Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Jr., born Arthur Bancroft Schlesinger

American Historian and Social Critic, Pulitzer Prize Recipient

"The sin of racial pride still represents the most basic challenge to the American conscience. We cannot dodge this challenge without renouncing our highest moral pretentions."

"Nations follow their historic interests rather more faithfully than they do their ideologies."

"Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response. Expelled from individual consciousness by the rush of change, history finds its revenge by stamping the collective unconscious with habits, values, expectations, dreams. The dialectic between past and future will continue to form our lives."

"Success in administration obviously stands or falls on skill in execution. Execution means, above, all, the right people – it means having men and women capable of providing the information and carrying out the decision."

"The individual freedoms destroyed by the increase in national authority have been in the main the freedom to deny black Americans their elementary rights as citizens, the freedom to work little children in mills... the freedom to pay starvation wages... the freedom to... pollute the environment - all freedoms that, one supposes, a civilized country can readily do without"

"The great appeal of fatalism… is as a refuge from the terror of responsibility."

"If unlimited private indulgence means that there are not enough resources left for national defense or for education or medical care or decent housing or intelligent community planning, then in a sane society private indulgence can no longer be unlimited."

"The first rule of democracy is to distrust all leaders who begin to believe their own publicity."

"Clarity in language depends on clarity in thought."

"Brave men earn the right to shape their own destiny."