Theodore Roosevelt

Jamestown Exposition  April 26,1907

 

We of this mighty western Republic have to grapple with the dangers that spring from popular self-government tried on a scale incomparably vaster than ever before in the history of mankind, and from an abounding material prosperity greater also than anything which the world has hitherto seen.

As regards the first set of dangers, it behooves us to remember that men can never escape being governed.  Either they must govern themselves or they must submit to being governed by others.  If from lawlessness or fickleness, from folly or self-indulgence, they refuse to govern themselves, then most assuredly in the end they will have to be governed from the outside.  They can prevent the need of government from without only by showing that they possess the power of government from within,  a sovereign  can not make excuses for his failures; a sovereign must accept the responsibility for the exercise of the power that inheres in him, and where, as is true in our Republic, the people are sovereign, then the people must show a sober understanding and a sane and steadfast purpose if they are to preserve that orderly liberty upon which as a foundation every republic must rest.

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