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 July 03, 2015 :


They loved the fireworks – silly Kermit remarking, with an eye to edibles, that perhaps he might ‘eat the firecrackers!’ The name struck him as suggestive.


In a letter to his sister, Theodore Roosevelt writes about the antics of his young children during the Fourth of July.

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Previous Quotes:

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The true preachers of peace, who strive earnestly to bring nearer the day when peace shall obtain among all peoples, and who really do help forward the cause, are men who never hesitate to choose righteous war when it is the only alternative to unrighteous peace.

Theodore Roosevelt recalls the reasons that justified fighting Spain. He makes this statement in An Autobiography, published fifteen years after the Spanish-American War.


We had a bully fight at Santiago, and though there was an immense amount that I did not exactly enjoy, the charge itself was great fun.

In a letter to his brother-in-law, Douglas Robinson, Theodore Roosevelt assesses the campaign of the Rough Riders.

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As far as I am personally concerned, I am well ahead of the game, whatever happens. I have had an exceedingly good time; I have been exceedingly well treated by the American people; and I have enjoyed the respect of those for whose respect I care most.

Roosevelt wrote these words to his friend William Allen White, an Emporia, Kansas, newspaper editor on November 26, 1907. All of his life, TR argued that he had the best and most adventuresome life of the nine next men, that he had absolutely no cause for complaint, that he was one of the lucky ones of the world, etc.


…you will remember that in the war with Spain our regiment was raised, armed, equipped, mounted, dismounted, drilled, kept two week on transports, and put through two victorian aggressive fights in which it lost nearly a quarter of the men engaged, and over one-third of the officers, a loss greater than that suffered by any but two of the twenty-four regular regiments in the same army corps; and all this within sixty days.

Theodore Roosevelt recounts the history of the Rough Riders in a letter to President Taft and offers to gather a similar regiment, if needed.

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There is very little water, and what there is, is so bitter as to be almost a poison, and nearly undrinkable; it is so alkaline that the very cow’s milk tastes of it.

One of the struggles Roosevelt faced during his first hunting trip in the badlands of Dakota Territory in 1883 was the alkaline water, which is typical of ground and well water in western North Dakota.

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I know my fellow Americans well. They are brave and honest, but sometimes they are misguided; and, as with all people, they are subject to fits of reaction.

In a letter dated March 16, 1904, Theodore Roosevelt cautions Joseph Bucklin Bishop about being over-confident about the results of the presidential election because people are changeable.

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It shall be my purpose, so far as I am given strength, to administer my office with an eye single to the welfare of all the people of this great commonwealth.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke of the highest civic ideals and his personal mission as governor of New York, when he was sworn into that office, on January 2, 1899.


In the morning I get out of bed into my wheel chair and wheel myself to the front room and there I sit all day long reading, talking to pretty mother, or consulting with members of the cabinet over everything from the coal strike to the situation in Cuba.

In a 1902 letter to his son, Kermit, President Roosevelt describes his daily routine at the White House, while his leg injuries heal after a carriage accident.

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It is the life of men who live in the open, who tend their herds on horseback, who go armed and ready to guard their lives by their own prowess, whose wants are very simple, and who call no man master. Ranching is an occupation like those of vigorous, primitive pastoral peoples, having little in common with the humdrum, workaday business world of the nineteenth century; and the free ranchman in his manner of life shows more kinship to an Arab sheik than to a sleek city merchant or tradesman.

Roosevelt wrote these words in his book Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail, in 1888. He went to the badlands of Dakota Territory partly to kill a buffalo, but partly also to immerse himself in the primitive frontier life that he (and Frederick Jackson Turner) believed had created the distinctive American character.


Wise labor legislation for the city of Washington would be a good thing in itself, and it would be a far better thing, because a standard would thereby be a set for the country as a whole.

Theodore Roosevelt explains why Washington, D.C. should lead the way and provide a model for labor legislation, in his 1903 speech to the wage-worker and tiller of the soil.

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