Theodore Roosevelt, my favorite president. Some of his quotes spoken like he was looking into the future and daring us to pay attention. I think, as a nation, we may have failed to heed his warnings.
Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far
Apparently this is a West African proverb that Teddy was fond of.
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 (Sorbonne, Paris April 23, 1910)
Let the watchwords of all our people be the old familiar watchwords of honesty, decency, fair-dealing, and commonsense.... We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less.The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us.
New York State Fair, Syracuse, September 7, 1903
We demand that big business give the people a square deal; in return we must insist that when anyone engaged in big business honestly endeavors to do right he shall himself be given a square deal.
Letter to Sir Edward Gray, November 1913
Viewed purely in the abstract, I think there can be no question that women should have equal rights with men."..."Especially as regards the laws relating to marriage there should be the most absolute equality between the two sexes. I do not think the woman should assume the man's name.
The Practicability of Equalizing Men and Women before the Law - Senior Thesis at Harvard 1880
Working women have the same need to protection that working men have; the ballot is as necessary for one class as to the other; we do not believe that with the two sexes there is identity of function; but we do believe there should be equality of right.
Speech, National Convention of the Probressive Party, Chicago IL, August 6, 1912
For unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.
An Autobiography, 1913
Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.
The Groton School, Groton, MA MAy 24, 1904
Optimism is a good characteristic, but if carried to an excess, it becomes foolishness. We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so.
Seventh Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1907
There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.
Confession of Faith Speech, Progressive National Convention, Chicago, IL, August 6, 1912
The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.
Address to the Deep Waterway Convention, Memphis, TN, October 4, 1907
A healthy-minded boy should feel hearty contempt for the coward and even more hearty indignation for the boy who bullies girls or small boys, or tortures animals."..."What we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man.
The American Boy, St. Nicholas Magazine, May 1900
The object of government is the welfare of the people." "Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.
The New Nationalism speech, Osawatomie, KS, August 31, 1910
I don't think any President ever enjoyed himself more than I did. Moreover, I don't think any ex-President ever enjoyed himself more."... "Success - the real success - does not depend upon the position you hold, but upon how you carry yourself in that position.
University of Cambridge, England, May 26, 1910
Men with the muckrake are often indispensable to the well-being of society, but only if they know when to stop raking the muck." "An epidemic in indiscriminate assault upon character does not good, but very great harm." "There should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil practice, whether in politics, in business, or in social life. I hail as a benefactor every writer or speaker, every man who, on the platform, or in book, magazine or newspaper, with merciless severity makes such attack,
Washington, DC, April 14, 1906
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.
Third Annual Message to Congress, December 7, 1903
Alone of human beings the good and wise mother stands on a plane of equal honor with the bravest soldier; for she has gladly gone down to the brink of the chasm of darkness to bring back the children in whose hands rests the future of the years.
The Great Adventure, 1918