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U.S. President (1858-1919)

Theodore Roosevelt quote

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, speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, France, Apr. 23, 1910

No man is above the law, and no man is below it.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Message of the President of the United States Communicated to the Two Houses of Congress at the Beginning of the Second Session of the Fifty-eighth Congress

We should keep steadily before our minds the fact that Americanism is a question of principle, of purpose, of idealism, of character; that it is not a matter of birthplace, or creed, or line of descent.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech at the unveiling of the monument to General Sheridan, Nov. 25, 1908

In a republic, to be successful we must learn to combine intensity of conviction with a broad tolerance of difference of conviction. Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth. Bitter internecine hatreds, based on such differences, are signs, not of earnestness of belief, but of that fanaticism which, whether religious or anti-religious, democratic or anti-democratic, is itself but a manifestation of the gloomy bigotry which has been the chief factor in the downfall of so many, many nations.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, address delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, Apr. 23, 1910

We wish peace, but we wish the peace of justice, the peace of righteousness. We wish it because we think it is right and not because we are afraid.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Inaugural Address, Mar. 4, 1905

It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech at the Lincoln Club Dinner, New York City, Feb. 13, 1899

Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been effort stored up in the past.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, "The Strenuous Life," The Works of Theodore Roosevelt

I am delighted to have you play football. I believe in rough, manly sports. But I do not believe in them if they degenerate into the sole end of any one's existence. I don't want you to sacrifice standing well in your studies to any over-athleticism; and I need not tell you that character counts for a great deal more than either intellect or body in winning success in life. Athletic proficiency is a mighty good servant, and like so many other good servants, a mighty bad master.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children

There are two kinds of success, or rather two kinds of ability displayed in the achievement of success. There is, first, the success either in big things or small things which comes to the man who has in him the natural power to do what no one else can do, and what no amount of training, no perseverance or will power, will enable any ordinary man to do. This success, of course, like every other kind of success, may be on a very big scale or on a small scale. The quality which the man possesses may be that which enables him to run a hundred yards in nine and three-fifths seconds, or to play ten separate games of chess at the same time blindfolded, or to add five columns of figures at once without effort, or to write the "Ode to a Grecian Urn," or to deliver the Gettysburg speech, or to show the ability of Frederick at Leuthen or Nelson at Trafalgar. No amount of training of body or mind would enable any good ordinary man to perform any one of these feats. Of course the proper performance of each implies much previous study or training, but in no one of them is success to be attained save by the altogether exceptional man who has in him the something additional which the ordinary man does not have. This is the most striking kind of success, and it can be attained only by the man who has in him the quality which separates him in kind no less than in degree from his fellows. But much the commoner type of success in every walk of life and in every species of effort is that which comes to the man who differs from his fellows not by the kind of quality which he possesses but by the degree of development which he has given that quality. This kind of success is open to a large number of persons, if only they seriously determine to achieve it. It is the kind of success which is open to the average man of sound body and fair mind, who has no remarkable mental or physical attributes, but who gets just as much as possible in the way of work out of the aptitudes that he does possess. It is the only kind of success that is open to most of us. Yet some of the greatest successes in history have been those of this second class--when I call it second class I am not running it down in the least, I am merely pointing out that it differs in kind from the first class. To the average man it is probably more useful to study this second type of success than to study the first. From the study of the first he can learn inspiration, he can get uplift and lofty enthusiasm. From the study of the second he can, if he chooses, find out how to win a similar success himself.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography

Theodore Roosevelt quote

While the nation that has dared to be great, that has had the will and the power to change the destiny of the ages, in the end must die, yet no less surely the nation that has played the part of the weakling must also die; and whereas the nation that has done nothing leaves nothing behind it, the nation that has done a great work really continues, though in changed form, to live forevermore.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Address at the Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, Sep. 2, 1901

It may be true that he travels farthest who travels alone, but the goal thus reached is not worth reaching.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, The Rough Riders: An Autobiography

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, speech to the New York State Agricultural Association, Syracuse, New York, Sep. 7, 1903

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, speech at the University of Berlin, May 12, 1910

The worst of all fears is the fear of living.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography

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, Nobel Lecture, Oslo, Norway, May 5, 1910

Ruin looks us in the face if we judge a man by his position instead of judging him by his conduct in that position.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, address delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, Apr. 23, 1910

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech, Aug. 1912

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Address at the Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, Sep. 2, 1901

We sincerely and earnestly believe in peace; but if peace and justice conflict, we scorn the man who would not stand for justice though the whole world came in arms against him.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Address delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, Apr. 23, 1910

A soft, easy life is not worth living, if it impairs the fibre 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.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech, Oct. 5, 1898

Of one man in especial, beyond anyone else, the citizens of a republic should beware, and that is of the man who appeals to them to support him on the ground that he is hostile to other citizens of the republic, that he will secure for those who elect him, in one shape or another, profit at the expense of other citizens of the republic. It makes no difference whether he appeals to class hatred or class interest, to religious or anti-religious prejudice. The man who makes such an appeal should always be presumed to make it for the sake of furthering his own interest.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Address delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, Apr. 23, 1910

Much of the usefulness of any career must lie in the impress that it makes upon, and the lessons that it teaches to, the generations that come after.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech at the unveiling of the monument to General Sheridan, Nov. 25, 1908

Even in ordinary times there are very few of us who do not see the problems of life as through a glass, darkly; and when the glass is clouded by the murk of furious popular passion, the vision of the best and the bravest is dimmed.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, Aug. 31, 1910

Here in this country the representatives of many old-world races are being fused together into a new type, a type the main features of which are already determined, and were determined at the time of the Revolutionary war; for the crucible in which all the new types are melted into one was shaped from 1776 to 1789, and our nationality was definitely fixed in all its essentials by the men of Washington's day. The strains will not continue to exist separately in this country as in the old world. They will be combined in one; and of this new type those men will best represent what is loftiest in the nation's past, what is finest in her hope of the future, who stand each solely on his worth as a man; who scorn to do evil to others, and who refuse to submit to wrong-doing themselves; who have in them no taint of weakness; who never fear to fight when fighting is demanded by a sound and high morality, but who hope by their lives to bring ever nearer the day when justice and peace shall prevail within our own borders and in our relations with all foreign powers.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech at the unveiling of the monument to General Sheridan, Nov. 25, 1908

Theodore Roosevelt quote

There are still in certain parts of this country representatives of a class far from uncommon a quarter of a century ago, a class which regards an election as a game without rules in which it is merely a sign of cleverness to swindle and cheat.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech at Progressive Party Convention, Chicago, Illinois, Jun. 17, 1912

As with almost every reform that I have ever undertaken, most of the opposition took the guise of shrewd slander. Our opponents relied chiefly on downright misrepresentation of what it was that we were trying to accomplish, and of our methods, acts, and personalities.


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.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech in Dallas, Texas, A Square Deal, April 5, 1905

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech to the New York State Agricultural Association, Syracuse, New York, Sep. 7, 1903

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