Presidents and Varmits

Worth reading if only because of the portrait it paints of Yellowstone at the turn of the 20th century, this 1906 Atlantic article also reveals much about the personality of Theodore Roosevelt, the sporting President. He believed bears and mountain lions to be mere “varmits” and preferred to fish only when it was necessary to eat, but he did more to preserve wilderness in the U.S. than any president before or since. “It is this transparency, this direct, out-and-out, unequivocal character of him that is one source of his popularity. The people do love transparency,–all of them but the politicians. A friend of his one day took him to task for some mistake he had made in one of his appointments. ‘My dear sir,’ replied the President, ‘where you know of one mistake I have made, I know of ten.’ How such candor must make the politicians shiver!'”

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