Theodore Roosevelt Expresses His Dislike of the Motor Car

October 8, 1905

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Theodore Roosevelt Expresses His Dislike of the Motor Car
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 423

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      Background

      Theodore Roosevelt, the only cowpuncher president in American history – who roped horses, herded cattle, hunted buffalo, controlled stampedes, and lassoed steers – also rode into battle at San Juan Hill, and for pleasure, in office, galloped on cold days, cantered on warm, and jumped hurdles, for fun, as high as himself. He did not like motor cars, and says so here:

      Motor cars are a trial, aren't they? I suppose that ultimately we will get them into their proper place in the scheme of nature, and when by law and custom their use is regulated in proper fashion their objectionable features will probably be eliminated; but just at present I regard them as distinct additions to the discomfort of living.


      Roosevelt knew whereof he spoke: he was the first president to ride in an automobile, on August 22, 1902. He didn't eschew other forms of transportation - whether by machine or animal - only cars it seems.


      Typed Letter Signed, as president, with  autograph revisions, 1 page, quarto, The White House, Washington, October 8, 1905. To Charles Hughes at the Brassmore Club in Manchester, England. With transmittal envelope.
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      THE WHITE HOUSE,
      WASHINGTON

      October 8, 1905.

      Private.

      My dear Mr. Hughes:

      I must write you just a line to [text is crossed out] thank you for the beautiful volume you have sent me. I should care for it in any shape, and naturally such a setting cannot but add to its value.

      Motor cars are a trial, aren't they? I suppose that ultimately we will get them into their proper place in the scheme of nature, and when by law and custom their use is regulated in proper fashion their objectionable features will probably [text is crossed out] be eliminated; but just at present I regard them as distinct additions to the discomfort of living.

      With renewed appreciation of your courtesy, I am,

      Sincerely yours,
       
      Theodore Roosevelt [in autograph]
       
      Charles Hughes, B.A. 
      Brassmore Club, 
      Manchester, England.

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