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Did Theodore Roosevelt ever say the “things that will destroy America” quote?

Did Theodore Roosevelt ever say the “things that will destroy America” quote?


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The fullest form of the quote I have been able to find online is from thinkexist.com and goes as follows:

Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood-the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.

However, the linguistic properties of the quote make it feel dubious that anyone would have ever said such a thing in this way in the late 19th or early 20th century, and I have been unable to find any literary citations for the excerpt or any information about the original source.

Did Roosevelt or anyone of historical significance actually say this? If not, where did the quote come from, and why is it always attributed to Theodore Roosevelt?


According to Google Books the book "Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations" edited by Suzy Platt says that this came from a letter to S Stanwood Menken in 1917 and was read by Roosevelt's sister to a national meeting that same year. Sounds legit.


As was already mentioned, the quote comes from letter to S. Stanwood Menken, dated 1917-01-10. You can read the full wording of the letter at Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library. Your quote is on the page 2.


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