“To permit every lawless capitalist, every law-defying corporation, to take any action, no matter how iniquitous, in the effort to secure an improper profit and to build up privilege, would be ruinous to the Republic and would mark the abandonment of the effort to secure in the industrial world the spirit of democratic fair dealing.”
— Theodore Roosevelt, State of the Union Address, December 8, 1908
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the US, born in 1858, died January 6th, 1919. As much as the current GOP likes to point out the Roosevelt was a Republican, and indeed he was in the more classical sense, this quote, and the concerns he’d expressed about an ‘invisible government‘, as well as his remarks opposing any sort of religious requirement for public officials, show just how far today’s Republican Party has drifted from its roots.
“To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life. You are entitled to know whether a man seeking your suffrages is a man of clean and upright life, honorable in all of his dealings with his fellows, and fit by qualification and purpose to do well in the great office for which he is a candidate; but you are not entitled to know matters which lie purely between himself and his Maker. If it is proper or legitimate to oppose a man for being a Unitarian, as was John Quincy Adams, for instance, as is the Rev. Edward Everett Hale, at the present moment Chaplain of the Senate, and an American of whose life all good Americans are proud then it would be equally proper to support or oppose a man because of his views on justification by faith, or the method of administering the sacrament, or the gospel of salvation by works. If you once enter on such a career there is absolutely no limit at which you can legitimately stop.”
— Theodore Roosevelt, letter to JC Martin, November 6, 1908
Image of Theodore Roosevelt was borrowed from the Encyclopedia Britannica.