To a great man like Theodore Roosevelt speech was a powerful tool, which he successfully used to convince others to follow his lead. Having been an avid reader most of his life, he was well-versed in proper speech and etiquette, but sometimes, he purposely ignored them to get his point across.
Many speeches of Theodore Roosevelt have made their mark in history. A very famous speech was actually an address at The Hamilton Club in Chicago, Illinois on April 10, 1899. This speech, known as “The Strenuous Life” speech, was also the title of Theodore’s book, published the same year. In this speech, he admonishes those who would rather be ‘lazy’ than work hard for what they want in life. He used an analogy of hard working Chicagoans to the American citizen, saying that those who have worked hard (and taught their children to do the same) were the salt of the earth. He lambasted those who spend their leisure time in ‘idleness’. As he was wont to do, he praised the brave and berated the weak: “We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
In a historical study of Teddy Roosevelt famous speeches quickly become a main focus. The famous Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Address speech was given on Saturday, March 4, 1905. Because he had assumed presidential office following the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, this speech was his first as elected president. In this speech, Teddy began by saying Americans had much to be thankful for, because they had never been forced to ‘fight’ for existence. He warned the citizens to not be lazy or shirk their responsibilities; to work hard and be humble. He directed people to refrain from doing wrong to others, but to also protect themselves from having wrong done to them. Because the country had not yet faced a world war (it would come in the next decade), one statement in his speech is almost haunting: “Our forefathers faced certain perils which we have outgrown. We now face other perils, the very existence of which it was impossible that they should foresee.”
His “Square Deal” speech – given at a banquet in Dallas, Texas on April 5, 1905 – was an example of his progressive ideas at play. In this speech, he said that the only way America could prosper was by helping those who were in need. He warned that if men shirked their responsibility to one another, when the roles were one day reversed, it would be disastrous. He said: “The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us, and therefore in public life that man is the best
representative of each of us who seeks to do good to each by doing good to all”.
Theodore Roosevelt, shot during a speech on the re-election campaign trail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1912 was too much of a ‘bull moose’ to die. The man who tried to assassinate him – John Schrank – was a saloon owner from New York. During his trial, Schrank said he had a recurring dream wherein President William McKinley (whose 1901 assassination led to Teddy becoming president) ‘told’ him to “kill Roosevelt to avenge my death”. He was later found to be mentally insane, and spent the rest of his life in an asylum.