Toggle menu
973-585-7671 (New Jersey)

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Posted by Judy on Sep 2nd 2022

On September 2, 1901 at the Minnesota State Fair, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt first used the phrase, "speak softly and carry a big stick" in a public speech. He had mentioned his liking of the phrase earlier in a letter to Henry W. Sprague of the Union League Club, citing it as part of a West African proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."

Twelve days after the Minnesota speech, President William McKinley was assassinated, and Roosevelt became president. Big Stick policy, the idea of negotiating peacefully with military might as a backup, became associated with Roosevelt's presidency as the U.S. extended its influence worldwide