Henry Adams Quotes & Wallpapers

Henry Adams
Total Quotes: 241


Every man should have a fair-sized cemetary in which to bury the faults of his friends. Henry Adams
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At the utmost, the active-minded young man should ask of his teacher only mastery of his tools. The young man himself, the subject of education, is a certain form of energy; the object to be gained is economy of his force; the training is partly the clearing away of obstacles, partly the direct application of effort. Once acquired, the tools and models may be thrown away. Henry Adams
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Whenever a man reaches the top of the political ladder, his enemies unite to pull him down. His friends become critical and exacting. Henry Adams
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The habit of expression leads to the search for something to express. Something remains as a residuum of the commonplace itself, if one strikes out every commonplace in the expression. Henry Adams
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History is a tangled skein that one may take up at any point, and break when one has unravelled enough. Henry Adams
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The mind resorts to reason for want of training. Henry Adams
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A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. Henry Adams
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The Indian Summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone, but never hustled. Henry Adams
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Everyone carries his own inch rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels. Henry Adams
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[regarding US conquest of the Philippines] "I turn green in bed at midnight if I think of the horror of a year's warfare in the Philippines [...] We must slaughter a million or two foolish Malays in order to give them the comforts of flannel petticoats and electric railways. Henry Adams
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I want to be advertised and the easiest way is to do something obnoxious and do it well. Henry Adams
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The new American, like the new European, was the servant of the powerhouse, as the European of the twelfth century was the servant of the Church. Henry Adams
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Good men do the most harm. Henry Adams
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As a historian, he felt it his duty to respect everything that had ever been respected, except for the occasional statesman. Henry Adams
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Unity is vision; it must have been part of the process of learning to see. Henry Adams
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The Virgin filled so enormous a space in the life and thought of the time that one stands now helpless before the mass of testimony to her direct action and constant presence in every moment and form of the illusion which men thought they thought their existence. Henry Adams
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In correct theology, the Virgin ought not to be represented in bed, for she could not suffer like ordinary women, but her palace at Chartres is not much troubled by theology, and to her, as empress-mother, the pain of child-birth was a pleasure which she wanted her people to share. Henry Adams
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What a vast fraternity it is,-that of 'Hearts that Ache.' For the last three months it has seemed to me as though all society were coming to me, to drop its mask for a moment and initiate me into the mystery. How we do suffer! And we go on laughing; for, as a practical joke at our expense, life is a success. Henry Adams
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I tell you the solemn truth, that the doctrine of the Trinity is not so difficult to accept for a working proposition as any one of the axioms of physics. Henry Adams
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Man is an imperceptible atom always trying to become one with God. Henry Adams
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After Gibbs, one the most distinguished [American scientists] was Langley, of the Smithsonian. ... He had the physicist's heinous fault of professing to know nothing between flashes of intense perception. ... Rigidly denying himself the amusement of philosophy, which consists chiefly in suggesting unintelligible answers to insoluble problems, and liked to wander past them in a courteous temper, even bowing to them distantly as though recognizing their existence, while doubting their respectibility. Henry Adams
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The tourist was the great conservative who hated novelty and adored dirt. Henry Adams
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The capacity of women to make unsuitable marriages must be considered as the cornerstone of society. Henry Adams
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Politics cannot stop to study psychology Its methods are rough; its judgments rougher still. Henry Adams
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It is now conceded that all idea of British intervention is at an end... I want to hug the army of the Potomac. I want to get the whole army of Vicksburg drunk at my own expense. I want to fight some small man and lick him. Henry Adams
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Wild as man was, and disgusting as the more degraded tribes and communities were, the best of them, and all those from which further advance came, were marked by good qualities, or they could never have risen to a higher stage. Henry Adams
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The hymns of David, the plays of Shakespeare, the metaphysics of Descartes, the crimes of Borgia, the virtues of Antonine, the atheism of yesterday and the materialism of today, were all emanations of divine thought, doing their appointed work. It was the duty of the church to deal with them all, not as though they existed through a power hostile to the deity, but as instruments of the deity to work out his unrevealed ends. Henry Adams
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The philosopher says-I am, and the church scouts his philosophy. She answers:-No! you are NOT, you have no existence of your own. You were and are and ever will be only a part of the supreme I AM, of which the church is the emblem. Henry Adams
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The President may indeed in one respect resemble the commander of an army in peace, but in another and more essential sense he resembles the commander of a ship at sea. He must have a helm to grasp, a course to steer, a port to seek. He must sooner or later be convinced that a perpetual calm is as little to his purpose as a perpetual hurricane, and that without headway the ship can arrive nowhere. Henry Adams
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If any one of us has had an ambition higher than that of making money; a motive better than that of expediency; a faith warmer than that of reasoning; a love purer than that of the self; he has been slow to express it; still slower to urge it. Henry Adams
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The social side of Washington was to be taken for granted as three-fourths of existence. Politics and reform became the detail, and waltzing the profession Henry Adams
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You say that love is nonsense. I tell you it is no such thing. For weeks and months it is a steady physical pain, an ache about the heart, never leaving one, by night or by day; a long strain on one's nerves like toothache or rheumatism, not intolerable at any one instant, but exhausting by its steady drain on the strength. Henry Adams
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I think that Lee should have been hanged. It was all the worse that he was a good man and a fine character and acted conscientiously. It's always the good men who do the most harm in the world. Henry Adams
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We shall some day catch an abstract truth by the tail, and then we shall have our religion and our immortality. Henry Adams
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As for piracy, I love to be pirated. It is the greatest compliment an author can have. The wholesale piracy of Democracy was the single real triumph of my life. Anyone may steal what he likes from me. Henry Adams
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From cradle to grave this problem of running order through chaos, direction through space, discipline through freedom, unity through multiplicity, has always been, and must always be, the task of education, as it is the moral of religion, philosophy, science, art, politics and economy; but a boy's will is his life, and he dies when it is broken, as the colt dies in harness, taking a new nature in becoming tame... Henry Adams
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Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know Henry Adams
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His brothers were the type; he was the variation. Henry Adams
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The great word Evolution had not yet, in 1860, made a new religion of history, but the old religion had preached the same doctrinefor a thousand years without finding in the entire history of Rome anything but flat contradiction. Henry Adams
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In the history of the United States, there is no continuity at all. You can cut through it anywhere and nothing on this side of the cut has anything to do with anything on the other side. Henry Adams
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The spectacle [of American politics] resembles that of swarms of insects changing from worms to wings. They must get the wings ordie. For our salvation, Mr. Wilbur Wright is providing wings. He will also have to provide a new insect to use them. Henry Adams
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Man always made, and still makes, grotesque blunders in selecting and measuring forces, taken at random from the heap, but he never made a mistake in the value he set on the whole, which he symbolized as unity and worshipped as God. To this day, his attitude towards it has never changed, though science can no longer give to force a name. Henry Adams
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Young men have a passion for regarding their elders as senile. Henry Adams
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They know enough who know how to learn. Henry Adams
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Politics are a very unsatisfactory game. Henry Adams
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The difference is slight, to the influence of an author, whether he is read by five hundred readers, or by five hundred thousand; if he can select the five hundred, he reaches the five hundred thousand. Henry Adams
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No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous. Henry Adams
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He had fallen into the usual masculine blunder of mixing up smartness of intelligence with strength of character. Henry Adams
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History is the most aristocratic of all literary pursuits, because it obliges the historian to be rich as well as educated. Henry Adams
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In practice, such trifles as contradictions in principle are easily set aside; the faculty of ignoring them makes the practical man. Henry Adams
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The Jewish question is really the most serious of our problems. Henry Adams
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Boys naturally look on all force as an enemy. Henry Adams
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The first serious consciousness of Nature's gesture - her attitude towards life-took form then as a phantasm, a nightmare, all insanity of force. For the first time, the stage-scenery of the senses collapsed; the human mind felt itself stripped naked, vibrating in a void of shapeless energies, with resistless mass, colliding, crushing, wasting, and destroying what these same energies had created and labored from eternity to perfect. Henry Adams
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Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts. Henry Adams
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No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous. Henry Adams
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The American President resembles the commander of a ship at sea. He must have a helm to grasp, a course to steer, a port to seek. Henry Adams
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From earliest childhood the boy was accustomed to feel that, for him, life was double. Winter and summer, town and country, law and liberty, were hostile, and the man who pretended they were not, was in his eyes a schoolmaster - that is, a man employed to tell lies to little boys. Henry Adams
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Power is poison. Its effect on Presidents had always been tragic, chiefly as an almost insane excitement at first, and a worse reaction afterwards. Henry Adams
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Politics is simply the organization of hatreds. Henry Adams
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Every syllable that can be struck out is pure profit, and every page that can be economised is a five-per-cent dividend. Nature rebels against this rule; the flesh is weak, and shrinks from the scissors; I groan in retrospect over the weak. Henry Adams
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The scientific mind is atrophied, and suffers under inherited cerebral weakness, when it comes in contact with the eternal woman-Astarte, Isis, Demeter, Aphrodite, and the last and greatest deity of all, the Virgin. Henry Adams
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The spring is here, young and beautiful as ever, and absolutely shocking in its display of reckless maternity; but the Judas treewill bloom for you on the Bosphorus if you get there in time. No one ever loved the dog-wood and Judas tree as I have done, and it is my one crown of life to be sure that I am going to take them with me to heaven to enjoy real happiness with the Virgin and them. Henry Adams
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You may cut off the heads of every rich man now living-of every statesman-every literary, and every scientific authority, without in the least changing the social situation. Artists, of course, disappeared long ago as social forces. So did the church. Corporations are not elevators, but levellers, as I see them. Henry Adams
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Society' in America means all the honest, kindly-mannered, pleasant- voiced women, and all the good, brave, unassuming men, between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Each of these has a free pass in every city and village, 'good for this generation only,' and it depends on each to make use of this pass or not as it may happen to suit his or her fancy. Henry Adams
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Since [Rousseau's] time, and largely thanks to him, the Ego has steadily tended to efface itself, and, for purposes of model, to become a manikin on which the toilet of education is to be draped in order to show the fit or misfit of the clothes. The object of study is the garment, not the figure. Henry Adams
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Only on the edge of the grave can man conclude anything. Henry Adams
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Power is poison. Its effect on Presidents had always been tragic. Henry Adams
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Intimates are predestined. Henry Adams
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Power when wielded by abnormal energy is the most serious of facts. Henry Adams
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It [love] is a disease to be born with patience, like any nervous complaint, and to be treated with counter-irritants. Henry Adams
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