“I do not care a rap whether a man is a President, a Senator, or a Congressman, as such. What I care for is that he shall be a thoroly straight, decent, and fearless representative of the people...”
ROOSEVELT ON LINCOLN: IMPASSIONED LETTER BY THEODORE ROOSEVELT DEFINING THE QUALITIES HE ADMIRES IN A POLITICIAN, USING HIS HERO ABRAHAM LINCOLN AS AN EXAMPLE.
Written on White House stationery and dated January 14, 1909 (near the end of Roosevelt’s second term as president), the letter reads in full:
My dear Mr. Landis:
Yours is just about as nice a letter as I have received – and I have received very many. Indeed I wish you were in Congress.
I feel just as you do about the division of powers and the like. I do not care a rap whether a man is a President, a Senator, or a Congressman, as such. What I care for is that he shall be a thoroly straight, decent, and fearless representative of the people. This country was with Lincoln when as a private citizen he fought as hard as he knew how two Presidents in succession; and this country was with Lincoln when for four years, as President, he fought the representatives of these same ex-Presidents when they were in opposition. The people were not with him because he was President in one case, or because he was against the President in the other. They were with him because he was right both times.
[signed] Theodore Roosevelt
Roosevelt’s hero was Abraham Lincoln and in many senses he used Lincoln as a guide to his presidency, appreciating what he called his great “righteousness” (see, for example, Roosevelt’s speech to the NYC Republican Club, February 13, 1905). In this letter he explicitly praises Lincoln’s dedication to causes he believed were right, regardless of his political affiliation or status, a trait Roosevelt tried hard to emulate himself.
The recipient, Frederick Landis, was a Republican U.S. Representative from Indiana from 1903-1907. In 1912, Landis became an important figure in Roosevelt’s Progressive Party - becoming chairman of its first State Convention in Indiana and serving as a delegate to the National Progressive Convention.
Washington, D.C., 1909. One 8.5x14 inch sheet, folded to create four pages (Roosevelt letter on two pages; two pages blank). Usual folds, a touch of soiling, generally fine condition with strong full Roosevelt signature.
A RARE LETTER STRONGLY UNITING TWO OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST IMPORTANT AND INFLUENTIAL LEADERS.
Price: $10,000 .