No people is wholly civilized where a distinction is drawn between stealing an office and stealing a purse.
— Theodore Roosevelt
It is difficult to make our material condition better by the best law, but it is easy enough to ruin it by bad laws.
The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.
For unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.
Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.
Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.
Obedience of the law is demanded; not asked as a favor.
The government is us; we are the government, you and I.
I am only an average man but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man.
Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.
The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight.
I took the Canal Zone and let Congress debate; and while the debate goes on, the canal does also.
When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.
It behooves every man to remember that the work of the critic is of altogether secondary importance, and that, in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does things.
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.
Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big.
Germany has reduced savagery to a science, and this great war for the victorious peace of justice must go on until the German cancer is cut clean out of the world body.
We can have no '50-50' allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all.
When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all.
Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.
There has never yet been a man in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.
The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.
I don't pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being.
Some men can live up to their loftiest ideals without ever going higher than a basement.
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.
Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been effort stored up in the past.
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.
Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.
A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.
People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.'
Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.
It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.
Wars are, of course, as a rule to be avoided; but they are far better than certain kinds of peace.
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president... is morally treasonable to the American public.
Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.
The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.
The pacifist is as surely a traitor to his country and to humanity as is the most brutal wrongdoer.
I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head.
A man who is good enough to shed his blood for the country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards.
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expedience.
The reactionary is always willing to take a progressive attitude on any issue that is dead.
A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.
The one thing I want to leave my children is an honorable name.
With self-discipline most anything is possible.
The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.