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 November 24, 2014 :


I traveled through a large part of both Dakotas, of Wyoming and of Montana in a Studebaker wagon; for I never had any other on the ranch – I think I should have been cut out of the round-up if I had had any other!


In a letter to Mr. Studebaker, President Roosevelt remembers the wagons used during his Dakota ranching days.

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Previous Quotes:

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I find reading a great comfort. People often say to me that they do not see how I find time for it, to which I answer them (much more truthfully than they believe) that to me it is a dissipation, which I have sometimes to try to avoid, instead of an irksome duty. Of course I have been so busy for the last ten years, so absorbed in political work, that I have simply given up reading any book that I do not find interesting.

Roosevelt wrote these words to the eminent British historian Sir George Otto Trevelyan on May 28, 1904, late in his first term as president. Legend has it that Roosevelt read a book a day throughout his life. This is almost certainly an exaggeration, but he read a book a day often enough, and he was without question one of the readingest of all presidents.


Next year you must come to the Yellowstone with me; then I can start you home, and take a little hunt after you have gone, and so not be away from you so long.

As Theodore Roosevelt wraps up one autumn hunting trip in Montana, he writes to his wife with suggestions for next year’s adventure.

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In public as in private life a bold front tends to insure peace and not strife. If we possess a formidable navy, small is the chance indeed that we shall ever be dragged into a war to uphold the Monroe Doctrine. If we do not possess such a navy, war may be forced on us at any time.

Address to Naval War College, June 1897. TR regarded a good offense as the best defense. His commitment to the Monroe Doctrine led him to advocate war against Spain in Cuba in 1898. As president, he decreed the Roosevelt Corollary: since the U.S. would not tolerate European meddling in Central and South America, the U.S. would police the Western Hemisphere in times of lawlessness and chaos.


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We had plenty of meat, and the naturalists had enough specimens; and I was glad that there was no need to harm the beautiful creatures.

Theodore Roosevelt watches hundreds of kongoni (antelope) and zebra run past his shelter in African Game Trails.


In a democracy it is essential that each man should think of his rights but it is even more essential that he thinks of his duties.

One year after the U.S. entered World War I, Theodore Roosevelt spoke about the necessity of military service and active preparedness in both times of peace and times of war.

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To my mind this building of the canal through Panama will rank in kind, though not of course in degree, with the Louisiana purchase [sic] and the acquisition of Texas.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote about his hopes for the building of the Panama Canal one month after the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty was signed, November 18, 1903.

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Real issues affect women precisely as much as men. The women who bear children and attend to their own homes have precisely the same right to speak in politics that their husbands have who are the fathers of their children and who work to keep up their homes…

Theodore Roosevelt made this bold assertion in his “Confession of Faith” speech in Chicago as he launched his third-party campaign for the U.S. presidency in 1912. Unlike Taft, Debs, and Wilson, Roosevelt saw an active role for women in organized politics and by 1912 was on-record as an advocate of national woman’s suffrage.


This is a very sociable little bird, being always found in flocks of from twenty to a hundred. Once a day, in the early morning it visits the water to drink but excepting at this time, it almost always remains in the deserts.

In 1872, young Theodore Roosevelt recorded his own observations of the birds of Egypt.

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Alike for the nation and the individual, the one indispensable requisite is character--character that does and dares as well as endures, character that is active in the performance of virtue no less than firm in the refusal to do aught that is vicious or degraded.

Theodore Roosevelt’s article entitled "Character and Success" was published in The Outlook on March 31, 1900.


There are few moments more pleasant than the home-coming, when, in the gathering darkness, after crossing the last chain of ice-covered buttes… we see, through the leafless trees, or across the frozen river, the red gleam of the firelight as it shines through the ranch windows and flickers over the trunks of the cottonwoods outside, warming a man’s blood by the mere hint of the warmth awaiting him within.

In “The Home Ranch,” first published in The Century Magazine, Theodore Roosevelt describes winter riding in Dakota Territory.

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