Henry Brooks Adams
Quotations


Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.

Philosophy: Unintelligible answers to insoluble problems.

As for America, it is the ideal fruit of all your youthful hopes and reforms. Everybody is fairly decent, respectable, domestic, bourgeois, middle-class, and tiresome. There is absolutely nothing to revile except that it's a bore.

Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.

The press is the hired agent of a monied system, and set up for no other purpose than to tell lies where their interests are involved. One can trust nobody and nothing.

Susceptibility to the highest forces is the highest genius.

At best, the renewal of broken relations is a nervous matter.

Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.

A friend in power is a friend lost.

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.

Power is poison. Its effect on Presidents had always been tragic.

American society is a sort of flat, fresh-water pond which absorbs silently, without reaction, anything which is thrown into it.

Young men have a passion for regarding their elders as senile.

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.

Morality is a private and costly luxury.

Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and end of political education.

What one knows is, in youth, of little moment; they know enough who know how to learn.

Politics, as a practice, whatever its profession, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

We combat obstacles in order to get repose, and when got, the repose is insupportable.

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

The effect of power and publicity on all men is the aggravation of self, a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim's sympathies.

Accident counts for much in companionship as in marriage.

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.

All experience is an arch, to build upon.

The progress of Evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.

Only on the edge of the grave can man conclude anything.

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.

Intimates are predestined.

Everyone carries his own inch-rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.

Power when wielded by abnormal energy is the most serious of facts.

No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.

Friends are born, not made.

Simplicity is the most deceitful mistress that ever betrayed man.


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