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 July 19, 2018:

While material well-being is never all-sufficient to the life of a nation, yet it is the merest truism to say that its absence means ruin. We need to build a higher life upon it as a foundation; but we can build little indeed unless this foundation of prosperity is deep and broad.
Theodore Roosevelt made this statement in a speech in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1902.


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July 8, 2018
The Cubists are entitled to the serious attention of all who find enjoyment in the colored puzzle-pictures of the Sunday newspapers.
Theodore Roosevelt was not a fan of modern art. He wrote a dismissive article in The Outlook magazine after having viewed the famous Armory Show where New Yorkers first viewed Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Roosevelt belittled Cubists and Futurists in the same article of March 29, 1913.
July 7, 2018
Immediately after leaving college I went to the legislature. I was the youngest man there, and I rose like a rocket.
This comes from Theodore Roosevelt’s autobiography. After he graduated from Harvard College, Theodore Roosevelt won election to the New York State Assembly and was successful enough to be reelected in 1882 and in 1883. He earned his first sustained and public praise as a reformer in Albany.
July 6, 2018
The storm that is raging in Europe at this moment is terrible and evil; but it is also grand and noble. Untried men who live at ease will do well to remember that there is a certain sublimity even in Milton’s defeated archangel, but none whatever in the spirits who kept neutral, who remained at peace, and dared side neither with hell nor with heaven.
In November 1914 Theodore Roosevelt shot this warning at Americans who did not feel, as he did, that the United States should have entered World War I as soon as Germany had marched through neutral Belgium.
July 5, 2018
There is no profession in this country quite as important as the profession of teacher, ranging from the college president right down to the lowest-paid teacher in any one of our smallest country public schools.
Theodore Roosevelt paid close attention to the schooling his children received, while his professors at Harvard College played an enormous role in the development of his own career.
July 4, 2018
I am afraid that I sometimes shock the sensibilities of our people, but I never want to do so in any matters pertaining to the morals or the religious prejudices of the people.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote this in a letter to a colleague who asked him to play tennis on a Sunday. He declined the offer, because in Roosevelt’s era, Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, was held as a day of rest. Stores were closed, vigorous athletics were discouraged, and entertaining was kept to a minimum. If the president broke the tradition of Sunday repose, he risked censure from the public.
July 3, 2018
Where possible it is always better to mediate before the strike begins than to try to arbitrate when the fight is on and both sides have grown stubborn and bitter.
Theodore Roosevelt made this remark during a Labor Day picnic in Chicago in 1900. Perhaps he kept it in mind when he brought opposing sides together at the White House in an attempt at mediation during the Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902.
July 2, 2018
A flatterer is not a good companion for any man; and the public man who rises only by flattering his constituents is just as unsafe a companion for them.
This piece of wisdom from Theodore Roosevelt was written in 1911, as he was contemplating his political future in regards to the presidential race in 1912.
July 1, 2018
I do not think that any two people ever got more enjoyment out of the White House than Mother and I. We love the house itself, without and within, for its associations, for its stillness and its simplicity. We love the garden. And we like Washington.
Theodore Roosevelt rhapsodized on life in the White House in a letter to his son Ted in 1904.
June 30, 2018
Night had fallen; a cold wind blew up the valley; the torrent roared as it leaped past us, and drowned our words as we strove to talk over our adventures and success; while the flame of the fire flickered and danced, lighting up with continual vivid flashes the gloom of the forest round about.
This is the conclusion to Theodore Roosevelt’s first chapter, “Hunting the Grisly,” in his book of the same name. It is a lovely example of Roosevelt’s ability to write descriptive prose. Here he draws a word-picture of the end of the hunt and the companionable conversation around the camp fire that stands between the men and the wilderness.
June 29, 2018
If we are not all of us Americans and nothing else, scorning to divide along lines of section, of creed, or of national origin, then the Nation itself will crumble to dust.
When Theodore Roosevelt wrote this sentence to his friend Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge In 1916, Europe had been at war nearly two years. Roosevelt was an outspoken advocate of military preparedness, but he believed that the citizens of the United States had to put aside their differences in order to battle together against outside threats.
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