Quotations From HENRY DAVID THOREAU


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  • Indeed, the Englishman's history of New England commences only when it ceases to be New France.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Cape Cod (1855-1865), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 232, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

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  • As in geology, so in social institutions, we may discover the causes of all past changes in the present invariable order of society.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, pp. 132-133, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • High treason, when it is resistance to tyranny here below, has its origin in, and is first committed by, the power that makes and forever re-creates man.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "A Plea for Captain John Brown" (1859), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 430, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

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  • Individuals, like nations, must have suitable broad and natural boundaries, even a considerable neutral ground, between them.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 156, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • This phenomenon is more exhilarating to me than the luxuriance and fertility of vineyards.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 340, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden, "Economy," (1854).
  • There are theoretical reformers at all times, and all the world over, living on anticipation.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 131, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

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  • The book exists for us, perchance, which will explain our miracles and reveal new ones.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 120, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • If it were not for the rivers (and he might go round their heads), a squirrel could here travel thus the whole breadth of the country.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Chesuncook" (1858) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, p. 169, Houghton Mifflin (1906).

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  • If I were consciously to join any party, it would be that which is the most free to entertain thought.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, July 21, 1852, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 196, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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