Theodore Roosevelt Virtual Exhibit

The Albany Legislature

Picture of chapter 5
Chapter from American Ideals
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Phases of State Legislation

This chapter in his book American Ideals is TR’s description of the significance of the New York State Legislature. He notes the “magnitude of the interests affected by State legislation,” chiefly because New York, the Empire State, is a “commonwealth more populous than any one of two-thirds of the kingdoms of Europe …”

Roosevelt, a man of great integrity, was never afraid of speaking his mind, and in this short essay he notes that the Legislature is in the “fullest sense of the term, a representative body.” He has sat in the Legislature, he notes, with “bankers and bricklayers, day-laborers, saloon-keepers, clergymen, and prize-fighters.”

While he notes that the Legislature is not perfect, it “is by no means as bad a body as we would be led to believe if our judgment was based purely on what we read in the great metropolitan papers.”

Last Updated: August 12, 2009