Motivational Posters: Theodore Roosevelt Edition

by Brett & Kate McKay on May 17, 2009 · 54 comments

in A Man's Life, Motivational Posters


If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll know that we’re big fans of Theodore Roosevelt. No one preached the art of manliness more ardently or lived it more fervently than TR. To start your week off with a swift kick in the pants of manly inspiration, we’ve created some TR-themed motivational posters. Each poster includes a picture of Roosevelt living the strenuous life, along with a motivational quote from the man himself. Bully! (If you receive email updates, you might have to come to the site to see the images.)





















Hat tip to the folks at Sloshspot for inspiring us. Check out their series of humorous and insightful motivational posters from famous people like Mike Tyson, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Kurt Vonnegut, and Hunter S Thompson.

Check out all the motivational posters from AoM: 
Theodore Roosevelt Edition
George S. Patton Edition
Ernest Hemingway Edition
Winston Churchill Edition (Part I)
Winston Churchill Edition (Part II)
Black History Month Edition
Bear Bryant Edition
Founding Fathers Edition
Band of Brothers Edition
Business Posters from the 1920s and 1930s

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lando May 17, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Ok I’m digging this post to the extreme. I’m a fan of Teddy R myself and believe you me I’m gonna copy all of these quotes and add them to my weekly list of motivational arsenal.
BTW this particular quote is my favorite.
“With Self Discipline all things are possible. Without it, even the simplest goals can seem like the impossible dream.”

2 Nelson May 17, 2009 at 9:06 pm

This may be my favorite AoM post yet. And that’s saying something.

3 TTaylor May 17, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Teddy Roosevelt has always been a hero of mine and you just reminded me why. Thank you.

4 M Crawford May 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Awesome posters…very good advice to men of all ages

5 Wellington Grey May 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Why can’t modern-day politicians be more like this man?

6 Chris May 18, 2009 at 12:36 am

Love this. Well done.

7 Trish Lewis May 18, 2009 at 2:15 am

Always loved Teddy. Wonderful post!

8 Britt May 18, 2009 at 2:43 am

Someone asked why we don’t get politician’s like this anymore.

The answer is simple. We get what we deserve.

I was not a fan of President Bush in many ways, never voted for him, but as an example, I will use him.

In 2002 President Bush had an approval rating of over 90%.

That means over 90% of those polled approved of his actions as a President.

That was before going into Iraq or Afghanistan, but after he promised us that he would do his best to seek out and destroy those that perpetrated 9/11 upon us.

In 2007 that number was down quite a bit. Iraq was being called an ‘illegal’ war by those in Berkeley, CA and elsewhere (how the UN could have voted in favor of it and all of our aiilies being involved, but it being called ‘illegal’ I’ll never know)

So, why the change in the numbers?

Well, I believe people did not want to take responsibility for their own actions (where have you seen that before?) So were ‘externalizing’ and blaming President Bush for their own feelings. Easier to blame someone else for something than to accept responsibility yourself.

Those persons who, on the Day President Obama got sworn in, who were lined up outside the White House, yelling insults and curses at him? I believe fully half of them probably were fully in favor of him in 2003. They just did not want to take responsibility for approving of his actions back then.

We get what we deserve. People these days do not want to take responsibility for their own actions. A lady spills coffee on herself and sues McDonald’s. A kid get’s lousy grades so instead of making him/her study more and YOU giving up your time to see to it that he/she studies more, you blame the teacher.

Personal responsibility is dead.

(Then) Senator Obama rails against President Bush’s policies ( be they right or wrong it does not matter) and then as President Obama continues them, while still railing against them publicly. No sense of responsibility.

We cheer Presdient Obama for continuing policies we vilified President Bush for. Duplicity.

We get what we deserve.

Until we can stand up and take responsibility for our mistakes as well as for our successes (Who donates more in the world to end human suffering per capita than the USA? No one. The entire EU, which is about 20 – 25% larger in population than the USA donates about the same in real dollars as the USA) Who was the first country on site after the Tsunami with aid? The USA. When sailors in the Kursk were still alive, who were onsite with a team ready to rescue them (and a submersible?) Several Nations really, And The USA!.

No charge for that by the way. Though Russia let them die rather than let another nation be seen as saving their bacon.

When the EU wants a problem solved, or the UN, who do they rail against because we haven’t already solved it for them? The USA.

In Bosnia, who is it that the EU complains has not solved the issue? The USA. WTF, Over? What makes policing Europe a problem for the USA??? They have no sense of personal responsibility.



Who does everyone want to solve those problems?

The USA.

Does South Africa step up in Darfur?

Does India step up on Tibet?

Everyone wants someone else to do the dirty work, and then they want to armchair quarterback it after the fact.

No sense of personal responsibility.

Sorry this was so long. Whiny/bitchy this morning!

9 Britt May 18, 2009 at 2:48 am

Now I imagine a huge bunch of people will miss my point in the above post completely and tell me how terrible I am for having supported President Bush… When in fact, had you read my post, you would see that I disagreed quite a bit with him.

Reading comprehension. Not doing nearly as well in this country as the sense of personal responsibility.

Person who read this blog, I believe you are in the minority because so far all of you think Teddy was a great President/Man… Thus you all understand being answerable for your own actions.

Have a great day, thanks for listening and letting me get it off my chest.


10 Dan May 18, 2009 at 4:45 am

Fantastic post! What a man he was. I have read his biography several times through and it’s always inspirational.

Btw, you may want to edit that last poster, as you are missing an “is” –should be “he IS a pretty poor creature.”

11 IDHAWKDRVR May 18, 2009 at 4:57 am

Doggone I love this site!!! Cool post and T.R. is one of the few men who actually lived what he preached. Not everyone agreed with his politics, but they knew that he personally believed in them therefore he could be respected and disagreed with at the same time. The wishy-washy politicians of today care more about approval ratings and bank accounts.

To BRITT: your post was great.

12 Ryan May 18, 2009 at 5:21 am

@Britt –

Great points. I think much of the difference between our government’s leaders of yesteryear and of late is due to how these leaders perceived their roles. I’ve deduced through reading about great American leaders of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries that they generally were men that were well reputed before entering government roles. Great American leaders, such as Washington, Franklin and Lincoln, took on the responsibilities of government leadership after distinguished experiences in other walks of life. Only afterwards did they seek government office; probably seeing it as much a duty as a reputation enhancer.

Yet it seems as if most of today’s government leaders are career politicians. They see their roles in this order – (1) keep my job (get re-elected), (2) get promoted (gain notoriety to advance to more prestigious positions), (3) do what’s in the best interest of my constituents. They often shirk the responsibilities that come with item (3) as they may jeopardize the realization of items (1) and (2).

The great thing for American citizens is that we have the right (and responsibility) to change this. We can do a better job of ensuring the leaders we choose have the right motivations for assuming the job at hand. And we can begin to encourage some of the potentially great leaders who have for too long stood on the sidelines, fearing social persecution brought about by ungentlemanly tactics by modern day politicians. It’s up to us. It’s our responsibility.

13 Ryan May 18, 2009 at 5:25 am

And I can’t believe I left TR out of my examples above. No one fits my depiction of the leaders of old as well as him.

14 Patrick McCleary May 18, 2009 at 6:36 am

Just one quick question. What are the options of getting these in poster format, so that we can buy our favorites and hang them on our walls?

15 Steve Watters May 18, 2009 at 7:03 am

TR would be proud. I was just looking recently for TR prints to hang in my youngest son’s room to give him a sense of why we named him after Teddy Roosevelt.
(Thanks also for the link to the Winston Churchill posters since I was also looking for stuff to hang in our son Churchill’s room).
I sure wish I could find high resolution versions of these.

16 David May 18, 2009 at 7:47 am

Britt I think I have very good reading comprehension but I still think the reasoning behind your post is quite faulty. While I agree that personal responsibility has waned in this country, I don’t think that has much to do with President Bush’s dropping approval rating. His approval rating was initially high because the American public trusted him and his administration when they said there was a link between Iraq, Al Queda and 9/11. They trusted him when they said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And they trusted him when he said that the Iraq War would be swift. His approval rating then began to fall when the strategy was bungled (which the President himself admits), and it began to come out that there really wasn’t a link between Iraq and 9/11 and when we didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction. Is it wrong for the American public to change their mind on something when new information emerges or something is mishandled? Does personal responsibility mean blindly approving of something no matter what happens after a decision is made? Bush was responsible for his own drop in approval ratings. He refused to accept personal responsibility for the messes he created.

I’m sure the many conservatives on this site will vote me down, but I’m no rabid liberal. I voted for Bush the first time, and I accepted responsibility and didn’t vote for him the 2nd time.

17 Richard May 18, 2009 at 8:25 am


Appreciate your relieving yourself…I mean, getting your thoughts off your chest. Being a fan of personal responsibility, however, I hope you’ll own up to some inconsistencies in both your logic and your facts.

For example, your references to Bush’s poll numbers is meant to suggest that the public abandons its principles, or steadfastness, or perseverance, or whatever…and thus gets what it deserves. But isn’t it much more likely that the public, having seen the consequences of bad policy and bad leadership, actually FOUND its principles?

Your derogatory tone regarding those who criticized Bush is also a bit odd, since you then jump all over Obama, though your complaints are a tad weak. For one thing, the lefties have been very critical of many of Obama’s decisions. For another, “following the same policy” of, for example, military tribunals, but imposing stricter procedural (due process) safeguards is not really the same policy, is it?

So, do you really believe in TR’s statement on ideals and action? If so, why so angry when people take action based on their ideals regarding the Bush administration’s (rather obvious) improprieties?

Beneath your veneer of impartiality is an easy to spot dislike of all things “liberal” which you equate with the abandonment of “personal responsibility.”

Personal responsibility is a tricky thing, however. Sometimes its a very hard task to determine its parameters; where one’s rights bump into another’s, or whether a person or business entity owed any duty to not harm another. I’m proud that America has an open court system–as imperfect as it may be–that actively deals with such matters. I’m pretty sure TR was, too.

18 Enrique S May 18, 2009 at 8:27 am

I’m a big fan of T.R. Two of his recurring themes are responsibility and accountability, which are sorely lacking in today’s leaders. I encourage everyone to visit his home, Sagamore Hill.

19 Wayne Levine May 18, 2009 at 9:25 am

Fantastic! I want them on the wall of our Men’s Center.

20 Eric C May 18, 2009 at 9:25 am

You spelled “CRITICISM” wrong. (You rendered it as “critisisim,” too many i’s.)

21 Joseph Francis May 18, 2009 at 9:44 am

Minimum Wage

We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living for those who devote their time and energy to industrial occupations. The monetary equivalent of a living wage varies according to local conditions, but must include enough to secure the elements of a normal standard of living–a standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the family during periods of sickness, and to permit a reasonable saving for old age.


Hours are excessive if they fail to afford the worker sufficient time to recuperate and return to his work thoroughly refreshed. We hold that the night labor of women and children is abnormal and should be prohibited; we hold that the employment of women over forty-eight hours per week is abnormal and should be prohibited. We hold that the seven-day working week is abnormal, and we hold that one day of rest in seven should be provided by law.

22 Rob May 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm

I wonder why people are down voting quotes from T.R.’s 1912 election campaign. T.R.’s compassion for others, and being able to place himself in the shoes of men who worked incredibly long hours in a brutal environment is one of his manliest characteristics.

23 Jesse May 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Is that really a picture of TR on the Pugnacity poster? I love the quote, and if that’s really a picture of a young TR, then that sucker is getting printed and hung!

24 Brett May 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm


That is indeed a picture of TR as a young man. His bad assery started pretty early.

And in case anyone was wondering, there’s was no photoshopping done to the pic of TR riding a moose. He is in fact riding a moose.

25 Matt SF May 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm

If only Teddy could come back and see what our political system has become. I like to think he would kick a little a$$!!!

26 Jenks May 18, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Excellent post. Despite being from across the pond (Australia), T.R.’s wisdom is something to aspire to for all men.
We also are burdened by politicians rather than statesmen. But it is we who vote for them so cant be too critical (except of ourselves).

27 Edward Domain May 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Theodore Roosevelt is my all time Hero and favorite President. These posters are great, thanks!

28 Ced May 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm

bring back the Bull Moose Party

29 D May 19, 2009 at 11:38 am

Why is Teddy Roosevelt considered one of the U.S.’s most important presidents? You may like him personally. You may like what he stood for.

But, what are his real accomplishments as president? National Parks? The Panama Canal? And for that he’s compared to Washington, Lincoln, and F.D.R.? That’s seems like a slap in the face to the latter three.

30 Bart May 20, 2009 at 7:34 am

What did he do as a president? He was a man of character, a man worth emulating. In many regards, the president is a symbol of our country. We, of course could enter into an argument of the value of symbols and ideals, and how they may be more important than certain actions. (This might eventually break down into quibbles and mentions of Batman Begins quotes ..)

Anyway, what about :

The fair deal
His opposition to corporate corruption and monopolies
Negotiating the peace of the Russo-Japanese War and being the first American to win the Nobel peace prize because of it

I don’t think it’s a slap in the face to the other great men on Mount Rushmore. Even if it were, they would hardly feel it; they are made of granite.

31 martyn May 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm

ok, firstly great and inspiring article.

secondly… britt… why are you whining about the eu. I am english, and proud to be so.. i am not the greatest fan of european union and their policies afect us in england far more than they will do yourself. My point is, and i know i may get backlash for this, the EU doesnt blame anyone for not solving issues, they are everyones issues to be worked together to be resolved,
darfur, african nations in theory should be doin more than others as its on their doorstep, but most are so riddled by corruption they wont,and as economies go, as battered as ours and america’s is at the moment we still have vastly more resources available, same goes for tibet as the cases u mentioned. Isnt it the duty of the stronger and (for want of a better word) more priveledged t help those in need. This is a quintisential virtue in my book, and part of what a man should be, in my eyes.
Once again, at the risk of eliciting the wrath of other posters, part of the problem you mentioned with the rest of the world, the EU in particular, looking towards america for taking the lead is twofold, one as a strong nation yourselves like us should be seen to stand up for the rights of the underpriveledged, and this maybe the point which raises the most hatred, american media shows an egotistical and untrue version of your country.
Dont get me wrong, i have been to america many times, and thouroughly enjoy the place, but american media is skewed towards showing your country to be the saviour of all, and unfortunately a large ego is what alot of other countries would describe as being a trait of your fine country. As an example, there is a world war 2 movie about americans decoding german communications, enigma the movie might be called, when the movie is based on true events, it was actually the british navy that discovered how to decode the messages and learn of enemy positions. I dont want to give the immpression this is ‘country’ one up-man ship, but im just giving an example of how media specifically but i think, according to an outsider, the american ego can lead to other nations looking more towards the USA for leading the way or blazing the trail as your so keen on portraying.
The more you build youselves up, the more you must fulfil it, or the bigger target you are.
Once again this isnt an anti-USA post, as an englishman, we are as looked down upon for iraq and afganistan as you, im just trying to clarify, and if im honest, i didnt like the ‘poor us’ feel of the earlier post. This is a great site and i always enjoy reading, for motivation and inspiration, but its up to us to follow the examples of great men like TR and not complain if we fail or if people criticise for our trying to act in the right way. Determination is mention above, good words!

Cheers for listening :D

32 Andy @ Art Lover May 20, 2009 at 10:50 pm

I just thought you’d be interested to know that google has an ad for “Shaving balls” below your post!!! :-D
I swear its true!

33 Britt May 21, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Hi Richard,

On 9/11 I was working at MIT. In Cambridge shortly thereafter there were groups that were protesting America doing anything. Saying that the 9/11 incident was the Government’s own doing (there still are those wacko’s out there) and saying that after we had assisted the Afghan’s to throw out the Soviet’s we should have rebuilt their country for them (Osama Bin Laden’s original statement as to why we deserved to be attacked, for ‘abandoning’ the Afghan’s). There were much louder groups calling for all out destruction of whomever/whatever had perpetrated this upon us. President Bush seized that moment and promised them that. Then proceeded to act on that promise.

Those same people (at least some of them) then, years later, were angry over that decision… So, in my book, they did not take responsibility for their own thoughts. I am happy to take responsibility for my own acts and those my government does in my behalf. Of course, had I voted for President Bush, I would have felt differently than I do about his actions as President, however I did not. Still though, he was my President regardless, so I feel that the actions undertaken by my government are in part, my fault. Because of that, these days I am much more politically active, knowing that in my inaction, I was passively complacent.

So, these days, I write my congressweasels whenever I have a strong opinion, so that they (in theory) will know how at least one of the constituents feels. Presuming their staff reads my letters and compiles some sort of position piece for the elected official to peruse.


34 Eric May 22, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Brett, do you have larger size versions of these posters? I’d love to use a few of them as wallpaper for my computer’s desktop / print them out for my wall.


35 Joe Wiegand May 26, 2009 at 6:07 am

Thanks for the interesting site and the great TR posters. Like others here, I would be interested to purchase some if they were available commercially. I’m a member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association (TRA), and our co-chair for our annual meeting, held on the weekend nearest to TR’s October 27 birthday, expressed an interest, too. FYI – for the TRA and for a fellow having a great deal of fun bringing the Rough Rider to life. All the best. TR Joe

36 W Stamm Johnson August 28, 2009 at 8:03 am

Just found this site. EXCELLENT ! ! !

37 Jay August 28, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Maybe a Reagan-issue next time?

“To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last — but eat you he will.” Ronald Reagan

38 Doug Persons September 24, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Excellent post about a truly great man! Certainly wish the male politicians we had acted like men.

For all of your TR fans out there, I highly recommend you read “A Bully Father: Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children”, by Joan Patterson Kerr. This is an excellent book with reprints of TR’s letters to all of his children through different stages of his life. It shows not only the art of letter writing and expressing himself to his children, but the ability to be a Dad to his children no matter where he was or what he was doing. Its a great example to all fathers.

39 SimonJ September 25, 2009 at 5:19 pm

If only we had TR in the Whitehouse now. Anyone who thinks we wasn’t a great President and a great man, is ignorant of the man and his accomplishments.

The reason we don’t have men like him in political office anymore is because we now have career politicians and a system set up to favor and enable career politicians. They’re more worried about keeping their jobs than doing what’s right. The system has been perverted beyond recognition.

40 Evan September 26, 2009 at 4:32 am

These posters are great, and a bit funny too.

41 Yavor October 1, 2009 at 3:59 am

I really cannot pick one as my favorite. Thanks guys!


42 Reality June 29, 2010 at 11:48 pm

@ Simon

Wow you’re naive. TR was great, but you really think he wasn’t a career politician? Do you know nothing about how politics worked back then? It was almost all career politicians, from the President on down. Politics was their profession, same as today.

43 Dr. Sanjay July 29, 2010 at 8:07 am

It is very inspiring. I am a fan of TDR. He has kept inspiring generations after generations that came to the world after him. Long live TDR

44 Mrhuh August 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm

“Wow you’re naive. TR was great, but you really think he wasn’t a career politician? Do you know nothing about how politics worked back then? It was almost all career politicians, from the President on down. Politics was their profession, same as today.”

Good point. TR did have some great character ideas, but at the same time, much of this country’s problems do belong to him because of he did a whole lot to give us an activist presidency and a “living Constitution”. He railed against business corruption, but failed to realize that a lot of that corruption was because of government to begin with, such as with “internal improvement” (i.e. corporate welfare) to railroads, etc.

45 Jenni Levy October 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

Why aren’t you selling these? I’d buy a ton for my classroom!

46 Andrew October 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I have this exact page bookmarked and read it every night before I go to bed for the night. If TR isn’t the the perfect example of an American role model, I don’t know who is…

47 Augustin April 8, 2013 at 5:51 am

I just ordered Edmund Morris’ trilogy. I CAN’T WAIT!

48 Augustin May 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm

:D I’m reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt right now. My goodness… he’s amazing.

49 Brett May 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Yes, I would also be very interested in these posters if they were made available for sale. If/when they do, please post a link to them…

50 Tom Blanchard December 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Who was the photographer that took the picture at the beginning of the article? and Date? This picture was used as a poster to be given to schools by the American Defense Society with the poster titled “Keep up the fight for Americanism” in the 1920′s. The title came from TR;s last public comments given by letter to the Society some 3 days before he died.

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