Remarks in Phillipsburg, New Jersey

August 10, 1905

I am glad to have the pleasure of saying a word of greeting to you and of expressing my appreciation of your coming out to see me. I am glad to see, as I pass by here, as in other States, the care being spent on the education of the boys and girls who in the next generation will do their share in deciding the destinies of this Republic. If we do not take care of the next generation we can guarantee that this Republic of ours will go down. I believe it will stay up, that it will continue to be a model for the nations of the earth, because I believe that the fathers and mothers of to-day are alive to the fact that in taking care of their children they are attending to the citizenship of the future.

I want to say a special word to the railway men. You men who do your work in connection with the railways of the country typify to a peculiar degree the qualities that we need in American citizenship. We like to think that the average American is a man who is willing to work hard and to take risks. That is just what a railroad man has to do, and has to be willing to do. We like to think that the average American knows how to do work by himself, and yet to work in combination with others. That is just what the average railroad man has to do. We like to think that the average American citizen knows how to take responsibilities, and yet how to play his part in our world as a whole. That is what the railway man must do.

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks in Phillipsburg, New Jersey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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