Quote of the Day

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.

Quote for April 23, 2014 :

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[S]ocial consciousness is the only effective antidote to the class consciousness of the Socialist.

"

Theodore Roosevelt believed that the Socialist Party in the U.S. was attempting to base itself upon “class consciousness,” which he worried about, but felt would be doomed to failure in this democratic republic.

Previous Quotes:

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04/22/2014

[T]he most uncomfortable truth is a safer travelling companion than the pleasantest falsehood.

This was a life-long truism for Theodore Roosevelt. He reiterated it in a speech to a very large and enthusiastic audience in Fargo, North Dakota, on 5 September 1910.

04/21/2014

The distinguishing feature of our American governmental system is the freedom of the individual; it is quite as important to prevent his being oppressed by many men as it is to save him from the tyranny of one.

In 1886, Theodore Roosevelt published his biography of Thomas Hart Benton, the Democratic Senator from Missouri who advocated for manifest destiny and authored the Homestead Acts that opened the U.S. West to Anglo settlement. Benton was strongly individualistic and thus made incontrovertible enemies in his political career. Roosevelt could certainly empathize with Benton on this point.

04/20/2014

The highest of all happiness is the happiness of wedded lovers, of husband and wife who remain lover and sweetheart.

Theodore Roosevelt believed in the power of a good home, particularly the importance of a good marriage.

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04/19/2014

There can be no greater mistake than to suppose that discipline is inimical to the development of individual character.

In a manuscript entitled “Discipline,” Theodore Roosevelt repudiates the belief that defying discipline is the mark of a “fine, independent spirit.” He asserts that imposing discipline upon an individual is not an evil practice.

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04/18/2014

I am myself at heart as much a westerner as an easterner; I am proud indeed to be considered one of yourselves, and I address you in this rather solemn strain today only because of my pride in you and because your welfare, morale as well as material, is so near my heart.

Theodore Roosevelt truly enjoyed his time in Dakota Territory; he believed that his experience there helped to create the man who became President of the United States.

View Document of Origin

04/17/2014

I merely propose that we simplify machinery which, with the growth of the nation, has become hopelessly cumbersome and unwieldy.

In this statement from a speech that was given in Atlanta in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt refers to the national income tax.

View Document of Origin

04/16/2014

I do not undervalue, for a moment, our national prosperity. Like all Americans, I like big things; big parades, big forests and mountains, big wheat fields, railroads – and herds of cattle too; big factories, steamboats and everything else.

This statement comes from a speech given at Dickinson, Dakota Territory, on July 4, 1886. While he begins with this statement about the enjoyment of big things, he goes on to say that “no people were ever yet benefited by riches if their property corrupted their virtue.”

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04/15/2014

We must remember that the republic can only be kept pure by the individual purity of its members, and that if it once becomes thoroughly corrupt it will surely cease to exist.

This warning suggests a consequence in which the United States failed to learn from the downfall of the Roman Republic. Roosevelt believed that the only way a government of the people would survive is if the people held themselves up to a moral code.

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04/14/2014

We only have the right to live on as free men, so long as we show ourselves worthy of the privileges we enjoy.

Roosevelt believed that American citizens not only have rights and freedoms but also responsibilities that should not be taken lightly. Only by acting responsibly and honorably can citizens prove themselves worthy of the freedoms that are often taken for granted.

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04/13/2014

…we all of us feel, most rightly and properly, that we belong to the greatest nation that has ever existed on the earth…

Theodore Roosevelt took great pride in being an American, and he showed that pride in many of his speeches and writings throughout his life. This statement is taken from the speech he gave on Independence Day 1886 in Dickinson, Dakota Territory.

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