TR's 'speak softly, carry a big stick' letter for sale





PHILADELPHIA -- The typed letter in which Teddy Roosevelt first used the phrase "speak softly and carry a big stick" is for sale at $200,000.

It was written in 1900, and Roosevelt, then governor of New York, is pleased he convinced Republicans to reject a reappointment: "I have always been fond of the West African proverb: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.' If I had not carried the big stick ... I would not have had 10 votes. But I was entirely good natured, kept perfectly cool ..."

Less than two years later he was president. The letter comes from a dealer; a carbon copy is in the Library of Congress.


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