THEODORE ROOSEVELT, “ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AT THE LAYING OF THE CORNER STONE OF THE OFFICE BUILDING OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES(THE MAN WITH THE MUCK-RAKE)” (14 APRIL 1906)

<1> Over a century back Washington lassist the corner stamong the Capitol in what was then little bit more than a tract of wooded wilderness right here alongside the Potomac. We now uncover it important to carry out by good added structures for the organization of the Government. This growth in the need for the housing of the Government is however a proof and instance of the means in which the country has grvery own and the spbelow of action of the National Government has actually grvery own. We now carry out the affairs of a nation in which the extrasimple expansion of populace has been outstripped by the growth of riches and the growth in complex interests. The product problems that challenge us to-day are not such as they were in Washington’s time, but the underlying facts of humale nature are the exact same now as they were then. Under transformed external form we battle via the exact same tendencies toward evil that were apparent in Washington’s time, and are assisted by the same tendencies for great. It is around some of these that I wish to say a word to-day.

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<2> In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress you might recontact the summary of the Man via the Muck-rake, the guy who can look no way however downward, through the muck-rake in his hand; who was available a celestial crown for his muck-rake, however that would certainly neither look up nor regard the crvery own he was available, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.

<3> In Pilgrim’s Progress the Man with the Muck-rake is collection forth as the instance of him whose vision is fixed on carnal rather of on spiritual points. Yet he also typifies the male who in this life repetitively refprovides to view aught that is lofty, and also fixes his eyes with solemn intentness only on that which is vile and debasing. Now, it is exceptionally necessary that we need to not flinch from seeing what is vile and also debasing. There is filth on the floor, and it should be scraped up with the muck-rake; and also tbelow are times and locations wbelow this organization is the many necessary of all the services that have the right to be percreated. But the male that never does anypoint else, that never before thinks or speaks or writes, conserve of his accomplishments through the muck-rake, speedily becomes, not a help to culture, not an incitement to great, yet among the a lot of potent pressures for evil.

<4> Tbelow are, in the body politic, financial and also social, many type of and also grave evils, and tbelow is immediate necessity for the sternest war upon them. Tbelow should be relentless exposure of and also attack upon eexceptionally evil guy whether politician or service man, eincredibly evil exercise, whether in politics, in business, or in social life. I hail as a benevariable eexceptionally writer or speaker, every man who, on the platdevelop, or in book, magazine, or newspaper, through mercimuch less severity makes such attack, gave always that he in his revolve remembers that the assault is of use only if it is absolutely truthful. The liar is no whit much better than the thief, and also if his mendacity takes the form of slander, he might be worse than a lot of thieves. It puts a premium upon knaincredibly untruthfully to attack an hoswarm male, or even through hysterical exaggeration to assail a poor man with unreality. An epidemic of indiscriminate attack upon character does not excellent, yet exceptionally good injury. The spirit of every scoundrel is gladdened whenever an hocolony man is ascruised, or even once a scoundrel is untruthfully assailed.

<5> Now, it is simple to twist out of shape what I have actually simply said, straightforward to impact to misunderstand also it, and, if it is slurred over in repetition, not tough really to misunderstand it. Some persons are sincecount inqualified of understanding that to denounce mud slinging does not mean the endorsement of whitewashing; and both the interested people who need whitewashing, and also those others that exercise mud slinging, prefer to encourage such confusion of ideas. One of the chief counts versus those that make indiscriminate attack upon men in service or guys in public life, is that they invite a reaction which is sure to tell powerfully in favor of the unscrupulous scoundrel that really need to be assaulted, who need to be exposed, who ought, if feasible, to be put in the penitentiary. If Aristides is pincreased overa lot as just, civilization acquire worn down of hearing it; and also overcencertain of the unjust lastly and also from comparable reasons results in their favor.

<6> Any excess is nearly sure to invite a reaction; and also, unfortunately, the reaction, rather of taking the form of punishment of those guilty of the excess, is incredibly apt to take the develop either of punishment of the unofffinishing or of providing immunity, and also strength, to offenders. The initiative to make financial or political profit out of the devastation of character have the right to only cause public calamity. Gross and also reckmuch less attacks on character, whether on the stump or in newspaper, magazine, or book, produce a morbid and also vicious public sentiment, and also at the exact same time act as a profound deterrent to able males of normal sensitiveness and tfinish to prevent them from entering the public service at any type of price. As an instance in point, I might mention that one severe challenge encountered in gaining the best kind of males to dig the Panama Canal is the certainty that they will certainly be exposed, both without, and also, I am sorry to say, periodically within, Congress, to utterly reckmuch less strikes on their character and also capacity.

<7> At the risk of repetition let me say aobtain that my plea is, not for immunity to however for the the majority of unsparing expocertain of the politician who betrays his trust, of the massive organization man that renders or spends his fortune in illegitimate or corrupt means. Tbelow must be a resolute initiative to hunt eexceptionally such male out of the position he has disgraced. Expose the crime, and also hunt dvery own the criminal; but remember that also in the situation of crime, if it is attacked in sensational, lurid, and also untruthful fashion, the assault may perform even more damages to the public mind than the crime itself. It is because I feel that tright here should be no rest in the endless battle versus the pressures of evil that I ask that the battle be performed through sanity and also via resolution. The men through the muck-rakes are often indispensable to the health of society; yet just if they understand as soon as to stop raking the muck, and also to look upward to the celestial crvery own above them, to the crown of worthy venture. There are beautiful points over and also round about them; and if they gradually flourish to feel that the entirety people is nopoint but muck, their power of usefulness is gone. If the entirety photo is painted black tbelow remains no hue by which to single out the rascals for distinction from their fellows. Such paint ultimately induces a type of moral color-blindness; and also civilization affected by it concerned the conclusion that no man is really black, and also no male really white, yet they are all gray. In other words, they neither believe in the reality of the strike, nor in the honesty of the guy that is attacked; they grow as suspicious of the accusation as of the offense; it becomes well-nigh hopemuch less to stir them either to wrath against wrongdoing or to enthusiasm for what is right; and such a psychological attitude in the public provides hope to eincredibly knave, and is the despair of hoswarm guys.

<8> To assail the great and also admitted evils of our political and also commercial life through such crude and also sweeping generalizations as to incorporate decent men in the basic condemnation implies the searing of the public conscience. Tright here outcomes a basic perspective either of cynical belief in and also indistinction to public corruption or else of a distrustful incapacity to discriminate in between the great and also the poor. Either perspective is fraught via untold damages to the country overall. The fool that has not sense to discriminate between what is great and also what is bad is well-nigh as dangerous as the guy that does discriminate and yet chooses the negative. Tbelow is nopoint even more distressing to every great patriot, to eexceptionally excellent Amerihave the right to, than the difficult, scoffing heart which treats the allegation of dishonesty in a public guy as a cause for laughter. Such laughter is worse than the crackling of thorns under a pot, for it denotes not just the vacant mind, but the heart in which high eactivities have actually been choked before they could flourish to fruition.

<9> There is any amount of excellent in the human being, and there never before was a time as soon as loftier and even more disinterested work for the betterment of mansort was being done than currently. The pressures that tfinish for evil are excellent and also disastrous, but the pressures of fact and love and also courage and honesty and also generosity and sympathy are also stronger than ever before prior to. It is a foolish and also timid, no much less than a wicked point, to battach the fact that the pressures of evil are strong, however it is also worse to fail to take into account the toughness of the pressures that tell for excellent. Hysterical sensationalism is the extremely poorest weapon wherewith to fight for lasting righteousness. The guys that through stern sobriety and also reality assail the many evils of our time, whether in the public press or in magazines, or in books, are the leaders and also allies of all involved in the occupational for social and also political betterment. But if they offer excellent factor for distrust of what they say, if they chill the ardor of those who demand also fact as a primary virtue, they thereby betray the excellent reason, and play right into the hands of the extremely guys versus whom they are nominally at battle.

<10> In his “Ecclesiastical Polity” that fine old Elizabethan magnificent, Bishop Hooker, wrote:

<11> “He that goeth around to guide a multitude that they are not so well governed as they ought to be, shall never desire attentive and also favorable hearers; because they know the manifold defects whereunto eexceptionally type of regiguys is topic, but the secret allows and obstacles, which in public proceedings are innumerable and unpreventable, they have actually not ordinarily the judgment to think about.”

<12> This reality must be maintained constantly in mind by every totally free human being desiring to maintain the sanity and also poise indispensable to the permanent success of self-federal government. Yet, on the various other hand also, it is vital not to permit this spirit to sanity and self-command also to degenerate into mere psychological stagcountry. Bad though a state of hysterical excitement is, and evil though the outcomes are which come from the violent oscillations such excitement invariably produces, yet a sodden acquiescence in evil is also worse. At this minute we are passing with a period of excellent unrest–social, political, and also commercial unremainder. It is of the utmany importance for our future that this should prove to be not the unremainder of mere rebelliousness against life, of mere dissatisfactivity with the inescapable inehigh quality of conditions, but the unremainder of a resolute and also eager ambition to secure the betterment of the individual and the country. So far as this motion of agitation throughout the country takes the develop of a fierce discontent via evil, of a determicountry to punish the authors of evil, whether in market or politics, the feeling is to be heartily invited as a authorize of healthy life.

<13> If, on the other hand, it turns into a mere crusade of appetite versus appetite, of a contest between the brutal greed of the “have-nots” and also the brutal greed of the “haves,” then it has no meaning for great, yet only for evil. If it seeks to create a line of cleavage, not alengthy the line which divides great guys from poor, yet along that other line, running at right angles thereto, which divides those that are well off from those that are less well off, then it will be fraught with immeasurable damage to the body politic.

<14> We can no even more and no much less afford to condone evil in the male of funding than evil in the guy of no capital. The well-off man that exults bereason tright here is a faiattract of justice in the initiative to carry some trust magnate to an account for his misdeeds is as bad as, and no worse than, the so-called labor leader who clamorously strives to excite a foul course feeling on behalf of some various other labor leader who is implicated in murder. One mindset is as poor as the various other, and also no worse; in each case the accprovided is entitcaused precise justice; and in neither instance is tright here require of action by others which deserve to be construed right into an expression of sympathy for crime.

<15> It is a prime necessity that if the present unrest is to lead to long-term good the emovement shall be translated right into activity, and also that the activity shall be noted by honesty, sanity, and self-restraint. There is mighty little bit great in a mere spasm of recreate. The reform that counts is that which comes via secure, consistent growth; violent emotionalism leads to exhaustion.

<16> It is essential to this human being to grapple via the troubles connected through the amassing of massive fortunes, and the usage of those fortunes, both corporate and also individual, in organization. We need to discriminate in the sharpest way between fortunes well-won and fortunes ill-won; between those obtained as an occurrence to percreating excellent solutions to the area in its entirety, and those got in evil fashion by keeping simply within the limits of mere law-honesty. Of course no amount of charity in spending such fortunes in any type of method compensates for misconduct in making them. As a matter of personal conviction, and also without pretfinishing to discuss the details or formulate the mechanism, I feel that we shall ultimately have to think about the adoption of some such system as that of a gradual taxation on all fortunes, beyond a certain amount either given in life or devised or bequeathed upon fatality to any type of individual–a taxation so framed regarding put it out of the power of the owner of among these massive fortunes to hand on even more than a specific amount to any one individual; the taxation, of course, to be imposed by the National and also not the State government. Such taxes should, of course, be aimed just at the inheritance or transmission in their entirety of those fortunes swollen past all healthy borders.

<17> Aacquire, the National Government need to in some form exercise supervision over corporations involved in interstate business–and also all big corporations are involved in interstate business–whether by license or otherwise, so as to permit us to attend to the far-getting to evils of overcapitalization. This year we are making a beginning in the direction of severe effort to work out some of these economic troubles by the railway-price law. Such regulation, if so framed, as I am sure it will be, as to secure definite and also tangible results, will certainly amount to something of itself; and also it will certainly amount to a good deal even more in so far as it is taken as a first step in the direction of a plan of superintendence and regulate over corpoprice wide range engaged in interstate business, this superintendence and manage not to be worked out in a heart of malevolence towards the men that have developed the riches, however via the firm function both to carry out justice to them and to watch that they in their turn execute justice to the public at large.

<18> The initially requiwebsite in the public servants that are to deal in this form with corporations, whether as legislators or as executives, is honesty. This honesty have the right to be no respecter of persons. Tbelow have the right to be no such thing as unilateral honesty. The danger is not really from corrupt corporations; it springs from the corruption itself, whether exercised for or against corporations.

<19> The eighth commandment reads, “Thou shalt not steal.” It does not check out, “Thou shalt not steal from the well-off guy.” It does not read, “Thou shalt not steal from the poor male.” It reads sindicate and plainly, “Thou shalt not steal.” No good whatever will certainly come from that warped and mock principles which denounces the misdeeds of males of wealth and forgets the misdeeds practiced at their expense; which denounces bribery, but blinds itself to blackmail; which foams with rage if a corporation secures favors by improper techniques, and also simply leers with hideous mirth if the corporation is itself wronged. The just public servant who deserve to be trusted honestly to defend the rights of the public against the misdeed of a corporation is that public guy who will certainly simply as surely protect the corporation itself from wrongful aggression. If a public man is willing to yield to popular clamor and execute wrong to the men of wide range or to well-off corporations, it may be collection down as certain that if the chance comes he will certainly secretly and also furtively execute wrong to the public in the interemainder of a corporation.

<20> But, in enhancement to honesty, we require sanity. No honesty will make public man useful if that man is timid or foolish, if he is a hot-headed zealot or an impracticable visionary. As we strive for reform we uncover that it is not at all simply the instance of a lengthy uphill pull. On the contrary, tright here is practically as a lot of breeching work as of collar work; to depfinish just on traces suggests that tright here will certainly quickly be a runamethod and an upcollection. The men of riches who to-day are trying to prevent the regulation and also control of their organization in the interest of the public by the appropriate Government authorities will not succeed, in my judgment, in checking the development of the motion. But if they did succeed they would discover that they had actually svery own the wind and would certainly sudepend enjoy the whirlwind, for they would inevitably provoke the violent excesses which accompany a recreate coming by convulsion rather of by secure and also organic development.

<21> On the other hand, the wild preachers of unremainder and also discontent, the wild agitators against the whole existing order, the men that act crookedly, whether because of sinister architecture or from mere puzzle-headedness, the men that preach damage without proposing any type of substitute for what they intend to ruin, or who propose a substitute which would be much worse than the existing evils–all these guys are the many dangerous enemies of real recreate. If they acquire their way they will certainly lead the world right into a deeper pit than any kind of right into which they can autumn under the current device. If they fail to acquire their way they will certainly still carry out incalculable damage by provoking the sort of reaction which, in its rebellion against the senseless evil of their teaching, would enthranother secudepend than ever the very evils which their misguided followers believe they are attacking.

<22> More essential than aught else is the development of the broadest sympathy of male for man. The welfare of the wage-worker, the welfare of the tiller of the soil, upon these depfinish the welfare of the whole country; their great is not to be sought in pulling down others; but their excellent must be the prime object of all our statesmanship.

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<23> Materially we must strive to secure a broader economic possibility for all males, so that each shall have actually a far better opportunity to show the stuff of which he is made. Spiritually and also ethically we should strive to lug around clean living and appropriate reasoning. We appreciate that the points of the body are important; however we appreciate also that the things of the soul are immeasurably more essential. The structure stamong national life is, and ever before should be, the high individual character of the average citizen.