Theodore Roosevelt Quotes

The following is a list of quotations attributed to Theodore Roosevelt. Where a source can be verified, it is noted below along with a brief explanation of the setting or the context for that quote. This list includes a number of quotations for which a source has not been verified in Theodore Roosevelt's writings.

The context for many of the quotes included here reflects research that has been conducted throughout the years by curators of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection at Harvard University, which is presented here through a cooperation between Harvard College Library and the Theodore Roosevelt Center. Quotations will be added to this list as staff at both institutions continue their research.

Featured Quote:

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 high resolve is dimmed, if we trail in the dust the golden hopes of men. If on this new continent we merely build another country of great but unjustly divided material prosperity, we shall have done nothing; and we shall do as little if we merely set the greed of envy against the greed of arrogance, and thereby destroy the material well-being of all of us. To turn this Government either into government by a plutocracy or government by a mob would be to repeat on a larger scale the lamentable failures of the world that is dead.
Progressive Principles

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Sometimes in life, both at school and afterwards, fortune will go against anyone, but if he just keeps pegging away and don’t lose his courage things always take a turn for the better in the end.
December 2, 1904, letter from Theodore Roosevelt to Kermit Roosevelt
Let us keep untarnished, unstained, the honor of the flag.
Fear God and Take Your Own Part
In life as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard.
The Strenuous Life
For joy or for sorrow my life has now been lived out.
This precipitous statement was written in TR’s journal on February 17, 1884, the day on which his daughter was christened Alice Lee Roosevelt. The statement exudes misery and perfectly describes his desolation at the loss of his first wife and his mother, who were buried together two days earlier.
Remember always that the man who does a thing so that it is worth doing is always a man who does his work for the work’s sake…A scientific man, a writer, a historian, an artist, can only be a good man of science, a first-class artist, a first-class writer, if he does his work for the sake of doing it well…
From an address at Nicholas Murray Butler's installation as president of Columbia University, April 1902.
We need to keep our faces steadily toward the sun. You can change the simile, to keep our eyes to the stars, but remember that our feet have got to be on the ground.
Speech before the Union League Club, Chicago, on Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22, 1911.
Bodily vigor is good, and vigor of intellect is even better, but far above both is character.
The Strenuous Life
Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time.
"Foes in our Household" speech, Lincoln, Nebraska, June 14, 1917.
A great democracy has got to be progressive, or it will soon cease to be either great or a democracy ...
The Nation and the States, Speech before the Colorado Legislature, August 29, 1910
This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in if it is not a reasonably good place for all of us to live in.
This quote is from an address at Louisville, Kentucky, April 3, 1912.
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