Inspired by our recent meeting with Teddy Roosevelt we wondered how TR’s values, his vision, and leadership style might give us hope and strength in today’s chaotic world.
To sit home, read one's favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men's doing.
Not only did he write those words, Roosevelt lived them, swinging into action whenever he saw a need. A believer in conservation, he took bold steps when he saw America’s natural resources being depleted. He worked to set aside 230 million acres of land, creating 150 national forests, 55 federal wildlife refuges, and 5 national parks.
In international affairs, he negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and pushed through the building of the Panama Canal. With his energy and visionary leadership, Roosevelt helped America become a world power, and he became the first American awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as be seen as a people with such responsibilities.
A serious student of history, TR urged Americans to study the great leaders of our past and follow their vision.
We must show, not merely in great crises, but in the everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage, of hardihood, and endurance, and above all the power of devotion to a lofty ideal, which made great the men who founded this Republic in the days of Washington, which made great the men who preserved this Republic in the days of Abraham Lincoln.