"Right here let me make as vigorous a plea as I know how in favor of saying nothing that we do not mean, and of acting without hesitation up to whatever we say. A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick – you will go far.’ If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power. In private life there are few beings more obnoxious than the man who is always loudly boasting, and if the boaster is not prepared to back up his words, his position becomes absolutely contemptible.
“So it is with the nation. It is both foolish and undignified to indulge in undue self-glorification, and, above all, in loose-tongued denunciation of other peoples. Whenever on any point we come in contact with a foreign power, I hope that we shall always strive to speak courteously and respectfully of that foreign power.
“Let us make it evident that we intend to do justice. Then let us make it equally evident that we will not tolerate injustice being done us in return. Let us further make it evident that we use no words which we are not which prepared to back up with deeds, and that while our speech is always moderate, we are ready and willing to make it good.”
— Then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, speaking at the Minnesota State Fair, September 2, 1901.
[Teddy Roosevelt inauguration ribbon from Heritage Auctions (HA.com)]
Democratic presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt greets residents of Colby, Kansas, during a whistle-stop tour in the 1932 election season.
Roosevelt, paralyzed from the waist down, nonetheless campaigned actively. He didn’t appear in public in his wheelchair and had pants tailored to cover the leg braces that extended the length of his leg. Often he would have his son, James, next to him for support. Or, as in the picture above, he’d steady himself using whatever was handiest.
from “The President’s Dog,” via British Pathé
If you’re wondering: Diana Hopkins was the daughter of Harry Hopkins, one of FDR’s closest advisers who occasionally lived at the White House. And the Atlantic Charter was a joint declaration signed by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1941 outlining common principles for a post-war world.
Teddy Roosevelt on “The Right of the People to Rule”
A recording of a speech in support of his campaign for the presidency in 1912 as the third-party Progressive (Bull Moose) candidate. Recorded on cylinder by the Edison Company in August of 1912.
From the Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Seriously, though, the documentary is great so far. Check it out if you can!
Meet … America’s New President, Franklin Roosevelt.
Brutal anecdote from The Invisible Bridge from Reagan’s son Michael:
The next year, at Michael’s high school graduation the commencement speaker was his father. Afterward Reagan made the rounds of students for introductions. He stopped before one, stuck out his hand: “My name is Ronald Reagan. What’s yours?” His son, anxious every day of his life about whether his adoptive father truly accepted him, took off his mortarboard and responded, “Remember me? I’m your son Mike.”
Here’s some awesome newsreel footage of protesters throwing rocks and eggs at then Vice-President Richard Nixon’s car on his visit to Caracas, Venezuela in 1958.
By the way, the American commentary on this video is hilarious.