Quotes from Theodore Roosevelt – Our 26th President

Quotes from Theodore Roosevelt – Our 26th President - 1901/1909 (Trust Buster)
A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university
education, he may steal the whole railroad.
A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a
square deal afterwards.
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.
A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.
Appraisals are where you get together with your team leader and agree what an outstanding
member of the team you are, how much your contribution has been valued, what massive
potential you have and, in recognition of all this, would you mind having your salary halved.
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance
and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.
Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.
Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.
Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave
the country.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by
failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they
live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
For unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well,
certainly all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.
Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.
I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do!
That is character!
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.
I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head.
If there is not the war, you don't get the great general; if there is not a great occasion, you don't
get a great statesman; if Lincoln had lived in a time of peace, no one would have known his
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit
for a month.
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is
the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save
by effort.
It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move
on to better things.
Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.
Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.
No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man's permission when we
ask him to obey it.
Speak softly and carry a big stick.
The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants them
to do, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
The boy who is going to make a great man must not make up his mind merely to overcome a
thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses and defeats.
Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to
be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big.
People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader works in the open, and the
boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.
Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to
risk his life, in a great cause.
Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young.
Order without liberty and liberty without order are equally destructive.
The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing
to pull his own weight.
The government is us; we are the government, you and I.
The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get
their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants.
The man who loves other countries as much as his own stands on a level with the man who
loves other women as much as he loves his own wife.
The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along
with people.
The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.
The most successful politician is he who says what everybody is thinking most often and in the
loudest voice.
The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.
The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the
old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their
The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safetyfirst instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.
There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country. There is room here for only 100%
Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else.
There has never yet been a man in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president... is morally treasonable to the
American public.
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer "Present" or
"Not guilty."
When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out
how to do it.
When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all.
The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly.
The reactionary is always willing to take a progressive attitude on any issue that is dead.
Some men can live up to their loftiest ideals without ever going higher than a basement.
Obedience of the law is demanded; not asked as a favor.
No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expedience.
No people is wholly civilized where a distinction is drawn between stealing an office and
stealing a purse.
Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time.
Note: With the assassination of President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, not quite 43, became the youngest
President in the Nation's history. He brought new excitement and power to the Presidency, as he vigorously led
Congress and the American public toward progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy.
He took the view that the President as a "steward of the people" should take whatever action necessary for the
public good unless expressly forbidden by law or the Constitution." I did not usurp power," he wrote, "but I did
greatly broaden the use of executive power."
Roosevelt's youth differed sharply from that of the log cabin Presidents. He was born in New York City in 1858
into a wealthy family, but he too struggled--against ill health--and in his triumph became an advocate of the
strenuous life.
In 1884 his first wife, Alice Lee Roosevelt, and his mother died on the same day. Roosevelt spent much of the
next two years on his ranch in the Badlands of Dakota Territory. There he mastered his sorrow as he lived in the
saddle, driving cattle, hunting big game--he even captured an outlaw. On a visit to London, he married Edith
Carow in December 1886.
During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt was lieutenant colonel of the Rough Rider Regiment, which he led
on a charge at the battle of San Juan. He was one of the most conspicuous heroes of the war.
Boss Tom Platt, needing a hero to draw attention away from scandals in New York State, accepted Roosevelt as
the Republican candidate for Governor in 1898. Roosevelt won and served with distinction.
As President, Roosevelt held the ideal that the Government should be the great arbiter of the conflicting economic
forces in the Nation, especially between capital and labor, guaranteeing justice to each and dispensing favors to
Roosevelt emerged spectacularly as a "trust buster" by forcing the dissolution of a great railroad combination in
the Northwest. Other antitrust suits under the Sherman Act followed.
Roosevelt steered the United States more actively into world politics. He liked to quote a favorite proverb, "Speak
softly and carry a big stick. . . . "
Aware of the strategic need for a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific, Roosevelt ensured the construction of
the Panama Canal. His corollary to the Monroe Doctrine prevented the establishment of foreign bases in the
Caribbean and arrogated the sole right of intervention in Latin America to the United States.