Theodore Roosevelt on Independence Day

 I like the Fourth of July speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in 1886 when he was a young rancher in the Dakota Badlands.

Much has been given to us. . . and we must take heed to use aright the gifts entrusted to our care.  It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it.  I do not undervalue for a moment our material prosperity.  Like all Americans, I like big things; big prairies, big forests and mountains, big wheat fields, railroads . . . big factories, steamboats, and everything else.  But we must keep steadfastly in mind that no people were ever yet benefited by riches if their prosperity corrupted their virtue. … … 

Each one must do his part if we wish to show the nation is worthy of its future.  Here we are not ruled by others, as in Europe; here we rule ourselves. …… When we thus rule ourselves, we have the responsibility of sovereigns, not of subjects.  We must never exercise our rights wickedly or thoughtlessly; we can continue to preserve them in but one possible way, by making the proper use of them.

Click on Address to the Citizens of Dickinson for Theodore Roosevelt’s full speech.

Click on Reflections on the Revolution in the United States for reflections by Conor P. Williams on The League of Ordinary Gentlemen web site on how to celebrate Independence Day.

Click on The Fourth of July for thoughts on the significance of Independence Day by Maggie McNeill on The Honest Courtesan web log.

Click on Happy Independence Day: a Story About Becoming American by Ken on Popehat.

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