"Speak Softly. . ."
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
to Henry L. Sprague
Albany, New York, January 26, 1900
Carbon copy letterbook
Gift of the heirs of Theodore
Roosevelt, Jr., 1958-1965 (52A)
This letter contains what is thought to be the first recorded use
of the phrase "Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick," which was later
to become a trademark description of Theodore Roosevelt's foreign
policy. Here, Roosevelt, then New York's governor, waxes happily
in the knowledge that he has forced the state's Republican leaders
to abandon their support for the renomination of the corrupt Louis
Payne as the state's insurance commissioner.