In the Words of Theodore Roosevelt: Quotations from the Man in the Arena


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“Speak softly and carry a big stick—you will go far. If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not ...

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In the Words of Theodore Roosevelt: Quotations from the Man in the Arena

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"We cannot do great deeds unless we are willing to do the small things that make up the sum of greatness."—on Action

"The American people are good-natured to the point of lax indifference; but once roused, they act with the most straightforward and practical resolution."—on America

“Speak softly and carry a big stick—you will go far. If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble; and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power.”—on the Big Stick

“We are, as a whole, still in that low state of civilization where we do not understand that it is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals—not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening.”—on Natural Resources

The public life of Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) was marked by his service as the twenty-sixth President of the United States, Vice President, Governor of New York State, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, U.S. Civil Service Commissioner, President of the New York City Police Commission, and New York State Assemblyman. In his life outside of government he was famous as an author, naturalist, rancher, big game hunter, and explorer. The twentieth century would become known as the American Century, and it was Theodore Roosevelt, through his foreign policy, who ushered the United States into the ranks of the world's great powers. In domestic affairs, he used his presidential powers to level the playing field between capital and labor, to protect consumers, and to establish a conservation program that was far-sighted and comprehensive, covering the nation's natural resources, its wilderness areas, its endangered species, its scenic beauty, and the cultural artifacts of its indigenous peoples.

Distilled from Roosevelt’s voluminous writings and speeches, In the Words of Theodore Roosevelt is a discerning collection of quotations by this American icon who continues to inspire and captivate an extraordinary array of twenty-first-century Americans. Carefully selected and organized by topic by Patricia O’Toole, these quotations reflect the vast range of Roosevelt’s interests, the depth of his wisdom, his almost superhuman energy, and his directness. Many of the issues that Roosevelt addressed—from America’s international role to the environment—remain pressing concerns today, giving his century-old words remarkable currency. This singular collection of quotations—enhanced by O’Toole’s illuminating introductory essay, notes on biographical and historical context, and bibliographies of Roosevelt’s writings—is a trove for writers, teachers, students, and all who recognize Theodore Roosevelt’s unique role in U.S. history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In the Words of Theodore Roosevelt is an indispensable reference book we sorely need and is worthy of a broad readership. Of U.S. presidents only Abraham Lincoln is more often quoted than T.R. Highly recommended!"—Douglas G. Brinkley, Rice University, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

"Theodore Roosevelt remains a figure of great personal inspiration to many, many Americans, young and old. This fascinating work new collection of quotations will be entertaining and useful for serious students of TR's life and times."—Kathleen Dalton, Phillips Academy, author of Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801449963
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/9/2012
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,481,808
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia O'Toole is a biographer who also teaches at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Her books include When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House, Money and Morals in America, and The Five of Hearts: An Intimate History of Henry Adams and His Friends, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: While Daring Greatly

Theodore Roosevelt Chronology

The Words of Theodore Roosevelt
Action – America – Americans – Archaeologists – Army – Art – Authors – The Big Stick – Books – Bullies – Business – Character – Children – Citizens – Class Conflict – Commonweal – Community – Conduct – Conservation – Constitution – Criticism – Defense – Democracy – Determination – Education – Equality – Experimentation – Extremism – Family Life – Fatherhood – Governing – Government – Great Nations – Historians – History – Human Nature – Hunters – Hunting – Ideals – Immigrants – Individualism – Industrial Relations – Industry – International Relations – Justice – Kings – Labor – Law – Lawsuits – Leadership – Legislation – Liberty – Life – Lincoln, Abraham – Literature – Lynching – The Man in the Arena – Marriage – Monopoly – Motherhood – Nationalism – National Parks – Natural Resources – Navy – Panama Canal – Peace – Philanthropy – Politicians – Political Campaigns – Political Parties – Politics – Pollution – Posterity – Power – Presidency – Press – Progressive Party – Progressivism – Promises – Prosperity – Public Life – Reactionaries – Reading – Reform – Reformers – Religion – Religious Freedom – The Rich – Roosevelt on Roosevelt – Roosevelt's Contemporaries on Roosevelt – Rough Riders – Scholarship – Science – Self-Discipline – Senate – Special Interests – Sports – Square Deal – Strenuous Life – Success – Tolerance – Veterans – Vice – Vice Presidency – Victory – Virtue – Voting – War – Washington, Booker T. – Wealth – The West – The White House – Wildlife Photography – Wilderness – Women – Women’s Rights

A Note on Editorial Method

Selected Bibliography

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