Words of Wisdom
by Theodore Roosevelt

Page updated 09/22/01 03:30 AM


What it Means to be an American – by Theodore Roosevelt

“To bear the name of American is to bear the most honorable of all titles, and whoever does not so believe, has no business to bear the name at all.”
–The Forum, 1894.

”We Americans have many great problems to solve, many threatening evils to fight, and many deeds to do, if, as we hope and believe, we have the wisdom, the strength, and the courage, and the virtue to do them. But we must face the facts as they are. We must neither surrender ourselves to foolish optimism, nor succumb to a timid and ignoble pessimism.”

”Don’t let them bluff you out of the use of the word “American.” I don’t think anything better has been done than your calling yourself the American Ambassador and using the word American instead of the United States.”
Letter to John Hay, American Ambassador to the Court of St. James in London, Washington, D. C., June 7, 1897.

”Is America a weakling to shrink from the work of the great powers? No! The young giant of the west stands on a continent and clasps the crest of an ocean in either hand. One nation glorious in youth and strength, looks into the future with eager eyes, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race.”

”Our country has been populated by pioneers, and therefore it has more energy, more enterprise, more expansive power than any other in the whole world.”
Minnesota State Fair, September 2, 1901.

”The American people are slow to wrath, but when their wrath is once kindled, it burns like a consuming fire.”
First annual address to Congress, December 3, 1901.

What it Means to be an American! – by Theodore Roosevelt

“Stout of heart, we see, across the dangers, the great future that lies beyond, and we rejoice as a giant refreshed, as a strong man girt for the race, and we go down into the arena where the nations strive for mastery, our hearts lifted with the faith that to us and our children and our children’s children it shall be given to make this republic the mightiest among the peoples of mankind.”
–Detroit, Michigan, September 22, 1902.

”Ours is not the creed of the weakling or the coward. Ours is the gospel of hope and triumphant endeavor.”

”The steady arm of this nation, as of all enlightened nations, should be to strive to bring nearer the day when there shall prevail throughout the world the peace of justice.”
–Fourth annual message to Congress, December 6, 1904.

”This nation is seated on a continent flanked by two great oceans. It is composed of men who are the descendents of pioneers, or, in a sense, pioneers themselves, of men winnowed out from among the nations of the old world by the energy, boldness, and love of adventure found in their own eager hearts. Such a nation, so placed, will surely wrest success from fortune.”
–The White House, December 2, 1902.

An Attack on America in the Light of a President’s Philosophy! – Theodore Roosevelt

“Americans learn only from catastrophes and not from experience.”
–Autobiography, 1913.

”We stand against all tyranny, by the few or by the many.”

”We, here in America, hold in our hands the hope of the world, the fate of the coming years, and shame and disgrace will be ours if in our eyes the light of hope resolve is dimmed, if we trail in the dust the golden hopes of men.”
–New York City, March 20, 1912.

”If we fail, the cause of self-government throughout the world will rock to its foundation.”

”We are the hope of the ages.”
–Inaugural address, March 4, 1905.

The Eighth Commandment!

“The eighth commandment says, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ It does not say ’Thou shalt not steal from the rich,’ and it does not say ’Thou shalt not steal from the poor man.’ It reads simply and plainly 'Thou shalt not steal.'

”No good whatever will come from that warped and mocked morality which denounces  the misdeeds of men of wealth and forgets the misdeeds practiced at their expense. Which denounces bribery but blinds itself to blackmail, which foams with rage if a corporation secures favor by improper methods and merely leers with hideous mirth if the corporation itself is wronged.”

”The only public servant who can be trusted honestly to protect the rights of the public against the misdeeds of a corporation is that public man who will just as surely protect the corporation itself from wrongful aggression.”

”If a public man is willing to yield to popular clamour and do wrong to the men of wealth or to rich corporations, it may be set down as certain that if the opportunity comes he will secretly and furtively do wrong to the public in the interest of a corporation.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them 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 short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in 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 fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

“The birth pangs make all men the debtors of all women. The nation is in a bad way if there is no real home, if the family is not of the right kind, if the man is not a good husband and father, if he is brutal or cowardly or selfish.

If the woman has lost her sense of duty, if she is sunk in vapid self indulgence, or has let her nature be twisted so that she prefers the sterile pseudo intellectuality to that great and beautiful development of character which comes only to those whose lives know the fullness of duty done, or effort made, and self sacrifice undergone. In the last analysis, the welfare of the state depends absolutely upon whether or not the average family , the average man and woman and their children, represent the kind of citizenship fit for the foundation of a great nation.

And if we fail to appreciate this, we fail to appreciate the root morality upon which all healthy civilization is based. There are certain old truths which will be true as long as the world endures. And which no amount of progress can alter, one of these is the truth that the primal duty of the husband is to be the breadwinner, the breadwinner for his wife and children. And the primal duty of the woman is to be the helpmeet, the housewife and the mother.

Peace is Not the End. Righteousness is the End.

”When the Saviour saw the money changers in the temple, He broke the peace by driving them out. At that moment peace would have been obtained readily enough by the simple process of keeping quiet in the presence of wrong. But instead of preserving peace at the expense of righteousness, the Saviour armed Himself with a scourge of cords and drove the money changers from the temple.”

“Truth and righteousness,” said Roosevelt, “are of no value to the world until they are embodied in a personality. And there is only one Source of Truth and Righteousness.

“Except as they flow from the Almighty God Himself, they do not exist. No man can possibly stand for truth and righteousness or employ their power unless he is in a direct relationship with the Divine Source. The wireless connection must be established with God at one end and man at the other. Then the man can exclaim boldly and truly with Paul, 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me'.”

“Fear God and Take Your Own Part”

”Fear God in the true sense of the word means to love God, respect God, honor God, and all of this can only be done by loving your neighbor, treating him justly and mercifully and in all ways endeavoring to protect him from injustice and cruelty, thus obeying, as far as our human frailty will permit, the great immutable law of righteousness.”

“I am engaged in one of the greatest moral conflicts of the age, that of colossal lawless corporations against the government, the oppression of lawless wealth, and in the purchase of lawmakers by it, have wrecked most of the empires of the past. If not resisted and defeated, will ruin our republic.

”As executive of this nation, I am determining that no man or set of men shall defy the law of the land. The rich and the powerful must obey the law as well as the poor and the feeble, not any better, not any worse, but just the same, just the same.

”After a week of perplexing problems and in heated contests “it does so rest my soul to come into the house of the Lord and worship, and to sing and to mean it, the Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, and to know that He is my Father and takes me up in His life and plans, and to commune personally with Christ. I am sure I get a wisdom not my own, and superhuman strength, for fighting the moral evils I am called to confront.

When Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States, he went to a Dutch Reform Church in Washington. The pastor spoke in German and was speaking on charity from 1 Cor 13.

After the message was over, Theodore Roosevelt went up to the pastor privately and showed him from the Greek text that the word “charity” was “love.”

Don’t you wish we had a president like that today? Or, even pastors like that today? His was a bully pulpit.

The President's Philosophy

”It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them 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 short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in 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 fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

In July 1918, when the youngest Roosevelt son, Quentin, an aviator in France, was reported to have been shot down and unaccounted for, Teddy Roosevelt inserted the following remarks in an address to the Republican state convention in Saratoga, New York.

”The finest, the bravest, the best of our young men have sprung eagerly forward to face death for the sake of a high ideal, and thereby they have brought home to us the great truth that life consists of more than easygoing pleasure. And more than hard, conscienceless, brutal striving after purely material success, that while we must rightly care for the body and the things of the body, yet that such care leads nowhere unless we also have thought that for our own souls and for the souls of our brothers.

”When these gallant boys, on the golden crest of life, gladly face death for the sake of an ideal, shall not we, who stay behind who have not been found worthy of the great adventure, shall we not in turn try to shape our lives, so as to make in this country a better place to live in for these men, and for the women who sent these men to battle and for the children who are to come after them?”

After Quentin was found dead and was buried where his plane had gone down, Teddy Roosevelt wrote to his son Archie,

”Well, it is very dreadful, but, after all, he died as the heroes of old died; as brave and fearless men must die when a great cause calls. If our country did not contain such men it would not be our country.”

“All kinds of other qualities, moral and physical, enter into being a good hunter, and especially a good hunter after dangerous game, just as all kinds of other qualities in addition to skill with the rifle enters into the being of a good soldier.”

“To bear the name of American is to bear the most honorable of titles, and whoever does not so believe, has no business to bear the name at all.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, April 1894

“One of our defects as a nation is a tendency to use what have been called “weasel words. When a weasel sucks eggs, the meat is sucked out of the egg. If you use a ‘weasel word’ after another, there is nothing left of the other.”

 –Theodore Roosevelt, St. Louis, Missouri, May 31, 1916

“The one thing abhorrent to the powers above the earth and under them is the hyphenated -American, the German-American, the Irish-American or the Native-American.” “Be Americans pure and simple.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, Buffalo, NY, Sept 10, 1895

“There is no place for the hyphen in our citizenship. We are a nation, not a hodge-podge of foreign nationalities. We are a people and not a polyglot boarding house.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, “Americanism,” 1918 

Theodore Roosevelt on Not Forsaking of the Assembling of Yourselves Together

“On Sunday, go to church. Yes, I know all the excuses. I know that one can worship the Creator and dedicate oneself to good living in a grove of trees, or by a running brook, or in one's own house, just as well as in Church.

“But I also know as a matter of cold fact that the average man does not thus worship or thus himself. If he stays away from Church, he does not spend his time in good works or lofty meditation.

“He looks over the colored supplement of the newspaper, he yawns, and he finally seeks relief from the mental vacuity of isolation by going where the combined mental vacuity of many partially relieves the mental vacuity of each particular individual.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, The Ladies Home Journal, Oct 1913

“No words can paint the scorn and contempt which must be felt by all right-thinking men. Not only for the brutal husband, but the husband who fails to show full loyalty and consideration for his wife. The partnership should be of equal rights, one of love, of self-respect and unselfishness, above all a partnership for the performance of the most of all duties.”

“No qualities called out by a purely peaceful life stand to a level with those stern and virile virtues which move the men of stern heart and strong hand who uphold the honor of their flag in battle.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, June 1897

“Don’t hit at all if you can help it. Don’t hit a man if you can possibly avoid it. But if you do hit him, put him to sleep.”

–Theodore Roosevelt – New York City, February 17, 1899

The President of the United States of America!

“Any man who has been honored by being made President of the United States is thereby forever after rendered the debtor of the American people, and is in honor bound throughout his life to remember this as his prime obligation, and in private life as much as in public life. So to carry himself that the American people may never have cause to feel regret that once they placed him at their head.”

 –Theodore Roosevelt, New York City, June 18, 1910  

December 3, 1906, sixth message to Congress:

“When home ties are loosened, when men and women cease to regard a worthy family life, with all its duties fully performed, and all its responsibilities lived up to, as the life best worth living, then evil days for the commonwealth are at hand.”

Dishonesty in Politics

Washington, D.C., October 15, 1903

“We can as little afford to tolerate a dishonest man in the public service as a coward in the army.”


“Unless a man believes in applied morality, he is certain to be merely a noxious public servant.”

“No man can lead a public career really worth leading, no man can act with rugged independence in serious crises, nor strike at great abuses nor afford to make powerful and unscrupulous foes, if he is himself vulnerable in his private character.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, Autobiography 1913

“The Lord's Work”

“It is very essential that a man should have in him the capacity to defy his fellows if he thinks that they are doing the work of the devil and not the work of the Lord. But it is even more essential for him to remember that he be most cautious about the mistaking his own views for those of the Lord.”

“We fight in honorable fashion for the good of mankind, fearless of the future, unheeding of our individual fates. With unflinching hearts and undiminished eyes, we stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Chicago, IL, June 17, 1912


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

 – Theodore Roosevelt, Washington, D.C., January 1917

”All daring and courage, all iron endurance, of misfortune, all devotion to the ideal of honor and the glory of the flag, make for a finer and nobler type of manhood.”

Teddy Roosevelt while he was president always preferred a small church where the “common people met.”

“You are not going to make any new commandments at this stage which will supply the place of the old ones. The truths that were true  at the foot of Mt. Sinai are true now.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, Oyster Bay, New York, September 8, 1906

The True Christian!

“The true Christian is the true citizen, lofty of purpose, resolute in endeavor, ready for a hero’s deeds, but never looking down on his task because it is cast in the day of small things., scornful of baseness, awake to his own duties as well as to his rights, following the higher law with reverence and in this world doing all that in him lies, so that when death comes he may feel that mankind is in some degree better because he has lived.”

America and Americans!

”Is America a weakling, to shrink from the great world powers? No! The young giant of the west stands on a continent and clasps the crest of an ocean in either hand. Our nation, glorious in youth and strength, looks into the future with eager eyes and ‘rejoices as a strong man to run a race.’

”The American people ‘are slow to wrath,’ but when their wrath is once kindled, it burns ‘like a consuming fire.’

”Stout of heart, we see, across the dangers, the great future that lies beyond and we rejoice as a giant refreshed, as a strong man girt for the race, and we go down into the arena where the nations strive for mastery, out hearts lifted with the faith that to us and our children and our children’s children, it shall be given to make this republic the
mightiest among the peoples of mankind.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, Sept. 11, 1902

“No man can lead a public career really worth leading, no man can act with rugged independence in serious crises, nor strike at great abuses, nor afford to make powerful and unscrupulous foes, if he himself is vulnerable in his private character.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, 1913

”No brave and good man can properly shirk death, and no criminal who has earned death should be allowed to shirk it.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, 1913

“When I left the presidency, I finished seven and a half years of administration during which not one shot had been fired against a foreign foe. We were at absolute peace, and there was no nation in the world whom we had wronged, or from whom we had anything to fear.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, 1913

“A churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid down grade.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, 1911 to the Boy Scouts of America

“If an American is to amount to anything, he must rely upon himself and not upon the state. He must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not

–Theodore Roosevelt, 1911

The Importance of the Education of the Bible

“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”

–President Theodore Roosevelt

Here is a wonderful story, true, about a President of the United States of America in the year 1902. I will quote it as it was spoken ...

”During the height of an intensely tense diplomatic showdown with Britain and Germany over their forcible recovery of debt service in Venezuela, several key military advisers were summoned to the White House. When they entered Roosevelt’s office, they found him furiously pouring over a well-worn Bible and an exhaustive concordance.

”After a long and uncomfortable silence during which the President never acknowledged their presence. one of the generals cleared his throat and addressed the great man.

’You asked for us, sir?”

”Without looking up from the volumes before him, the President responded, ”Well, just don’t stand there men. I need help. I can’t remember why I hold to the Monroe Doctrine. I know that it’s got to be in here somewhere.”

”Still not comprehending what he wanted them to do, the man moved toward his desk, whereupon the President handed each of them a Bible to peruse.

”Go to work, men,” he told them. “I can’t act without warrant. I can’t pronounce policy without precedence of precept.”

Roosevelt believed that there were absolutes. To his mind, true leadership must always be accountable to that set of unchanging principles, ones not affected by the movement of the clock or the advance of the calendar. And he believed that those absolute principles could only reliably be found in the Book of Books, the Bible.

Taken from pages 174 and 175  of a book called Carry A Big Stick, by George Grant.

Thought For Today

“Never indulge yourself on the sinner’s stool. If you did any harm, that won’t undue it. You’ll probably rake it up, the sinner’s stool is often the only available publicity spot for the otherwise totally obscure egotist.”

–President Theodore Roosevelt

The Importance of the Scriptures in the Life of Our Nation

“Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally impossible for us to figure ourselves what that life would be if these standards were removed. We would lose almost all the standards by which we now judge both public and private morals, all the standards which we, with more or less resolution, strive to raise ourselves.”

Roosevelt quoted the Bible often, evincing his intimate familiarity with it. One biographical archivist examined his published works and found that he had so integrated Scripture into his thought processes, that there were actually more than 4,200 Biblical images, references, inferences, or complete quotations contained therein. And his unpublished letters, articles, and speeches contained hundreds, perhaps even thousands more.

– James Lever, The Roosevelt Mythos, 1923, page 191

Thought For the Day

“I am proud of my Holland, Huguenot, and Covenanting ancestors and proud that the blood of that stark Puritan divine Jonathan Edwards flows in the veins of my children.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

“An adroit politician, if he excels in the use of high sounding words, may win votes and gain office by thus pandering to men who wish to hear their selfishness, their short-sightedness, or their timidity exalted into virtues, but he is sapping the moral vitality of the people he misleads.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

”Our foreign policy is waging peace.”

“How can you approach the mighty theme of righteousness and truth and leave God out?”

”There is but one piece of spiritual good fortune that surpasses having the friendship of a good man and that is to have a perfect marriage.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Thought for Today

“The world is at this moment passing through one of those terrible periods of convulsions when the souls of men and nations are tried by fire.
”Woe to the man or the nation that at such a time stands as once Laodicea stood, as the people of ancient Meroz stood, when they dared not come to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
”In such a crisis, the moral weakling is the enemy of the right, the enemy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

– Legacy of Theodore Roosevelt

Thought for the Day!

“Morning prayers were with my father. We used to stand at the foot of the stairs and when Father came down called out, “I speak for you and the cubby-hole, too!
”There were three of us young children and we used to sit with Father on the sofa while he conducted morning prayers. The place between Father and the arm of the sofa we called the ‘cubby-hole.’
”The child who got that place we regarded as especially favoured both in comfort and somehow in rank and title.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

A President’s Platform!

When Theodore Roosevelt was questioned often by an inquisitive public, he was quick to state his system of Doctrine was best summarized in the lyrics of his favorite hymn.

How Firm a Foundation!       (We have forgotten the words!)

How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word
What more can He say than to you He has said
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not I am with you, O be not dismayed
For I am your God and will still give you aid
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call you to go
The rivers of waters shall not overflow
For I will be with you, your troubles to bless
And sanctify to you your deepest distress.

When through fiery trails your pathway shall lie
My Grace all sufficient shall be your supply
The flame shall not harm you, I only design
Your dross to consume and your gold to refine.

E’ven down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love
And when hoary hair shall their temples adorn
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be born.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to His foes
That soul, that all hell should endeavour to shake
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Believing that all leadership is in the end moral leadership, Roosevelt was convinced that a leader’s faith must be firmly established. Quite obviously his was.


“The nameless pioneers and settlers. The obscure mothers and fathers. The quiet craftsmen and tradesmen. It is only among these that the real story of America is told. It is only among them that the brilliance of liberty may be comprehended.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

By His Fruit You Shall Know Him!

“Before a man can discipline other men, he must demonstrate his ability to discipline himself. Before he may be allowed the command of commission, he must evidence command of character.”

”Look then to the works of his hands, hear the words of his mouth. “By his fruit you shall know him.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Thought for the Day!

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

–Theodore Roosevelt

Political Thought for the Day!

“The old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss ridden and privilege controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly what should be said on the vital issued of the day.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, “The political battle of 1912”

Thought for the Day!

 “Happy homes are the responsibility of husbands and fathers, but inevitably it is wives and mothers who make it so.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Thought for the Day!

“Weasel words from molly coddles will never do when the day demands prophetic clarity from greyhearts.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Thought for the Day!

In 1917, when American troops were preparing to sail across the seas in order to take to the battlefields of France and Belgium in the first World War, the New York Bible Society asked Theodore Roosevelt to inscribe a message in the pocket New Testament that each of the soldiers would be given.

The great man happily complied. And he began by giving a striking Biblical call for a life of balance, what he called “Micah mandate.”

”He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you, but to do justice and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” Micah 6:8

”Saying that the whole teaching of the New Testament is actually foreshadowed in Micah’s verse.

”He exhorted the men to lead the world in both word and deed through unimpeachable moral uprightness.”

In his brief message to the soldiers he explained, “Do justice, and therefore fight valiantly against those that stand for the reign of Moloch and Beelzebub on this Earth. Love mercy, treat your enemies well, succor the afflicted, treat every women as if she were your sister, care for the little children, and be tender with the old and helpless. Walk humbly, you will do so if you study the life and teachings of the Saviour, walking in His steps.”

Thought for the Day!

“The first prerequisite of true leadership is a happy home. The private life is the proving ground for the public life.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Moral Compass!

“The role of a leader is primarily to serve as a moral compass, pointing others to the true north of justice and righteousness.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Thought for the Day!

“It is a good thing for all Americans and it is an especially good thing for all young Americans to remember the men who have given their lives in war and peace to the service of their fellow countrymen and to keep in mind the feats of daring and personal prowess done in time past by some of the many champions of the nation in the various crises of her history.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Thought for the Day!

“No abounding of material prosperity shall avail if our spiritual senses atrophy. The foes of our own household will surely prevail against us unless there be in our people an inner life which finds its outer expression in a morality like unto that preached by the seers and prophets of God when the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome still lay in the future.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Thought for the Day!

“A just war is in the long run better for a man’s soul than the most prosperous peace.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

A President’s View of Right-Man/Right-Woman

“There is need to develop all the virtues that have the state for their sphere of action, but these virtues are as dust in a windy street unless back of them lie the strong and tender virtues of a family life based upon the love of one man for the one woman and on their joyous and fearless acceptance of their common obligations to the children that are theirs.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Thought for the Day

Who Goes There?

Who goes there? An American!
Brain and spirit and brawn and heart.
’Twas for him that the nations spared
Each to the years its noblest part,
Till from the Dutch, the Gaul, the Celt
Blossomed the soul of Roosevelt.

Student, trooper, and gentleman
Level-lidded with times and kings.
His the voice for a comrade’s cheer
His the ear when the saber rings.
Hero shades of the old days melt
In the quick pulse of Roosevelt.

Hand that’s molded to hilt of sword
Heart that ever has laughed at fear;
Type and pattern of civic pride.
Wit and Grace of the cavalier,
All that his fathers prayed and felt
Gleams in the glance of Roosevelt

Who goes there? An American!
Man to the core, as men should be
Let him pass through the lines alone
Type of the sons of liberty.
Here where his fathers’ fathers dwelt
Honor and faith for Roosevelt.

Senator George Wharton Pepper at a vast memorial meeting in Philadelphia summarized the sudden and grievous death of Theodore Roosevelt and the importance of the great man’s legacy, his unflinching legacy of justice, and humility to future generations.

”We as a people have a sore need of Theodore Roosevelt. But not only collectively do we need him, we need him as individuals. When we look into our hearts, we find that we shall have sustained a personal loss if we allow the Colonel to leave us.

You and I need him as a factor in our daily lives. We have more energy when the Colonel is about. We are less content to submit to injustice, less appalled by obstacles in the path of progress with the Colonel near. We are far braver men and finer women where the Colonel leads us. We are sure of the direction in which we are moving when he gives commands. We are not in doubt about our objective. Happily, it will not be difficult to keep him with us. Theodore Roosevelt alive is easy to conceive of. Theodore Roosevelt dead is altogether unthinkable. Such a man strengthens our belief in immortality. He has but gone to that front from which nobody would dare to hold him back.”

Do you know of any other president that can be spoken of?

Thought for the Day!

“I thoroughly enjoyed Harvard and I am sure it did me good. But only in the general effect, for there was very little in my actual studies which helped me in after life.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

The President and His Lady

Distracted by the call of duty back to Albany, Roosevelt was forced to leave Alice several times during her pregnancy, much to the distress of both of them. Each day he would write tender letters to her expressing his deepest affections.

”I have to read my Bible all to myself without my pretty Queenie standing beside me in front of the looking glass combing out her hair. There is no pretty, sleeping rosebud face to kiss and love when I wake in the morning.”

President’s Pride

“I can quite legitimately claim to be a proud son of the south.”

A President’s Sorrows!

“Life brings sorrows and joys alike. It is what a man does with them, not what they do to him. That is the true test of his mettle.”

”The real trouble began when a telegram was sent to Roosevelt. The next morning it noted that while his baby was in good health, the mother was ‘only fairly well.’ A few  hours later he received another message ominously bidding him to return to New York ‘immediately.’

When at last he reached home, he was met by his distraught brother with dire words, “There is a curse on this house. Mother is dying and Alice is dying, too.” The doctor’s had diagnosed Alice as suffering from Bright’s Disease, a severe renal ailment, which had gone undetected throughout her pregnancy.

Mother Bullock Roosevelt, who had fallen ill with what appeared to be a cold a few days before, was diagnosed as suffering from the final stages of typhoid. The two people dearest to him in all the world were now on the threshold of death, at the same time in the same house.

Roosevelt rushed up the stairs and disconsolately held Alice in his arms for several hours while she hung on to life by a slender thread. He was beckoned downstairs where his mother was drawing her final breath.

Sometime after midnight she died. And Roosevelt ran back up the stairs to Alice. His vigil continued through the long night and into the next day. Alice was just 22 years old.

Two days later Roosevelt sat in the front pew of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, where he and Alice had worshipped together so many times, for the double funeral.

The next day they were back in the same pew for the baptism of Roosevelt’s little daughter. She was christened Alice Lee.

Later he would write in his journal “The light has gone out of my life.”

The Home-Going of a President

On February 9, 1919, a memorial service was held in Congress and afterwards a reverent prayer vigil was held. Henry Cabot Lodge spoke in halting tones of a man like no other man any of them had ever known.

The following is just a small portion of what he had to say.

”Indeed, the absolute purity and integrity of his family life, where those ideals first met the test of authenticity, tell us why the pride and interest which his fellow countrymen felt in him was always touched with the warm light of love. In the home so dear to him, in his sleep, death came, and, so Valiant-for-Truth passed over and all the trumpets sounded before him on the other side.”

P.S. Contrast this with our present president and see where we are.

The Ultimate Triumph!!

“I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife, to preach that highest form of success which comes not to the man who does not shrink from danger, hardships, or from the bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

For more information on Theodore Roosevelt and his words of wisdom, please contact Buddy Dano. For comments about this web site, please email me.

Back to the TR Room.


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