Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Jr., known as the Rough Rider and Bull Moose, is one of America’s most dynamic men. Statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer, he served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909.
America and adventure were Roosevelt’s passions, and he strived to live his life to the fullest. From sickly child to hero of San Juan Hill to explorer to leader of the free world, Roosevelt is an inspiration to us all. His civic-minded Americanism endures, as does his record as a conservationist and a progressive. Here are 10 Famous Quotes from Teddy Roosevelt that you and your students will greatly enjoy.
Dave Raymond’s American History Students study Teddy Roosevelt in their final lesson, Lesson 26.
Famous Quotes from Teddy Roosevelt
1. “There are two things that I want you to make up your minds to: first, that you are going to have a good time as long as you live – I have no use for the sour-faced man – and next, that you are going to do something worthwhile, that you are going to work hard and do the things you set out to do.”
(Talk to schoolchildren in Oyster Bay, Christmastime 1898)
2. “I have always been fond of the West African proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.’”
(Letter to Henry L. Sprague, Jan. 26, 1900)
3. “There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother.”
(Pasadena, CA, May 8, 1903)
4. “There are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become, it must be by the general recognition that the man’s heart and soul, the man’s worth and actions, determine his standing.”
(Letter, Oyster Bay, NY, September 1, 1903)
5. “This country has nothing to fear from the crooked man who fails. We put him in jail. It is the crooked man who succeeds who is a threat to this country.”
(Memphis, TN, October 25, 1905)
6. “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
(“Citizenship in a Republic,” Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910)
7. “I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
(Des Moines, Iowa, November 4, 1910)
8. “This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in.”
(Chicago, IL, June 17, 1912)
9. “A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”
(An Autobiography, 1913)
10. “If a man does not have an ideal and try to live up to it, then he becomes a mean, base and sordid creature, no matter how successful.”
(Letter to his son Kermit, quoted in Theodore Roosevelt by Joseph Bucklin Bishop, 1915)