Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Unpatriotic, Servile, Morally Treasonable’ Not to Have Criticisms on the President

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Theodore Roosevelt: 'Unpatriotic,' 'Servile,' 'Morally Treasonable' Not to Have Criticisms on the President
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States, and his views on criticisms against the president.

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. President, defended criticisms against the President as no criticisms are “not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” To this day, his words are used to defend the critics of the president of the United States.

There was a time when Theodore Roosevelt, who is known as an environmental activist, warrior, governor and military leader, and his views were criticized by the public when he did not agree with the president at the time.


During World War I, Theodore Roosevelt criticized President Woodrow Wilson’s policies and conduct during the war. He voiced his views by writing editorials and expressing that the U.S. should have a stronger presence on the European war front. His criticisms on the President’s neutrality made many question his loyalty.

Many citizens wanted him to “stand by the President.” Later on, comments turned more brutal as “discussions” stated that Theodore Roosevelt should be “stood on a stone wall and shot,” according to Ralph Stout, who was the managing editors of The Kansas City Star at the time.

With that, Theodore Roosevelt was prompted to pen his response. Published on The Kansas City Star on May 18, 1918, Roosevelt writes that a President is “merely the most important among a large number of public servants.”

Thus, the support or opposition for the president must be equally in the warrant of his “good conduct or bad conduct.” It means that when he does right, he should be praised. But if he does wrong, then he should necessarily be blamed.

Having “no criticism of the President” or having to “stand by the President, right or wrong” is not just “unpatriotic and servile,” yet it is also “morally treasonable to the American public.”


A political divide in the country was made apparent in 2003 when, under the administration of President George W. Bush, the U.S. invaded Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein poses a threat to world peace.

While some supported the president, others did not. It, later on, led to a banter from the two opposing sides with supporters saying critics are unpatriotic. However, critics used Theodore Roosevelt’s words – that it is patriotic to speak out when the American’s safety is being threatened by the President’s policies.

Critics of President Barrack Obama and newly President-elect Donald Trump applies Theodore Roosevelt’s views to this day as his words live on.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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