HENRY ADAMS QUOTES

American historian (1838-1918)

Henry Adams quote

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

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: chaos, order


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, Historical Essays

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Tags: men, humanity


Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. The men become every year more and more creatures of force, massed about central power-houses. The conflict is no longer between the men, but between the motors that drive the men, and the men tend to succumb to their own motive forces.

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: politics, political parties


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

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: youth


The chief wonder of education is that it does not ruin everybody concerned in it, teachers and taught.

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: education


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, Esther

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Tags: religion, science


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

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: education, ignorance


No man, however strong, can serve ten years as schoolmaster, priest, or Senator, and remain fit for anything else.

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of 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, Esther

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Tags: church


Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: chaos, life


The original community is believed to have had no idea, or only a rudimentary idea, of private property; and as men emerged from the condition of animals, they possibly held all things in common within their communal association. Theoretically, men and women, like all else, in the earliest stage of society were communal property. No tie connected individual men and women together. No man had the right to appropriate any one woman to himself, nor had any woman the right to appropriate to herself any one man. Such communities were large families and small States, with a strongly democratic organization and an elected chief or chiefs. All their members were equal, for all were brothers and sisters.

HENRY ADAMS, Historical Essays

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Tags: community


He never labored so hard to learn a language as he did to hold his tongue.

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: language, silence


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, Esther

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Tags: philosophy, religion


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

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: death


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, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: society


Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, had always been the systematic organization of hatreds.

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: politics, hate


Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: nature


The world never loved perfect poise. What the world does love is commonly absence of poise, for it has to be amused.

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Simplicity is the most deceitful mistress that ever betrayed man.

HENRY ADAMS, The Education of Henry Adams

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Tags: simplicity


Probably the institution of marriage had its origin in love of property. Both men and women were united in this--that whatever they loved best, they wished to possess. The usual theory holds that the communal system would not permit the gratification of this desire at the expense of communal rights, and that therefore men were driven to gratify their passion by purchasing or by capturing women from neighboring and hostile tribes.

HENRY ADAMS, Historical Essays

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Tags: marriage, property