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 01, 2014 :


It often happens that the good conditions of the past can be regained, not by going back, but by going forward. We cannot re-create what is dead; we cannot stop the march of events; but we can direct this march, and out of the new conditions develop something better than the past knew.


Roosevelt wrote these words in The Outlook on August 27, 1910. All of his life he preferred to look to the future rather than to the past. He was impatient with those whose politics were based on nostalgia rather than a rigorous analysis of present and future social conditions.

Previous Quotes:

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I lay perfectly quiet for about an hour, listening to the murmur of the pine forests, and the occasional call of a jay or woodpecker, and gazing eagerly along the trail in the waning light of the late afternoon. Suddenly, without noise or warning of any kind, a cougar stood in the trail before me. The unlooked for and unheralded approach of the beast was fairly ghost-like.

Theodore Roosevelt recalls a rare wildlife encounter in The Wilderness Hunter.

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We are not second rate Englishmen or transplanted Germans or Irishmen – we are Americans and nothing else.

In 1918, Theodore Roosevelt addressed a Boston audience about supporting American involvement in World War I through liberty loans, military preparedness, and patriotic spirit.

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I sleep, eat and work as I never could do in ten years’ time in the city.

Roosevelt wrote these words in a letter to his first wife Alice Lee Roosevelt while he was on his first hunting trip in Dakota Territory in September 1883. He was feeling in excellent health and was quite invigorated by the fresh air and exercise he enjoyed while on the hunt.

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…it knows that common sense is essential above all other qualities to the idealist; for an idealist without common sense, without the capacity to work in hard, practical fashion for actual results, is merely a boat that is all sails, and with neither ballast nor rudder.

Theodore Roosevelt discusses the values and ideals of The Outlook magazine. Roosevelt explains exactly what makes this an exceptional publication that he is happy to contribute to.

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Our Navy is the surest guarantee of peace and the cheapest insurance against war….

Theodore Roosevelt believed that the protection of the U.S. was impossible without a strong navy. This quote came from a speech before the University of Virginia in 1905.


Well, there is no telling what the new year has in store; the hand of fate may be heavy upon us but we can be sure that it will not take away our pride in our boys.

After all four of Theodore Roosevelt’s sons became involved in World War I, he wrote a New Year’s message of hope and uncertainty to his brother-in-law, Douglas Robinson.

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The equation of personal taste is as powerful in reading as in eating; and within certain broad limits the matter is merely one of individual preference, having nothing to do with the quality either of the book or of the reader’s mind.

Roosevelt wrote these words in A Book-Lover’s Holidays in the Open in 1916. His reading tastes were wide and eclectic.


I am picking up a little in the cattle business, branding a slightly larger number of calves each year, and putting back a few thousand dollars into my capital; but I shall never make good my losses.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words in a letter to his friend and ranch hand, Bill Sewall, a few years after the harsh winter of 1886.

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But the heaviest weight of condemnation should be reserved for each of us who represents the people and who yet fails to do all in his power in the interest of the people to bring to an end a situation fraught with such infinite danger to the whole commonwealth.

Exhibiting his strong sense of duty and leadership, President Roosevelt did everything within his power to resolve the Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902, which had threatened to cause coal shortages across the nation.

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They were men of facts, not theories; and they showed their usual hard common-sense in making a government.

In The Winning of the West, Theodore Roosevelt describes the backwoodsmen who adapted the forms of government they had grown up with to bring structure to their Appalachian communities.

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