Theodore Roosevelt – “It is not the critic who counts, but the man in the arena”

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919)

War Hero Medal of Honor
  • Youngest President at age 42
  • Hero of the Spanish American War, where he led the Calvary “Rough Riders”
  • First President to receive the Medal of Honor
  • An avid naturalist and zealous conservationist
  • Responsible for our National Parks and National Forests
  • An outdoorsman, big game hunter, fisherman, explorer, adventurer
  • Barely survived an exploratory expedition of the Amazon
  • Credited with the completion of the Panama Canal
  • Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Memorialized on Mount Rushmore
  • Most famous quote: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
  • “Teddy Bear” named in his honor

In 1910, Teddy Roosevelt delivered a speech at the Sorbonne in Paris entitled “Citizenship of the Republic.”  The most famous passage is referred to as “The Man in the Arena.” In this season of critics and trolls, his speech is very timely.

“The Man in the Arena”

Mount Rushmore

“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 up 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.”

With Naturalist John Muir
Operating Steam Shovel at Panama Canal

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