Theodore Roosevelt was a very effective writer and speaker, and he is eminently quotable.
For each of the quotes below, the Theodore Roosevelt Center has provided a brief explanation
of the setting or the context in which TR made the statement.
The TR Quote of the Day App, available in the
Mac App Store or
Android Market for your iOS and Android devices, also includes a TR Quiz to test your
knowledge about our 26th president.
Featured Quote for December 14, 2017:
Moreover, the preacher of ideals must remember how sorry and contemptible is the figure which he will cut, how great the damage he will do, if he does not himself, in his own life, strive measurably to realize the ideals that he preaches for others. Let him remember also that the worth of the ideal must be largely determined by the success with which it can in practice be realized.
December 13, 2017
The citizen must have high ideals, and yet he must be able to achieve them in practical fashion. No permanent good comes from aspirations so lofty that they have grown fantastic and have become impossible and indeed undesirable to realize.
December 12, 2017
The closet philosopher, the refined and cultured individual who from his library tells how men ought to be governed under ideal conditions, is of no use in actual governmental work; and the one-sided fanatic, and still more the mob-leader, and the insincere man who to achieve power promised what by no possibility can be performed, are not merely useless but noxious.
December 11, 2017
Good citizenship is not good citizenship if only exhibited in the home.
December 10, 2017
If the man works for evil, then the more successful he is the more they should be despised and condemned by all upright and far-seeing men. To judge a man merely by success is an abhorrent wrong; and if the people at large habitually so judge men, if they grow to condone wickedness because the wicked man triumphs, they show their inability to understand that in the last analysis free institutions rest upon the character of citizenship, and that by such admiration of evil they prove themselves unfit for liberty.
December 9, 2017
Courage, intellect, all the masterful qualities, serve but to make a man more evil if they are merely used for that man’s own advancement, with brutal indifference to the rights of others. It speaks ill for the community if the community worships those qualities and treats their possessors as heroes regardless of whether the qualities are used rightly or wrongly.
December 8, 2017
The good citizen in a republic must first of all be able to hold his own. He is no good citizen unless he has the ability which will make him work hard and which at need will make him fight hard. The good citizen is not a good citizen unless he is an efficient citizen.
December 7, 2017
He is useless if he is inefficient. There is nothing to be done with that type of citizen of whom all that can be said is that he is harmless.
December 6, 2017
The excuse advanced for vicious writing that the public demands it and that demand must be supplied, can no more be admitted than if it were advanced by purveyors of food who sell poisonous adulterations.
December 5, 2017
The power of the journalist is great, but he is entitled neither to respect nor admiration because of that power unless it is used aright.
December 4, 2017
The phrase-maker, the phrase-monger, the ready talker, however great his power, whose speech does not make for courage, sobriety, and right understanding, is simply a noxious element in the body politic, and it speaks ill for the public if he has influence over them. To admire the gift of oratory without regard to the moral quality behind the gift is to wrong the republic.