Theodore Roosevelt Quotations

Theodore Roosevelt

A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.

A muttonhead, after an education at West Point -- or Harvard -- is a muttonhead still.

A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt businesses and corrupt politics, is the first task of statesmanship today.

Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting, but never hit soft.

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

He has been called a mediocre man; but this is unwarranted flattery. He was a politician of monumental littleness. (re: John Tyler)

I am only an average man, but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man.

Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready.

No man has a right to live who has not in his soul the power to die nobly for a great cause.

No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.

Nothing but the truth should be spoken about [the President] or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about anyone else.

Pay all honor to the preachers of peace who put righteousness above peace. But shame on the creatures who would teach our people that it is anything but base to be unready and unable to defend right, even at need by the sternest of all tests, the test of righteous war, war waged by a high-couraged people with souls attuned to the demands of a lofty ideal.

Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.

Some men can live up to their loftiest ideals without ever going higher than a basement.

The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.

The noblest of all forms of government is self-government; but it is also the most difficult.

There has never yet been a man in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.

There is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head.

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is mortally treasonable to the American public.

To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.

We can afford to differ on the currency, the tariff, and foreign policy; but we cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure.

We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity.

When liberty becomes license, some form of one-man power is not far distant.

When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.'