Roosevelt, Franklin D. (1882-1945) to Sharpless D. Green
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09783.01 Author/Creator: Roosevelt, Franklin D. (1882-1945) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Typed letter signed Date: 3 October 1922 Pagination: 1 p. ; 28 x 21.5 cm.
One letter From Franklin D. Roosevelt to Sharpless Dobson Green, dated October 3, 1922. Responds to Green's plea for advice to his senior students at Trenton High School. Roosevelet advises that it is an American citizen's duty to invest in the good for the public.
October 3, 1922.
My dear Sir:
I am glad to send a message to the young men and young women who are training for business under your supervision in the Senior High School of Trenton.
I think I will pass on to them a remark made to me many years' ago by James Bryce, author of the "American Commonwealth", at the time he was Ambassador in Washington. He said, "America will continue to keep on prospering and growing in greatness if its people will continue first, to take an interest in their fellow-citizens of every kind, and secondly, to place public good ahead of private gain."
In this day and generation we run the danger of living too narrowly in our own little corner, ? of thinking only in terms of our own business, and our own personal friends. The man or woman who has an understanding of the point of view of those in other spheres of activity and other walks of life will have the broad understanding that means the greatest kind of success. Furthermore, Lord Bryce was right in saying that the public good must come ahead of our private gain. The best citizen, and incidentally, the happiest citizen, is not the one who has made the most money, but is the one who has taken his share of the duties of citizenship.
One hears much, especially in the career of business, that is uncomplimentary to those who run our public affairs. The man who kicks most is usually the one who doesn't even bother to vote on Election day. It is absolutely true that our government will be only as good as we want it to be If every business man and every business woman will take a personal interest in public affairs in the next generation, and will try to view public matters from the broadest standpoint of the whole nation, our government in nation, state and community will vastly improve.
Blind partisanship, or voting always one way because one's family always did, or because it is the fashion, is almost as dangerous as not voting at all Don't forget that even the methods of government will progress and new things will come in just as they did in business. Don't be standpatters in your outlook on life any more than you can afford to be standpatters in your business affairs. A real Progressive in business, should be a real Progressive in public and community life.
The coming generation has in its hands the making of the new America. We cannot stand still ? we will either go forward or slip back as a nation. That decision will rest upon the young men and women who are now in high school.
Very sincerely yours,
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