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 March 30, 2015 :


Art, or at least the art for which I care, must present the ideal through the temperament and the interpretation of the painter. I do not greatly care for the representation of landscapes which, in effect, I see whenever I ride or walk. I wish ‘the light that never was on land or sea’ in the pictures that I am to live with.”


Letter of March 19, 1904, to P. Marcius Simmons. Simmons (1867-1909) was an American-born symbolist painter best known for the high coloration of his paintings. Although Roosevelt was known as a man of action, he was actually in many regards a Renaissance man. He read the literature of many cultures, often in the original language, and his artistic sensibilities were surprisingly cosmopolitan.

Previous Quotes:

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I congratulate the country that we have people of your stamp on it. I am glad to see all of you, especially the babies. I have got quite a collection of them myself.

President Roosevelt made reference to the six Roosevelt children the nation watched grow up. When Roosevelt first became president, his youngest son, Quentin, was not quite four years old.

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I believe that Cleveland ought now to recognize Cuban independence and interfere; sending our fleet promptly to Havana.

At the very onset of 1897, Theodore Roosevelt expressed his feelings about Spanish rule in Cuba to his sister. He also suggested that early action on behalf of the U.S. would reduce casualties in the long run.

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A President has a great chance; his position is almost that of a king and a prime minister rolled into one; once he has left office he cannot do very much; and he is a fool if he fails to realize it all and to be profoundly thankful for having had the great chance.

Roosevelt to Lady Delamere, March 7, 1911, two years after he left the presidency. By his own definition, in his post-presidential years he sometimes played the fool.

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Nevertheless, I do not think there is any one of us – not even the dead – who would not gladly have given everything to take part in doing what we have done.

Celebrating his first chance to get paper, Theodore Roosevelt writes to General Johnson about the experience of the Rough Riders in camp near Santiago.

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We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so. The mineral wealth of the country, the coal, iron, oil, gas, and the like, does not reproduce itself, and therefore is certain to be exhausted ultimately; and wastefulness in dealing with it to-day means that our descendants will feel the exhaustion a generation or two before they otherwise would.

Roosevelt wrote these words in his Seventh Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1907. No previous President devoted so much of his energy to conservation issues. Roosevelt’s mantra was “wise use.” Although he wanted to preserve especially important national landmarks, he usually advocated scientific management and “sustained yield,” as the goal of American conservation.


The green of the valley was a delight to the eye; bird songs sounded on every side, from the fields and from the trees and bushes beside the brooks and irrigation ditches; the air was sweet with the spring-time breath of many budding things.

President Roosevelt observes the arrival of spring to the Colorado mountains in Outdoor Past times of an American Hunter, a book published in the middle of his presidency.


Until our republic was founded it had proved impossible in the long run to combine freedom for the individual and greatness for the nation.

President Roosevelt explains how the U.S. has set a historical precedence for government systems. He credits good leaders for the success of the nation in his address to the Minnesota State Legislature in 1903.

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We followed the fresh trail of the cougars for some time, as it was well marked, especially in the snow still remaining in the bottoms of the deeper ravines; finally it led into a tangle of rocky hills riven by dark cedar-clad gorges, in which we lost it, and we retraced our steps, intending to return on the morrow with a good track hound.

In Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail, Theodore Roosevelt recalls a hunting trip that was not continued because his boat was stolen. The next day’s “hunt” involves tracking down the missing boat.


Surely it is but simple justice for us to give to the arid regions a measure of relief, the financial burden of which will be but trifling, while the benefit to the country involved is far greater than under the River and Harbor bill.

In this letter dated June 6, 1902, Theodore Roosevelt seeks Joseph Cannon’s support for legislation on irrigation.

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Both are great pets, Manitou in particular; the wise old fellow being very fond of bread and sometimes coming up of his own accord to the ranch house and even putting his head into the door to beg for it.

In The Century Magazine, Theodore Roosevelt describes his Dakota ranch, his favorite pony, Muley, and his horse, Manitou.

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