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Quotations From HENRY BROOKS 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 Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres, p. 523, Library of America (1983).

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  • Dates are stupidly annoying—what we want is not dates but taste;Myet we are uncomfortable without them.
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres, p. 483, Library of America (1983).
  • Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 16 (1907).

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  • Politics, as a practise, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 1 (1907).
  • Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 22 (1907).
  • A friend in power is a friend lost.
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 7 (1907). Referring to the rupture with Senator Charles Sumner.

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  • America had no use for Adams because he was eighteenth-century, and yet it worshipped Grant because he was archaic and should have lived in a cave and worn skins.
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. The Education of Henry B. Adams, p. 963, Library of America (1983). Describing Ulysses S. Grant.

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  • "If she belongs to any besides the present, it is to the next world which artists want to see, when paganism will come again and we can give a divinity to every waterfall."
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. Wharton in Esther, p. 200, Library of America (1983).

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  • Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. The Education of Henry B. Adams, p. 1066, Library of America (1983).

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  • I am an anarchist in politics and an impressionist in art as well as a symbolist in literature. Not that I understand what these terms mean, but I take them to be all merely synonyms of pessimist.
    Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), U.S. historian. Letter, October 28, 1894, to Charles Milnes Gaskell. Letters, Vol. 2, p. 57, ed. Worthington Chauncy Ford, Houghton Mifflin (1938).
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