Remarks in Bethel, Vermont

August 30, 1902

Mr. Chairman, and you, my friends and fellow citizens:

Let me greet personally Mrs. Chapman; I have been told that Mrs. Chapman lacks but one week of being one hundred years old. Just up at the fair back here I saw a Vermonter of over ninety, in a trotting sulky go around a measured half mile at speed with his horse. I think that this is a State that favors longevity. And the reason is because in this State you have been sufficiently fortunate never to forget that the very best product you can have in a State is men and women. You need to have all the great business resources of the country, and great credit attaches to those who use them; but most credit attaches to the men who carried the guns. Those were the men who did the trick.

You who followed Grant and Sheridan and Sherman and Thomas, you surrender of the garrison in the name of Jehovah and the Continental troops—carried by those who with Ethan Allen went to demand the surrender of the garrison in the name of Jehovah and the continental Congress. You had different weapons, you were drilled in different ways; but the spirit that spurred you on was their spirit. And so nowadays, when we have the modern high-power smokeless powder rifle and have to fight in open order, no longer with the elbow touch--it still remains true that if the American people is to rise level in any future war to what it has done in the past, it must have in its army the spirit that drove Ethan Allen, that drove Stark at Bennington, It is the man behind the gun in war, and it is the man behind the plough in peace.

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks in Bethel, Vermont Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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