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 27, 2015 :


Colonel Goethals has succeeded in instilling into the men under him a spirit which elsewhere has been found only in a few victorious armies.


In An Autobiography, Theodore Roosevelt commends Colonel Goethals, the engineer chosen to head the commission for building the Panama Canal.

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Previous Quotes:

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I am of course in a perfect whirl of work and have every kind of worry and trouble—but that’s what I am here for and down at bottom I enjoy it after all.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote this in a letter to Kermit on December 4, 1902. He also mentions that Kermit will be delighted with the changes made to the White House.

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The man who in times of crises develops heroic virtues is the man who does not wait until the crises comes before he develops any virtues at all.

In a 1903 speech, Theodore Roosevelt encourages the value of preparedness in times of peace. He suggests that citizens learn from the experience of soldiers, so they too can be strong enough to deal with war and crisis.

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It is to our discredit as a nation that our governmental buildings should so frequently be monuments of sordid ugliness. Only too often the Government does less to advance the standards of architecture, and therefore of public taste, than has been done by many big private corporations.

Roosevelt wrote these words in a letter to the American Institute of Architects. The letter was read to the convention on December 7, 1916. Although Roosevelt’s personal tastes were largely masculine and monumental, he possessed a surprising range of aesthetic appreciation.


I am myself a believer in woman suffrage. I do not believe with those who feel that this would make women shirk their essential duties. My experience has been that many of those women who do shirk them are against the suffrage.

Theodore Roosevelt stated this progressive belief to Madame Del Finey just before the he lost the Republican Party primaries and became a Progressive Party candidate.

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Surely our people do not understand even yet the rich heritage that is theirs. There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.

By 1905, when he wrote Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter, Theodore Roosevelt had visited all of these places at least once.


In time of trouble, the unconsciousness of children is often a great comfort.

Theodore Roosevelt found a measure of solace in his grandchildren after his son, Quentin, was killed in action in France during WWI. He wrote these words to his daughter-in-law, Belle Roosevelt, about his grandchildren, Richard and Edie, on August 11, 1918, just short of a month after Quentin was shot down over France.

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I do not believe there ever was any life more attractive to a vigorous young fellow than life on a cattle ranch in those days. It was a fine, healthy life, too; it taught a man self-reliance, hardihood, and the value of instant decision—in short, the virtues that ought to come from life in the open country. I enjoyed the life to the full.

Roosevelt wrote these words in An Autobiography of 1913. He spent a considerable portion of his time between 1883 and 1887 in the badlands of western Dakota Territory.


I have no idea whether I shall be offered the Assistant Secretaryship of the Navy or not. If so, I shall probably take it, because I am intensely interested in our navy, and know a good deal about it, and it would mean four years work…

The U.S. Navy was a lifelong interest for Theodore Roosevelt. On April 19, 1897, Roosevelt began his work as the assistant secretary of the navy.

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McKinley rather distrusted me, and Platt actively hated me; it was Cabot’s untiring energy and devotion which put me in; and Long really wanted me.

Theodore Roosevelt writes to his sister, Anna, about the process of being appointed as assistant secretary of the navy.

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We live in a rough world and good work in it can be done only by those who are not afraid to do their part in the dust and smoke of the arena.

President Roosevelt outlines the qualities of good citizenship and explains why citizens should hold their political leaders to the highest ideals of honesty and fair dealings.

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