Remarks in Dixon, Illinois

May 10, 1905

It is a great pleasure for me to be with you here in Illinois again, and to be traveling through what is in very truth one of the garden spots of the world. I cannot say how impressed I am with the wonderful beauty and luxuriant fertility of this country of yours here, and I do not know that it is especially to your credit that you are pretty good citizens. I would be ashamed of you if you were not. While I congratulate you upon all your products of the farm and factory, yet I congratulate you most upon the fact that you seem to be raising a first-class type of young Illinois citizens here. Illinois is indeed fortunate in its educational system. I have been more pleased than I can well express at seeing the type and the number of children that are brought out along the stations.

It is a mere truism to say that the most fertile country in the world will amount to nothing if you do not have the right type of citizenship in it, and you will not have the right type of citizenship if the proper care is not given to the bringing up of the boys and girls. Perhaps the father of a number of children can be excused for saying that of all the classes of our country I think the school teacher deserves a little the best of all of us. It is to their patience, their constant care, their intelligence, and judgment that we have to trust for supplementing it can never do more than supplement—the work of the home, and turning out boys and girls who will be the right type of men and. women.

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

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