Remarks to the School Children in San Bernardino, California

May 07, 1903


I wish to say how glad I am to see you. I wish to congratulate the men and women of this city upon the children. You seem to be all right in quality and in quantity. [Applause]

I wish to say a word of special acknowledgment to the teachers. There is no body of men and women in the country to whom more is owing than to that body of men and women upon whose efforts so much of the cleanliness and efficiency of our government twenty years hence depends; because on their training largely depends the kind of citizenship of the next generation. There is no duty as important as the duty of taking care that the boys and girls are so trained as to make the highest type of men and women in the future. It is a duty that cannot be shirked by the home. The fathers and mothers must remember that it is the duty that comes before everything else after the getting of mere subsistence. The first duty after the duty of self-support is the training of the children as they should be trained. That comes upon the fathers and mothers. They cannot put it off entirely upon the teachers; but much depends upon the teachers also, and the fact that they have done and are doing their duty so well entitles them in a peculiar degree to the gratitude of all Americans who understand the prime needs of the republic. I am glad to see you, I believe in you, and I thank you. [Cheers and applause]

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks to the School Children in San Bernardino, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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