Remarks in Mountain Home, Idaho

May 28, 1903

My friends and fellow citizens:

It has been a great pleasure to have been traveling in Idaho today; and now after having traversed a good deal of sage brush, to come here to see what can be done by a proper mixture of intelligence, industry and water, in substituting for the sage brush green crops. I doubt if there is any State which will profit more by the increase in the application of irrigation to our needs than is the case with the State of Idaho. Most of our people, especially our people in the East, have no fair idea how much can be done in the development of these states here under that irrigation system. I do not believe that Congress has for many years passed any law relating to our internal development so wise as the irrigation law of a year ago.

Today, passing by, I noted far to the north the spot where one of the first experiments under that act is to be tried. I wish to say that our object in our whole irrigation policy should be to build up home makers, to build up the people who take each the land that he himself can attend to and till and who intend to rear their children on the soil. Our object should be sedulously to provide against letting great tracts of land go into the hands of any one man or of any one corporation. On the contrary, we should endeavor to save the land for its actual occupiers, for the men who will actually build up homes upon it, homes in which I shall hope to see plenty of healthy children.

I congratulate you upon the output from the mines, next the ranches, but most of all the children. I am glad that they seem to be all right in quality and all right in quantity.

It has particularly pleased me in coming through this State to see the excellent schools you have built, and the care with which you are training the next generation. I believe in you, and I want. to see the future people like you.

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks in Mountain Home, Idaho Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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