Theodore Roosevelt

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2006, 12:00am
 

Excerpts from Theodore Roosevelt's speech 'The strenuous life' in Chicago on April 10, 1899:


I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort; of labour and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes not to the man who desires mere easy peace but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.


A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual ...


We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbour; 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 this life we get nothing save by effort. Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been stored-up effort in the past.


Language points


1. to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life


- to advocate the virtues of hard work because people should not seek out easy ways in life


2. the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil


- people who work hard and do not give up when faced with difficulties


3. We do not admire the man of timid peace


- we (the Americans) do not respect people who have no courage


4. the man who never wrongs his neighbour


- people who never treat others badly


5. the stern strife of actual life


- the hardship of day-to-day life


6. In this life we get nothing save by effort


- we will not be rewarded unless we work hard


Reflections


What is a 'strenuous life'?


According to Roosevelt, how can people win 'the splendid ultimate triumph'?


Theodore Roosevelt


(1858-1919)


Biography


Date of Birth: October 27, 1858


Place of Birth: New York City, US


President: 1901 - 1909


Award: Nobel Peace Prize, 1906


Date of Death: January 6, 1919


Background


As the youngest president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt is an icon in American history. His famous speech, 'The strenuous life', indicates the kind of person he is.


Having coped with the deaths of his first wife and his mother on the same day, he emerged as a 'rough rider' in world politics.


In his speech, he encouraged men and women to fight against hardship, to uphold justice, and not to take the easy route in life.


Activity


Circle five words that describe people who lead a 'strenuous life'


Answer: virile, helpful, persistant, hardworking, determinedvirile, put in effort,


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