50 of the Best Teddy Roosevelt Quotes that are Still Relevant Today


Last Updated on September 22, 2021

“Speak softly but carry a big stick; you will go far.”

This West African proverb is probably one of the most-known statements that marked the term of the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909.

The assassination of then-President William McKinley made Theodore Roosevelt, going 43, the youngest president in the nation’s history. Progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy paved the way for the United States’ place in the international political theater.

His view of the president being “a steward of the people” should take any and all actions needed for the public good unless expressly forbidden by the law through the Constitution.

Accomplishments of Teddy Roosevelt as US President


Roosevelt’s progressive strategies inside the United States earned him his reputation as a “trust buster”, focusing on breaking up large businesses that either bought out rivals, or set arrangements that stifled competition. He sought to regulate the trusts he believed harmful to the public.

The need for a shortcut between the Atlantic and the Pacific led to the construction of the Panama Canal under Teddy Roosevelt’s administration. This system gave the United States more authority on matters involving South America and prevented foreign powers from establishing bases in the Caribbean.

Roosevelt’s other achievements were in conservation that not only dealt with environment protection, but also ensured that society as a whole benefitted from the country’s natural resources.

He saw how labor unrest could cripple the United States national build-up if not remedied. That’s why his administration initiated negotiations between company owners and the growing number of labor union members.

More than a US President, Theodore Roosevelt was also an author, soldier, explorer, and naturalist.  Get to know the man behind the statesman through these thought-provoking Teddy Roosevelt quotes.

Inspirational Teddy Roosevelt Quotes

“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

“I am a part of everything that I have read.”

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… 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.”

“To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.”

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

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

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

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

“In life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: hit the line hard.”

“The men and women who have the right ideals… are those who have the courage to strive for the happiness which comes only with labor and effort and self-sacrifice, and those whose joy in life springs in part from power of work and sense of duty.”

“We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done.”

“At sometime in our lives a devil dwells within us, causes heartbreaks, confusion and troubles, then dies.”

“We must remember not to judge any public servant by any one act, and especially should we beware of attacking the men who are merely the occasions and not the cause of disaster.”

“Order without liberty and liberty without order are equally destructive.”

“Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.”

“Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.”

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

“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 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, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows 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 cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

“The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.”

“When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.”

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

“Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.”

“When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all.”

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.”

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

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

“Let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.”

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

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

“With self-discipline, almost anything is possible.”

“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

“The boy who is going to make a great man must not make up his mind merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses and defeats.”

“Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.”

“Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time.”

“Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.”

“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.”

“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!”

“No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.”

“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.”

“A stream cannot rise larger than its source.”

“It is impossible to win the great prizes of life without running risks, and the greatest of all prizes are those connected with the home.”

“If I must choose between peace and righteousness, I choose righteousness.”

“Peace is normally a great good, and normally it coincides with righteousness, but it is righteousness and not peace which should bind the conscience of a nation as it should bind the conscience of an individual; and neither a nation nor an individual can surrender conscience to another’s keeping.”

“All the resources we need are in the mind.”

“Our chief usefulness to humanity rests on our combining power with high purpose. Power undirected by high purpose spells calamity, and high purpose by itself is utterly useless if the power to put it into effect is lacking.”

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