Theodore Roosevelt Quotes


Theodore Roosevelt Quotes

 

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Change


“Personally, I do not believe that our civilization will fall. I think that on the whole we have grown better and not worse. I think that on the whole the future holds more for us than even the great past has held. But, assuredly, the dreams of golden glory in the future will not come true unless, high of heart and strong of hand, by our own mighty deeds we make them come true. We can not afford to develop any one set of qualities, any one set of activities, at the cost of seeing others, equally necessary, atrophied. Neither the military efficiency of the Mongol, the extraordinary business ability of the Phoenician, nor the subtle and polished intellect of the Greek availed to avert destruction.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“Our government, National and State, must be freed from the sinister influence or control of special interests. […] now the great special business interests too often control and corrupt the men and methods of government for their own profit. We must drive the special interests out of politics.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“The Constitution guarantees protection to property, and we must make that promise good. But it does not give the right of suffrage to any corporation. It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Character


“In other words, character is far more important than intellect to the race as to the individual. We need intellect, and there is no reason why we should not have it together with character; but if we must choose between the two we choose character without a moment’s hesitation.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Responding to the social theories of Benjamin Kidd, in “Kidd’s ‘Social Evolution'” in The North American Review (July 1895), p. 109


“To sit home, read one’s favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men’s doing.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, The Higher Life of American Cities in The Outlook (p. 1083 – 1085) from 21 December 1895


“If we lose the virile, manly qualities, and sink into a nation of mere hucksters, putting gain over national honor, and subordinating everything to mere ease of life, then we shall indeed reach a condition worse than that of the ancient civilizations in the years of their decay.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, “The Law of Civilization and Decay”, The Forum (January 1897)


“I have always been fond of the West African proverb “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Letter to Henry L. Sprague (26 January 1900)

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Fear


“There is no good reason why we should fear the future, but there is every reason why we should face it seriously, neither hiding from ourselves the gravity of the problems before us nor fearing to approach these problems with the unbending, unflinching purpose to solve them aright.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“There were all kinds of things I was afraid of at first, […] but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“There are dreadful moments when death comes very near those we love, even if for the time being it passes by. But life is a great adventure, and the worst of all fears is the fear of living.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Greatness & Dreams


“The dreams of golden glory in the future will not come true unless, high of heart and strong of hand, by our own mighty deeds we make them come true.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“The greatest doer must also be a great dreamer.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

 


“Greatness means strife for nation and man alike. A soft, easy life is not worth living, if it impairs the fiber of brain and heart and muscle. We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage… We are face to face with our destiny and we must meet it with a high and resolute courage. For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Address at the opening of the gubernatorial campaign, New York City (October 5, 1898),


“Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Happiness

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Happiness

“If there ever was a pursuit which stultified itself by its very conditions, it is the pursuit of pleasure as the all-sufficing end of life. Happiness cannot come to any man capable of enjoying true happiness unless it comes as the sequel to duty well and honestly done. To do that duty you need to have more than one trait. From the greatest to the smallest, happiness and usefulness are largely found in the same soul, and the joy of life is won in its deepest and truest sense only by those who have not shirked life’s burdens.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Life


“Life is as if you were traveling a ridge crest. You have the gulf of inefficiency on one side and the gulf of wickedness on the other, and it helps not to have avoided one gulf if you fall into the other.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“The worst lesson that can be taught a man is to rely upon others and to whine over his sufferings.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“There are two things that I want you to make up your minds to: first, that you are going to have a good time as long as you live – I have no use for the sour-faced man – and next, that you are going to do something worthwhile, that you are going to work hard and do the things you set out to do.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Talk to schoolchildren in Oyster Bay, Christmastime, 1898


“Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, San Francisco, CA, May 13, 1903

 


“Our words must be judged by our deeds; and in striving for a lofty ideal we must use practical methods; and if we cannot attain all at one leap, we must advance towards it step by step, reasonably content so long as we do actually make some progress in the right direction.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Address at The National Theatre in Oslo, Norway (5 May 1910)


“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“You, the sons of the pioneers, if you are true to your ancestry, must make your lives as worthy as they made theirs. They sought for true success, and therefore they did not seek ease. They knew that success comes only to those who lead the life of endeavor”

– Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Mistakes & Failure


 

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, 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 the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt, Citizenship in a Republic, a speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, France (23 April 1910).

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Morality & Ethics

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about  morality & ethics

“I cannot consent to take the position that the door of hope — the door of opportunity — is to be shut upon any man, no matter how worthy, purely upon the grounds of race or color. Such an attitude would, according to my convictions, be fundamentally wrong.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Letter to James Adger Smythe (26 November 1902).


“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 someday 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, Letter, Oyster Bay, NY, September 1, 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, Memphis, TN, October 25, 1905


“Poverty is a bitter thing; but it is not as bitter as the existence of restless vacuity and physical, moral, and intellectual flabbiness, to which those doom themselves who elect to spend all their years in that vainest of all vain pursuits—the pursuit of mere pleasure as a sufficient end in itself.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“I abhor unjust war. I abhor injustice and bullying by the strong at the expense of the weak, whether among nations or individuals. I abhor violence and bloodshed. I believe that war should never be resorted to when, or so long as, it is honorably possible to avoid it. I respect all men and women who from high motives and with sanity and self-respect do all they can to avert war. I advocate preparation for war in order to avert war; and I should never advocate war unless it were the only alternative to dishonor.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“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.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“If I must choose between righteousness and peace I choose righteousness.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, America and the World War (1915).

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Nature


“To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds, and mammals—not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening. Many leading men, Americans and Canadians, are doing all they can for the Conservation movement.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, “Our Vanishing Wildlife”, in The Outlook (January 25, 1913); republished in Literary Essays (vol. 12 of The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, national ed., 1926), chapter 46, p. 420.

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Politics

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about  Politics

“If our political institutions were perfect, they would absolutely prevent the political domination of money in any part of our affairs.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“A typical vice of American politics — the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues, and the announcement of radical policies with much sound and fury, and at the same time with a cautious accompaniment of weasel phrases each of which sucks the meat out of the preceding statement.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, “Platform Insincerity” in The Outlook, Vol. 101, No. 13 (27 July 1912), p. 660.


“The bosses of the Democratic party and the bosses of the Republican party alike have a closer grip than ever before on the party machines in the States and in the Nation. This crooked control of both the old parties by the beneficiaries of political and business privilege renders it hopeless to expect any far-reaching and fundamental service from either.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, “Platform Insincerity” in The Outlook, Vol. 101, No. 13 (27 July 1912), p. 660.


“We cannot afford merely to sit down and deplore the evils of city life as inevitable, when cities are constantly growing, both absolutely and relatively. We must set ourselves vigorously about the task of improving them; and this task is now well begun.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, “The City in Modern Life”


“Of recent years… representative government all over the world has been threatened with a growing paralysis. Legislative bodies have tended more and more to become wholly inefficient for the purposes of legislation. The prime feature in causing this unhealthy growth has been the discovery by minorities that under the old rules of parliamentary procedure they could put a complete stop to all legislative action… If the minority is as powerful as the majority there is no use of having political contests at all, for there is no use in having a majority.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Speech before the Federal Club, New York City, March 6, 1891. New York Daily Tribune, March 7, 1891.


“Let us, as we value our own self-respect, face the responsibilities with proper seriousness, courage, and high resolve. We must demand the highest order of integrity and ability in our public men who are to grapple with these new problems. We must hold to a rigid accountability those public servants who show unfaithfulness to the interests of the nation or inability to rise to the high level of the new demands upon our strength and our resources. Of course we must remember not to judge any public servant by any one act, and especially should we beware of attacking the men who are merely the occasions and not the causes of disaster.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“In private life there are few beings more obnoxious than the man who is always loudly boasting; and if the boaster is not prepared to back up his words his position becomes absolutely contemptible. So it is with the nation. It is both foolish and undignified to indulge in undue self-glorification, and, above all, in loose-tongued denunciation of other peoples. Whenever on any point we come in contact with a foreign power, I hope that we shall always strive to speak courteously and respectfully of that foreign power.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“In the history of mankind many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state; and in no way has this loss of power been so often and so clearly shown as in the tendency to turn the government into a government primarily for the benefit of one class instead of a government for the benefit of the people as a whole.”

“The outcome was equally fatal, whether the country fell into the hands of a wealthy oligarchy which exploited the poor or whether it fell under the domination of a turbulent mob which plundered the rich. In both cases there resulted violent alternations between tyranny and disorder, and a final complete loss of liberty to all citizens — destruction in the end overtaking the class which had for the moment been victorious as well as that which had momentarily been defeated. The death-knell of the Republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Wealth & Corporations


“Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“It is a bad thing for a nation to raise and to admire a false standard of success; and there can be no falser standard than that set by the deification of material well-being in and for itself.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Citizenship in a Republic, a speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, France (23 April 1910).


“But there is another harm; and it is evident that we should try to do away with that. The great corporations which we have grown to speak of rather loosely as trusts are the creatures of the State, and the State not only has the right to control them, but it is duty bound to control them wherever the need of such control is shown.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Speech at Kennedy Plaza, Providence, Rhode Island (23 August 1902), Presidential Addresses and State Papers (1910), p. 103


“Our aim is not to do away with corporations; on the contrary, these big aggregations are an inevitable development of modern industrialism, and the effort to destroy them would be futile unless accomplished in ways that would work the utmost mischief to the entire body politic. We can do nothing of good in the way of regulating and supervising these corporations until we fix clearly in our minds that we are not attacking the corporations, but endeavoring to do away with any evil in them. We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, State of the Union address (2 December 1902).


“To permit every lawless capitalist, every law-defying corporation, to take any action, no matter how iniquitous, in the effort to secure an improper profit and to build up privilege, would be ruinous to the Republic and would mark the abandonment of the effort to secure in the industrial world the spirit of democratic fair dealing.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about Work


“The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight; that he shall not be a mere passenger, but shall do his share in the work that each generation of us finds ready to hand; and, furthermore, that in doing his work he shall show, not only the capacity for sturdy self-help, but also self-respecting regard for the rights of others.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Speech at New York (11 November 1902).


“I don’t pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Speech to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee (8 September 2013).

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Quotes about Theodore Roosevelt


“The peace the President had made possible at Portsmouth was the result of just such an inexplicable ability to impose his singular charge upon plural power. By sheer force of moral purpose, by clarity of perception, by mastery of detail and benign manipulation of men, he had become, as Henry Adams admiringly wrote him, “the best herder of Emperors since Napoleon.”

– Edmund Morris, in Theodore Rex‎ (2001), p. 414.


“Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight.”

– Thomas R. Marshall, Vice-president of the U.S., upon hearing the death of Teddy Roosevelt, as quoted in F.D.R. : 1905-1928‎ (1947) by Elliott Roosevelt, p. 449.

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