Home  »  Respectfully Quoted  »  Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919)

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919)
QUOTATION: There is a homely old adage which runs: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” If the American Nation will speak softly, and yet build, and keep at a pitch of the highest training, a thoroughly efficient navy, the Monroe Doctrine will go far.
ATTRIBUTION: President THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech, Chicago, Illinois, April 2, 1903.—Presidential Addresses and State Papers, part 1 (vol. 13 of The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, executive ed.), p. 266 (n.d.).

In America and the World War, chapter 2, p. 24, he referred to “the homely proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’”—The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, national ed., vol. 18 (1926). In the last chapter of Theodore Roosevelt, An Autobiography, p. 524 (vol. 20 of Works, national ed.), he says: “The only safe rule is to promise little, and faithfully to keep every promise; ‘to speak softly and carry a big stick.’”
SUBJECTS: Foreign policy