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Re: [tr-m] recent magazine article

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  • Robert Kuniegel
    Harry Lembeck, Thanks for your thoughtful and informative post. I will put this book on my must read list. Theodore Roosevelt: Hero to His Valet . Bob
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 18 4:23 AM
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      Harry Lembeck,

      Thanks for your thoughtful and informative post. I will put this book on my must
      read list. "Theodore Roosevelt: Hero to His Valet".

      Bob Kuniegel
      **********

      Hnlembeck@... wrote:

      > In some of the follow up to the recent critical article about TR, there is a
      > suggestion of an acceptance that TR was, if only because he reflected the
      > times in which he lived, a racist, though possibly more advanced than most in
      > his views on race.
      >
      > "More advanced" isn't even the half of it. We should point out to people a
      > letter he wrote in 1894, when he served as commissioner with the Civil
      > Service Commission. In it, he said:
      >
      > "Congressman Williams, of Mississippi, attacked the Commission in substance
      > because under the Commission white men and men of color are treated with
      > exact impartiality. As to this, I have to say that so long as the present
      > Commissioners continue their official existence they will not make, and, so
      > far as in their power lies, will refuse to allow others to make, any
      > discrimination whatsoever for or against any man because of his color … We
      > do equal and exact justice to all... … under our examinations honest and
      > capable colored men are given an even chance with honest and capable white
      > men. I esteem this approach a high compliment to the Commission, for it is
      > an admission that the Commission has rigidly done its duty as required by law
      > without … regard to color." The letter is quoted in Theodore Roosevelt the
      > Citizen by Jacob A. Riis.
      >
      > There is, of course, the infamous Brownsville Incident. I personally know
      > little other than what has been written in TR biographies, and when a man
      > such as, for example, Edmund Morris speaks of it as the low point of TR's
      > Presidency, I accept his scholarship and honest judgment. But I recommend
      > the comments of James Amos, TR's valet and himself a black man, in Mr. Amos's
      > book, Theodore Roosevelt: Hero to His Valet. Mr. Amos writes that the
      > President took his action only "an agent of his own" spent many months
      > gathering the facts about the matter for him.
      >
      > Mr. Amos also writes that some of the accused soldiers were brought to the
      > White House to meet personally with the President and "under Mr. Roosevelt's
      > questioning they broke down as admitted the guilt of their companies The
      > President never used this confession in justification of his act. The
      > soldiers had not made it willingly, but only under the influence of his
      > dominating personality, and while it completely satisfied his mind he never
      > felt at liberty to use it, though he might have hushed the whole controversy
      > by doing so."
      >
      > It seems to me typical of the TR I and other so many others admire that he
      > would take extraordinary measures to convince himself of the facts, and only
      > then take an action he considered right, regardless of the consequences.
      >
      > As a footnote to the Brownsville incident, Mr. Amos says that, to protect the
      > soldiers from the wrath of the local Texas officials, TR deployed the unit
      > outside Texas, and only then did he discharge the men. Had they become
      > civilians while in Texas, the would have been exposed to Texas authority and
      > might have tried in the Texas courts.
      >
      > Harry Lembeck
      > hnlembeck@...
      >
      >
      >
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