As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance.
We have the right to demand that if we find men against whom there is not only suspicion, but almost a certainty that they have had collusion with men whose interests were in conflict with the interests of the public, they shall, at least, be required to bring positive facts with which to prove there has not been such collusion; and they ought themselves to have been the first to demand such an investigation. -Teddy Roosevelt
I hope to stand firm enough not to go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country's cause.
Well, did anything interesting happen today?' [my father] would begin. And even before the daily question was completed I had eagerly launched into my narrative of every play, and almost every pitch, of that afternoon's contest. It never crossed my mind to wonder if, at the close of a day's work, he might find my lengthy account the least bit tedious. For there was mastery as well as pleasure in our nightly ritual. Through my knowledge, I commanded my father's undivided attention, the sign of his love. It would instill in me an early awareness of the power of narrative, which would introduce a lifetime of storytelling, fueled by the naive confidence that others would find me as entertaining as my father did.
The books my mother read and reread provided a broader, more adventurous world, and escape from the confines of her chronic illness. Her interior life was enriched even as her physical life contracted. If she couldn't change the reality of her situation, she could change her perception of it. She could enter into the lives of the characters in her books, sharing their journeys while she remained seated in her chair.
One-time rival and subsequent usurper Secretary of State Seward finally settled into an assessment of Lincoln that, His confidence and compassion increase every day.
Teddy Roosevelt had relished every hour of every day as president. Indeed, (he was) fearing the dull thud he would experience upon returning to private life.
The same magazines which not long before advertised products which would quickly allow women to return to their war work now extolled elaborate recipes which women could attempt if they stayed home and vacated jobs for men.
(Taft's mother's) losing her firstborn had convinced her that children are treasures lent not given and that they may be recalled at any time. Parents, she firmly believed, could never love their children too much.
Excitement about things became a habit, a part of my personality, and the expectation that I should enjoy new experiences often engendered the enjoyment itself.
The author writes that key FDR aide Harry Hopkins was in such poor health near the end of his boss's second term that one observer said he didn't know how Hopkins could possibly report to the president. But, at the onset of war and genuine national emergency, Hopkins was animated with a new sense of purpose.
I read them (articles TR wrote on his honeymoon) all over to Edith and her corrections and help were most valuable to me.
Lincoln, considering a Cabinet nominee: He is a Radical without the petulance and fretfulness of many radicals.
One journalist complemented another that his article on a dispute, had made both sides see themselves as they are.
In the reflected gaze of his (her husband's) steady admiration, she saw the face of the girl he had fallen in love with.
He (William Howard Taft) had little patience with the unconscious arrogance of conscious wealth and financial success.
I have plenty of information now, but I can't get it into words. I'm afraid it's too big a task for me. I wonder if I will find everything in life too big for my abilities. Well, time will tell. Theodore Roosevelt, writing in naval history in his spare time while in law school
As soon as (Teddy Roosevelt) received an assignment for a paper or project, he would set to work, never leaving anything to the last minute. Prepared so far ahead freed his mind from worry and facilitated fresh, lucid thought.
Of Teddy Roosevelt and his siblings, the author writes they were, armed with an innate curiosity and discipline fostered by his remarkable father.
Their lifelong love of learning, their remarkable wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, was fostered primarily by their father. He read aloud to them at night, eliciting their responses to works of history and literature. He organized amateur plays for them, encourage pursuit of special interests, prompted them to write essays on their readings, and urge them to recite poetry.
She was never satisfied with anything less than perfection, but she was no grind. She was too interested in people.
Whereas Taft discouraged the young Yale student from extracurricular reading, fearful it would detract from required courses, Roosevelt read widely yet managed to stand near the top of his class. The breath of his numerous interests allowed him to draw on knowledge across various disciplines, from zoology in philosophy and religion, from poetry and drama to history and politics.
Why bother with fictional characters and plots when the world was full of more marvelous stories that were true, with characters so fresh, so powerful, so new, that they stepped from into the narratives under their own power?
The Yale graduate who had refused to read outside the course curriculum (the future Pres. Taft) suddenly found himself inspired.
If he (Teddy Roosevelt) lacked Will Taft's immediate charisma, gradually his classmates could not resist the spell of his highly original personality.
(Theodore) Roosevelt confessed early fascination with girls'stories such as Little Man and Little Women and An Old-Fashioned Girl.
As ever, books remained a medium through which Theodore and Edith connected and interpreted larger world.
Theodore Roosevelt's father wrote him, I fear for your future. We cannot stand so corrupt a government for any great length of time.
We are now parents. The love for our offspring has opened up fresh fountains of love for each other. Edwin Stanton to his wife.
The very qualities that had led to Johnson's political and legislative success were precisely those that now operated to destroy him: his inward insistence that the world adapt itself to his goals; his faith in the nation's limitless capacity; his tendency to evaluate all human activity in terms of its political significance; his insistence on translating every disruptive situation into one where bargaining was possible; his reliance on personal touch; his ability to speak to each of his constituent groups on its own terms. All these gifts, instead of sustaining him, now conspired to destroy him.
Those who knew Lincoln described him as an extraordinarily funny man. Humor was an essential aspect of his temperament. He laughed, he explained, so he did not weep.
I shall always be grateful for this curious love of history, allowing me to spend a lifetime looking back into the past, allowing me to learn from these large figures about the struggle for meaning for life.