Quote of the Moment: Teddy Roosevelt on beating depression

After the same-day deaths in 1884 of his beloved wife Alice, in childbirth, and his mother, who lived with the family, Teddy Roosevelt went into a depression. To beat the depression, he moved to South Dakota and became a cowboy, a very good cowboy.

TR with horse, in the Dakotas

Black care rarely sits behind a rider whose pace is fast enough.

— Attributed to Teddy Roosevelt by David McCullough, on the frontispiece for McCullough’s biography of Roosevelt, Mornings on Horseback (Simon & Schuster, 1981).


6 Responses to Quote of the Moment: Teddy Roosevelt on beating depression

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    I think we arrived at a reconciliation. Fascinating to me that so many men of that era suffered from depression, knew it, and worked around it — Roosevelt, Churchill, Wilson, Taft, Twain, etc., etc.


  2. Lee Studebaker says:

    I just looked this quote up because I saw it on an AHC episode of “Legends of the West.” Lawman Seth Bullock got to meet the then future president as T.R. was transporting a prisoner near his ranch, and became friends with him. They paraphrased the quote as “Depression can’t keep up with a man on a good, fast horse.” It explained in one sentence why he moved out west after the death of his wife and mother. I’m not sure which version I like best, but I like printing catchy phrases like this on T-shirts to make people think while standing in line or waiting at a stop light. I have to agree with Mr. Roosevelt, because I just so happen to ride a steel horse (a Harley-Davidson motorcycle), and I’m never depressed.

    Bug girl doesn’t seem to have much of an clue about poetic license, which many great statesmen used to make their quotes and recitations sound purty and memorable. Especially since there were so many depressing things going on in Roosevelt’s time (wars, disease, outlaws, no plumbing and bad entertainment) it was prudent to avoid using words like “depression” wherever possible. So… uh… just finish your coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bug Girl says:

    Oh! that makes more sense. And I have to say, I agree with him–riding does make a lot of things better.
    Thanks for the explanation. I’m now also fully caffeinated, which may also help :)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Roosevelt was talking about depression, I think. He lost both his wife (in childbirth) and his mother (to an infection) on the same day. He went to the Dakotas to lose himself, or find himself. It’s a remarkable story about his rise from the double tragedy. The quote has nothing to do with race relations.

    Race relations were no picnic in that day, but Roosevelt was the first president to invite a black man to dine at the White House — George Washington Carver — an extremely controversial move. TR was no Hubert Humphrey, but neither was he a Woodrow Wilson on race relations. Lincoln was TR’s idol, and he was quite conscious of the disparities of racial relations.

    No, I don’t think I’ve heard of that book. The past two decades saw a rise in consciousness about such affairs, and some work towards exposing the Tulsa riots, for example, or the pogroms against blacks in small southern towns, and actions to atone for them. If this book chronicles those incidents, it’s useful for that alone. (But I think the Tulsa riots were 1921 . . . I wonder whether the book covers that period at all.)


  5. Bug Girl says:

    Hmm. Ok. it may just be that I haven’t finished my coffee, but I’m having trouble figuring out what, precisely, he means by this. “Black Care” as in caring about the status of non-whites?
    Can you give me more context for the quote? Just curious.

    Have you heard of this book: Buried in the Bitter Waters: the history of racial cleansing in America. (http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/35899.html)
    I heard an interview with the author last night on PRI, and it sounds both very good and very appalling And like something I need to read. (Several of the stories are from Teddy’s time period.)

    Liked by 1 person

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