The Strenous Life

The Strenuous Life

Ricardo Jasso

History 1302
Professor Butterfield
October 1st, 2013

Theodore Roosevelt, who came to believe that a full life was one of tests, trials, and development, gave a speech at the Hamilton Club in Chicago Illinois in the spring of 1898 titled “The Strenuous Life.” The speech had many arguments for working hard and overwhelming hardships. Theodore Roosevelt correlated a healthy individual to a healthy nation. “In the last analysis a healthy state can exist only when the men and women who make it up can lead clean, vigorous, healthy lives; when the children are so trained that they shall endeavor, not to shirk difficulties, but to overcome them.” Roosevelt ventured characters “not for the life of ease but for the life of strenuous endeavor.” He lived this idea out in his own life, as he hunted and enjoyed riding, spending a hefty portion of his time in the outdoors. Theodore Roosevelt's idea of the strenuous life involved catching exotic animal specimens, thundering after cattle in North Dakota on a horse, charging San Juan Hill in Cuba and not allowing a bullet fired into his chest put a standstill to finishing a speech in Milwaukee.  Certainly he meant much more than all of those things in his famous speech, “The Strenuous Life”; more than mere taxidermy (a skill he learned as a child) or cattle ranching.  He was speaking of imperialism, “righteous war,” responsibility to self as well as to homeland.  He was talking about individuals, families and nations. “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore said to believe that life was about facing challenges to make life worthy for oneself. He believed that if you would not risk to win, then you were among those people that did not value life. He argued that...