The famous “Man in the Arena” quote has been used to good effect and as inspiration by countless people, including Brene Brown whose book “Daring Greatly” was inspired by it.
But the entire speech is actually awesome through and through, and filled with great quotes.
Indeed, if you read it today you are likely to find Roosevelt’s thoughts, comments and insights on everything from politics to human nature resonate as true today as they did on April 23rd, 1910.
In addition to the “Man in the Arena” quote below, here are four other exceptional quotes from the speech:
1) Theodore Roosevelt On “The Man In The Arena”:
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 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.
2) Theodore Roosevelt On War:
There are well-meaning philosophers who declaim against the unrighteousness of war. They are right only if they lay all their emphasis upon the unrighteousness. War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity. But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is a war. The choice must ever be in favor of righteousness, and this is whether the alternative be peace or whether the alternative be war. The question must not be merely, is there to be peace or war? The question must be: Is it right to prevail? Are the great laws of righteousness once more to be fulfilled? And the answer from a strong and virile people must be “Yes”, whatever the cost. Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble, but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong.
3) Theodore Roosevelt On Mastery:
We must ever remember that no keenness and subtleness of intellect, no polish, no cleverness, in any way make up for the lack of the great solid qualities. Self restraint, self mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution – these are the qualities which mark a masterful people. Without them no people can control itself, or save itself from being controlled by the outside.
4) Theodore Roosevelt On Human Rights:
In every civilized and great society property rights must be carefully safeguarded; ordinarily, and in the great majority of cases, human rights and property rights are fundamentally and in the long run identical; but when it clearly appears that there is a real conflict between them, human rights must have the upper hand, for property clearly belongs to man and not man to property.
5) Theodore Roosevelt On The Media And Journalism:
All journalists, all writers, for the very reason that they appreciate the vast possibilities of their profession, should bear testimony against those who deeply discredit it. Offenses against taste and morals, which are bad enough in a private citizen, are infinitely worse if made into instruments for debauching the community through a newspaper. Mendacity, slander, sensationalism, inanity, vapid triviality, all are potent factors for the debauchery of the public mind and conscience. The excuse advanced for vicious writing, that the public demands it and that demand must be supplied, can no more be admitted than if it were advanced by purveyors of food who sell poisonous adulterations.