The speech figures prominently in a new promotional video for the Army Special Forces released by Army Special Operations Command. It was published on the command’s Facebook page Monday, and already has been viewed more than 100,000 times.
The video focuses on a famous portion of Roosevelt’s speech commonly referred to as “The Man in the Arena.” It reads as follows, according to the Almanac of Theodore Roosevelt:
“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; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
The speech was titled “Citizenship in the Republic” and had strong populist themes. Republished here, it called for each man to “pull his own weight first” and support his family, but to aspire to do more when possible.
“That is why I decline to recognize the mere multimillionaire, the man of mere wealth, as an asset of value to any country; and especially as not an asset to my own country,” Roosevelt said. “If he has earned or uses his wealth in a way that makes him a real benefit, of real use — and such is often the case — why, then he does become an asset of real worth. But it is the way in which it has been earned or used, and not the mere fact of wealth, that entitles him to the credit.”
The “Man in the Arena” portion of the speech may sound like a condemnation of the media, but Roosevelt actually touches on the role of journalists in society specifically in the same speech. He calls him the “more influential brother” to the orator, and underscores both journalists’ importance and and responsibilities.
“The power of the journalist is great, but he is entitled neither to respect nor admiration because of that power unless it is used aright. He can do, and often does, great good. He can do, and he often does, infinite mischief. All journalists, all writers, for the very reason that they appreciate the vast possibilities of their profession, should bear testimony against those who deeply discredit it. Offenses against taste and morals, which are bad enough in a private citizen, are infinitely worse if made into instruments for debauching the community through a newspaper.”
Roosevelt, a Republican and Medal of Honor recipient, went on to start the Progressive Party, often called the Bull Moose Party. He ran for president again in 1912, but finished second to Woodrow Wilson.