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 October 22, 2018:

I do not believe in violent revolutions, but I do believe in steady and healthy growth in the right direction.
President Theodore Roosevelt wrote this in a letter to friend, novelist and literary critic William Dean Howells, in August on 1906 in relation to graduated inheritance and income taxes, which he would later enact.

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Quotes:

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October 21, 2018
I hope the Republican Party won't make it impossible for decent men to support them.
Written in March of 1915 from Roosevelt to his close friend Seth Bullock.

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October 20, 2018
"On the one hand I wish by my action to avoid stirring up any bitterness; on the other hand, I must not act in a cowardly manner and make the apostles of lawlessness and of brutal disregard of the rights of the black man feel encouraged in their indignity. As always in life, I have to face conditions, not as I would like to have them, but as they actually are, and every course I take is beset with difficulties."
In this September 14, 1904 letter to John Byrne , Roosevelt talks about factors in his decision making regarding his refusal to accept Indianola, Mississippi postmistress Minnie Geddings Cox's resignation the year prior, which had become known as the Indianola Affair. Cox, Mississippi’s first African American postmistress, was treated with violence and threats by local whites unhappy with her position of prominence. When they voted for her removal from office, Roosevelt ordered the mail to the town to be stopped until they allowed Cox back into her position.

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October 19, 2018
There are but two women; a clumsy giggling, pretty Irish girl, and a hard featured backwoods woman who sings Methodist hymns and swears like a trooper on occasions.
Theodore Roosevelt writes to his mother, Muffie, in late summer of 1880, about the other boarders staying at the same farmhouse he and Elliot are staying at on their hunting trip in Illinois. Theodore describes a motley group, from the swearing Methodist woman above, to a " reformed desperado" and a "good natured German boor."

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October 18, 2018
Don't you think that you perhaps scarcely allow sufficiently for the extraordinary change made in the habits of the wild animals by experience with man, especially experience continued through generations?
Theodore Roosevelt wrote this in a letter to his friend, famed naturalist John Burroughs, whom he affectionately called Oom John (or Uncle John in Dutch) on March 7, 1903. Roosevelt began the letter writing about talking animals in books, such as Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, and then transitioned into a discussion about whether animals could communicate somehow. He gives evidence of animals in one area being conditioned to be afraid of man hunting them, with similar animals living in an area they were not hunted unafraid. Roosevelt believes that, "inherited instinct must be supplemented by some means of communication among animals."

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October 17, 2018
I am always amused and slightly chagrined to think that, as far as I know, she should have only heard me speak on the two occasions when I made the very worst speeches I ever made - the McCollum statue, and that night I was thoroughly fogged out and my throat drawn in New Mexico.
Roosevelt writes to Alford Warriner Cooley in late August of 1911 that he is amused that Mrs. Cooley, Susan Dexter Dalton, is only familiar with Roosevelt's public speaking abilities from what he considers his worst speeches. Cooley was the United States Civil Service Commissioner and a close friend of Roosevelt.

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October 16, 2018
For it is in its essence a practical scheme through which to impart a proper standard of ethical conduct, proper standards of fairplay and consideration for others, and courage and decency to boys who have never been reached and never will be reached by the ordinary type of preacher.
The "practical scheme" which TR refers to is the Boy Scouts. Roosevelt wrote this letter on July 20, 1911, to James E. West, who was the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts.

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October 15, 2018
I have never seen anything like the sordid baseness of the attitude of the average businessman in this campaign and the utter folly of the average intellectual creature of Mugwump antecedents.
Writing on October 31, 1910, to George von Lengerke Meyer, Roosevelt believes "we shall be beaten," likely referring to upcoming midterm elections. Democrats gained seats in the House, taking control of a chamber of Congress for the first time in nearly 20 years. In the Senate, Republicans continued to control the chamber despite Democratic party gains. Progressives from both parties gained strength that would help support TR's third party run in 1912. All in all, TR's letter to Meyer was somewhat prophetic.

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October 14, 2018
I do not think that we ought to take a moving picture machine along. I think we should be hampered by having it along, and I do not think it would serve a sufficiently useful purpose.
Roosevelt wrote this in a letter on January 12, 1909 to Edgar Alexander Mearns. Mearns was a notable American ornithologist and field naturalist who was on the safari with Roosevelt, and had asked if anyone would be filming their trip. Despite Roosevelt's objection, portions of the safari were still filmed, and remain an important historical record of their travels.

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October 13, 2018
Like most Americans interested in birds and books, I know a good deal about English birds as they appear in books. I know the lark of Shakespeare and Shelley and Ettick Shepers; I know the nightingale of Milton and Keats; I know Wordsworth's cuckoo; I know Mavis and Merle singing in the merry green wood of the old ballads; I know Jenny Wren and Cock Robin in the nursery books.
Roosevelt talks about his love for both books and nature in a chapter in his autobiography called "Outdoors and Indoors." This quote is followed by three pages that detail the birds Roosevelt (finally) saw on a trip to England in 1910.
October 12, 2018
There are men who love out-of-doors who yet never open a book; and other men who love books but to whom the great book of nature is a sealed volume, and the lines written therein blurred and illegible.
TR spoke these words in Chapter IX of his autobiography, going on to state that both the love of outdoors and the love of gaining knowledge through books, can be appreciated by both those with means and those without.
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