Remarks at Sisson, California

May 20, 1903

My Friends and Fellow-Citizens:

It is indeed a great pleasure to have had the chance of going through your wonderful State; now I have come to the people who live among the mountains in the north; I come among the pine forests, and in sight of the great mountains. I hardly think that you yourselves can realize what a wonderful State it is, a State as large and as diversified as many an Old World empire. It is a great pleasure to have come here to see this wonderful State with its change from the semi-tropic, irrigated plains of the south, here to the northern mountains, a State situated between the Sierras and the Pacific; and especially I have enjoyed meeting the people who have made the State what it is. Wherever I have been I have seen in the audiences, men who wear the button which shows that they fought in the great Civil War; and it seems to me that the qualities which made those men victorious in the mortal strife of the Republic are akin to the qualities which made our people able to conquer plain and mountain, prairie and forest, and to create these commonwealths from the Atlantic seaboard across to the Pacific. [Applause]

I am glad to meet all of you. I congratulate you upon all the crops, but especially upon the children. I spoke of the soldiers of the great Civil War just now, and of your pioneer people; each was required to show the characteristics which have to be shown also in civil life if this Republic is to be made all that it should be made. In '61, when you and those like you went to battle, the first feeling that you had to have was the capacity for devotion to a lofty ideal, the spirit that made ease, comfort, safety, as nothing compared with the desire to keep the flag and to ring true when the country called. In addition to that you had to have courage, hardihood, resolution, or you could not have made your aspirations good. It is just so in civil life, and the man has to be a decent man, a square man, a man who acts square by his neighbors, fairly by the State, or he cannot amount to anything; but in addition to the qualities of decency and fair dealing he must have the qualities that make a man a man, or he cannot do a man's work in the world. He has to have hardihood, courage and endurance. [Cheers and applause]

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks at Sisson, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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