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Quotations about the
United States of America

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What brings us together as Americans is so much stronger than anything that can tear us apart. ~Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 2020

People in power are trying to convince us that the villain in our American story is each other. But that is not our story. That is not who we are. That’s not our America. Our United States of America is not about us versus them. It’s about We the people! ~Kamala Harris, 2019

Ambition, enterprise, effort and success are largely states of mind; happiness is the United States. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor

My dream is that as the years go on... that America will come into the full light of the day when all shall know that she puts human rights above all other rights and that her flag is the flag not only of America but of humanity. What other great people has devoted itself to this exalted ideal? ~Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914 July 4th

America is not a formula. America is not statistics... A great nation cannot be made, cannot be discovered, and then be laid coldly together like a census. America is a Tune. It must be sung together. ~Gerald Stanley Lee, Crowds: A Moving-Picture of Democracy, 1913

What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom "to" and freedom "from." ~Marilyn vos Savant

I love America more than any other country in this world; and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. ~James Baldwin

America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true. ~James T. Farrell

How often we fail to realize our good fortune in living in a country where happiness is more than a lack of tragedy. ~Paul Sweeney

May the growth of the American union never be prevented by party spirit. ~Every Body's Toast Book and Convivial Companion, by An Adept, 1851

Americans in unity, and unity in Americans! ~Every Body's Toast Book and Convivial Companion, by An Adept, 1851

If you want a symbolic gesture, don't burn the flag; wash it. ~Norman Thomas

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. ~William J. Clinton

Compared to England, America's a pimply teenager. ~Elementary, "Crowned Clown, Downtown Brown," 2017, written by Jordan Rosenberg  [S5, E12, Sherlock Holmes]

What the people want is very simple. They want an America as good as its promise. ~Barbara Jordan

We the people will not be silenced. We the people will not be bullied. We the people will not surrender. ~Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 2020

Yet America is a poem in our eyes; its ample geography dazzles the imagination, and it will not wait long for metres. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Poet"

May the glory of America never cease to shine. ~"Toasts and Sentiments," Collier's Cyclopedia of Commercial and Social Information and Treasury of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge, compiled by Nugent Robinson, 1882

Our country will remain "the land of the free" only so long as it is "the home of the brave." ~Public Service Magazine, 1945

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in. ~Theodore Roosevelt, 1901

We have the Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities. ~Bill Maher

Miss Revendal asked—and I want to explain to her what America means to me.... When I am writing my American symphony, it seems like thunder crashing through a forest full of bird songs.... America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming! Here you stand, good folk, think I, when I see them at Ellis Island, here you stand in your fifty groups, with your fifty languages and histories, and your fifty blood hatreds and rivalries. But you won't be long like that, brothers, for these are the fires of God you've come to—these are the fires of God. A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians—into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American.... the real American has not yet arrived. He is only in the Crucible, I tell you—he will be the fusion of all races, perhaps the coming superman. Ah, what a glorious Finale for my symphony—if I can only write it. ~Israel Zangwill (1864–1926), The Melting-Pot, 1908  [spoken by the character David Quixano —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

America is a nation with many flaws, but hopes so vast that only the cowardly would refuse to acknowledge them. ~James Michener

When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect. ~Adlai Stevenson, 1952

If you take advantage of everything America has to offer, there's nothing you can't accomplish. ~Geraldine Ferraro

If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace. ~Hamilton Fish

      Ithamar Conkey:  It's the Know-Nothings. They might win. They have built a platform on populist economic rhetoric and anti-immigrant nativist anxiety. It's a heady brew. And noxious. But it's working. People are actually voting for these clowns. It turns out people like it when you tell them who to blame for their problems...
      Edward Dickinson:  I believe in this country, and I believe in the good guys. And at the end of the day, the good guys win because we love America. And when immigrants come here to join us, we throw our arms wide open and we say, "Welcome. Grab a seat. Eat a hot dog." We don't kick people out. No. And as far as these Know-Nothings go, it sounds to me like what they need to know something about is a little thing called patriotism. And generosity. And pride. ~Robbie Macdonald and Alena Smith, "We lose – because we win," Dickinson, 2019  [S1, E7; a little altered —tg]

The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation. ~Woodrow Wilson

No one’s going to take our democracy away from us, not now, not ever. America’s come too far. America’s fought too many battles. America’s endured too much to ever let that happen. ~Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 2020

Let America realize that self-scrutiny is not treason, self-examination is not disloyalty. ~Richard Cushing, 1965

Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country. ~Sinclair Lewis

May Peace o'er America spread her wing,
And Commerce fill her ports with gold;
May Arts and Science comfort bring,
And Liberty, her sons enfold.
~Every Body's Toast Book and Convivial Companion, by An Adept, 1851  [This toast is earlier found "May peace o'er Britain spread her wing," in The Toastmaster: or, Treasury of Sentiment (London), 1836. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Life is good in America, but the good life still eludes us. Our standard of living is admittedly high, but measured by those things that truly distinguish a civilization, our living standards are hardly high at all. We have, I fear, confused power with greatness. ~Stewart Udall, 1965

The cement of this union is in the heart blood of every American. I do not believe there is on earth a government established on so immovable a basis. ~Thomas Jefferson, 1815

We cannot reform the world.... Uncle Sugar is as dangerous a role for us to play as Uncle Shylock. ~John F. Kennedy

With hearts and with glasses brim full,
Let's drink to America, our Mother.
~Every Body's Toast Book and Convivial Companion, by An Adept, 1851

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. ~Declaration of Independence, United Colonies (United States of America), 1776

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.. ~Constitution of the United States of America, 1787

Only Americans can hurt America. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

That something has gone wrong in America most of us know. We are richer than any nation before us. We have more Things in our garages and kitchens and cellars than Louis Quatorze had in the whole of Versailles... We have wiped out many of the pests and scourges which afflicted humanity. We have advanced science to the edges of the inexplicable and hoisted technology to the sun itself... In brief, we are prosperous, lively, successful, inventive, diligent — but, nevertheless and notwithstanding, something is wrong and we know it. ~Archibald MacLeish, in LIFE, "Eloquent Guides to America's National Purpose," 1960

In short, at a time of universal social upheaval and challenge, our vision of our own society seems to be of limited social significance. An air of disengagement and disinterest hangs over the most powerful and affluent society the world has ever known. Neither the turbulence of the world abroad nor the fatness and flatness of the world at home is moving us to more vital effort. We seem becalmed in a season of storm, drifting through a century of mighty dreams and great achievements. As an American I am disturbed. ~Adlai Stevenson, in LIFE, "Eloquent Guides to America's National Purpose," 1960

For the world to follow, we must do more than rattle our sabers and demand allegiance to our vision simply because we believe we are right. We must provide a reason for others to aspire to that vision. And that reason must come with more than the repetition of a bumper-sticker phrase about freedom and democracy. It must come with more than the restatement of failed policy. It must come with the wisdom to admit when we are wrong and resolve to change course and get it right. ~Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 2008

We dare not forget that we are the heirs of that first revolution. ~John F. Kennedy

A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election. ~Bill Vaughan

Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world. ~Woodrow Wilson

My fellow Americans — I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris. In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America. With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together. ~Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 2020 November 7th

May old England's sons, the Americans, never forget their mother. ~The Toastmaster: or, Treasury of Sentiment, 1836

      As Americans, we feel that we've lost our way, that we don't know where we are going — if anywhere. I agree — but I still feel that the diagnosis is curious, for the fact is, of course, that we have a national purpose — the most precisely articulated national purpose in recorded history. Not only is it a famous statement of purpose: it is also an admirable statement of purpose. Prior to July 4, 1776, the national purpose of nations had been to dominate... The American national purpose was the opposite: to liberate from domination; to set men free. All men are created equal. All men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
      We not only have a national purpose; we have one of such aspiration, such potentiality, such power of hope that we refer to it — or used to — as the American Dream. ~Archibald MacLeish, in LIFE, "Eloquent Guides to America's National Purpose," 1960  [a little altered —tg]

My favorite thing about the United States? Lots of Americans, one America. ~Terri Guillemets

Don't listen to what anyone tells you about The States. Listen to this country. There was never anything like it. It's a complete break with everything that's gone before. It's a real pioneering into the future. The whole quarrel with it is precisely that it pioneers, that it doesn't remain quietly and properly at home in the past. The truth is, that we can have no standards by which to judge it. It can only be judged by its own standards, and it hasn't yet sufficiently become to be able to state its principles. That sentence itself reveals our inadequacy; in spite of all efforts, I can't speak of America in terms of America.... very possibly, it's exactly stability which America discards. Is it possible for a civilization to be wholly dynamic? Wholly a vibration, a becoming, a force existing in itself, without direction, without an object for its verb? ~Rose Wilder Lane, letter to Dorothy Thompson, 1928, edited by William V. Holtz  [a little altered —tg]

Fling high the banner to the breeze!...
      Free America!
Hail to thee, Union, firmly bound...
      Proud America!
Liberty to wrest from fate...
see the Eagle soaring
      O'er America!
Gracious Father, grant Thy blessing
      To America!
By birthright ours, or from afar,
Brethren, to our shores invited...
Round one common hearth united,
For one band of brothers lighted,
To one country we are plighted,
      One America!
~John Nollen, "A National Hymn," 1898

There are those, I know, who will reply that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American Dream. ~Archibald MacLeish, in LIFE, "Eloquent Guides to America's National Purpose," 1960

Of all the supervised conditions for life offered man, those under U S A's constitution have proved the best. Wherefore, be sure when you start modifying, corrupting or abrogating it. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls. ~Robert J. McCracken

Here, beyond anything else on the whole earth, is a country blessed by an ideal geography and almost perfect natural frontiers, by incalculable bulk and wealth and variety and vitality, by a unique and indeed unexampled heritage in democratic ideas and principles — and a country deliberately founded on a good idea. ~John Gunther, Inside U.S.A., 1946

We need an America with the wisdom of experience. But we must not let America grow old in spirit. ~Hubert H. Humphrey

Not merely a nation but a nation of nations. ~Lyndon B. Johnson

You cannot spill a drop of American blood without spilling the blood of the whole world.... We are not a nation, so much as a world. ~Herman Melville

What a pity, when Christopher Columbus discovered America, that he ever mentioned it. ~Margot Asquith

Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered. I myself would say that it had merely been detected. ~Oscar Wilde

America's one of the finest countries anyone ever stole. ~Bobcat Goldthwaite

Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian. ~Robert Orben, 1983

When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, "Ours." ~Vine Deloria, Jr.

Rachel: The pilgrims came here to escape persecution from the British.
Elizabeth: Yes, so they could go about persecuting the Indians.
~ER, "Great Expectations," original airdate 1999 November 25th, written by Michael Crichton and Jack Orman

The pilgrims were kicked out of England, quarreled with the Dutch, alienated the Indians, and had an evil reputation among the turkeys. ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), tweet, 2008 November 24th

[W]e recognize the contributions made by Native Americans since long before our founding, and we resolve to continue the work of strengthening government-to-government ties with tribal nations and expanding possibility for all. Native Americans have helped make America what it is today. As we reflect on our history, we must acknowledge the unfortunate chapters of violence, discrimination, and deprivation that went on for far too long, as well as the effects of injustices that continue to be felt. While we cannot undo the pain and tragedy of the past, we can set out together to forge a brighter future of progress and hope across Indian Country and the entire American landscape. ~Barack Obama, 2015 October 30th, quoted from The White House Office of the Press Secretary, "Presidential Proclamation — National Native American Heritage Month, 2015"

What we need are critical lovers of America — patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it. ~Hubert H. Humphrey

What, then, is the solution? Not to discover or rediscover our national purpose but to exercise it. Which means, ultimately, to exercise it for its own sake, not for the defeat of those who have a different purpose. ~Archibald MacLeish, in LIFE, "Eloquent Guides to America's National Purpose," 1960  [a little altered —tg]

The United States is the only country with a known birthday. ~James G. Blaine

      We have been steadily pushing aside the great American tradition of friendliness and welcome to people of foreign birth. Once we owned that tradition and lived it. Now we own it as you might be said to own a discarded garment that is still in your closet, but that you no longer wear. Do you think of the American nation of being all the people? Or of catering only to those who had the luck to be born here?
      I stand, and shall always stand, that there are not lower and higher categories of American citizenship. The great tradition is an inclusive Americanism, not exclusive. America does not ask of a man where he was born nor any other extraneous question, but only whether he is dedicated to fighting for humanist values according to his best lights.
      There is not a birth-line cutting America in two... America is a passionate idea or it is nothing. America is a human brotherhood or it is a chaos. ~Max Lerner, "The United States as Exclusive Hotel," 1946  [a little altered —tg]

Oh, it's home again and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea
To the blessed land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.
~Henry Van Dyke

America is not just a country, but a way of life. ~Anonymous Kansan, 1940

It is the flag just as much of the man who was naturalized yesterday as of the man whose people have been here generations. ~Henry Cabot Lodge, "What the Flag Means," 1915

"My Country 'tis of thee." It is difficult to say with any academical exactitude who was the original perpetrator of this ambrosial ambiguity, but if it was not Theobold the Thug as he bit his native sod in days of yore, then of a verity it was some patriotic patrician historically hysterical, or perchance a frenzied farmer paradoxically placing a monetary "monkey" on his broad acres to satisfy his narrow creditors; but whosoever unleashed this Utopian euphonism provided elocutionary evidence that, field of blood or field of spud, the spirit which has made the land fit for heroes and harrows has not come uncorked—the spirit which has produced the country where husbandmen—and bachelors too—have converted the open spaces to oaten places; the spirit which has moved them to wangle the mangel, capitalise the cow, and till the paddocks to pad the tills. ~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "Utopian Euphonisms," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1930 January 1st  [Note: New Zealand author —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

We sleep peacefully at night, cradled by the big strong hands of America. ~Terri Guillemets

America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and a moral fact — the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality. And we love it for this audacity! ~Adlai Stevenson

Americans boast smiles of
star-spangled happiness
and banner waves of pride.
~Terri Guillemets, "Unfurl," 1992

If you can speak three languages you're trilingual. If you can speak two languages you're bilingual. If you can speak only one language you're an American. ~Author unknown

Very little is known about the War of 1812 because the Americans lost it. ~Eric Nicol

America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization. ~Georges Clemenceau

The great social adventure of America is no longer the conquest of the wilderness but the absorption of fifty different peoples. ~Walter Lippman

In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from. ~Peter Alexander Ustinov

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." ~Isaac Asimov, in Newsweek, 1980 January 21st  #teaparty

We Americans have no commission from God to police the world. ~Benjamin Harrison, address to Congress, 1888

Americans think of themselves collectively as a huge rescue squad on twenty-four-hour call to any spot on the globe where dispute and conflict may erupt. ~Eldridge Cleaver

America is the only country ever founded on the printed word. ~Marshall McLuhan

The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic — have always blown on free men. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

I pledge allegiance to the Earth, and to the flora, fauna and human life that it supports, one planet, indivisible, with safe air, water and soil, economic justice, equal rights and peace for all. ~Women's Foreign Policy Council, "Pledge of Allegiance to the Family of Earth," 1989

Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.
~George Carlin

The Constitution of the United States of America, Article V, Section 1: There shall be a National Anthem containing incomprehensible words and a high note that normal humans cannot hit without risk of hernia. ~Dave Barry

In light of the tensions among Western allies — the mightiest Democratic alliance is the union of 50 states. ~Walter Winchell, 1959

American culture thrives on appearances, swallows the grit and beauty that lies under its glassy facades and spits out the remains in dilapidated, dirty dollar signs. ~Cecily Schmidt, "Common Threads," in Wild Child: Girlhoods in the Counterculture edited by Chelsea Cain, 1999

America is an enormous frosted cupcake in the middle of millions of starving people. ~Gloria Steinem

An American has no sense of privacy. He does not know what it means. There is no such thing in the country. ~George Bernard Shaw, "Political Madhouse in America and Nearer Home: A Lecture," 1933

The trouble with America is that there are far too many wide-open spaces surrounded by teeth. ~Charles Luckman

America is a place where Jewish merchants sell Zen love beads to agnostics for Christmas. ~John Burton Brimer

The metaphor of the melting pot is unfortunate and misleading. A more accurate analogy would be a salad bowl, for, though the salad is an entity, the lettuce can still be distinguished from the chicory, the tomatoes from the cabbage. ~Carl N. Degler

America has as much diversity in peoples as it does in geographies. ~Terri Guillemets, "Civics and dinner," 1988

America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense... human rights invented America. ~Jimmy Carter

It almost seems that nobody can hate America as much as can the Americans born here. America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it. ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973

What the American public doesn't know is what makes them the American public. ~From the movie Tommy Boy

No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. ~H.L. Mencken

There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong. ~G.K. Chesterton

Despite the goings-on in Congress, I don't think the U.S. is bordering on madness. I think Canada and Mexico are. ~Robert Brault, 2012,

Blood is thicker than water, but there is a powerful lot of water between the United States and Great Britain. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom. ~Alexis de Tocqueville

America: Where a man can say what he thinks, if he isn't afraid of his wife, his boss, his customer, his neighbors, or the government. ~Joe Moore

Here we write well when we expose frauds and hypocrites. We are great at counting warts and blemishes and weighting feet of clay. In expressing love, we belong among the underdeveloped countries. ~Saul Bellow

America is a country that doesn't know where it is going but is determined to set a speed record getting there. ~Laurence J. Peter

Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox here in America — that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement. ~Thomas Wolfe

Americans like fat books and thin women. ~Russell Baker

We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us. We must get away from the idea that America is to be the leader of the world in everything. She can lead in some things. The old "manifest destiny" idea ought to be modified so that each nation has the manifest destiny to do the best it can — and that without cant, without the assumption of self-righteousness and with a desire to learn to the uttermost from other nations. ~Francis John McConnell

America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. ~Hunter S. Thompson

There would be more miracles in America if the people were not in too great a hurry to wait. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

I just don't know why they're shooting at us. All we want to do is bring them democracy and white bread. Transplant the American dream. Freedom. Achievement. Hyperacidity. Affluence. Flatulence. Technology. Tension. The inalienable right to an early coronary sitting at your desk while plotting to stab your boss in the back. ~M*A*S*H, "O.R.," original airdate 1974 October 8th, written by Larry Gelbart & Laurence Marks, spoken by the character Hawkeye

America is a large friendly dog in a small room. Every time it wags its tail it knocks over a chair. ~Arnold Toynbee

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to. ~Hansell B. Duckett

Ten men in the country could buy the world and ten million can't buy enough to eat. ~Will Rogers

America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy. ~John Updike

Foreigners still find us crude, but they keep importing our refined products. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Trump's got a big trip. He's going to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican, the cradles of America's three great religions — Christianity, Judaism, and oil. ~Real Time with Bill Maher, 2017 May 19th

States!... Go put your creed into your deed. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

...a "land of the free" that struggles under the incredible burden of limitless taxes and laws; the home of the "brave" who stay silent to keep their jobs and avoid scrutiny by the IRS or the police. ~Fred Woodworth, The Match!, No. 74

The fact is that Americans are not a thoughtful people; they are too busy to stop and question their values. ~William Ralph

Our fathers' God, from out whose hand,
The centuries fall like grains of sand,
We meet to-day, united, free,
And loyal to our land and Thee,
To thank thee for the era done,
And trust Thee for the opening one.
~John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892), "Centennial Hymn," 1876, set to music by John K. Paine  [Written for the opening of the International Exposition, Centennial Exhibition, Grandest World's Fair, U.S.A. Centennial, or however you know it as. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Every American carries in his bloodstream the heritage of the malcontent and the dreamer. ~Dorothy Fuldheim

It is still possible to have friendly discourse in America, as long as you don't bring up any subject. ~Robert Brault,

America My Country:  last nation on earth to abolish human slavery; first of all nations to drop the nuclear bomb on our fellow human beings. ~Edward Abbey, Vox Clamantis in Deserto, 1989

Our Constitution was founded on a dark yet realistic view of human nature: that we are fallen, frail, and fallible. The aim of the new republic was not perfection, an impossibility on this side of Paradise, but, as Gouverneur Morris put it in the preamble to the Constitution, a Union that would prove "more perfect." Experience teaches us that injustice is endemic to political life. "The tragedy of man" the twentieth-century Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr observed, "is that he can conceive self-perfection but cannot achieve it." And the tragedy of America is that we can imagine justice but cannot finally realize it. ~Jon Meacham, His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope, 2020,  ["...we live in a fallen, frail, and fallible world..." ~Jon Meacham —tg]

I hate American simplicity. I glory in the piling up of complications of every sort. If I could pronounce the name James in any different or more elaborate way I should be in favor of doing it. ~Henry James

I have fallen in love with American names, the sharp, gaunt names that never get fat. ~Stephen Vincent Benet

Some Americans need hyphens in their names, because only part of them has come over; but when the whole man has come over, heart and thought and all, the hyphen drops of its own weight out of his name. ~Woodrow Wilson

America makes prodigious mistakes, America has colossal faults, but one thing cannot be denied: America is always on the move. She may be going to Hell, of course, but at least she isn't standing still. ~E.E. Cummings (1894–1962)

America enters the nightmare of its destiny like a demented giant in a half-cracked canoe, bleeding from wounds top and bottom, bellowing in bewilderment, drowning with radio transmitters on the hip and radar in his ear. He has a fearful disease, this giant.... Greed. Vanity.... The Faustian necessity to amass all knowledge, to enslave nature.... Arrogance. ~Norman Mailer, "Mr. Mailer Interviews Himself," in The New York Times Book Review, 1967 September 17th

Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night? ~Jack Kerouac

The American experiment is the most tremendous and far reaching engine of social change which has ever either blessed or cursed mankind. ~Charles Francis Adams

In schools they have what they call intelligence tests. Well if nations held 'em I don't believe we would be what you would call a favorite to win it. ~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

America is a mistake, a giant mistake. ~Sigmund Freud

America! half-brother of the world!
With something good and bad of every land.
~Philip James Bailey

You have to be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination. ~Charles de Gaulle, 1967

If you surveyed a hundred typical middle-aged Americans, I bet you'd find that only two of them could tell you their blood types, but every last one of them would know the theme song from The Beverly Hillbillies. ~Dave Barry

The American — the greatest patriot on earth — rises gloriously to The Star-Spangled Banner — and then remembers he doesn't know the words. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

International trade note: the American is a gentle guy; but don't pressure him; if you do he turns toad and squirts poison. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. ~Peter Kroptkin

Somehow, we've let the universe in. All societies have been snug little houses, with wall-board walls painted with pictures of infinity — neat, logical, hand-made pictures on walls erected to keep out the unbearable chaos of reality. But America hasn't any walls. That, it seems to me, is the first thing to try to understand about this country; that there aren't any walls anymore. It's one explanation of the passion of the Fundamentalists, in every field of thought, not only religious. A desperate attempt to keep hold of sanity by maintaining the walls. No good: those walls come down on every side. Chaos is in. Can human beings live in reality? We've always thought not. We've never been able to bear it. ~Rose Wilder Lane, letter to Dorothy Thompson, 1928, edited by William V. Holtz  [a little altered —tg]

I feel that I am a citizen of the American dream and that the revolutionary struggle of which I am a part is a struggle against the American nightmare. ~Eldridge Cleaver

America is the best half-educated country in the world. ~Nicholas Murray Butler

The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colors breaking through. ~Alexis de Tocqueville

Every time Europe looks across the Atlantic to see the American Eagle, it observes only the rear end of an ostrich. ~H.G. Wells

In America, with all its evils and faults, you can still reach through the forest and see the sun. But we do not know yet whether the sun is rising or setting for our country. ~Dick Gregory, 1964

Americans always try to do the right thing after they've tried everything else. ~Winston Churchill

We're Americans, with a capital A... You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts!... But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more loveable than the mutt. ~Stripes, 1981, written by Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, and Harold Ramis

We are quite rich enough to defend ourselves, whatever the cost. We must now learn that we are quite rich enough to educate ourselves as we need to be educated. ~Walter Lippmann

One characteristic of Americans is that they have no tolerance at all of anybody putting up with anything. We believe that whatever is going wrong ought to be fixed. ~Margaret Mead

Benjamin Franklin:  "I believe that if we are to form a new country, we cannot be a country that appears war-hungry and violent to the rest of the world. However, we also cannot be a country that appears weak and unwilling to fight, to the rest of the world. So, what if we form a country that appears to want both."
Thomas Jefferson:  "Yes, yes of course, we go to war and protest going to war at the same time..."
Benjamin Franklin:  "And that means that as a nation, we could go to war with whomever we wished, but at the same time act like we didn't want to. If we allow the people to protest what the government does, then the country will be forever blameless."
John Adams:  "It's like having your cake and eating it too."
Unidentified Congressman:  "Think of it: an entire nation founded on saying one thing and doing another."
John Hancock:  "And we will call that country the United States of America."
~South Park, "I'm a Little Bit Country" [S7, E4, 2003], written by Trey Parker & Matt Stone

What does it mean when a nation comes to believe that the end justifies the means? It means the end. ~Robert Brault,

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