Remarks in Dekalb, Illinois

May 10, 1905

It is a great pleasure to have the chance of saying a ward or two of greeting to you this morning, and to be traveling again through your great, beautiful, and marvelously fertile State. There are two things upon which I want to lay emphasis—to congratulate you upon your material prosperity and to congratulate you upon the use you are making of that prosperity. Here in Dekalb I want to congratulate you upon what is meant by the success of your great manufacturing establishments. I want to congratulate the county upon the success it has typified by its agricultural well-being, and, also, I want to congratulate you upon what is meant by having the State normal school here, be cause you are taking care both of the things of the body and the things of the mind. You have got to take care of both. If there is not a foundation of material prosperity for the State, as for the individual, you cannot expect anything but unhappiness; but woe to the State, as woe to the individual, if material prosperity is all that is sought after.

Our people have risen and will rise because they have taken care of both sides of the development of the national character, because your farms and factories prosper, and yet because you take care of the school and the library and build on the foundation of material well-being the superstructure of the higher life. It is just as it is with the individual. The first thing a man has to do is to earn enough to take care of himself and his family. There is no use of expecting much of him if he cannot pull his own weight. He has got to be able to do that first, and, having done that, then let him also try to be a good neighbor and a good citizen.

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

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