Manvotional: The American Boy by Theodore Roosevelt

by Brett & Kate McKay on October 19, 2008 · 10 comments

in A Man's Life, Manvotionals

In a speech, Roosevelt extolled the manly virtues that every boy and man should develop: hard work, courage, and a disposition to do good. The lack of men of character in the world today makes this speech relevant even today. As fathers or mentors, let us seek to raise up a generation of boys like the one TR describes. As men, let us seek to develop these traits ourselves.

What we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man.

The boy can best become a good man by being a good boy–not a goody-goody boy, but just a plain good boy.

I do not mean that he must love only the negative virtues; I mean that he must love the positive virtues also. ‘Good,’ in the largest sense, should include whatever is fine, straightforward, clean, brave and manly.

The best boys I know–the best men I know–are good at their studies or their business, fearless and stalwart, hated and feared by all that is wicked and depraved, incapable of submitting to wrongdoing, and equally incapable of being aught but tender to the weak and helpless.

Of course the effect that a thoroughly manly, thoroughly straight and upright boy can have upon the companions of his own age, and upon those who are younger, is incalculable.

If he is not thoroughly manly, then they will not respect him, and his good qualities will count for but little; while, of course, if he is mean, cruel, or wicked, then his physical strength and force of mind merely make him so much the more objectionable a member of society.

He can not do good work if he is not strong and does not try with his whole heart and soul to count in any contest; and his strength will be a curse to himself and to every one else if he does not have a thorough command over himself and over his own evil passions, and if he does not use his strength on the side of decency, justice and fair dealing.

In short, in life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard: don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Daniel Richard October 19, 2008 at 7:40 am

Being manly and doing good are synonymous. No doubt’s about that. Coming from Theodore Roosevelt helps makes it more down to earth and applicable to us even until today. :)

2 Chris October 19, 2008 at 8:48 am

Wow, that quote at the end about hitting the line hard is just awesome.

3 B. Wilde October 19, 2008 at 1:06 pm

I have 3 sons and this really hits home. So much to teach them. But more to try and help them develop in their characters. Thanks for sharing.

4 Kevin October 19, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Teddy Roosevelt… what a tremendous man and inspiring model to follow.

5 Tyler Hayes October 19, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Didn’t Teddy also have a bear in the white house? Good man, but Andrew Jackson was still more of a man than Teddy, or maybe just a crazy man…

PS – Can you please add Facebook to your Sociable bar?

6 Joe Wiegand October 20, 2008 at 3:51 am

Thank you for the good work you do. TR learned a great deal about being a virtuous man from his father, also named Theodore Roosevelt. The tradition of raising manly men is one very worthy of our best efforts. All the best.

TR Joe –

7 Steve Imparl October 20, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Thanks for this inspiring quotation. It is really encouraging to have this strong reminder about living a life of purpose, strength, meaning, service, kindness, and virtue.

8 Joey Bagadonuts March 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Teddy Roosevelt, certainly one of the greatest of all US Presidents and my hero for 50 years. A quick bio:

1.) At 23, the youngest elected state representative in New York state history.
2.) Appointed New York City Police Commissioner
3.) Appointed Assistant Secretary of the US Navy
4.) At 40, organized the U.S. First Volunteer Cavalry, the “Rough Riders” and fought in the Spanish-American was in Cuba. TR was subsequently awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery during the charge on Kettle Hill (known to most as San Juan Hill).
5.) Elected Governor of New York
6.) Elected Vice President of the US and then elected President of the US
7.) Explored and mapped the River of Doubt in the Amazon

While President, Theodore Roosevelt had these accomplishments:

FIRST President to fly in an airplane
FIRST President to be submerged in a submarine
FIRST President to own a car
FIRST President to have a telephone in his home
FIRST President to travel outside the US while President
FIRST President to invite an African American to dinner at the White House
FIRST President to win a Nobel Prize. (Nobel Peace Prize)

TR was responsible for naming the Presidents home, “The White House”
TR was responsible for the construction of the Panama Canal
TR delivered the first “State of the Union” message to Congress
TR created the US Forest Service
TR negotiated the Portsmouth Treaty which ended the Russo-Japanese War
TR created the Meat Inspection Act ,that led to the Pure Food and Drug Act
TR created the US Antiquities Act
TR gained a reputation as a “Trust-buster” invoking the Sherman Anti-Trust Act
TR settled the coal strike
TR created Crater Lake and Wind Cave National Parks
TR created the Department of Commerce
TR has Standard Oil indicted on Anti-Trust charges
TR created Platt and Mesa Verde National Parks
TR convened the North American Conservation Congress
TR created the first 18 national monuments, including: Devils Tower, Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon
TR created the first 51 federal bird sanctuaries

TR, on his way to give a speech in Milwaukee, was shot in the chest. The bullet perforated his eyeglass case and his folded speech that was in his pocket, and lodged in his chest. TR refused to go to the hospital, and while bleeding, gave a 90 minute speech to the crowd. Only then would he allow himself to be taken to the hospital. The Dr’s could not remove the bullet and TR carried it in his chest for the rest of his life.

TR was a prolific author as well as a voracious reader. TR wrote 46 books in his lifetime, and even while President would read 1-3 books a day.

TR is the ONLY US President to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize AND the US Congressional Medal of Honor.

I could go on and on, but I’ll conclude by saying………”TR….a helluva guy.”


9 Ralph Hanline October 25, 2013 at 7:17 am

I had read all that about TR, but had forgot about it. What a man’s man he must have been. Now, if he had only been a U.S. Marine too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 Sled Kutch October 25, 2013 at 11:41 am

Roosevelt was a man of tremendous personal character, but his political views were at best misguided. As president he ignored, violated and disregarded the Constitution regularly.

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