Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

Theodore “Teddy”
Roosevelt
1858
1919

American Politician, Naturalist, Explorer, Hunter, Author, and Soldier, 26th President of the United States

Author Quotes

Germany has reduced savagery to a science, and this great war for the victorious peace of justice must go on until the German cancer is cut clean out of the world body.

I believe in shaping the ends of government to protect property as well as human welfare. Normally, and in the long run, the ends are the same; but whenever the alternative must be faced, I am for men and not for property, as you were in the Civil War. I am far from underestimating the importance of dividends; but I rank dividends below human character. Again, I do not have any sympathy with the reformer who says he does not care for dividends. Of course, economic welfare is necessary, for a man must pull his own weight and be able to support his family. I know well that the reformers must not bring upon the people economic ruin, or the reforms themselves will go down in the ruin. But we must be ready to face temporary disaster, whether or not brought on by those who will war against us to the knife. Those who oppose reform will do well to remember that ruin in its worst form is inevitable if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few and the triumph in both politics and business of a sordid and selfish materialism.

I took the Canal Zone and let Congress debate; and while the debate goes on, the canal does too.

I'm as strong as a bull moose and you can use me to the limit.

Instruction in things moral is most necessary to the making of the highest type of citizenship.

It is not merely that we want to see the game played fairly. We also want to see the rules changed, so that there shall be both less opportunity and less temptation to cheat, and less chance for some few people to gain a pro?t to which either they are not entitled at all, or else which is so enormous as to be greatly in excess of what they deserve, even though their services have been great. We wish to do away with the pro?t that comes from the illegitimate exercise of cunning and craft. We also wish to secure a measurable equality of opportunity, a measurable equality of reward for services of similar value. To do all this, two, mutually supplementary movements are necessary. On the one hand, there must be - I think there now is - a genuine and permanent moral awakening, without which no wisdom of legislation or administration really means anything; and, on the other hand, we must try to secure the social and economic legislation without which any improvement due to purely moral agitation is necessarily evanescent.

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.

Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Our chief usefulness to humanity rests on our combining power with high purpose. Power undirected by high purpose spells calamity, and high purpose by itself is utterly useless if the power to put it into effect is lacking.

Pray not for lighter burdens, but for stronger backs.

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.

A heavy progressive tax upon a very large fortune is in no way such a tax upon thrift or industry as a like would be on a small fortune. No advantage comes either to the country as a whole or to the individuals inheriting the money by permitting the transmission in their entirety of the enormous fortunes which would be affected by such a tax; and as an incident to its function of revenue raising, such a tax would help to preserve a measurable equality of opportunity for the people of the generations growing to manhood. We have not the slightest sympathy with that socialistic idea which would try to put laziness, thriftlessness and inefficiency on a par with industry, thrift and efficiency; which would strive to break up not merely private property, but what is far more important, the home, the chief prop upon which our whole civilization stands. Such a theory, if ever adopted, would mean the ruin of the entire country — a ruin which would bear heaviest upon the weakest, upon those least able to shift for themselves. But proposals for legislation such as this herein advocated are directly opposed to this class of socialistic theories. Our aim is to recognize what Lincoln pointed out: The fact that there are some respects in which men are obviously not equal; but also to insist that there should be an equality of self-respect and of mutual respect, an equality of rights before the law, and at least an approximate equality in the conditions under which each man obtains the chance to show the stuff that is in him when compared to his fellows.

All daring and courage, all iron endurance of misfortune-make for a finer, nobler type of manhood.

At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress. In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will. At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth.

Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength.

Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.

Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.

I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.

I want to see you game, boys, I want to see you brave and manly, and I also want to see you gentle and tender.

In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen.

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.

It is of little use for us to pay lip-loyalty to the mighty men of the past unless we sincerely endeavor to apply to the problems of the present precisely the qualities which in other crises enabled the men of that day to meet those crises.

Let us live in the harness, striving mightily.

No country can long endure if its foundations are not laid deep in the material prosperity which comes from thrift, from business energy and enterprise, from hard, unsparing effort in the fields of industrial activity; but neither was any nation ever yet truly great if it relied upon material prosperity alone. All honor must be paid to the architects of our material prosperity, to the great captains of industry who have built our factories and our railroads, to the strong men who toil for wealth with brain or hand; for great is the debt of the nation to these and their kind. But our debt is yet greater to the men whose highest type is to be found in a statesman like Lincoln, a soldier like Ulysses S. Grant. They showed by their lives that they recognized the law of work, the law of strife; they toiled to win a competence for themselves and those dependent upon them; but they recognized that there were yet other and even loftier duties—duties to the nation and duties to the race. We cannot sit huddled within our own borders and avow ourselves merely an assemblage of well-to-do hucksters who care nothing for what happens beyond. Such a policy would defeat even its own end; for as the nations grow to have ever wider and wider interests, and are brought into closer and closer contact, if we are to hold our own in the struggle for naval and commercial supremacy, we must build up our power without our own borders. We must build the Isthmian Canal, and we must grasp the points of vantage which will enable us to have our say in deciding the destiny of the oceans of the East and the West.

Author Picture
First Name
Theodore “Teddy”
Last Name
Roosevelt
Birth Date
1858
Death Date
1919
Bio

American Politician, Naturalist, Explorer, Hunter, Author, and Soldier, 26th President of the United States