Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

Henry
Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams
1838
1918

American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist

Author Quotes

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.

Time is bunk.

The mere thought hadn't even begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing my mind.

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.

The problem of life was as simple as it was classic. Politics offered no difficulties, for there the moral law was a sure guide. Social perfection was also sure, because human nature worked for Good, and three instruments were all she asked ? Suffrage, Common Schools, and Press. On these points doubt was forbidden. Education was divine, and man needed only a correct knowledge of facts to reach perfection:

Unintelligible answers to insoluble problems.

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

Unity is vision; it must have been part of the process of learning to see.

The proper study of mankind is woman.

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

The study of history is useful to the historian by teaching him his ignorance of women.

We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem.

The tourist was the great conservative who hated novelty and adored dirt.

Were half the power that fills the world with terror, were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts, Given to redeem the human mind from error, There were no need of arsenals nor forts.

The woman who is known only through a man is known wrong.

Whatever happens at all happens as it should; thou wilt find this true, if thou shouldst watch closely.

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

William Seward would inspire a cow with statesmanship if she understood our language.

These questions of taste, of feeling, of inheritance, need no settlement. Everyone carries his own inch-rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.

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.

They know enough who know how to learn.

Words were with them forms of expression which varied with individuals, but falsehood was more or less necessary to all

This education startled even a man who had dabbled in fifty educations all over the world; for, if he were obliged to insist on a Universe, he seemed driven to the Church. Modern science guaranteed no unity. The student seemed to feel himself, like all his predecessors, caught, trapped, meshed in this eternal drag-net of religion. In practice the student escapes this dilemma in two ways: the first is that of ignoring it, as one escapes most dilemmas; the second is that the Church rejects pantheism as worse than atheism, and will have nothing to do with the pantheist at any price. In wandering through the forests of ignorance, one necessarily fell upon the famous old bear that scared children at play; but, even had the animal shown more logic than its victim, one had learned from Socrates to distrust, above all other traps, the trap of logic -- the mirror of the mind. Yet the search for a unit of force led into catacombs of thought where hundreds of thousands of educations had found their end. Generation after generation of painful and honest-minded scholars had been content to stay in these labyrinths forever, pursuing ignorance in silence, in company with the most famous teachers of all time. Not one of them had ever found a logical highroad of escape.

You can't use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You must take a stick and hit him on the snout!

The habit of looking at life as a social relation ? an affair of society ? did no good. It cultivated a weakness which needed no cultivation. If it had helped to make men of the world, or give the manners and instincts of any profession ? such as temper, patience, courtesy, or a faculty of profiting by the social defects of opponents ? it would have been education better worth having than mathematics or languages; but so far as it helped to make anything, it helped only to make the college standard permanent through life.

Author Picture
First Name
Henry
Last Name
Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams
Birth Date
1838
Death Date
1918
Bio

American Journalist, Historian, Academic and Novelist