April 26, 2012

Teddy Roosevelt campaigning in 1912. All about Government then, too.


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A voice from the deep-distant past. Teddy Roosevelt was considered to be the first Progressive President of the United States. During his time in office from 1901, (following the assassination of William McKinley) until 1908, he Created the National Park Service as we know it today. He signed into law the Pure Food and Drug Act, Child Labor laws, campaigned for a Healthcare System (which just goes to show you how long that argument's been going on), and introduced sweeping Anti-Trust legislation.

In 1912, after unsuccessfully attempting a nomination via the Republican Party, he formed his own Bullmoose Party and ran on a third-party ticket, against Woodrow Wilson.

Here is an address he made during that campaign, recorded on September 22, 1912 - the title of the address is "Liberty Of The People." Since the sound is a little rough (recording was in its infancy at the time), here is a transcript of that address:

The difference between Mr. Wilson and myself is fundamental. The other day in a speech at Sioux Falls, Mr. Wilson stated his position when he said that the history of government, the history of liberty, was the history of the limitation of governmental power. This is true as an academic statement of history in the past. It is not true as a statement affecting the present. It is true of the history of medieval Europe. It is not true of the history of 20th Century America. In the days when all governmental power existed exclusively in the King or in the baronage, and when the people had no shred of that power in their own hand, then it undoubtedly was true that the history of liberty was the history of the limitation of the governmental power of the outsiders who possessed that power. But today, the people have actually or potentially the entire governmental power. It is theirs to use and to exercise if they choose to use and to exercise it. It offers the only adequate instrument with which they can work for the betterment, for the uplifting, of the masses of our people. The liberty of which Mr. Wilson speaks today means merely the liberty of some great trust magnate to do that which he is not entitled to do. It means merely the liberty of some factory owner to work haggard women over hours for under pay and himself to pocket the proceeds. It means the liberty of the factory owner who crowds his operatives into some crazy deathtrap on a top floor, where if fire starts the slaughter is immense. It means the liberty of the big factory owner who is conscienceless and unscrupulous, to work his men and women under conditions which eat into their lives like an acid. It means the liberty of even less conscientious factory owners to make their money out of the toil, the labor, of little children. Men of this stamp are the men whose liberty would be preserved by Mr. Wilson. Men of this stamp are the men whose liberty would be preserved by the limitation of governmental power. We propose, on the contrary, to extend governmental power in order to secure the liberty of the wage- workers, of the men and women who toil in industry, to save the liberty of the oppressed from the oppressor. Mr. Wilson stands for the liberty of the oppressor to oppress; we stand for the limitation of his liberty thus to oppress those who are weaker than himself."

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