws at the expense of those who defiantly resist them, there can be no possible progress, moral or material; in civilization. (At Minnesota State Fair, September 2, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XV, 338; Nat. Ed. XIII, 477.

Law and Custom

Law is largely crystallized custom, largely a mass of remedies which have been slowly evolved to meet the wrongs with which humanity has become thoroughly familiar. (Annual Message as Governor, Albany, January 3, 1900.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 50; Nat. Ed. XV, 44.

Law and Liberty

Ours is a government of liberty, by, through, and under the law. Lawlessness and connivance at lawbreaking—whether the lawbreaking take the form of a crime of greed and cunning or of a crime of violence—are destructive not only of order, but of the true liberties which can only come through order. If alive to their true interests rich and poor alike will set their faces like flint against the sprit which seeks personal advantage by overriding the laws, without regard to whether this spirit shows itself in the form of bodily violence by one set of men or in the form of vulpine cunning by another set of men. (At State Fair, Syracuse, N. Y., September 7, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 63; Nat. Ed. XVI, 54.


See Also Character; Constitution; Courts; Cromwell, Oliver; Due Process; Equality; International Law; Judges; Judiciary; Justice; Lawyers; Legalism; Marshall, John; Order; Public Opinion; Recall; Supreme Court

Law Enforcement

See also Capital Punishment; Courts; Crime; Justice ; Juvenile Courts; Lynching; Supreme Court.

Law Enforcement

We would refuse to gain a victory at the price of joining those who believe that legislators should recklessly pass a law that is not intended to be enforced, and that executive officers should carry out this law only so far as they think expedient. We stand for the honest enforcement of law, and in the long run I have faith that the American people will approve of that stand, because the honest enforcement of law is vital to the ultimate well-being of our great Republic. (At Buffalo, N. Y., September 11, 1895.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 298.

____________. The administration of the government, the enforcement of the laws, must be fair and honest. The laws are not to be administered either in the interest of the poor man or the interest of the rich man. They are simply to be administered justly; in the interest of justice to each man be he rich or be he poor—giving immunity to no violator, whatever form the violation may assume. Such is the obligation which every public servant takes, and to it he must be true under penalty of forfeiting the respect both of himself and of his fellows. (At Charleston Exposition, S. C., April 9, 1902.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 36; Nat. Ed. XVI, 30.

____________. No city or State, still less the nation, can be injured by the enforcement of law. As long as public plunderers when detected can find a haven of refuge in any foreign land and avoid punishment, just so long encouragement is given them to continue their practices. If we fail to do all that in us lies to stamp out corruption we cannot escape our share of responsibility for the guilt. The first requisite of successful self- government is unflinching enforcement of the law and the cutting out of corruption. (Third Annual Message, Washington, December 7, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 209; Nat. Ed. XV, 180.

____________. I will go to the limit in enforcing the law against the wealthiest man or the wealthiest corporation if I think he or it has done wrong. (Letter of March 20, 1906.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 13; Bishop II, 10.

____________. I shall enforce the laws; I shall enforce them against men of vast wealth just exactly as I enforce them against ordinary criminals; and I shall not flinch from this course, come weal come woe. (To David Scull, August 16, 1907.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 52; Bishop II, 45.  

Law Enforcement

See Also Capital Punishment; Courts; Crime; Justice ; Juvenile Courts; Lynching; Supreme Court .

Laws—Administration of

Bad laws are evil things, good laws are necessary; and a clean, fearless, common-sense administration of the laws is even more necessary. (At Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, N. Y., May 20, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XV, 315; Nat. Ed. XIII, 449.

Laws—Importance of

It is a capital error to fail to recognize the vital need of good laws. It is also a capital error to believe that good laws will accomplish anything unless the average man has the right stuff in him. . . .

Even after we have all the good laws necessary, the chief factor in any given man's success or failure must be that man's own character, it must not be inferred that I am in the least minimizing the importance of these laws, the real and vital need for them. The struggle for individual advancement and development can be brought to naught, or indefinitely retarded, by the absence of law or by bad law. It can be immeasurably aided by organized effort on the part of the State. Collective action and individual action, public law and private character, are both necessary. It is only by a slow and patient inward transformation such as these laws aid in bringing about that men are really helped upward in their struggle for a higher and a fuller life. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 192; Nat. Ed. XX, 164, 165.

____________. I hope that not only you and I but all our people may ever remember that while good laws are necessary, while it is necessary to have the right kind of governmental machinery, yet that the all- important matter is to have the right kind of man behind the law.

A State cannot rise without proper laws, but the best laws that the wit of man can devise will amount to nothing if the State does not contain the right kind of man, the right kind of woman.

A good constitution, and good laws under the constitution, and fearless and upright officials to administer the law—all these are necessary; but the prime requisite in our national life is, and must always be, the possession by the average citizen of the right kind of character. (Before Ohio Constitutional Convention, Columbus, February 21, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 196; Nat. Ed. XVII, 147.

Laws—Value of

We need good laws just as a carpenter needs good instruments. If he has not tools, the best carpenter alive cannot do good work. But the best tools will not make a good carpenter, any more than to give a coward a rifle will make him a good soldier. (Outlook , March 25, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 148; Nat. Ed. XVII, 106.

Laws—Violation of

Every time a law is broken, every individual in the community has the moral tone of his life lowered. (At Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Ala., October 24, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 473; Nat. Ed. XVI, 352.


See also Administration; Legislation; Prosperity.

Lawyers—Contribution of

A lawyer is not like a doctor. No real good for the community comes from the development of legalism, from the development of that kind of ability shown by the great corporation lawyers who lead our bar; whereas good does come from medical development. The high-priced lawyer means, when reduced to his simplest expression, that justice tends to go to the man with the longest purse. (Letter to W. R. Nelson, July 1912.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, p. xxiii.

Lawyers as Statesmen

There is not a greater delusion than the belief that a lawyer is, per se, also a statesman. On the contrary, the mere lawyer is rather more unfit than, say, the mere dentist, or mere bricklayer, or mere banker, to be a public man. The ablest lawyer often has had public experience of one type or another which makes him more apt than the ordinary business man to be able to excel in public life; but it is not because he is a lawyer at all; it is because he has great ability and a certain knowledge of public affairs. I could go still further and say that to be a great lawyer is, while a good thing in a judge, very far from being the most important thing. (To H. C. Lodge, April 11, 1910.) Lodge Letters II, 374.


See also Justice; Law; Legalism.

Leaders—Demands Upon

We, the men who compose the great bulk of the community, wish to govern ourselves. We welcome leadership, but we wish our leaders to understand that they derive their strength from us, and that, although we look to them for guidance, we expect this guidance to be in accordance with our interests and our ideals. Outlook , July 9, 1910,  P. 508.

Leaders—Duty of

A council of war never fights, and in a crisis the duty of a leader is to lead and not to take refuge behind the generally timid wisdom of a multitude of councillors. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 623; Nat. Ed. XX, 535.

Leaders—Need for

In order to succeed we need leaders of inspired idealism, leaders to whom are granted great visions, who dream greatly and strive to make their dreams come true; who can kindle the people with the fire from their own burning souls. The leader for the time being, whoever he may be, is but an instrument, to be used until broken and then to be cast aside; and if he is worth his salt he will care no more when he is broken than a soldier cares when he is sent where his life is forfeit in order that the victory may be won. In the long fight for righteousness the watchword for all of us is spend and be spent. It is of little matter whether any one man fails or succeeds; but the cause shall not fail, for it is the cause of mankind. (At Carnegie Hall, New York City, March 20, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 222; Nat. Ed. XVII, 170.

Leaders—Responsibility of

Doing our duty is, of course, incumbent on every one of us alike; yet the heaviest blame for dereliction should fall on the man who sins against the light, the man to whom much has been given, and from whom, therefore, we have a right to expect much in return. We should hold to a peculiarly rigid accountability those men who in public life, or as editors of great papers, or as owners of vast fortunes, or as leaders and moulders of opinion in the pulpit, or on the platform, or at the bar, are guilty of wrong-doing, no matter what form that wrong-doing may take. (At Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, N. Y., May 20, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XV, 313; Nat. Ed. XIII, 447.

Leaders—Rise of

If during the lifetime of a generation no crisis occurs sufficient to call out in marked manner the energies of the strongest leader, then of course the world does not and cannot know of the existence of such a leader; and in consequence there are long periods in the history of every nation during which no man appears who leaves an indelible mark in history. If, on the other hand, the crisis is one so many- sided as to call for the development and exercise of many distinct attributes, it may be that more than one man will appear  in order that the requirements shall be fully met. (At banquet in honor of birthday of William McKinley, Canton, O., January 27, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XII, 493; Nat. Ed. XI, 236.


See also Bosses; Congressional Leaders; Experts; Moral Influence ; Roosevelt

Leadership—Failure of

There can be no greater misfortune for a free nation than to find itself under incapable leadership when confronted by a great crisis. This is peculiarly the case when the crisis is not merely one in its own history, but is due to some terrible world cataclysm—such a cataclysm as at this moment has overwhelmed civilization. (At Cooper Union, New York City, November 3, 1916.) Mem. Ed. XX, 515; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 442.

Leadership, Political

When I left the Presidency I was prepared, and of course am now prepared, not to be a leader at all; I don't see how an outsider can be a leader; that is the business of the President and the party leaders who hold office; but it is folly to try to be a leader when all that those who appeal to you really desire is that your leadership shall count in getting them elected, but shall be instantly thrown aside when it comes to dealing with party policy after once they have been elected, and no longer need your assistance. (To H. C. Lodge, April 11, 1910.) Lodge Letters II, 370.

Leadership in a Democracy

There can be no greater mistake from the democratic point of view, nothing more ruinous can be imagined from the point of view of a true democracy, than to believe that democracy means absence of leadership. Of course it is hard to tell exactly how much can be done in any given case by the leadership that is differentiated from the mass work. (Before Amer. Acad. and Nat. Inst. of Arts and Letters, New York City, November 16, 1916.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 451; Nat. Ed. XII, 328.

Leadership in the Progressive Party

In the matter of leadership, both local and national, we may trust the events of the next year or two to develop our ablest and most resourceful man; and for every position the leader must be chosen, not in the least with reference to his own desires, but solely with regard to the needs of the people, for the Progressive party is the servant of the people. No man should come into this party with the idea that he can establish a claim on it; he must be content with the opportunity it offers for  service and for sacrifice. (At Chicago, December 10, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 481; Nat. Ed. XVII, 356.


See also Intellectual Leadership; Politicians.

League for Peace

An efficient world league for peace is as yet in the future; and it may be, although I sincerely hope not, in the far future. (Everybody's, January 1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, 158; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 136.

____________. It is our duty to try to work for a great world league for righteous peace enforced by power; but no such league is yet in sight. At present the prime duty of the American people is to abandon the inane and mischievous principle of watchful waiting—that is, of slothful and timid refusal either to face facts or to perform duty. Let us act justly toward others; and let us also be prepared with stout heart and strong hand to defend our rights against injustice from others. (Everybody's, January 1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, 167; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 143.

____________. Before we make such a league for the future, let us in the present live up to our engagements under The Hague conventions and without delay protest on behalf of Belgium. If we are not willing to undergo the modest risk implied in thus keeping the promise we have already made, then for heaven's sake let us avoid the hypocrisy of proposing a new world league, under which we would guarantee to send armies over to coerce great military powers which decline to abide by the decisions of an arbitral court. Above all, let us avoid the infinite folly, the discreditable folly, of agitating for such an agreement until we have a naval and military force sufficient to entitle us to speak with the voice of authority when fronted with great military nations in international matters. Let us not live in a realm of childish make-believe. Let us not make new and large promises in a spirit of grandiloquent and elocutionary disregard of facts unless and until we are willing by deeds to make good the promises we have already made but have refrained from executing. (Metropolitan, August 1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, 355; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 304.

League for Peace—Possibility of

The only alternative to war, that is to hell, is the adoption of some plan substantially like that which I herein advocate and which has itself been called utopian. It is possible that it  is utopian for the time being; that is, that nations are not ready as yet to accept it. But it is also possible that after this war has come to an end the European contestants will be sufficiently sobered to be willing to consider some such proposal, and that the United States will abandon the folly of the pacifists and be willing to co- operate in some practical effort for the only kind of peace worth having, the peace of justice and righteousness. The proposal is not in the least utopian, if by utopian we understand something that is theoretically desirable but impossible. What I propose is a working and realizable utopia. My proposal is that the efficient civilized nations—those that are efficient in war as well as in peace—shall join in a world league for the peace of righteousness. This means that they shall by solemn covenant agree as to their respective rights which shall not be questioned; that they shall agree that all other questions arising between them shall be submitted to a court of arbitration; and that they shall also agree—and here comes the vital and essential point of the whole system-to act with the combined military strength of all of them against any recalcitrant nation, against any nation which transgresses at the expense of any other nation the rights which it is agreed shall not be questioned, or which on arbitrable matters refuses to submit to the decree of the arbitral court. (Independent, January 4, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, 172; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 148.

League for Peace—Supporters of

There is one point about those gentlemen who support a League for International World Peace that is worth while considering. Six months ago or more I outlined that programme which they announced they had just discovered the other day. But I then very emphatically stated that it was a programme for the future and that our first business was to make good the promises we had already made and to put ourselves in position to defend our own rights. These gentlemen declined to say a word in favor of our fitting ourselves to go into defensive war in our own interest; and yet they actually wish to make us at this time promise to undertake offensive war in the interests of other people! It is a striking illustration of the recklessness with which the average American is willing to make any kind of a promise without any thought of how it can be carried out. (To E. A. Van Valkenberg, June 29, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 454; Bishop II, 386.

League for Peace as Alternative to Force

The great civilized nations of the world which do possess force, actual or immediately potential,  should combine by solemn agreement in a great World League for the Peace of Righteousness. . . . Such a world agreement offers the only alternative to each nation's relying purely on its own armed strength; for a treaty unbacked by force is in no proper sense of the word an alternative. Of course, if there were not reasonable good faith among the nations making such an agreement, it would fail. But it would not fail merely because one nation did not observe good faith. It would be impossible to say that such an agreement would at once and permanently bring universal peace. But it would certainly mark an immense advance. It would certainly mean that the chances of war were minimized and the prospects of limiting and confining and regulating war immensely increased. At present force, as represented by the armed strength of the nations, is wholly divorced from such instrumentalities for securing peace as international agreements and treaties. In consequence, the latter are practically impotent in great crises. There is no connection between force, on the one hand, and any scheme for securing international peace or justice on the other. (New York Times, October 18, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 64; Nat. Ed. XVIII,55.

Leagues for Peace Versus Alliances

It is because I believe our attitude should be one of sincere good-will toward all nations that I so strongly feel that we should endeavor to work for a league of peace among all nations rather than trust to alliances with any particular group. Moreover, alliances are very shifty and uncertain. Within twenty years England has regarded France as her immediately dangerous opponent; within ten years she has felt that Russia was the one power against which she must at all costs guard herself; and during the same period there have been times when Belgium has hated England with a peculiar fervor. Alliances must be based on self-interest and must continually shift. But in such a world league as that of which we speak and dream, the test would be conduct and not merely selfish interest, and so there would be no shifting of policy. (New York Times, November 29, 1914.) Mem. Ed. XX, 198; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 170.

League For Peace

See also Military Training; National Defense; Peace; Preparedness.

League of Nations

I am not at all sure about the future. . . . I don't put much faith in the League of Nations, or any corresponding cure-all. (To Rider Haggard, December 6, 1918.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 547; Bishop II, 468.

____________. For the moment the point as to which we are foggy is the League of Nations. We all of us earnestly desire such a League, only we wish to be sure that it will help and not hinder the cause of world peace and justice. There is not a young man in this country who has fought, or an old man who has seen those dear to him fight, who does not wish to minimize the chance of future war. But there is not a man of sense who does not know that in any such movement if too much is attempted the result is either failure or worse than failure. (Dictated January 3, 1919; printed January 13, 1919.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 292.

League of Nations—Admission to

President Wilson's announcement was a notice to the malefactors that they would not be punished for the murders. Let us treat the League of Nations only as an addition to, and not as a substitute for, thorough preparedness and intense nationalism on our part. Let none of the present international criminals be admitted until a sufficient number of years has passed to make us sure it has repented. Make conduct the test of admission to the league. In every crisis judge each nation by its conduct. Therefore, at the present time let us stand by our friends and against our enemies. (October 30, 1918.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 248.

League of Nations—Membership in

Test the proposed future League of Nations so far as concerns proposals to disarm, and to trust to anything except our own strength for our own defense, by what the nations are actually doing at the present time. Any such league would have to depend for its success upon the adhesion of the nine nations which are actually or potentially the most powerful military nations, and these nine nations include Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Russia. The first three have recently and repeatedly violated, and are now actively and continuously violating, not only every treaty, but every rule of civilized warfare and of international good faith. During the last year Russia, under the dominion of the Bolshevists, has betrayed her allies, has become the tool of the German autocracy. . . . What earthly use is it to pretend that the safety of the world would be secured by a league in which these four nations would be among the nine leading partners? Long years must pass before we can again trust any promises these four nations make. Any treaty of any kind or sort which we make with them should be made with the full understanding that they will cynically repudiate it whenever they think it to their interest to do so. Therefore, unless our folly is such that it will not depart from us until we are brayed in a mortar, let us remember that any such treaty will be worthless unless our own prepared strength renders it unsafe to break it. (Lafayette Day exercises, New York City, September 6, 1918.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 411; Nat. Ed. XIX 372.

____________. Probably the first essential would be to limit the league at the outset to the Allies, to the peoples with whom we have been operating and with whom we are certain we can co-operate in the future. Neither Turkey nor Austria need now be considered as regards such a league, and we should clearly understand that Bolshevist Russia is, and that Bolshevist Germany would be, as undesirable in such a league as the Germany and Russia of the Hohenzollerns and Romanoffs. . . .

The league, therefore, would have to be based on the combination among the Allies of the present war— together with any peoples like the Czecho-Slovaks, who have shown that they are fully entitled to enter into such a league if they desire to do so. (November 17, 1918.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 263.

League of Nations—Roosevelt's Proposal for

Would it not be well to begin with the League which we actually have in existence, the League of the Allies who have fought through this great war? Let us at the peace table see that real justice is done as among these Allies and that while the sternest reparation is demanded from our foes for such horrors as those committed in Belgium, Northern France, Armenia and the sinking of the Lusitania, nothing should be done in the spirit of mere vengeance. Then let us agree to extend the privileges of the League, as rapidly as their conduct warrants it, to other nations, doubtless discriminating between those who would have a guiding part in the League and the weak nations who would be entitled to the privileges of membership, but who would not be entitled to a guiding voice in the councils. (Dictated January 3, 1919; printed January 13, 1919.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 293.

League of Nations and National Defense

Above all, let us treat any such agreement or covenant as a mere addition or supplement to and never as a substitute for the preparation in advance of our own armed power. Next time that we behave with the  ignoble folly we have shown during the last four years we may not find allies to do what France and England and Italy have done for us. They have protected us with their navies and armies, their blood and their treasure, while we first refused to do anything and then slowly and reluctantly began to harden and make ready our giant but soft and lazy strength. (1918.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 351; Nat. Ed. XIX, 320.

League of Nations and National Duties

The vital military need of this country as regards its future international relations is the immediate adoption of the policy of permanent preparedness based on universal training. This is its prime duty from the standpoint of American nationalism and patriotism. Then, as an addition or supplement to, but under no conditions as substitute for, the policy of permanent preparedness, we can afford cautiously to enter into and try out the policy of a league of nations. There is no difficulty whatever in prattling cheerfully about such a league or in winning applause by rhetoric concerning it prior to the effort to make it work in practice; but there will be much difficulty in making it work at all when any serious strain comes, and it will prove entirely unworkable if the effort is made to unload upon it, in the name of internationalism, duties which in the present state of the world will be efficiently performed by the free nations only if they perform them as national duties. (October 15, 1918.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 229.

League of Nations and National Rights

[There are] certain matters of such vital national interest that they cannot be put before any international tribunal. This country must settle its own tariff and industrial polices, and the question of admitting immigrants to work or to citizenship, and all similar matters, the exercise of which was claimed as a right when in 1776 we became an independent Nation. We will not surrender our independence to a league of nations any more than to a single nation. Moreover, no international court must be intrusted with the decision of what is and what is not justiciable. In the articles of agreement the non-justiciable matters should be as sharply defined as possible, and until some better plan can be devised, the nation itself must reserve to itself the right, as each case arises, to say what these matters are. (December 2, 1918.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 279.

League of Nations

See also Fourteen Points; Neutrality; World War. 

League to Enforce Peace

It is mere hypocrisy to promise to put a stop to wrongdoing in the future unless we are willing to undergo the labor and peril necessary to stop wrongdoing in the present. In our own country nothing but harm was done by the worthy persons who, a couple of years ago, formed a league to enforce peace in the future, while at the same time they nervously declared that they would have nothing to do with enforcing peace by stopping international wrong in the present. (December 2, 1917.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 61.


See Knowledge; Scholarship; University.

Lee, Robert E

General Lee has left us the memory, not merely of his extraordinary skill as a general, his dauntless courage and high leadership in campaign and battle, but also of that serene greatness of soul characteristic of those who most readily recognize the obligations of civic duty. Once the war was over he instantly undertook the task of healing and binding up the wounds of his countrymen, in the true spirit of those who feel malice toward none and charity toward all; in that spirit which from the throes of the Civil War brought forth the real and indissoluble Union of to-day. It was eminently fitting that this great man, this war- worn veteran of a mighty struggle, who, at its close, simply and quietly undertook his duty as a plain, every- day citizen, bent only upon helping his people in the paths of peace and tranquillity, should turn his attention toward educational work; toward bringing up in fit fashion the younger generation, the sons of those who had proved their faith by their endeavor in the heroic days. (To Committee of Arrangement for celebration of 100th anniversary of birth of Robert E. Lee; January 16, 1907.) Mem. Ed. XII, 472-473; Nat. Ed. XI, 217-218.


The stick-in-the-bark legalism, the legalism that subordinates equity to technicalities, should be recognized as a potent enemy of justice. Outlook , August 17, 1912, p. 855.

____________. The stickler for technicalities, the man who treats precedents, however outrageous, as always binding, instead of as signposts put up for his consideration, will often do as much harm as the other man who permits himself to be swayed either by special sympathy for or special antipathy toward a certain class of his fellow men, Whether those who possess much property or those who do not—  and antipathy toward one is just as bad as antipathy toward the other. Plenty of poor men who are criminals of the worst type escape punishment because of technicalities, just as plenty of rich men do. (Outlook , March 11, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 130; Nat. Ed. XVII, 91.


See also Constitution; Courts; Judges; Judiciary; Justice; Law; Lawyers; Popular Rule.

Legislation — Popular Demand for

We have heard a great deal about the people demanding the passage of this bill. Now, anything that the people demand that is right, it is most clearly and most emphatically the duty of this legislature to do; but we should never yield to what they demand if it is wrong. (In New York Assembly, Albany, March 2, 1883.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 20.

Legislation—Sphere of

No hard-and-fast rule can be laid down as to where our legislation shall stop in interfering between man and man, between interest and interest. All that can be said is that it is highly undesirable, on the one hand, to weaken individual initiative, and, on the other hand, that in a constantly increasing number of cases we shall find it necessary in the future to shackle cunning as in the past we have shackled force. (At Minnesota State Fair, September 2, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XV, 331; Nat. Ed. XIII,471.

Legislation, Class

Legislation to be permanently good for any class must also be good for the nation as a whole, and legislation which does injustice to any class is certain to work harm to the nation. (At State Fair, Syracuse, N. Y., September 7, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 66; Nat. Ed. XVI, 56.

Legislation, Special

In a federal Union it is most unwise to pass laws which shall benefit one part of the community to the hurt of another part, when the latter receives no compensation. (1887.) Mem. Ed. VIII, 68; Nat. Ed. VII, 59.

____________. No special law should be passed where passing a general law will serve the purpose. (Annual Message as Governor, Albany, January 2, 1899.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 24; Nat. Ed. XV, 21.

Legislation and the Individual

Primarily the man must rely on himself. Yet the fact remains that along certain lines a great deal can be gained by  legislation. Legislation cannot make a man prosperous, for it cannot make him honest or thrifty or industrious, but it can sometimes secure the fruits of honesty, thrift, and industry to the rightful owners. (Campaign Speech, New York City, October 5, 1898.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 449; Nat. Ed. XIV, 296.

____________. Legislation to be thoroughly effective for good must proceed upon the principle of aiming to get for each man a fair chance to allow him to show the stuff there is in him. No legislation can make some men prosperous; no legislation can give wisdom to the foolish, courage to the timid, strength to the shiftless. All that legislation can do, and all that honest and fearless administration of the laws can do is to give each man as good a chance as possible to develop the qualities he has in him, and to protect him so far as is humanly possible against wrong of any kind at the hands of his fellows. (At Jamestown, N. D., April 7, 1903.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers I, 323.


See Also Administration; Congress; Individualism; Industrial Problems; Labor Legislation; Laissez-Faire; Laws; Prosperity; Social Legislation; Special Interests; Supreme Court.

Legislative Minority — Power of

Legislative government is, as its name implies, government by the enactment of laws after debate. The debate is to be used for the purpose of assisting legislation, for procuring wise legislation. The minute it is perverted from these legitimate and lawful ends, and used to stop all legislation, or any legislation of which the minority disapproves, it becomes improper and should be suppressed with a strong hand. We have been tending to develop legislative bodies wherein the majority should only be able to do such things as the minority chose to permit. The establishment of such a principle, of course, upsets our whole theory of government. If the minority is as powerful as the majority there is no use of having political contests at all, for there is no use in having a majority. (Before Federal Club, New York City, March 6, 1891.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 193; Nat. Ed. XIV, 129.

Legislative Minority

See also Debate; Filibustering.

Legislators—Character of

The character of a legislator, if bad, soon becomes a matter of common notoriety, and no dis- honest legislator can long keep his reputation good with honest men. If the constituents wish to know the character of their member, they can easily find it out, and no member will be dishonest if he thinks his constituents are looking at him; he presumes upon their ignorance or indifference. (Century, January 1885.) Mem. Ed. XV, 86; Nat. Ed. XIII, 52.

Legislators—Service of

The history of free government is in large part the history of those representative 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. (Inaugural Address as Vice- President, Washington, March 4, 1901.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 89; Nat. Ed. XV, 77.

Legislators and their Constituents

As a rule, and where no matter of vital principle is involved, a member is bound to represent the views of those who have elected him; but there are times when the voice of the people is anything but the voice of God, and then a conscientious man is equally bound to disregard it. In the long run, and on the average, the public will usually do justice to its representatives; but it is a very rough, uneven, and long-delayed justice. That is, judging from what I have myself seen of the way in which members were treated by their constituents, I should say that the chances of an honest man being retained in public life were about ten per cent better than if he were dishonest, other things being equal. This is not a showing very creditable to us as a people; and the explanation is to be found in the shortcomings peculiar to the different classes of our honest and respectable voters. (Century, January 1885.) Mem. Ed. XV, 96; Nat. Ed. XIII, 61.


See also Congressmen; Representatives; Senators. 

Legislature—Work of a

Remember what a legislative body is. It is a body whose first duty is to act, not to talk. The talking comes in merely as an  adjunct to the acting. (Before Federal Club, New York City, March 6, 1891.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 193; Nat. Ed. XIV, 129.


See also Congress; Debate; Division of Powers; Filibustering; Representative Government; Senate

Leisure—Use of

We believe in every kind of honest and lawful pleasure, so long as the getting it is not made man’s chief business; and we believe heartily in the good that can be done by men of leisure who work hard in their leisure, whether at politics or philanthropy, literature or art. But a leisure class whose leisure simply means idleness is a curse to the community, and in so far as its members distinguish themselves chiefly by aping the worst—not the best— traits of similar people across the water, they become both comic and noxious elements of the body politic. (Forum, April 1894.) Mem. Ed. XV, 24; Nat. Ed. XIII, 20.

____________. A man can be freed from the necessity of work only by the fact that he or his fathers before him have worked to good purpose. If the freedom thus purchased is used aright, and the man still does actual work, though of a different kind, whether as a writer or a general, whether in the field of politics or in the field of exploration and adventure, he shows he deserves his good fortune. But if he treats this period of freedom from the need of actual labor as a period, not of preparation, but of mere enjoyment, even though perhaps not of vicious enjoyment, he shows that he is simply a cumberer of the earth’s surface, and he surely unfits himself to hold his own with his fellows if the need to do so should again arise. A mere life of ease is not in the end a very satisfactory life, and, above all, it is a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it for serious work in the world. (Before the Hamilton Club, Chicago, April 10, 1899.) Mem. Ed. XV, 268; Nat. Ed. XIII 320.

____________. There is so much that is enthrallingly interesting in life, there is so much that is individually well worth doing, that I think all men of sound mind and character have a feeling of utter contempt for the idler—for the small soul who stands aside from the stress and strain of that life where the great issues are faced, where the great defeats are suffered and the great successes won; for the man who is content to whirl in an eddy on one side, because it is quiet in the eddy, while there.

are waves on the main stream. To all collegebred men I would preach the doctrine of work. If you are fortunate enough to have means which will enable you to lead a life of leisure, remember that the life of leisure, if it is to be worth living, is not to be a life of idleness. We need men who are able to lead lives of leisure, because we need to have done an immense amount of work that is not remunerative; and much of that work—probably the most of it—must be done by men of leisure. We need men of leisure and men of means, then, to work out and fully develop the national life; and these men should understand that they are bound to work as hard as anybody else in the land, the only difference being that their work is of a different kind. (At Commencement, Columbia University, N. Y. C., 1899.) Columbia University Quarterly, September 1899, pp.  380-381.


See also Idlers; Strenuous Life; Work.


I contemptuously refuse to recognize any American adaptation of the German doctrine of lese-majesty. I am concerned only with the welfare of my beloved country and with the effort to beat down the German horror in the interest of the orderly freedom of all the nations of mankind. If the administration does the work of war with all possible speed and efficiency, and stands for preparedness as a permanent policy, and heartily supports our allies to the end, and insists upon complete victory as a basis for peace, I shall heartily support it. If the administration moves in the direction of an improper peace, of the peace of defeat and of cowardice, or if it wages war feebly and timidly, I shall oppose it and shall endeavor to wake the American people to their danger.·(1918.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 328; Nat. Ed. XIX, 299. 


See also Criticism; President; Servility.

Lewis and Clark Expedition

See Jefferson, Thomas.


The liar is no whit better than the thief, and if his mendacity takes the form of slander, he may be worse than most thieves. It puts a premium upon knavery untruthfully to attack an honest man, or even with hysterical exaggeration to assail a bad man with untruth. An epidemic of indiscriminate assault upon character does not good, but very great harm. The soul of every scoundrel is gladdened whenever an honest  man is assailed, or even when a scoundrel is untruthfully assailed. (At Washington, April 14, 1906.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 572; Nat. Ed. XVI, 416.


See also Falsehood; Truth.

Libel Suit, Barnes

I have felt that this libel suit which has just ended was really as much a fight for those who have fought with me during the last three years as for myself. It has justified in court by legal evidence all we said about boss rule and crooked business three years ago. I do not grudge the money it has cost me, but I think the service was really worth rendering; but I do very strongly feel that in a way it excuses me from doing too much more.·(Letter of June 3, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 450; Bishop II, 383. L

Libel Suit, Barnes—Verdict in

I have been more moved and touched than I can express by what you have done, and I want to say to you that I appreciate to the full the obligation that you men, representing every sphere of political belief, have put me under. There is only one return that I can make, and that, I assure you, I will try to make to the best of my ability. I will try all my life to act in public and private affairs so that no one of you will have cause to regret the verdict you have given this morning. I thank you from my heart. You have put on me a solemn duty to behave as a decent American citizen should, and I shall try to my utmost to fulfil that duty. (To jury, May 22, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 434; Bishop II, 369.

Liberal Education

See Education.


See Extremists; Lunatic Fringe; Progressive; Radicals; Reformers.


True liberty shows itself to best advantage in protecting the rights of others, and especially of minorities. (At Oxford University, England, June 7, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 102; Nat. Ed. XII, 56.

____________. Throughout past history Liberty has always walked between the twin terrors of Tyranny and Anarchy. They have stalked like wolves beside her, with murder in their red eyes, ever-ready to tear each other's throats, but even more ready to rend in sunder Liberty herself. (1918.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 377; Nat. Ed. XIX, 342.

Liberty—Abuse of

The extreme doctrinaires, who are fiercest in declaiming in favor

of freedom, are in reality its worst foes, far more dangerous than any absolute monarchy ever can be. When liberty becomes license, some form of one-man power is not far distant. The one great reason for our having succeeded as no other people ever has, is to be found in that common sense which has enabled us to preserve the largest possible individual freedom on the one hand, while showing an equally remarkable capacity for combination on the other. (1887.) Mem. Ed. VIII, 373; Nat. Ed. VII, 322-323.

____________. No small part of the trouble that we have comes from carrying to an extreme the national virtue of self-reliance, of independence in initiative and action. It is wise to conserve this virtue and to provide for its fullest exercise, compatible with seeing that liberty does not become a liberty to wrong others. Unfortunately, this is the kind of liberty that the lack of all effective regulation inevitably breeds. (Seventh Annual Message, Washington, December 3, 1907.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 486; Nat. Ed. XV, 414.

Liberty—Preservation of

As yet no nation can hold its place in the world, or can do any work really worth doing, unless it stands ready to guard its rights with an armed hand. That orderly liberty which is both the foundation and the capstone of our civilization can be gained and kept only by men who are willing to fight for an ideal; who hold high the love of honor, love of faith, love of flag, and love of country. (Address as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Naval War College, June 1897.) Mem. Ed. XV, 244; Nat. Ed. XIII, 185.

Liberty and Government Regulation

Our opponents are fond of saying that the governmental regulation which we advocate interferes with "liberty." This is the argument of which certain judges and certain lawyers are most fond. It is the "liberty" which every reactionary court wishes to guarantee to the employer who makes money from the lifeblood of those he employs; the "liberty" of the starving girl to starve slowly in a sweat-shop, or to accept employment where she hazards life and limb, at her own risk, in the service of others. Well, it was Lincoln who said that the reactionaries of his day "sighed for that perfect liberty—the liberty of making slaves of other people." (At New York City, February 12, 1913.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 493; Nat. Ed. XVII, 366.


See Also Anarchy; Contract ; Cromwell, Oliver; Democracy; Equality; Freedom; Individualism; Laissez-Faire; Law; Order; Religious Freedom; Tolerance ; Self- Government; Slavery.

Liberty Loans

It is the duty of every man, of every woman in this country, who can possibly afford to do so, to buy Liberty Bonds in order that guns, ammunition, food and clothes may be promptly and freely furnished to our soldiers who go to the front. . . . The highest human service is that of the man who offers his life to his country. Next to that come the services in factory and farm and office which help to keep the great national war machinery efficiently working. And the outstanding and fundamental need, without which nothing can be accomplished, is the need for money; money from rich and poor; money in large sums and small. The motto you have adopted is excellent: "If you can't enlist—invest.—Buy Liberty Bonds." I myself have invested in these bonds. There is every reason for buying them. The patriotic reason is enough. But here in addition there is offered the best security in the world, an investment backed by all the credit of the Government and people of the United States. We ourselves, we the people, are behind every promise our Government makes, because in the last analysis it is we who are the Government. If the security of the Government should fail it would be because we, the people, were in such plight as no longer to be interested in any security. (To Guy Emerson, May 22, 1917.) Printed broadside.

____________. Today we are gathered to back up the Government in its call to our people to subscribe to the Fourth Liberty Loan. It is our duty not only to subscribe to it, but to oversubscribe to it, and thereby to make our own men on the other side and our enemies on the other side understand how heartily and loyally the people of the United States are back of this war. Moreover, in asking our people to subscribe to this loan I am asking them to display wisdom, but not self-sacrifice. There are plenty of war activities where there must be some sacrifice. Of course, the men at the front and their mothers and wives at home are making the supreme sacrifice and are rendering the supreme service. All that the rest of us can do is simply to back up these men at the front. Of course, when we give money for war charities or cheerfully pay our taxes or do any of the hundred things we ought to do to aid in the war, we are making to some extent a sacrifice—  

although it is too trivial a sacrifice to be even alluded to in connection with the sacrifice made by the men at the front. But in subscribing to the Liberty bonds we are benefiting ourselves. The interest is good and the security is the very best in the world. Whoever subscribes is certain to get his money back, unless Uncle Sam bursts up, and in that event it won't matter, because every one of us will burst up, too. In other words, the security is the best in the world, and we are helping ourselves and encouraging habits of thrift and foresight and prudence at the same time that we are helping Uncle Sam. The bonds are so arranged that everyone can take them and every human being in the country ought to take either a Liberty bond or Thrift stamps. We should make the bondholders and the people interchangeable terms. It is not the obligation of the Government officials to raise and furnish the money. That, my fellow-citizens, is your obligation and duty. We must in the heartiest and most generous spirit raise the money. Then, when it has been raised, it is the duty of the officials to see that it is well and wisely spent. (At Baltimore, Md., September 28, 1918.) An Address by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt at Baltimore in opening the campaign for the Fourth Liberty Loan, pp. 3-4.

Liberty of Speech

See Free Speech.


Life is a long campaign where every victory merely leaves the ground free for another battle, and sooner or later defeat comes to every man, unless death forestalls it. But the final defeat does not and should not cancel the triumphs, if the latter have been substantial and for a cause worth championing. (To Sir George Otto Trevelyan, March 9, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 419; Bishop I, 364.

____________. Life is a great adventure, and I want to say to you, accept it in such a spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out; and resolute, if you do not win out, to go down without complaining, doing the best that is in you, and abiding by the result. What is true of the boy is also true of the girl; what is true of the young man is true of the young woman, the fundamental facts are the same.

Nothing worth having normally comes unless there is willingness to pay for it; and perhaps the highest good that comes from training of the kind which you get here is not merely training of the body, not merely the training of the mind, but the training of what counts for more than body, more than mind—the training of character, especially in the two ways of giving you the proper perspective (so that you may see what are the important and what the unimportant things) and of giving you the type of soul which will make you willing to strive, and to pay the necessary penalty, for achieving the things that are really worth while. (At Occidental College, Los Angeles, Cal., March 22, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XV, 511; Nat. Ed. XIII,

Liberty of Speech

See Free Speech. 578.

____________. The life even of the most useful man, of the best citizen, is not to be hoarded if there be need to spend it. I felt, and feel, this about others; and of course also about myself. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 297; Nat. Ed. XX, 254. 

____________. It is impossible to win the great prizes of life without running risks, and the greatest of all prizes are those connected with the home. No father and mother can hope to escape sorrow and anxiety, and there are dreadful moments when death comes very near those we love, even if for the time being it passes by. But life is a great adventure, and the worst of all fears is the fear of living. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 394; Nat. Ed. XX, 338.

____________. Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die; and none are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of life and the duty of life. Both life and death are parts of the same Great Adventure. Never yet was worthy adventure worthily carried through by the man who put his personal safety first. Never yet was a country worth living in unless its sons and daughters were of that stern stuff which bade them die for it at need; and never yet was a country worth dying for unless its sons and daughters thought of life not as something concerned only with the selfish evanescence of the individual, but as a link in the great chain of creation and causation, so that each person is seen in his true relations as an essential part of the whole, whose life must be made to serve the larger and continuing life of the whole. Therefore it is that the man who is not willing to die, and the woman who is not willing to send her man to die, in a war for a great cause, are not worthy to live. (Metropolitan, October 1918.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 263; Nat. Ed. XIX, 243. 


See also Death; Education; Efficiency And Morality; Effort ; Joy of Living; Strenuous Life.

Life Imprisonment

See Capital Punishment.

Limitation of Armaments

See Armaments; Disarmament; Naval Armaments.

Lincoln, Abraham

For some reason or other he is to me infinitely the most real of the dead Presidents. So far as one who is not a great man can model himself upon one who was, I try to follow out the general lines of policy which Lincoln laid down. I do not like to say this in public, for I suppose it would seem as if I were presuming, but I know you will understand the spirit in which I am saying it. I wish to Heaven I had his invariable equanimity. I try my best not to give expression to irritation, but sometimes I do get deeply irritated. (To Henry S. Pritchett, December 14, 1904.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 405; Bishop I, 352.

____________. He grew to know greatness, but never ease. Success came to him, but never happiness, save that which springs from doing well a painful and a vital task. Power was his, but not pleasure. The furrows deepened on his brow, but his eyes were undimmed by either hate or fear. His gaunt shoulders were bowed, but his steel thews never faltered as he bore for a burden the destinies of his people. His great and tender heart shrank from giving pain; and the task allotted him was to pour out like water the life-blood of the young men, and to feel in his every fiber the sorrow of the women. Disaster saddened but never dismayed him. As the red years of war went by they found him ever doing his duty in the present, ever facing the future with fearless front, high of heart, and dauntless of soul. Unbroken by hatred, unshaken by scorn, he worked and suffered for the people. Triumph was his at the last; and barely had he tasted it before murder found him, and the kindly, patient, fearless eyes were closed forever. (Address at Hodgenville, Ky., February 12, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XII, 451; Nat. Ed. XI, 210.

____________. Greatly though we now regard Abraham Lincoln, my countrymen, the future will put him on an even higher pinnacle than we have put him. In all history I do not believe that there is to be found an orator whose speeches will last as enduringly as certain of the speeches of Lincoln; and in all history, with the sole exception of the man who founded this Republic, I do not think there will be found another statesman at once so great and so single-hearted in his devotion to the weal of his people. We cannot too highly honor him; and the highest way in which we can honor him is to see that our homage is not only homage of words; that to lip loyalty we join the loyalty of the heart. (At Freeport, Ill., June 3, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XII, 449-450; Nat. Ed. XI, 208-209.

____________. It is a great comfort to me to read the life and letters of Abraham Lincoln. I am more and more impressed every day, not only with the man's wonderful power and sagacity, but with his literally endless patience, and at the same time his unflinching resolution. (To Kermit Roosevelt, October 2, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 501; Nat. Ed. XIX, 444.

____________. I am very busy now, facing the usual endless worry and discouragement, and trying to keep steadily in mind that I must not only be as resolute as Abraham Lincoln in seeking to achieve decent ends, but as patient, as uncomplaining, and as even-tempered in dealing, not only with knaves, but with the well- meaning foolish people, educated and uneducated, who by their unwisdom give the knaves their chance. (To Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., October 4, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 504; Nat. Ed. XIX, 447.

____________. In reading his works and addresses, one is struck by the fact that as he went higher and higher all personal bitterness seemed to die out of him. In the Lincoln-Douglas debates one can still catch now and then a note of personal antagonism; the man was in the arena, and as the blows were given and taken you can see that now and then he had a feeling against his antagonist. When he became President and faced the crisis that he had to face, from that time on I do not think that you can find an expression, a speech, a word of Lincoln's, written or spoken, in which bitterness is shown to any man. His devotion to the cause was so great that he neither could nor would have feeling against any individual. (At N. Y. Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington, D. C., November 16, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XII, 457; Nat. Ed. XI, 216.

____________. Throughout his entire life, and especially after he rose to leadership in his party, Lincoln was stirred to his depths by the sense of fealty to a lofty ideal; but throughout his entire life, he also accepted human nature as it is, and worked with keen, practical good sense to achieve results with the instruments at hand. It is impossible to conceive of a man farther removed from baseness, farther removed from corruption, from mere self-seeking; but it is also impossible to conceive of a man of  more sane and healthy mind—a man less under the influence of that fantastic and diseased morality (so fantastic and diseased as to be in reality profoundly immoral) which makes a man in this workaday world refuse to do what is possible because he cannot accomplish the impossible. (Introduction to A. B. Lapsley's Writings of Abraham Lincoln; September 1905.) Mem. Ed. XII, 447; Nat. Ed. XI, 206.

____________. Lincoln was a great radical. He was of course a wise and cautious radical—otherwise he could have done nothing for the forward movement. But he was the efficient leader of this forward movement. (1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 60; Nat. Ed. XIX, 51.

____________. Lincoln was a radical compared to Buchanan and Fillmore; he was a conservative compared to John Brown and Wendell Phillips; and he was right in both positions. The men and forces whom and which he had to overcome were those behind Buchanan and Fillmore; to overcome them was vital to the nation; and they would never have been overcome under the leadership of men like Brown and Phillips. Lincoln was to the full as conscientious as the extremists who regarded him as an opportunist and a compromiser; and he was far wiser and saner, and therefore infinitely better able to accomplish practical results on a national scale. (Outlook , January 14, 1911.) Mem. Ed. XIX, 81; Nat. Ed. XVII, 49.

Lincoln and Hamilton

Lincoln, who. . . conscientiously carried out the Hamiltonian tradition, was superior to Hamilton just because he was a politician and was a genuine democrat, and therefore suited to lead a genuine democracy. He was infinitely superior to Jefferson. (To Frederick Scott Oliver, August 9, 1906.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 28; Bishop II, 23.

Lincoln School of Political Thought

Men who understand and practice the deep underlying philosophy of the Lincoln school of American political thought are necessarily Hamiltonian in their belief in a strong and efficient National Government and Jeffersonian in their belief in the people as the ultimate authority, and in the welfare of the people as the end of government. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 481; Nat. Ed. XX,  414.

Lincoln's Patronage Problems

I have had a most vivid realization of what it must have meant to Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the heart-breaking anxieties of the Civil War, to have to take up his time trying to satisfy the candidates for postmaster at Chicago, or worse still in meeting the demands of the Germans or the Irish, or one section or another of Republicans or War Democrats, that such and such an officer should be given promotion or some special position. It is of course easy for the mugwump or goo- goo who has no knowledge whatever of public affairs to say that the proper thing is to refuse to deal with such men or to pay any heed to such considerations. But in practical life one has to work with the instruments at hand, and it is impossible wholly to disregard what have by long usage come to be established customs. Lincoln had to face the fact that great bodies of his supporters would have been wholly unable to understand him if he had refused to treat them with consideration when they wished to discuss such questions of patronage. (To Sir George Otto Trevelyan, May 13, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 175; Bishop II, 149.

Lincoln, Abraham

See also Grand Army Of The Republic; Jefferson, Thomas; Republican Party; Washington, George; Wilson, Woodrow.


See Prohibition; Prohibitionists; Roosevelt; Saloon; Temperance.

Liquor Law—Enforcement of

It is perfectly true that we have honestly enforced the Sunday liquor laws, like other laws, and we intend to enforce them as long as we are in office. If the lawgivers of the State believe that a working man should only labor six days a week, and that on the seventh he should be given an opportunity to rest and innocently enjoy himself, the only way to carry out their intent is to arrest and punish his trade rivals who defy the law, violate it with impunity, and therefore force other working men also to labor on the seventh day or to be left behind by their competitors. If it is the intention of the people of this State to legalize all work on the seventh day, so that toil may be uninterrupted from week's end to week’s end and unbroken by so much as a single day's rest, why, let them enact laws to that effect; but while the present Sunday laws are on the statute-book this board of police commissioners will honestly endeavor to execute them. (Befor N. Y. Preachers' Meeting, January 20, 1896.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 317-318; Nat. Ed. XIV, 223-224.

Liquor Law

See also Police Commissioner.

Liquor Problem—Complexity of

Any man who studies the social condition of the poor knows that liquor works more ruin than any other one cause. He knows also, however, that it is simply impracticable to extirpate the habit entirely, and that to attempt too much often merely results in accomplishing too little; and he knows, moreover, that for a man alone to drink whiskey in a barroom is one thing, and for men with their families to drink light wines or beer in respectable restaurants is quite a different thing. (Atlantic Monthly, September 1897.) Mem. Ed. XV, 163; Nat. Ed. XIII, 128.  

Liquor Tax—Defense of

The people who drink and sell liquor are, of all others, those who should be made to contribute in every possible way to pay the running expenses of the state, for there can be no hardship involved in paying heavily for the use of what is at best a luxury, and frequently a pernicious luxury. (Before Union League Club, New York City, January 11, 1888.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 129; Nat. Ed. XIV, 77.

Liquor Traffic Bill

I think that no more terrible curse could be inflicted upon this community than the passage of a prohibitory law. In a community governed on the principle of popular sovereignty it is idle to hope for the enforcement of a law where nineteen-twentieths of the people do not believe in the justice of its provisions. In the country districts you doubtless can, and I believe you practically do, enforce a total prohibition of the liquor traffic. But in the city of New York I am understating the case when I say that nineteen out of every twenty citizens would be against any such provision; that they would recognize the utter folly and futility of trying to stop the liquor traffic absolutely and entirely. With us prohibition would be a great wrong, pure and simple. If you wish to put a premium upon intemperance, pass the prohibitory amendment so that it can affect that city. When I say nineteen out of twenty people, I do not mean those who are disreputable; I mean a great majority of decent law- abiding citizens. (In New York Assembly, January 24, 1884.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 35; Nat. Ed. XIV, 27.

____________. As a mere matter of party policy, I do not believe in passing this law. It would be absolutely null; its provisions would be absolutely nugatory in the great cities; it would be of the greatest possible harm to morality. Remember what I have said before. I believe a majority of the decent and intelligent citizens of New York will agree with me in saying that they would consider it quite as bad in New York to be at the mercy of the Prohibitionists as to be at the mercy of the liquor- sellers; for they think that to have the Prohibitionists establish their rule would mean simply that the liquor- sellers would be given free play, and the Prohibitionists would have bound our hands and bound the hands of decent people, so that we could not defend ourselves. You would have forged a weapon wherewith those whom you profess to be attacking would strike us; you would have hindered us from defending ourselves; that is all you would have done, granting that you are able to carry this Prohibition amendment. And mind you, I do not believe that the people of this State would ever reach such a height of folly as to be willing to pass it. (In New York Assembly, January 24, 1884.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 38; Nat. Ed. XIV, 29-30.


Literature may be defined as that which has permanent interest because both of its substance and its form, aside from the mere technical value that inheres in a special treatise for specialists. (Presidential Address, American Historical Association, Boston, December 27, 1912.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 7; Nat. Ed. XII, 6.

____________. There is enough of horror and grimness and sordid squalor in real life with which an active man has to grapple; and when I turn to the world of literature—of books considered as books, and not as instruments of my profession—I do not care to study suffering unless for some sufficient purpose. (1916.) Mem. Ed. IV, 190; Nat. Ed. III, 346.

____________. Normally I only care for a novel if the ending is good and I quite agree with you that if the hero has to die he ought to die worthily and nobly, so that our sorrow at the tragedy shall be tempered with the joy and pride one always feels when a man does his duty well and bravely. There is quite enough sorrow and shame and suffering and baseness in real life, and there is no need for meeting it unnecessarily in fiction. (To Kermit Roosevelt, November 19, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 553; Nat. Ed. XIX, 496. 

____________. We are apt to speak of the judgment of "posterity" as final; but "posterity" is no single entity, and the "posterity" of one age has no necessary sympathy with the judgments of the "posterity" that preceded it by a few centuries. Montaigne, in a very amus- 

ing and, on the whole, sound essay on training children, mentions with pride that when young he read Ovid instead of wasting his time on "'King Arthur,' 'Lancelot du Lake,' . . . and such idle time-consuming and wit- besotting trash of books, wherein youth doth commonly amuse itself." Of course the trashy books which he had specially in mind were the romances which Cervantes not long afterward destroyed at a stroke. But Malory's book and others were then extant; and yet Montaigne, in full accord with the educated taste of his day, saw in them nothing that was not ridiculous. His choice of Ovid as representing a culture and wisdom immeasurably greater and more serious shows how much the judgment of the "posterity" of the sixteenth century differed from that of the nineteenth, in which the highest literary thought was deeply influenced by the legends of Arthur's knights and hardly at all by anything Ovid wrote. (Outlook , April 30, 1910.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 473; Nat. Ed. XII, 345.

Literature — Roosevelt's Preference in

I happen to be devoted to Macbeth, whereas I very seldom read Hamlet (though I like parts of it). Now I am humbly and sincerely conscious that this is a demerit in me and not in Hamlet; and yet it would not do me any good to pretend that I like Hamlet as much as Macbeth when, as a matter of fact, I don't. I am very fond of simple epics and of ballad poetry, from the Nibelungenlied and the Roland song through "Chevy Chase" and "Patrick Spens" and "Twa Corbies" to Scott's poems and Longfellow's “Saga of King Olaf” and "Othere." On the other hand, I don t care to read dramas as a rule; I cannot read them with enjoyment unless they appeal to me very strongly. They must almost be Æschylus or Euripides, Goethe or Molière, in order that I may not feel after finishing them a sense of virtuous pride in having achieved a task. Now I would be the first to deny that even the most delightful old English ballad should be put on a par with any one of scores of dramatic works by authors whom I have not mentioned; I know that each of these dramatists has written what is of more worth than the ballad; only, I enjoy the ballad, and I don't enjoy the drama; and therefore the ballad is better for me, and this fact is not altered by the other fact that my own shortcomings are to blame in the matter. I still read a number of Scott's novels over and over again, whereas if I finish anything by Miss Austen I have a feeling that duty performed is a rainbow to the soul. But other booklovers who are very close kin to me, and whose taste I know to be better than mine, read Miss Austen all the time—and, moreover, they are very kind, and never pity me in too offensive a manner for not reading her myself. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 379; Nat. Ed. XX, 325.

Literature, American

American literature must naturally develop on its own lines. Politically, Americans, unlike Canadians and Australians, are free from the colonial spirit which accepts, as a matter of course, the inferiority of the colonist as compared to the man who stays at home in the mother country. We are not entirely free as yet, however, from this colonial idea in matters social and literary. Sometimes it shows itself in an uneasy self-consciousness, whether of self- assertion or self-depreciation; but it always tacitly admits the assumption that American literature should in some way be tried by the standard of contemporary British literature. (Bookman, February 1896.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 357-358; Nat. Ed. XII, 294.

Literature, National

Next to developing original writers in its own time, the most fortunate thing, from the literary standpoint, which can befall any people is to have revealed to it some new treasure- house of literature. This treasure-house may be stored with the writings of another people in the present, or else with the writings of a buried past. But a few generations ago, in that innocent age when Blackstone could speak of the "Goths, Huns, Franks, and Vandals"—incongruous gathering—as "Celtic" tribes, the long-vanished literatures of the ancestors of the present European nations, the epics, the sagas, the stories in verse or prose, were hardly known to, or regarded by, their educated and cultivated descendants. Gradually, and chiefly in the nineteenth century, these forgotten literatures, or fragments of them, were one by one recovered. They are various in merit and interest, in antiquity and extent. . . . In some there is but one great poem; in some all the poems or stories are of one type; in others, as in the case of the Norse sagas, a wide range of history, myth, and personal biography is covered. (Century, January 1907.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 384; Nat. Ed. XII, 131.


See also Books; Browning, Robert ; Celtic Literature ; Copyright Law; Drama; History; Latin Literature; Mahan, A. T.; Naturalists; Poetry; Reading; Science.

Living Wage

See Wages.

Lloyd George, David

I was anxious to meet both Lloyd George and John Burns, and I took a real fancy to both. John Burns struck me as having a saner judgment, Lloyd George being very emotional; but of course Lloyd George was the most powerful statesman I met in England—in fact, the man of power, (To David Gray, October 5, 1911.) Saturday Evening Post, December 26, 1931, p. 5.  

Lloyd George David

See also Grey, Sir Edward.


See Liberty Loans.


See Legislation; Privilege; Special Interests

Lodge, George Cabot

Of all the men with whom I have been intimately thrown he was the man to whom I would apply the rare name or genius. He was an extraordinary student and scholar; he walked forever through the arch of the past experience of all the great minds of the ages. Any language which he cared to study was his, and he studied every language which held anything he wished. I have never met another man with so thorough and intimate a knowledge of so many great literatures, nor another man who so revelled in enjoyment of the best that he read. He never read for any reason except to find out something he wished to know, or, far more frequently, to gratify his wonderful love, his passion, for high thought finely expressed. A great poem, a great passage in prose, kindled his soul like a flame. Yet he was unaffectedly modest about the well-nigh infinitely wide knowledge, as deep as it was wide, in which his being was steeped. It seemed as if he did not realize how very much he knew. He never made any show of it; unless it came out incidentally and naturally no one ever knew of it; indeed he was really humble-minded in the eager simplicity with which he sought to learn from others who had not even a small fraction of his hoarded wealth of fact and thought. (Introduction to Poems and Dramas of G. C. Lodge; 1911.) Mem. Ed. XII, 576-577; Nat. Ed. XI, 297-298.

Lodge, Henry Cabot

Lodge has violent enemies. But he is a boss or the head of a machine only in the sense that Henry Clay and Webster were bosses and heads of political machines; that is, it is a very great injustice to couple his name with the names of those commonly called bosses. I know Massachusetts politics well. I know Lodge's share in them, and I know what he has done in the Senate. He and I differ radically on certain propositions, as for instance, on the pending rate bill and on the arbitration treaties of a couple of years ago; but I say deliberately that during the twenty years he has been in Washington he has been on the whole the best and most useful servant of the public to be found in either house of Congress. I say also that he has during that period led politics in Massachusetts in the very way which, if it could only be adopted in all our States, would mean the elimination of graft, of bossism, and of every other of the evils which are most serious in our politics. Lodge is a man of very strong convictions, and this means that when his convictions differ from mine I am apt to substitute the words "narrow" and "obstinate" for "strong"; and he has a certain aloofness and coldness of manner that irritate people who don't live in New England. But he is an eminently fit successor of Webster and Sumner in the Senatorship of Massachusetts. He is a bigger man than Sumner, but of course he has not dealt with any such crisis as Sumner dealt with. He is not as big a man intellectually as Webster, but he is a far better man morally; and the type of citizenship which he represents is from the standpoint of the United States better than either of theirs. (Letter of February 23, 1906.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 9; Bishop II, 6.

Lodge's War Addresses

Your volume of war addresses is of permanent interest and value; and I am very glad indeed that it is dedicated to Corinne. It is the kind of volume which must be used by the future historian who is honest if he wishes to get Wilson into proper perspective. (To H. C. Lodge, May 26, 1917.) Lodge Letters II, 526.

Long, John D

I don't suppose I shall ever again have a chief under whom I shall enjoy serving as I have enjoyed serving under you, nor one toward whom I shall feel the same affectionate regard. It is a good thing for a man to have, as I have had in you, a chief whose whole conduct in office, as seen by those most intimately connected with him, has been guided solely by resolute disinterestedness and single-minded devotion to the public interest. I hate to leave you more than I can say. I deeply appreciate, and am deeply touched by, the confidence you have put in me, and the more than generous and kindly spirit you have always shown toward me. I have grown not merely to respect you as my superior officer, but to value your friendship very highly; and I trust I have profited by association with one.of the most high-minded and upright public servants it has ever been my good fortune to meet. (To Secretary Long, May 6, 1898.) Papers of John Davis Long. (Mass. Hist. Soc., 1939), p. 115.

Louisiana Purchase

This immense region was admittedly the territory of a foreign power, of a European kingdom. None of our people had ever laid claim to a foot of it. Its acquisition could in no sense be treated as rounding out any existing claims. When we acquired it we made evident once for all that consciously and of set purpose we had embarked on a career of expansion, that we had taken our place among those daring and hardy nations who risk much with the hope and desire of winning high position among the great powers of the earth. As is so often the case in nature, the law of development of a living organism showed itself in its actual workings to be wiser than the wisdom of the wisest. (At Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, April 30, 1903.) Mem. Ed. XII, 598-599; Nat. Ed. XI, 316.


There is no other such happiness on earth as there is for a true lover, and a sweet, fair girl beloved. (To H. C. Lodge, October 10, 1891.) Lodge Letters I, 117.

____________. I think that the love of the really happy husband and wife—not purged of passion, but with passion heatened to a white heat of intensity and purity and tenderness and consideration, and with many another feeling added thereto—is the loftiest and most ennobling influence that comes into the life of any man or woman, even loftier and more ennobling than wise and tender love for children. The cheapest, most degrading, and most repulsive cynicism is that which laughs at, or describes as degraded, this relation. (To L. F. Abbott, October 21, 1909.) Lawrence F. Abbott, Impressions of Theodore Roosevelt. (Doubleday, Page & Co., Garden City, N. Y., 1919), p. 189.

Love of Country

The man shows little wisdom and a low sense of duty who fails to see that love of country is one of the elemental virtues, even though scoundrels play upon it for their own selfish ends. (Forum, April 1894.) Mem. Ed. XV, 15; Nat. Ed. XIII

____________. Love of country is an elemental virtue, like love of home, or like honesty or courage. No country will accomplish very much for the world at large unless it elevates itself. The useful member of a  community is the man who first and foremost attends to his own rights and his own duties, and who therefore becomes better fitted to do his share in the common duties of all. The useful member of the brotherhood of nations is that nation which is most thoroughly saturated with the national idea, and which realizes most fully its rights as a nation and its duties to its own citizens. This is in no way incompatible with a scrupulous regard for the rights of other nations, or a desire to remedy the wrongs of suffering peoples. (The Bachelor of Arts, March 1896.) Mem. Ed. XV, 229; Nat. Ed. XIII, 172.

Love of Country

See also Allegiance; Americanism; Loyalty; Nationalism; Patriotism; Treason.

Lowell, James Russell

I have all of Lowell with me [in Africa]; I care more and more for his Biglow Papers, especially the second series; I like his literary essays; but what a real mugwump he gradually became, as he let his fastidiousness, his love of ease and luxury, and his shrinking from the necessary roughness of contact with the world grow upon him! I think his sudden painting of Dante as a mugwump is deliciously funny. I suppose that his character was not really strong, and that he was permanently injured by association with the Charles Eliot Norton type, and above all by following that impossible creature, Godkin. (To H. C. Lodge, September 10, 1909.) Lodge Letters II, 347. 


Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. (April 6, 1918.) Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star, 130.

____________. We hold that our loyalty is due solely to the American Republic, and to all our public servants exactly in proportion as they efficiently and faithfully serve the Republic. Our opponents, in flat contradiction of Lincoln’s position, hold that our loyalty is due to the President, not the country; to one man, the servant of the people, instead of to the people themselves. In practice they adopt the fetishism of all believers in absolutism, for every man who parrots the cry of "stand by the President" without adding the proviso "so far as he serves the Republic" takes an attitude s essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the king could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent freeman can take such an attitude. (1918.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 321; Nat. Ed. XIX, 293.

Loyalty, Divided

Any man who tries to combine loyalty to this country with loyalty to some other country inevitably, when the strain arises, becomes disloyal to this country. (New York Times, September 10, 1917.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 40; Nat. Ed. XIX, 34.

____________. The larger Americanism demands that we insist that every immigrant who comes here shall become an American citizen and nothing else; if he shows that he still remains at heart more loyal to another land, let him be promptly returned to that land; and if, on the other hand, he shows that he is in good faith and whole-heartedly an American, let him be treated as on a full equality with the native-born. This means that foreign-born and native-born alike should be trained to absolute loyalty to the flag, and trained so as to be able effectively to defend the flag. The larger Americanism demands that we refuse to be sundered from one another along lines of class or creed or section or national origin; that we judge each American on his merits as a man; that we work for the well-being of our bodily selves, but also for the well-being of our spiritual selves; that we consider safety, but that we put honor and duty ahead of safety. (Metropolitan, February 1916.) Mem. Ed. XX, 301; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 258.

Loyalty to Class or Nation

I have no patience with the man, whether a multimillionaire or a wage-worker, whether the member of a big corporation or the member of a labor-union, who does not recognize the fact that as an American citizen his first loyalty is due to the nation, and to his fellow citizens no matter what position they occupy as long as those fellow citizens are decent men. His first loyalty must be to the nation and to decency in citizenship. He cannot be a good citizen if he puts loyalty to any other organization above loyalty to the nation, if he puts loyalty to any class above loyalty to good citizenship as such. (At Pacific Theological Seminary, Spring 1911.) Mem. Ed. XV, 634; Nat. Ed. XIII, 667.

Loyalty to Friends or Justice

I entirely appreciate loyalty to one's friends, but loyalty to the cause of justice and honor stands above it. (To a Senator from Oregon, May 15, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XXIII,  508; Bishop I, 443.


See also Allegiance; Americanism; Americans, Hyphenated; Citizenship; Disloyalty; Immigrants; Nationalism; Patriotism; Treason.

Lunatic Fringe

It is vitally necessary to move forward and to shake off the dead hand, often the fossilized dead hand, of the reactionaries; and yet we have to face the fact that there is apt to be a lunatic fringe among the votaries of any forward movement. (Outlook , March 29, 1913.) Mem. Ed. XIV, 406; Nat. Ed. XII, 148.

____________. Among the wise and high-minded people who in self-respecting and genuine fashion strive earnestly for peace, there are the foolish fanatics always to be found in such a movement and always discrediting it—the men who form the lunatic fringe in all reform movements. (1913.) Mem. Ed. XXII, 247; Nat. Ed. XX, 212 

____________. The various admirable movements in which I have been engaged, have always developed among their members a large lunatic fringe; and I have had plenty of opportunity of seeing individuals who in their revolt against sordid baseness go into utterly wild folly. (To H. C. Lodge, February 27, 1913.) Lodge Letters II, 434.

Lunatic Fringe

See also Painting; Political Quacks; Reform; Reformers.

Lusitania—Sinking of the

This represents not merely piracy, but piracy on a vaster scale of murder than old-time pirates ever practised. This is the warfare which destroyed Louvain and Dinant and hundreds of men, women, and children in Belgium. It is warfare against innocent men, women, and children, travelling on the ocean, and our own fellow countrymen and countrywomen, who are among the sufferers. It seems inconceivable that we can refrain from taking action in this matter, for we owe it not only to humanity but to our own self-respect. (Statement to press, May 8, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 443; Bishop II, 376.

Lusitania Crisis — American Weakness in

To sink a hundred American men, women, and children on the Lusitania, in other words, to murder them, was an evil thing; but it was not quite as evil and it.

was nothing like as contemptible as it was for this nation to rest satisfied with governmental notes of protest couched in elegant English, and with vaguely implied threats which were not carried out. (Metropolitan, August 1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, 359; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 308.

Lusitania Crisis S — Proper Course in

Without twenty-four hours' delay this country should and could take effective action. It should take possession of all the interned German ships, including the German war-ships, and hold them as a guaranty that ample satisfaction shall be given us. Furthermore it should declare that in view of Germany's murderous offenses against the right of neutrals all commerce with Germany shall be forthwith forbidden and all commerce of every kind permitted and encouraged with France, England, Russia, and the rest of the civilized world. (Statement to press, May 1915.) Mem. Ed. XX, 444; Nat. Ed. XVIII, 380.

Lusitania Crisis — Roosevelt's Stand

I have felt as regards the Lusitania business that as an honorable man I could not keep silent, although I thoroughly realized that what I said would offend the pacifists, would offend the good, short-sighted men who do not fully understand international relations, and would make envenomed enemies of the great bulk of these Americans of German descent or birth from whom in the past I have had rather more than my normal proportion of support. This was to me a matter of principle, a matter of national duty, of duty which I owed my country; and I did not think that I was warranted in considering my own personal fortune in the matter. (Letter of June 3, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 449; Bishop II, 382.

Lusitania Crisis — Wilson's Failure in

As for the Lusitania, . . . President Wilson has failed, and has caused the American people to fail, in performing national and international duty in a world crisis. There was not the slightest occasion for diplomacy or meditation. The facts were uncontroverted. Germany did what she said she intended to do and what President Wilson has informed her he would hold her to a "strict accountability" for doing. What was needed was not thought or words but action. The time for thought or for words had passed. The thought should have come in before we sent the “strict accountability" letter. If the President had acted at that time, . . . Germany would have stood before the civilized world, not as a warrior, but as a murderer. I do tune time to talk. I have expressed myself as clearly as I know how. (To Charles F. Amidon, May 29, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 447; Bishop II, 380.

___________. I have a perfect horror of words that are not backed up by deeds. I have a perfect horror of denunciation that ends in froth. All denunciations of Germany, all ardent expressions of sympathy for the Allies amount to precisely and exactly nothing if we are right in preserving a complete political neutrality between right and wrong. If Wilson is not wrong in his action, or rather inaction, about the Lusitania and Belgium, then the wise and proper thing for our people is to keep their mouths shut about both deeds. The loose tongue and the unready hand make a poor combination. We are justified in denouncing the action of Germany only if we make it clearly evident that Wilson has shamelessly and scandalously misinterpreted us. I don't think that the American people believe that he has misrepresented us; I think they are behind him. I think they are behind him largely because their leaders have felt that in this crisis the easy thing to do was to minister to our angered souls by words of frothy denunciation and minister to our soft bodies by taking precious good care that there was no chance of our having to turn these words into deeds. (To Owen Wister, July 7, 1915.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 459; Bishop II, 391.

____________. When that ship was sunk scores of women and children, including American women and children, paid with their lives the penalty of a brutal and murderous attack by a war-ship which was acting in pursuance of the settled policy of the German Government. President Wilson sat supine and complacent, making on the following night his celebrated statement about a nation "being too proud to fight," a statement that under the circumstances could only be taken as meaning that the murder of American women and children would be accepted by American men as justifying nothing more than empty declamation. These men, women, and children of the Lusitania were massacred because the German Government believed that the Wilson administration did not intend to back up its words with deeds. The result showed that they were right in their belief. Eight months have gone by since then. American ships were sunk and torpedoed before and afterward; other American lives were lost; and the President wrote other notes upon the subject; but he never pressed the Lusitania case; and the only explanation must be found in his fear lest the Germans might refuse to disavow their action. (Metropolitan, January 1916.) Mem. Ed. XX, 313; Nat. Ed. XVIII,

Lutheran Church

The Lutheran Church came to the territory which is now the United States very shortly after the first permanent settlements were made within our limits; for when the earliest settlers came to dwell around the mouth of the Delaware they brought the Lutheran worship with them, and so with the earliest German settlers who came to Pennsylvania and afterward to New York and the mountainous region in the western part of Virginia and the States south of it. From that day to this the history of the growth in population of this Nation has consisted largely, in some respects mainly of the arrival of successive waves of newcomers to our shores; and the prime duty of those already in the land is to see that their own progress and development are shared by these newcomers. It is a serious and dangerous thing for any man to tear loose from the soil, from the religion in which he and his forbears have taken root, and to be transplanted into a new land. He should receive all possible aid in the new land; and the aid can be tendered him most effectively by those who can appeal to him on the ground of spiritual kinship. Therefore the Lutheran Church can do most in helping upward and onward so many of the newcomers to our shores; and it seems to me that it should be, I am tempted to say, well nigh the prime duty of this Church to see that the immigrant, especially the immigrant of Lutheran faith from the Old World, whether he comes from Scandinavia or Germany, or whether he belonged to one of the Lutheran countries of Finland, or Hungary, or Austria, may be not suffered to drift off with no friendly hand extended to him out of all the church communion, away from all the influences that tend toward safeguarding and uplifting him, and that he find ready at hand in this country those eager to bring him into fellowship with the existing bodies. (At Lutheran Place Memoral Church, Washington, D. C., January 29, 1905.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers III, 205-206.


The men who head a lynching-party, and the officers who fail to protect criminals threatened with lynching, always advance as their excuse that public sentiment sanctions their action. The chief offenders often insist that they have taken such summary action because they fear lest the law be not enforced against the offender. In other words, they put

public sentiment ahead of law in the first place; and in the second they offer, as a partial excuse for so doing, the fact that too often laws are not enforced by the men elected or appointed to enforce them. The only possible outcome of such an attitude is lawlessness, which gradually grows until it becomes mere anarchy. The one all-important element in good citizenship in our country is obedience to law. (Forum, September 1895.) Mem. Ed. XVI, 268-269; Nat. Ed. XIV, 189-190.

____________. One of the greatest blots on American civilization is lynch law. If you study the statistics of lynching you will see that lynching cases tend—it is not a regular rule, it is a tendency, however—they tend to be most numerous in the States where it is most difficult legally to punish with death a murderer. Where the law persistently miscarries you are certain to have these dreadful efforts to remedy the miscarriage of the law or to anticipate its miscarriage by remedies far worse even than the disease. We must put down lynch law; and as a first step we should provide for the swift and sure and heavy punishment of the worst offenders; above all, those crimes which are the crimes of fiends. If we could only remember that exactly as justice must be tempered with mercy, so we must not let justice be overthrown by a false spirit of mercy! It is not true mercy of course; for the feeling that prompts men to let a criminal escape from paying the penalty of his misdeeds is mere sentimentality, mere shortsightedness. It is not mercy as mercy should rightly be understood. (At Albany, N. Y., November 20, 1900.) Proceedings of the New York State Conference of Charities and Correction at the First Annual Session. (Albany, N. Y., 1901), pp. 7-8.

____________. All thoughtful men must feel the gravest alarm over the growth of lynching in this country, and especially over the peculiarly hideous forms so often taken by mob violence when colored men are the victims—on which occasions the mob seems to lay most weight, not on the crime, but on the color of the criminal. In a certain proportion of these cases the man lynched has been guilty of a crime horrible beyond description; a crime so horrible that as far as he himself is concerned he has forfeited the right to any kind of sympathy whatsoever. The feeling of all good citizens that such a hideous crime shall not be hideously punished by mob violence is due not in the least to sympathy for the criminal, but to a very lively sense of the train of dreadful consequences which follows the course taken by the mob in exacting inhuman vengeance for an inhuman wrong . . . .

Every effort should be made under the law to expedite the proceedings of justice in the case of such an awful crime. But it can not be necessary in order to accomplish this to deprive any citizen of those fundamental rights to be heard in his own defense which are so dear to us all and which lie at the root of our liberty. It certainly ought to be possible by the proper administration of the laws to secure swift vengeance upon the criminal; and the best and immediate efforts of all legislators, judges, and citizens should be addressed to securing such reforms in our legal procedure as to leave no vestige of excuse for those misguided men who undertake to reap vengeance through violent methods. (To W. T. Durbin, Governor of Indiana, August 6, 1903.) Presidential Addresses and State Papers II, 524-525.

____________. Lawlessness in the United States is not confined to any one section; lynching is not confined to any one section; and there is perhaps no body of American citizens who have deserved so well of the entire American people as the public men, the publicists, the clergymen, the countless thousands of high-minded private citizens, who have done such heroic work in the South in arousing public opinion against lawlessness in all its forms, and especially against lynching. I very earnestly hope that their example will count in the North as well as in the South, for there are just as great evils to be warred against in one region of our country as in another, though they are not in all places the same evils. (At Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Ala., October 24, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XVIII, 473; Nat. Ed. XVI, 352-353.

____________. Governor [of Arkansas], you spoke of a hideous crime that is often hideously avenged. The worst enemy of the negro race is the negro criminal, and, above all, the negro criminal of that type; for he has committed not only an unspeakably dreadful and infamous crime against the victim, but he has committed a hideous crime against the people of his own color; and every reputable colored man, every colored man who wishes to see the uplifting of his race, owes it as his first duty to himself and to that race to hunt down that criminal with all his soul and strength. Now for the side of the white man. To avenge one hideous crime by another hideous crime is to reduce the man doing it to the bestial level of the wretch who committed the bestial crime. The horrible effects of the lynchings are not for that crime at all, but for other crimes. And above all other men, Governor, you and I and all who are exponents and representatives of the law, owe it to our people, owe it to the cause of civilization and humanity, to do everything in our power, officially and unofficially, directly and indirectly, to free the United States from the menace and reproach of lynch-law. (At Little Rock, Ark., October 25, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XXIII, 507; Bishop I, 442

____________. In that part of my message about lynching . . . I speak of the grave and evil fact that the negroes too often band together to shelter their own criminals, which action had an undoubted effect in helping to precipitate the hideous Atlanta race-riots. I condemn such attitude strongly, for I feel that it is fraught with the gravest danger to both races. Here, where I have power to deal with it, I find this identical attitude displayed among the negro troops. I should be recreant to my duty if I failed by deeds as well as words to emphasize with the utmost severity my disapproval of it. (To Silas McBee, November 27, 1906.) Mem. Ed. XXIV, 34; Bishop II, 28.

____________. Lawlessness grows by what it feeds upon; and when mobs begin to lynch for rape they speedily extend the sphere of their operations and lynch for many other kinds of crimes, so that two-thirds of the lynchings are not for rape at all; while a considerable proportion of the individuals lynched are innocent of all crime. . . . The members of the white race . . . should understand that every lynching represents by just so much a loosening of the bands of civilization; that the spirit of lynching inevitably throws into prominence in the community all the foul and evil creatures who dwell therein. No man can take part in the torture of a human being without having his own moral nature permanently lowered. Every lynching means just so much moral deterioration in all the children who have any knowledge of it, and therefore just so much additional trouble for the next generation of Americans. (Sixth Annual Message, Washington, December 3, 1906.) Mem. Ed. XVII, 412, 414; Nat. Ed. XV, 351, 353.


See also Vigilantes.


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