President of the United States.
Typewritten Letter Signed, one page, quarto, New York, September 1, 1914. To H. W. Temple in Washington, Pennsylvania, with corrections in Roosevelt’s hand (shown in italic).
“Permit me personally to congratulate you upon your activities in the 63rd Congress. I have more particularly in mind your unusually scholarly and effective defense of American rights in the Panama Canal and comprehensive analysis of the terms of the treaties. Few men could render this particular sense; you have made all good citizens your debtors by reading it. Your whole course has merited the support of all good citizens in your district, regardless of party. You have been aggressively and effectively part of that group of citizens in your district, regardless of party. You have been aggressively and effectively part of that group of representatives who have proved to be the only sanely constructive force at the Capital. You have stood against the secret closed caucus, for open committee meetings and against gag rules. You voted for the Progressive Tariff Commission, for real currency legislation, and the genuinely effective measures dealing with the Trust Problem. All of these and others were offered in fulfillment of the covenant with the people embodied in the Progressive platform in 1912. You and those associated with you proposed a program of concrete measures for the advancement of social and industrial justice. You are deserving of no less credit because these measures were rejected. It is my earnest desire and my hope and belief that a service of the splendid character, vision and courage you have given, will meet with the hearty popular endorsement at the polls, which it so richly deserves. Trusting that you will be returned to continue your efforts for the common good in the 64th Congress and that this fight for a square deal, so admirably begun, shall suffer no interruption for the lack of men of your caliber and courage. ”
Theodore Roosevelt discusses a number of significant issues, including “American rights in the Panama Canal,” Progressive Party mearues, antitrust, and the Square Deal. In 1903 the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty between Panama and the United States granted the United States canal-building rights and the sole right to operate and control the Canal Zone. Work on the canal began in 1904 and two weeks before Roosevelt wrote the present letter, on August 15, 1914, the Canal opened to traffic. After the opening, there were numerous disputes between the United States and Panama over the sovereignty of the waterway. The Panama Canal Treaty of 1977 established that the Republic of Panama would take complete control of the canal in the year 2000.
In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran for president on the Progressive Party’s ticket, with a platform that called for revision of the political nominating machinery and an aggressive program of social legislation. The Progressive ticket polled some 25 percent of the popular vote. Thus split, the Republicans lost the election to the Democrats under Woodrow Wilson. The Party evaporated and the Republicans were reunited four years later. By then Roosevelt was convinced that the Progressives were dead.
The “Trust Problem” that Roosevelt mentions most likely concerns antitrust law. In 1914 an important antitrust law was enacted, the Clayton Antitrust Act. It prohibited discrimination among customers through prices or other means, and also prohibited mergers of firms, or acquisitions of one firm by another, whenever the effect may be to substantially lessen competition.
Theodore Roosevelt’s mention of the Square Deal refers to his personal approach to current social problems and the individual. It embraced his idealistic view of labor, citizenship, parenthood, and Christian ethics. Roosevelt first used the term following the settlement of a mining strike in 1902 to describe the ideal of peaceful coexistence between big business and labor unions. The Square Deal concept was later largely incorporated into the platform of the Progressive Party, when Roosevelt was its presidential candidate in 1912.
This item is associated with the following category in our inventory: