A Nation Of Pioneers "Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick"
by Theodore Roosevelt

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"Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In his address delivered at the state fair at Minneapolis, on September 2, 1901, Theodore Roosevelt, then Vice-President of the United States, first describes man's duty to his country. Proceeding from that point, he says, too, that each great nation has a duty in world leadership. He then strongly emphasizes the position of the United States in the international picture, saying that this country must be on cordial relations with others but at the same time have the force necessary to see that justice is done. This country's position in upholding the Monroe Doctrine must be maintained, he says, but maintained without prejudicing the sovereignty or the commercial interests of the countries involved. Broaching the subject of the relations of the United States with other powers, Roosevelt says:

. . . 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 . . .