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 October 02, 2014 :


…And to lose the chance to see frigate-birds soaring in circles above the storm, or a file of pelicans winging their way homeward across the crimson afterglow of the sunset, or a myriad of terns flashing in the bright light of midday as they hover in a shifting maze above the beach—why, the loss is like the loss of a gallery of the masterpieces of the artists of old time.


Roosevelt wrote this in A Book Lover’s Holidays in the Open. He was a lifelong lover of birds. His first book, published in 1877, when he was just 19 years old, was entitled The Summer Birds of the Adirondacks in Franklin County, N.Y. It was typical of TR’s philosophy of conservation to liken American natural beauties to European cultural achievements.

Previous Quotes:

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One thing I want definitely understood before we go into this work, and that is the question of expedition. Without fail we must have the last piece of work completed by December first, and we must have the office building and all of the present living apartments finished completely by October first.

In a letter to architect Charles Follen McKim, President Roosevelt discusses plans and deadlines for the renovation of the White House.

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She feels – and I think she is entirely right – that the one side in which American life is weak is the artistic, and that we ought not to throw away anything which will give us a chance to develop artistically in any way along original lines.

President Roosevelt wrote about Natalie Curtis' work in the preservation and further development of Native American arts.

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I am in this cause with my whole heart and soul. I believe that the Progressive movement is for making life a little easier for all our people; a movement to try to take the burdens off the men and especially the women and children of this country. I am absorbed in the success of that movement.

Roosevelt spoke these words in Milwaukee on October 14, 1912, affirming his commitment to progressivism. What makes this statement particularly powerful is that he delivered it shortly after being shot in the chest by a would-be assassin!


It was very interesting going through New Mexico and seeing the strange old civilization of the desert, and next day the Grand Canyon of Arizona, wonderful and beautiful beyond description. I could have sat and looked at it for days. It is a tremendous chasm, a mile deep and several miles wide, the cliffs carved into battlements, amphitheatres, towers and pinnacles, and the coloring wonderful, red and yellow and gray and green.

On May 10, 1903, Theodore Roosevelt described the beauty of the New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, the Sierras, and California.

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The road between my upper and lower ranch-houses is about forty miles long, sometimes following the river-bed, and then again branching off inland, crossing the great plateaus and winding through the ravines of the broken country. It is a five hours’ fair ride; and so, in a hot spell, we like to take it during the cool of the night, starting at sunset.

Roosevelt wrote this passage in his 1885 book Hunting Trips of a Ranchman. The lower ranch was called the Chimney Butte or Maltese Cross, located seven miles south of the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks. The upper ranch was the Elkhorn, TR’s home place in Dakota Territory.


There, I did not mean to get off on the war. I wanted to tell you about x-mas…

Theodore Roosevelt shared his thoughts on the Great War, Belgian neutrality, and the Red Cross, even when lighter subjects were at hand, like the family’s Christmas celebration in 1914.

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The prayers appointed by President Wilson, the peace parades, the protests against war, the use of peace postage stamps, and the like, in this country, amount to precisely and exactly nothing…My objection to the peace advocates is that they do not account to anything, that they have not done any good.

In this letter, Theodore Roosevelt defends his stand on military preparedness and discusses the forces that kept the United States neutral in the first years of World War I.

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To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

Roosevelt spoke these words in Kansas City on May 7, 1918, no doubt in part to justify his extreme criticisms of President Woodrow Wilson, whom he excoriated for moral flabbiness, for high sounding words unmatched by action, and for not preparing the people of the United States for entry into World War I.


I was much put out at the Scribners changing the name of the book; for it seemed to me very much a change for the worse.

In a letter to his son, Kermit, Theodore Roosevelt discusses careers, politics, and the title of his 1914 publication Through the Brazilian Wilderness, a book about the Amazon adventure Kermit had been a part of.

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We have just heard that Ted and Archie landed in France. Lord Northcliffe wired me this morning that Lord Derby offered Kermit a position on the staff of its British army in Mesopotamia; I do not know when he will sail. Quentin has passed his examinations for the flying corps…

In 1917, Theodore Roosevelt wrote to his sister about the active service roles his sons and other family members took on during the Great War.

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