Citizenship in a Republic

Theodore Roosevelt July 1 1910

Citizenship in a Republic

Theodore Roosevelt July 1 1910

Citizenship in a Republic

The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed. The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation.

It is not the critic who counts ; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and and sweat and blood ; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions ; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Such ordinary, every-day qualities include the will and the power to

work, to fight at need, and to have plenty of healthy children. The need that the average man shall work is so obvious as hardly to warrant insistence.

He should be trained to do so, and he should be trained to feel that he occupies a contemptible position if he does not do so; that he is not an object of envy if he is idle, at whichever end of the social scale he stands, but an object of contempt, an object of derision.

In the next place the good man should be both a strong and a brave man ; that is, he should be able to serve his country as a soldier if the need arises. There are well-meaning philosophers who declaim against the unrighteousness of war. The question must not be merely, Is there to be peace or war? The question must be, Is the right to prevail? Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong.

Theodore Roosevelt.