Theodore Roosevelt Quotes


"Thrice happy is the nation that has a glorious history. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt Source:"The Strenuous Life" "Is America a weakling, to shrink from the work of the great world powers? No! The young giant of the West stands on a continent and clasps the crest of an ocean in either hand. Our nation, glorious in youth and strength, looks into the future with eager eyes and rejoices as a strong man to run a race." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Letter to John Hay, American Ambassador to the Court of St. James, London, Written in Washington, DC, June 7, 1897 "There is not in all America a more dangerous trait than the deification of mere smartness unaccompanied by any sense of moral responsibility." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Abilene, KS, May 2, 1903


"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910


"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." Theodore Roosevelt Source:San Francisco, CA, May 13, 1903

Backing It Up

I want to see you shoot the way you shout. Theodore Roosevelt Source:Speech Madison Square, Oct 1917


We draw the line againt misconduct, not against wealth. Theodore Roosevelt, 1902 Source:The Supreme Court in American History pp91


"It is no use to preach to [children] if you do not act decently yourself." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Speech to Holy Name Society, Oyster Bay, August 16, 1903 "Alone of human beings the good and wise mother stands on a plane of equal honor with the bravest soldier; for she has gladly gone down to the brink of the chasm of darkness to bring back the children in whose hands rests the future of the years. " Theodore Roosevelt Source:The Great Adventure, 1918


"No people is wholly civilized where a distinction is drawn between stealing an office and stealing a purse." Theodore Roosevelt Source:


"There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Confession of Faith Speech, Progressive National Convention, Chicago, IL, August 6, 1912 "We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted...So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life." Theodore Roosevelt Source:"Arbor Day - A Message to the School-Children of the United States" April 15, 1907 "Optimism is a good characteristic, but if carried to an excess, it becomes foolishness. We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Seventh Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1907 "The object of government is the welfare of the people." "Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us." Theodore Roosevelt Source:"The New Nationalism" speech, Osawatomie, Kansas, August 31, 1910 "This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Chicago, IL, June 17, 1912


"A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled, and less than that no man shall have." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Speech to veterans, Springfield, IL, July 4, 1903 "This country has nothing to fear from the crooked man who fails. We put him in jail. It is the crooked man who succeeds who is a threat to this country." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Memphis, TN, October 25, 1905


"Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it. The function of the mere critic is of very subordinate usefulness. It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger." Theodore Roosevelt Source:The Works of Theodore Roosevelt - National Edition


"It is true of the Nation, as of the individual, that the greatest doer must also be a great dreamer." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Berkeley, CA, 1911


"To educate a man in mind, and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society." Theodore Roosevelt Source:


No man is justified in doing evil on the grounds of expediency. Theodore Roosevelt Source:The Strenuous Life


"There were all kinds of things I was afraid of at first, ranging from grizzly bears to 'mean' horses and gun-fighters; but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid." Theodore Roosevelt Source:An Autobiography, 1913


"The bulk of government is not legislation but administration." "Men can never escape being governed. Either they must govern themselves or they must submit to being governed by others." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Jamestown, VA, April 26, 1907


"It is by no means necessary that a great nation should always stand at the heroic level. But no nation has the root of greatness in it unless in time of need it can rise to the heroic mood." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Fear God and Take Your Own Part, 1916

Helping Hand

"There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Pasadena, CA, May 8, 1903


"Don't hit at all if you can help it; don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." Theodore Roosevelt Source:New York City, February 17, 1899


"We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity." Theodore Roosevelt Source:

Just the Way It Is

When one is intensely interested in a certain cause, the tendency is to associate particularly with those who take the same view. Theodore Roosevelt Source:The Rough Riders

Labor Unions

It is essential that there should be organizations of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize. Theodore Roosevelt Source:Speech, Oct 14, 1912 I am a believer in unions. I am an honorary member of one union. But the union must obey the law, just as the corporation must obey the law. Theodore Roosevelt Source:Speech May 10, 1905


"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Third Annual Message to Congress, December 7, 1903

Leader and a Boss

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss.... The leader leads, and the boss drives. Theodore Roosevelt Source:Speech Oct 24, 1910


"The worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt Source:An Autobiography, 1913 "I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Des Moines, Iowa, November 4, 1910


"Let the watchwords of all our people be the old familiar watchwords of honesty, decency, fair-dealing, and commonsense."... "We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less.""The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us." Theodore Roosevelt Source:New York State Fair, Syracuse, September 7, 1903 "There are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become, it must be by the general recognition that the man's heart and soul, the man's worth and actions, determine his standing." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Letter, Oyster Bay, NY, September 1, 1903


"Men with the muckrake are often indispensable to the well-being of society, but only if they know when to stop raking the muck." "An epidemic in indiscriminate assault upon character does not good, but very great harm." "There should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil practice, whether in politics, in business, or in social life. I hail as a benefactor every writer or speaker, every man who, on the platform, or in book, magazine or newspaper, with merciless severity makes such attack, provided always that he in his turn remembers that the attack is of use only if it is absolutely truthful." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Washington, DC, April 14, 1906 "No man can lead a public career really worth leading, no man can act with rugged independence in serious crises, nor strike at great abuses, nor afford to make powerful and unscrupulous foes, if he is himself vulnerable in his private character." Theodore Roosevelt Source:An Autobiography, 1913

Play Fair

"To borrow a simile from the football field, we believe that men must play fair, but that there must be no shirking, and that the success can only come to the player who 'hits the line hard.' " Theodore Roosevelt Source:Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, NY, October 1897


Power invariably means both responsibility and danger. Theodore Roosevelt Source:NY Times Mag, Oct 27, 1957


"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." Theodore Roosevelt Source:"Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star",May 7, 1918 "I don't think any President ever enjoyed himself more than I did. Moreover, I don't think any ex-President ever enjoyed himself more."... "Success - the real success - does not depend upon the position you hold, but upon how you carry yourself in that position." University of Cambridge, England, May 26, 1910


Far and away the best prise that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. Theodore Roosevelt Source:Labor Day speech, 1903

Speak Softly

"Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far" Theodore Roosevelt Source:Nathan Miller in his book "Theodore Roosevelt, A Life"

Square Deal

When I say I believe in a square deal I do not mean to give every man the best hand. If the cards come do not come to any man, or if they do come, and he has not got the power to play them, that is his affair. All I mean is that there shall be no crookedness in the dealing. Theodore Roosevelt Source:Speech, Dallas, Apr 5, 1905


Nine-tenths of widom is being wise in time. Teddy Roosevelt Source:Speech, Lincoln, Neb, 1917


"To divide along the lines of section or caste or creed is un-American." Theodore Roosevelt


"A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." Theodore Roosevelt Source:An Autobiography, 1913

Womens Rights

"Viewed purely in the abstract, I think there can be no question that women should have equal rights with men."..."Especially as regards the laws relating to marriage there should be the most absolute equality between the two sexes. I do not think the woman should assume the man's name." Theodore Roosevelt Source:"The Practicability of Equalizing Men and Women before the Law" Senior thesis at Harvard, 1880 "Much can be done by law towards putting women on a footing of complete and entire equal rights with man - including the right to vote, the right to hold and use property, and the right to enter any profession she desires on the same terms as the man."..."Women should have free access to every field of labor which they care to enter, and when their work is as valuable as that of a man it should be paid as highly." Theodore Roosevelt Source:An Autobiography, 1913 "Working women have the same need to protection that working men have; the ballot is as necessary for one class as to the other; we do not believe that with the two sexes there is identity of function; but we do believe there should be equality of right." Theodore Roosevelt Source:Speech, National Convention of the Progressive Party, Chicago, IL, August 6, 1912 US President's Web Ring Home Page Presidential Trivia Theodore Roosevelt - Almanac Of Theodore Roosevelt Howie's Great Democratic Quote Page Howie's Stupid GOP Quote Page MidnightFlyer's Homepage Great Democratic Speeches

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