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In his resignation speech of August 8, 1974, President Nixon referred to a quote from Theodore Rooselt regarding the distinction between those who sit on the side and criticize and those who are actually out in the field doing the hard work of governing a nation. The broader context of Roosevelt's speech spoke more to the glory in trying to accomplish great things or simply to achieve a difficult goal, the attainment of which demands a certain amount of personal sacrifice. The "man in the arena" refers to that individual who risks failure, or even death, in pursuit of a noble enterprise. Nixon's use of the Roosevelt quote was his way of emphasizing that, in his mind, his actions were in the best interest of the nation, and should be judged accordingly.
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