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Nevada Government & Politics
Early 20th Century

Letter from President Roosevelt to Governor Sparks

President Roosevelt was upset at the request to involve the national military in a local dispute.  He sent the following message to Governor Sparks:
Washington, D.C. Dec. 17th, 1907
Hon. John Sparks,
Governor of Nevada

Goldfield, Nevada

I sent the troops at your request because from the tenor of your telegram and from the representations made me by the two senators from Nevada and the members of the lower house of Congress from Nevada, it appeared that an insurrection was imminent against which the state authorities would be powerless.  The troops have now been in Goldfield ten days and no insurrection has occurred and seemingly no circumstances exist to justify your call on me for action by the troops under the provisions of the Constitution.  The troops were sent to Goldfield to be ready to meet a grave emergency which seemed likely at once to arise and not to provide a substitute for the exercise by the State of its police function.  I do not feel at liberty to leave them indefinitely under such circumstances that they will in effect be performing on the part of the United States those ordinary duties of maintaining the public order in that State of Nevada which rest upon the State government.  As the legislature of Nevada has not been convened I am bound to assume that the powers already vested in the peace officers of that State are adequate and that if they choose to do so they can maintain order themselves.  Under these circumstances unless there be forthwith further cause shown to justify keeping the troops at Goldfield I shall direct that they return to their former station.

Theodore Roosevelt

Reader: Doug Mishler

Photo Credits:
1: Nevada State Museum
2: Nevada State Museum
3: Nevada Historical Society
4: Nevada Historical Society