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Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America's past. These stories are about Americans - people just like you - who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you. Kate Kelly
Will Rogers (1879-1935): His Wisdom Still Applies Today

Will Rogers (1879-1935): His Wisdom Still Applies Today

Will Rogers was a part-Cherokee American who grew up in Indian Territory and began his career in vaudeville doing rope tricks; he went on to become one of the most popular entertainers will_rogers_portrait_2_448_640and writers of his day. 

He started writing news commentary while performing in the Ziegfeld Follies. Because the Follies was so successful that it attracted repeat audiences, Rogers needed to develop a part of his act that could be updated.  Rogers was a huge consumer of current news, and his wife, Betty, suggested he weave into his roping act what he read each day in the news.  It worked.

In 1922 he was offered a weekly newspaper column that became a daily feature in 1926 when he was bound for Europe. Adolph Ochs at The New York Times suggested Rogers send back daily telegrams of what he observed. From 1926 on, Rogers filed daily stories generally under the heading, “Will Rogers Says.”  The column was eventually syndicated in over 600 newspapers.  He also was given a radio program, and his commentary was so influential that he became a sought after guest at major political events because Americans wanted to know what Will Rogers said on a myriad of topics.

Glancing through some of his commentary, it is very clear that Rogers would have been quite at home on Twitter and his comments still work today:

His perceptions on the economy are applicable today:

Rogers with ropeOn movies:

On integrity:

On Charles Lindbergh’s precedent-setting nonstop flight to Europe in 1927: 

Of all the things that Lindbergh’s great feat demonstrated, the greatest was to show us that a person could still get the entire front page without murdering anybody.”

 On growing older:

And:

 Finally:

You must judge a man’s greatness by how much he will be missed.



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