Henry Adams Quotes & Wallpapers

Henry Adams
Total Quotes: 241


A parent gives life, but as parent, gives no more. A murderer takes life, but his deed stops there. A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. Henry Adams

Of all studies, the one he would rather have avoided was that of his own mind. He knew no tragedy so heartrending as introspection. Henry Adams

The historian must not try to know what is truth, if he values his honesty; for if he cares for his truths, he is certain to falsify his facts. Henry Adams

The study of history is useful to the historian by teaching him his ignorance of women. Henry Adams

The work of internal government has become the task of controlling the thousands of fifth-rate men. Henry Adams

All the steam in the world could not, like the Virgin, build Chartres. Henry Adams

He never labored so hard to learn a language as he did to hold his tongue and it affected him for life. The habit of reticence - of talking without meaning - is never effaced. Henry Adams

These questions of taste, of feeling, of inheritance, need no settlement. Every one carries his own inch-rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels. Henry Adams

He had often noticed that six months' oblivion amounts to newspaper-death, and that resurrection is rare. Nothing is easier, if a man wants it, than rest, profound as the grave. Henry Adams

History will die if not irritated. The only service I can do to my profession is to serve as a flea. Henry Adams

Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man. Henry Adams

Simplicity is the most deceitful mistress that ever betrayed man. Henry Adams

One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim. Henry Adams

There is no such thing as an underestimate of average intelligence. Henry Adams

It is impossible to underrate human intelligence - beginning with one's own. Henry Adams

The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence to upset Darwin. Henry Adams

A congressman is a pig. The only way to get his snout from the trough is to rap it sharply with a stick. Henry Adams

Every man who has at last succeeded, after long effort, in calling up the divinity which lies hidden in a woman's heart, is startled to find that he must obey the God he summoned. Henry Adams

A period of about twelve years measured the beat of the pendulum. After the Declaration of Independence, twelve years had been needed to create an efficient Constitution; another twelve years of energy brought a reaction against the government then created; a third period of twelve years was ending in a sweep toward still greater energy; and already a child could calculate the result of a few more such returns. Henry Adams

Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. Henry Adams

Throughout human history the waste of mind has been appalling, and, as this story is meant to show, society has conspired to promote it. No doubt the teacher is the worst criminal, but the world stands behind him and drags the student from his course. Henry Adams

American politics is a struggle, not of men but of forces. The men become every year more and more creatures of force, massed about central power houses. Henry Adams

[Adams] supposed that, except musicians, everyone thought Beethoven a bore, as every one except mathematicians thought mathematics a bore. Henry Adams

If it were worth while to argue a paradox, one might maintain that nature regards the female as the essential, the male as the superfluity of her world. Perhaps the best starting-point for study of the Virgin would be a practical acquaintance with bees, and especially with queen bees. Henry Adams

The Woman had once been supreme; in France she still seemed potent, not merely as a sentiment but as a force; why was she unknownin America? for evidently America was ashamed of her, and she was ashamed of herself, otherwise they would not have strewn fig-leaves so profusely all over her. When she was a true force, she was ignorant of fig-leaves, but the monthly-magazine-made American female had not a feature that would have been recognized by Adam. The trait was notorious, and often humorous, but anyone brought up among Puritans knew that sex was sin. In any previous age, sex was strength. Henry Adams

If Thought is capable of being classed with Electricity, or Will with chemical affinity, as a mode of motion, it seems necessary to fall at once under the second law of thermodynamics as one of the energies which most easily degrades itself, and, if not carefully guarded, returns bodily to the cheaper form called Heat. Of all possible theories, this is likely to prove the most fatal to Professors of History. Henry Adams

A new friend is always a miracle, but at thirty-three years old, such a bird of paradise rising in the sage-brush was an avatar. One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly Henry Adams

Women have, commonly, a very positive moral sense; that which they will, is right; that which they reject, is wrong; and their will, in most cases, ends by settling the moral. Henry Adams

Mr Jefferson meant that the American system should be a democracy, and he would rather have let the whole world perish than that this principle, which to him represented all that man was worth, should fail. Mr Hamilton considered democracy a fatal curse, and meant to stop its progress. Henry Adams

Politics cannot stop to study psychology. Its methods are rough; its judgments rougher still. Henry Adams

Society is immoral and immortal; it can afford to commit any kind of folly, and indulge in any sort of vice; it cannot be killed, and the fragments that survive can always laugh at the dead Henry Adams

As history stands, it is a sort of Chinese play, without end andl without lesson. With these impressions I wrote the last line of my History, asking for a round century before going further. Henry Adams

History is only a value of relation. Henry Adams

No man likes to have his intelligence or good faith questioned, especially if he has doubts about it himself. Henry Adams

Philosophy: Unintelligible answers to insoluble problems. Henry Adams

He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers. Henry Adams

Accident counts for as much in companionship as in marriage. Henry Adams

There have been times when the church seemed afraid, but she is no longer. Analyze, dissect, use your microscope or your spectrum till the last atom of matter is reached; reflect and refine till the last element of thought is made clear; the church now knows with the certainty of science what she once knew only by the certainty of faith, that you will find enthroned behind all thought and matter only one central idea-that idea which the church has never ceased to embody-I AM! Henry Adams

All State education is a sort of dynamo machine for polarizing the popular mind; for turning and holding its lines of force in the direction supposed to be most effective for State purposes. Henry Adams

Man loves most that which is his own. Henry Adams

Although the Senate is much given to admiring in its members a superiority less obvious or quite invisible to outsiders, one Senator seldom proclaims his own inferiority to another, and still more seldom likes to be told of it. Henry Adams

One friend in a life-time is much; two are many; three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim. Henry Adams

Laplace would have found it child's-play to fix a ratio of progression in mathematical science between Descartes, Leibnitz, Newton and himself Henry Adams

[P]olitical and social and scientific values ... should be correlated in some relation of movement that could be expressed in mathematics, nor did one care in the least that all the world said it could not be done, or that one knew not enough mathematics even to figure a formula beyond the schoolboy s=(1/2)gt2. If Kepler and Newton could take liberties with the sun and moon, an obscure person ... could take liberties with Congress, and venture to multiply its attraction into the square of its time. He had only to find a value, even infinitesimal, for its attraction. Henry Adams

If Washington were President now, he would have to learn our ways or lose his next election. Only fools and theorists imagine that our society can be handled with gloves or long poles. One must make one's self a part of it. If virtue won't answer our purpose, we must use vice, or our opponents will put us out of office, and this was as true in Washington's day as it is now, and always will be. Henry Adams

For after all man knows mighty little, and may some day learn enough of his own ignorance to fall down again and pray. Not that Icare. Only, if such is God's will, and Fate and Evolution-let there be God! Henry Adams

Accident counts for much in companionship as in marriage. Henry Adams

Words were with them forms of expression which varied with individuals, but falsehood was more or less necessary to all. Henry Adams

One does every day and without a second thought, what at another time would be the event of a year, perhaps of a life. Henry Adams

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. The imagination must be given not wings but weights. Henry Adams

If one shed tears, they must be shed on one's pillow. Henry Adams

Society is immoral and immortal; it can afford to commit any kind of folly, and indulge in any sort of vice; it cannot be killed, and the fragments that survive can always laugh at the dead. Henry Adams

A society in stable equilibrium is-by definition-one that has no history and wants no historians. Henry Adams

Church and State, Soul and Body, God and Man, are all one at Mont Saint Michel, and the business of all is to fight, each in his own way, or to stand guard for each other. Henry Adams

I firmly believe, that before many centuries more, science will be the master of man. The engines he will have invented will be beyond his strength to control. Someday, science shall have the existence of mankind in its power, and the human race commit suicide by blowing up the world. Henry Adams

My belief is that science is to wreck us, and that we are like monkeys monkeying with a loaded shell; we don't in the least know or care where our practically infinite energies come from or will bring us to. Henry Adams

The whole fabric of society will go to wrack if we really lay hands of reform on our rotten institutions. From top to bottom the whole system is a fraud, all of us know it, laborers and capitalists alike, and all of us are consenting parties to it. Henry Adams

The People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every. Henry Adams

The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant [is] alone enough to upset Darwin. Henry Adams

My own conclusion is that history is simply social development along the lines of weakest resistance, and that in most cases the line of weakest resistance is found as unconsciously by society as by water. Henry Adams

Absolute liberty is absence of restraint; responsibility is restraint; therefore, the ideally free individual is responsible to himself. Henry Adams

All experience is an arch, to build upon. Henry Adams

Morality is a private and costly luxury. Henry Adams

Artists... disappeared long ago as social forces. So did the church. Henry Adams

The woman who is known only through a man is known wrong. Henry Adams

Susceptibility to the highest forces is the highest genius. Henry Adams

The common view of marriage as a primitive institution implies in the man more than arbitrary superiority, such as he exercised over the child, which still remained free. The woman's slavery was assumed to be for life. Henry Adams

No man can instruct more than half-a-dozen students at once. The whole problem of education is one of its cost in money. Henry Adams

Man had in the beginning no power of analysis or synthesis approaching that of the spider, or even of the honey-bee; he had acute sensibility to the higher forces. Fire taught him secrets that no other animal could learn; running water probably taught him even more, especially in his first lessons of mechanics; the animals helped to educate him, trusting themselves into his hands merely for the sake of their food, and carrying his burdens or supplying his clothing; the grasses and grains were academies of study. Henry Adams

Any schoolboy could see that man as a force must be measured by motion, from a fixed point. Henry Adams



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