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.

Featured Quote for May 24, 2017:

It has been emphatically a man’s work, worth doing from every aspect.
TR refers to the grueling work of reforming the New York Police Department in a letter to his sister Bye (Anna Cowles Roosevelt), dated February 25, 1896. He had been Police Commissioner for ten months, and faced continued opposition from the press, the public and the politicians.

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Quotes:

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May 23, 2017
I am having great difficulty in getting down the fences in the public domain, because as always happens in such a case, I find the problem very complicated instead of very simple.
TR wrote these words to his friend, Hamlin Garland, about the complex issues surrounding removal of fences from public lands, particularly in the west. In 1885, federal legislation was passed outlawing the enclosure of public lands, but many such fences were already in place, built by struggling ranchers and large corporations alike.

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May 22, 2017
…they say a stout, elderly President cannot afford to take chances!
This excerpt is from a letter dated May 3, 1902 to Margaret Cary, from whose father TR hoped to buy a horse that would be willing to jump higher than four feet. He notes that his current horse hesitates, and that while no harm has been done so far, he wants a horse that is more comfortable with jumping.

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May 21, 2017
There is quite enough sorrow and shame and suffering and baseness in real life, and there is no need for meeting it unnecessarily in fiction.
In this letter to his son, Kermit, TR writes about his views on the portrayal of human suffering in novels. The letter was written November 19, 1905 while Kermit was away at Groton School.

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May 20, 2017
…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 TR graciously declines Susan McFarland’s offer of a pet for the Roosevelt family. TR describes the home as “beginning to feel a little like a Zoo anyhow!”

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May 19, 2017
We are prouder of our citizenship because he is our fellow citizen; we feel that his life and his writings, both alike spur us steadily to fresh effort toward high thinking and right living.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words about Edward Everett Hale, American author, historian and Unitarian clergyman who wrote “The Man Without a Country” in 1863. In a letter to Senator George Frisbee Hoar dated March 1902, Roosevelt regretfully declines an invitation to Hale’s 80th birthday celebration.

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May 18, 2017
…I cannot consent to take the position that the door of hope – the door of opportunity – is to be shut upon any man, no matter how worthy, purely upon grounds of race or color. Such an attitude would, according to my convictions, be fundamentally wrong.
Roosevelt made his position clear when he wrote these words to James Adger Smythe in November 1902 concerning the appointment of an African American man to a government position in South Carolina.

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May 17, 2017
Now, fortunately, I always play the political game with the cards on the table, so far as any honest and intelligent man who wants to know the truth is concerned.
Roosevelt wrote these words in a January 1902 letter Puck magazine’s founders Joseph Ferdinand Keppler and Adolph Schwartzmann thanking them for the magazine’s attitude toward his administration. In the letter, TR also invites them for interviews any time they would like.

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May 16, 2017
A nation like an individual usually acts from complex motives.
Theodore Roosevelt believes a nation must be strong to preserve friendships and respect. He would like the United States and Great Britain to have a "peculiarly close degree of friendship." Roosevelt is currently out of sympathy with the American public and commands little support.
May 15, 2017
But neutrality in the present war is a crime against humanity and against the future of the race.
Theodore Roosevelt wishes he were president in order to intervene in Mexico and "interfere in the world war on the side of justice and honesty." He doesn't believe in "neutrality between right and wrong." Roosevelt sympathizes with the allies against Germany and would have taken action after the invasion of Belgium. However, he is currently a political outsider and is ashamed at the inaction of the United States and its leadership.
May 14, 2017
I do not believe in neutrality between right and wrong.
Theodore Roosevelt wishes he were president in order to intervene in Mexico and "interfere in the world war on the side of justice and honesty." He doesn't believe in "neutrality between right and wrong." Roosevelt sympathizes with the allies against Germany and would have taken action after the invasion of Belgium. However, he is currently a political outsider and is ashamed at the inaction of the United States and its leadership.
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