The most popular Roosevelt quote, explained, on the first episode of "In the Arena."
This is the first episode of Governing's new podcast, "In the Arena," where the president of our parent company e.Republic, Cathilea Robinett, interviews public officials about courage, compassion and creativity in public leadership.
On April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt gave what would become one of the most widely quoted speeches of his career. In it, the nation's 26th president brought his hyperbolic oratory to bear on the themes of leadership and loneliness.
"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 sweat and blood," Roosevelt said.
While most of the guests on this show will be public officials, our debut episode features humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson. He explores the context of the quote, which inspired the name of this podcast, and how it fits in Roosevelt's world view of power, persuasion and politics.
"It's probably the most frequently quoted thing that Roosevelt ever said, and if you go into the boardrooms of major corporations or to the offices of CEOs and politicians, anywhere where there is some need for power to assert itself, you almost invariably find that quotation tacked to the wall," says Jenkinson.