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The Duties of American Citizenship is a speech by Theodore Roosevelt. This speech was delivered in Buffalo, New York on January 26, 1883. Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. (October 27, 1858 - January 6, 1919) was an American politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, and historian who served as the 26th President of the United States. He was a leader of the Republican The Duties of American Citizenship is a speech by Theodore Roosevelt. This speech was delivered in Buffalo, New York on January 26, 1883. Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. (October 27, 1858 - January 6, 1919) was an American politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, and historian who served as the 26th President of the United States. He was a leader of the Republican Party (GOP) and founder of the Progressive Party insurgency of 1912. He is known for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity. Born into a wealthy family in New York City, Roosevelt was a sickly child who suffered from asthma. To overcome his physical weakness, he embraced a strenuous life. He was home-schooled and became an eager student of nature. He attended Harvard College where he studied biology, boxed, and developed an interest in naval affairs. He quickly entered politics, determined to become a member of the ruling class. In 1881 he was elected to the New York State Assembly, where he became a leader of the reform faction of the GOP. His book The Naval War of 1812 (1882) established him as a learned historian and writer. When his first wife Alice died two days after giving birth in February 1884 (and his mother died the same day in the same house), he was heartbroken and in despair; Roosevelt temporarily left politics and became a cattle rancher in the Dakotas. When blizzards destroyed his herd, he returned to New York City politics, running and losing a race for mayor. In the 1890s he took vigorous charge of the city police as New York City Police Commissioner. By 1897, under President William McKinley, Roosevelt was in effect running the Navy Department. When the war with Spain broke out in 1898, he helped form the famous Rough Riders, a combination of wealthy Easterners and Western cowboys. He gained national fame for his courage in battle in Cuba, then returned to be elected Governor of New York. He was the GOP nominee for Vice President with William McKinley, campaigning successfully against radicalism and for prosperity, national honor, imperialism (regarding the Philippines), high tariffs and the gold standard. Roosevelt became President after McKinley was assassinated in 1901. He was inaugurated at age 42, the youngest person to become president. He attempted to move the GOP toward Progressivism, including trust busting and increased regulation of businesses. In November 1904 he was reelected in a landslide against conservative Democrat Alton Brooks Parker. Roosevelt called his domestic policies a "Square Deal," promising a fair deal to the average citizen while breaking up monopolistic corporations, holding down railroad rates, and guaranteeing pure food and drugs. He was the first president to speak out on conservation, and he greatly expanded the system of national parks and national forests. By 1907 he propounded more radical reforms, which were blocked by the conservative Republicans in Congress. His foreign policy focused on the Caribbean, where he built the Panama Canal and guarded its approaches. There were no wars, but his slogan, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" was underscored by sending the greatly expanded Navy-the Great White Fleet-on a world tour. He negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize.


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The Duties of American Citizenship is a speech by Theodore Roosevelt. This speech was delivered in Buffalo, New York on January 26, 1883. Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. (October 27, 1858 - January 6, 1919) was an American politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, and historian who served as the 26th President of the United States. He was a leader of the Republican The Duties of American Citizenship is a speech by Theodore Roosevelt. This speech was delivered in Buffalo, New York on January 26, 1883. Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. (October 27, 1858 - January 6, 1919) was an American politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, and historian who served as the 26th President of the United States. He was a leader of the Republican Party (GOP) and founder of the Progressive Party insurgency of 1912. He is known for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity. Born into a wealthy family in New York City, Roosevelt was a sickly child who suffered from asthma. To overcome his physical weakness, he embraced a strenuous life. He was home-schooled and became an eager student of nature. He attended Harvard College where he studied biology, boxed, and developed an interest in naval affairs. He quickly entered politics, determined to become a member of the ruling class. In 1881 he was elected to the New York State Assembly, where he became a leader of the reform faction of the GOP. His book The Naval War of 1812 (1882) established him as a learned historian and writer. When his first wife Alice died two days after giving birth in February 1884 (and his mother died the same day in the same house), he was heartbroken and in despair; Roosevelt temporarily left politics and became a cattle rancher in the Dakotas. When blizzards destroyed his herd, he returned to New York City politics, running and losing a race for mayor. In the 1890s he took vigorous charge of the city police as New York City Police Commissioner. By 1897, under President William McKinley, Roosevelt was in effect running the Navy Department. When the war with Spain broke out in 1898, he helped form the famous Rough Riders, a combination of wealthy Easterners and Western cowboys. He gained national fame for his courage in battle in Cuba, then returned to be elected Governor of New York. He was the GOP nominee for Vice President with William McKinley, campaigning successfully against radicalism and for prosperity, national honor, imperialism (regarding the Philippines), high tariffs and the gold standard. Roosevelt became President after McKinley was assassinated in 1901. He was inaugurated at age 42, the youngest person to become president. He attempted to move the GOP toward Progressivism, including trust busting and increased regulation of businesses. In November 1904 he was reelected in a landslide against conservative Democrat Alton Brooks Parker. Roosevelt called his domestic policies a "Square Deal," promising a fair deal to the average citizen while breaking up monopolistic corporations, holding down railroad rates, and guaranteeing pure food and drugs. He was the first president to speak out on conservation, and he greatly expanded the system of national parks and national forests. By 1907 he propounded more radical reforms, which were blocked by the conservative Republicans in Congress. His foreign policy focused on the Caribbean, where he built the Panama Canal and guarded its approaches. There were no wars, but his slogan, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" was underscored by sending the greatly expanded Navy-the Great White Fleet-on a world tour. He negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize.

30 review for Citizenship in a Republic

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ha Pham

    Though some points are dated by today's standard (the role of men and women in society and in the family, and the bias toward man of action...) the spirit of the speech is still relevant today. The ideas are not necessarily only applicable to the public and political world - they have implications for your personal life as well. Though some points are dated by today's standard (the role of men and women in society and in the family, and the bias toward man of action...) the spirit of the speech is still relevant today. The ideas are not necessarily only applicable to the public and political world - they have implications for your personal life as well.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Basilius

    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 w 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 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. Speaking to an assembly of academics and well-to-dos at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1910, I don’t know what Theodore Roosevelt’s original purpose for visiting France was. I assume he was asked to speak there after his presidency (ending a year earlier), and he certainly took the opportunity to flatter the French and their friendship with America. But the title of the speech given, Citizenship in a Republic, seems like an odd topic. Why would Paris’ elite want to be educated on citizenship? Maybe they were ignorant of the speech’s content? If so, what was the Bull Moose’s aim? Maybe this lack of context is for the best. It removes any obvious political motivation or agenda, and may suggest (dare I say it?) Teddy was genuinely interested in discussing what it means to be a ‘good citizen’ in modern times. Like Pericles’ Funeral Oration fifteen centuries prior, Citizenship in a Republic stresses the advantages and responsibilities of the citizen in democratic societies. But where Pericles was speaking in a time of war, Teddy is speaking in a period of peace. He begins by celebrating the vigorous sinew and grit that allowed early Americans to migrate west and conquer North America. Shunned is the timid man who stayed home under the soft protection of his country. Celebrated is the salt-of-the-earth working man with whom the foundation of civilization was laid. But that part of America’s history is over. In the modern industrial world buildings have begun to be raised on those foundations, and a new type of man is needed: a man with all the same virility and pluck of prior generations, but with a cultivated refinement and compassion that allows for civilization to flourish. This man must be able to carry his own weight and support his family. After that, his surplus labor must benefit society, and he must strive to be the sort of citizen that is both “efficient and moral,” that is, a good and powerful person. There are a lot of dimensions to Teddy’s speech but many of them are not worth delving into. It’s filled with platitudes—all frankly true—that people in a republic must be moral yet practical, strong yet empathetic, rich yet altruistic, patriotic yet accepting of others: you get the idea. Don’t get me wrong, I adore this stuff. Teddy’s vision of the ideal citizen is timeless, and so vividly expressed that I’m confident no future political leader will top it. It’s just there isn’t a lot to chew on. The most interesting parts of his argument are a.) the idea that a good citizen must be powerful in order to be good, and b.) where the morals/sensibilities of 1910 conflict with those a century later. Let’s take (a). To Teddy, a citizen that is not powerful is useless to perform the work necessary to keep a democracy going. As democratic republics are representative, they can only reflect the character of the citizens who comprise them. This means it’s imperative that all citizens progress themselves to their upmost ability in order for their country to thrive. Any slack on the part of the people is amplified nationally. Fair enough, but what does he mean by powerful? Physically? Financially? Politically? For Teddy, the most important thing a person can do is first develop a strong character: to build within themselves the virtues and abilities that the grueling strife of life demands. From there one must develop a strong body and a strong mind. One must engage with their community and have their voice be heard. One must be moral, and stand up for righteousness. One must take all of these attributes—necessary for a well-lived life—and insert them into their government. That is the only way to keep a republic going. Before we consider the merits of this let’s first consider some questionable qualities Teddy promotes above in (b). First, that all Americans should have kids. Second, that love for one’s own country is more important that love for other countries (though still key). Third, the idea that “just wars” are preferable to “unjust peace.” These ideas, while not invalidated by any means, are being challenged in our modern world and have persuasive arguments against them. Many people have moral, useful, and fulfilling lives without children. Many are finding it harder and harder to argue that a foreigner’s life is worth less, for example, than an American’s (no more than we would claim the opposite). And many would say that wars fought for purely moral ends can have disastrous strategic residue, where we beget more injustice. (One need only think of Teddy’s actions in the Philippines.) My prior description of Citizenship in a Republic as “timeless” may be wrong; it may need some updates here and there. But I’m nitpicking. What’s salient is the core message of democracy, and one that T.R. drove home better than any other democratic politician in history (yes, even Pericles): in a republic power is dispersed and distributed to any who would stand up and claim it for their own. Equitably, if done right. Unevenly, if done wrong. This reminder—that democracies only function with strong and engaged citizens—is more than simple “politics” or civic duty. Yes, cynical detachment from government is a tragedy in slow motion (only half of Americans vote in their general election, and much less in local ballots). But just as important is the cultivation of strong character in each and every citizen, so that the worth of a country will not be sum of its parts, but a reflection of its weakest link. A high ideal, but one we will all meet together, or not at all.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lib DM

    Perhaps the most complete and best speech Roosevelt ever orated. It covers so many aspects of citizen life. I particularly liked the part of wealth. The fact that a man is wealthy is not what should receive credit, but how he attained it and what it is used for deserves the real credit. A man should create a base structure of materialism for his family, but on it, the superstructure of character and education should be built for his children to profit. He also touches on equality and justice. We Perhaps the most complete and best speech Roosevelt ever orated. It covers so many aspects of citizen life. I particularly liked the part of wealth. The fact that a man is wealthy is not what should receive credit, but how he attained it and what it is used for deserves the real credit. A man should create a base structure of materialism for his family, but on it, the superstructure of character and education should be built for his children to profit. He also touches on equality and justice. We should not only demand liberty for ourselves, but it is our equal duty to see it that others receive the liberty that we claim for our own. In a line that is so fitting for today's age (2017), it goes "not only should there be complete liberty in matters of religion and opinion, but complete liberty for each man to lead his life as he desires, provided only that in so doing he does not wrong his neighbor". On equality, his words mean more than ever. That simply, everyone should be given a chance. His line here says it all: "We are bound in honor to strive to bring ever nearer the day when, as far is humanly possible, we shall be able to realize the ideal that each man shall have an equal opportunity to show the stuff that is in him by the way in which he renders service."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Everyone should read this book, whether or not you agree with the political views of Roosevelt. Roosevelt was an excellent orator and this is one of the best speeches he has given, and the core tenants of his argument still stands today. The “Man in the arena” quote is what this speech is most famously known for, but the rest of the speech is highly substantial and worth multiple reads.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Walter Adamson

    Perhaps more relevant in the age of Trump than at any other time of US history. Not the sort of vision that we have become accustomed to from our politicians of today, as it is quite profound and thought-provoking even after more than 100 years.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Valentine

    In many ways aspects of what President Roosevelt said in this speech are more applicable today then what they were in early 20th century France.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eugenia Castaneda

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hyperion

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tom Voss

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joe O'Brien

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  12. 5 out of 5

    James Files

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jared Sleeper

  14. 5 out of 5

    Clay Marsh

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andreas Støyva

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

  19. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Ferrell

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Dunlap

  21. 4 out of 5

    Garrett

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tyler French

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andie

  24. 4 out of 5

    James Parks

  25. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tim Stadler

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sir Nicho

  28. 4 out of 5

    magdalena chemes

  29. 4 out of 5

    Casey

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

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