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 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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August 14, 2018
I do not think there is a more impressive sepulcher on earth than [Napoleon’s] tomb; it is grandly simple. I am not very easily awestruck, but it certainly gave me a solemn feeling to look at the plain, red stone bier which contained what had once been the mightiest conqueror the world ever saw.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words to his sister Anna (Bamie) on September 5, 1881. He had visited Europe, including Paris, on his honeymoon. Napoleon's Tomb is located in the central crypt of the Eglise du Dome Church at the Hotel des Invalides.
August 13, 2018
I want to let in light and air, but I do not want to let in sewer-gas. . . . In other words, I feel that the man who in a yellow newspaper or in a yellow magazine makes a ferocious attack on good men or even attacks bad men with exaggeration or for things they have not done, is a potent enemy of those of us who are really striving in good faith to expose bad men and drive them from power.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words to one of America’s principal muckrakers, Ray Stannard Baker, on April 9, 1906. TR feared that some investigative journalists were finding so much pleasure in their work that they were losing sight of fairness and good sense.
August 12, 2018
No man, not even the soldier who does his duty, stands quite on the level with the wife and mother who has done her duty.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words in the The Outlook on April 8, 1911. He was prone to this sort of family sentimentalism.
August 11, 2018
Every great nation owes to the men whose lives have formed part of its greatness not merely the material effect of what they did, not merely the laws they placed upon the statute-books or the victories they won over armed foes, but also the immense but indefinable moral influence produced by their deeds and words themselves upon the national character.
Theodore Roosevelt published these words in the Forum in February 1895. Because he wanted to change the world, TR tried to live a life “holier than Caesar’s wife.” He believed that moral character was as important as action in America’s leaders.
August 10, 2018
The very reason why we object to State ownership, that it puts a stop to individual initiative and to the healthy development of personal responsibility, is the reason why we object to an unsupervised, unchecked monopolistic control in private hands.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words in The Outlook on June 19, 1909, a few months after he left the presidency. He believed that his progressive reforms created a sane middle course between socialism on the one hand, and the kind of laissez faire that would lead to revolution.
August 9, 2018
We should undertake the complete development and control of the Mississippi as a national work, just as we have undertaken the work of building the Panama Canal. We can use the plant, and we can use the human experience, left free by the completion of the Panama Canal in so developing the Mississippi as to make it a mighty highroad of commerce.
Theodore Roosevelt delivered these words at the Progressive (Bull Moose) party convention on August 6, 1912. It is important to remember that he was a utilitarian as well as a conservationist. He sought to develop America’s resources to insure the greatest good for the greatest number, and he decidedly believed that it was in our national interest to take control of America’s waterways.
August 8, 2018
I have scant patience with this talk of the tyranny of the majority. Wherever there is tyranny of the majority, I shall protest against it with all my heart and soul. But we are to-day suffering from the tyranny of minorities. . . It is a small minority that lies behind monopolies and trusts.
Theodore Roosevelt spoke these words at Carnegie Hall in New York City on March 12, 1912. He was suspicious of capitalists who responded to all suggestions of reform with the claim that their critics were engaged in class warfare.
August 7, 2018
I do not think the average American multimillionaire is a very high type, and I do not much admire him. But in his place he is well enough.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words to the English historian George Otto Trevelyan on March 9, 1905. TR did not decry wealth per se, but he insisted that wealth was not in itself a reason to admire someone.
August 6, 2018
Beloved by all who knew her; keeping her freshness and beauty to the end; with her children and grandchildren around her...with her duties done, and her joys and sorrows behind her--thus she died, in the fullness of her time.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote this about his mother, Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, who died on Valentine's Day 1884, the same day that his first wife died. This quote comes from the memorial that he penned to remember them both.
August 5, 2018
I have rather a horror of ex-Presidents travelling around with no real business, and thereby putting unfortunate potentates who think they ought to show courtesy to the United States in a position where they feel obliged to entertain the said ex-Presidents, no matter how great a hero any one of them may be.
Theodore Roosevelt toured Europe after his yearlong safari in Africa. The former President was treated like an international celebrity as well as a kind of honorary American king. This letter was written to Britain’s Lord Curzon on August 18, 1908, before he left the United States for the safari.
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