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 August 03, 2015 :


Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified, for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness.


These words conclude Theodore Roosevelt’s Strenuous Life speech, April, 1899.

Previous Quotes:

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Good laws can do much. Good administration of the laws can do much. We must have both.

Through an address in Redlands, California, Theodore Roosevelt discusses the relationship between government and law and reminds us that “nothing can take the place of a man’s own individual qualities,” strength, and citizenship.

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I do not believe you could drive with a club any of my children away from Sagamore Hill this summer. They love the place and now they do not see very much of it.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words to Patty Selmes in the summer of 1902.

View Document of Origin


For the last week I have been fulfilling a boyish ambition of mine – that is, I have been playing at frontier hunter in good earnest having been off entirely alone, with my horse and rifle, on the prairie.

Shortly after returning to Dakota Territory in 1884, Theodore Roosevelt illustrated his western adventures in a letter to his sister.

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One of the things one must learn, unfortunately, as President or Governor or any like position, is not to jeopardize one’s power for doing the good that is possible by efforts to correct evils over which one has no control…

Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words to Ethelbert Talbot, in October 1902, concerning “unnamed outrages” with which he was unfamiliar and, thus, unwilling to denounce.

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There are certain labor unions, certain bodies of organized labor — notably those admirable organizations which include the railway conductors, die locomotive engineers and the firemen — which to my mind embody almost the best hope that there is for healthy national growth in the future…

Theodore Roosevelt contrasts those labor organizations that are admirable and those that are misguided in American Ideals.


…I do not think that Mrs. Roosevelt could stand another pet in the house at present!

This excerpt is from a letter dated March 17, 1902 in which Theodore Roosevelt graciously declines Susan McFarland’s offer of a pet for the family. Roosevelt describes the home as “beginning to feel a little like a Zoo anyhow!”

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There are a good many contemptible creatures in the world, but on the whole the most contemptible is the creature who wants to go through life bent only on having the easiest time that life can give…

Theodore Roosevelt encourages the pursuit of the strenuous life to a crowd in Colorado Springs.

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…to learn any thing from the past it is necessary to know, as near as may be, the exact truth.

In the preface to The Naval War of 1812, Theodore Roosevelt discusses the objective of his first historical work, published less than 60 years after the war ended.


You are one of the few remaining men who led the life of the frontier in the days of the Indian and the buffalo. It was a most characteristic phase of American life.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words to Victor Grant Smith, on April 22, 1913. He thanked Smith for the gift of a moose horn on which a scene of a bull moose battling with dogs is painted.

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

This was a life-ling truism for Theodore Roosevelt. He reiterated it in a speech in Fargo, North Dakota, given on September 5, 1910.

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