An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown




America fears the unshaven legs, the unshaven men's cheeks, the aroma of perspiration, and the limp prick. Above all it fears the limp prick.


Walter Abish (1931-, Teacher, novelist, poet, story writer)


As for America, it is the ideal fruit of all your youthful hopes and reforms. Everybody is fairly decent, respectable, domestic, bourgeois, middle-class, and tiresome. There is absolutely nothing to revile except that it's a bore.


Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918, American historian)


I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.


John Adams (1735-1826, American President (2nd))


Our society distributes itself into Barbarians, Philistines and Populace; and America is just ourselves with the Barbarians quite left out, and the Populace nearly.


Matthew Arnold (1822-1888, British poet, critic)


We must stop talking about the American dream and start listening to the dreams of the Americans.


Ruben Askew (American politician, Florida governor in the 1970’s)


It is always dangerous to generalize, but the American people, while infinitely generous, are a hard and strong race and, but for the few cemeteries I have seen, I am inclined to think they never die.


Margot Asquith (1864-1945, British socialite)


God bless the USA, so large, so friendly, and so rich.


W. H. Auden (1907-1973, Anglo-American poet)


The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It's over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now: the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Vietnam...


J. G. Ballard (1930-, British author)


America, thou half-brother of the world; with something good and bad of every land.


Philip James Bailey (1816-1902, British poet)


America is the country where you can buy a lifetime supply of aspirin For one dollar and use it up in two weeks.


John Barrymore (1882-1942, American actor)


America is an adorable woman chewing tobacco.


Auguste Bartholdi


America, America, God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.


Katherine Lee Bates (1859-1921, American author)


Deep down, the US, with its space, its technological refinement, its bluff good conscience, even in those spaces which it opens up for simulation, is the only remaining primitive society.


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


What you have to do is enter the fiction of America, enter America as fiction. It is, indeed, on this fictive basis that it dominates the world.


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


The real democratic American idea is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American preacher, orator, writer)


It is a noble land that God has given us: a land that can feed and clothe the world; a land whose coastlines would enclose half the countries of Europe; a land set like a sentinel between the two imperial oceans of the globe.


Albert J. Beveridge (1862-1927, American senator, orator)


The spirit is at home, if not entirely satisfied, in America.


Allan Bloom (1930-1992, American educator, author)


The American people, over a period of more than two centuries, have already proved that they are willing to contribute generously of their money and goods to help others.


Landrum R. Bolling


Of all the nations in the world, the United States was built in nobody's image. It was the land of the unexpected, of unbounded hope, of ideals, of quest for an unknown perfection. It is all the more unfitting that we should offer ourselves in images. And all the more fitting that the images which we make wittingly or unwittingly to sell America to the world should come back to haunt and curse us.


Daniel J. Boorstin (1914-2004, American historian)


The most important American addition to the World Experience was the simple surprising fact of America. We have helped prepare mankind for all its later surprises.


Daniel J. Boorstin (1914-2004, American historian)


One of the characteristics of American society is its reliance on individual initiative and voluntary action to achieve goals.


Helen Boosalis


America is a land where men govern, but women rule.


John Mason Brown (1800-1859, American militant abolitionist)


America is like an unfaithful love who promises us more than we got.


Charlotte Bunch


A people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


Young man, there is America, which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men and uncouth manners.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting.


William S. Burroughs (1914-1997, American writer)


America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers.


William S. Burroughs (1914-1997, American writer)


As Americans, our purpose is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.


George H. Bush (1924-, American President (41st))


America is the best half-educated country in the world.


Nicholas Murray Butler (1862-1947, American educationist)


The history of the building of the American nation may justly be described as a laboratory experiment in understanding and in solving the problems that will confront the world tomorrow.


Nicholas Murray Butler (1862-1947, American educationist)


America is a model of force and freedom and moderation -- with all the coarseness and rudeness of its people.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


I would rather have a nod from an American, than a snuff-box from an emperor.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


Americans usually believe that nothing is impossible.


Lawrence S. Eagleburger


The keynote of American civilization is a sort of warm-hearted vulgarity. The Americans have none of the irony of the English, none of their cool poise, none of their manner. But they do have friendliness. Where an Englishman would give you his card, an American would very likely give you his shirt.


Raymond Chandler (1888-1959, American author)


I have no further use for America. I wouldn't go back there if Jesus Christ was President.


Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977, British comic actor, filmmaker)


America's best buy is a telephone call to the right man.


Ilka Chase (1905-1978, American author, actor)


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.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


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


Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929, French statesman)


There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.


Bill Clinton (1946-, American President (42nd))


On discovering America: It is the most beautiful land that human eyes have seen. There is no better land or people. They love their neighbors as they do themselves, and their speech is the world's softest; tame, and always with a smile.


Christopher Columbus


The business of America is business and the chief ideal of the American people is idealism.


Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933, American President (30th))


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.


EE Cummings (1894-1962, American poet)


At least the Pilgrim Fathers used to shoot Indians: the Pilgrim Children merely punch time clocks.


EE Cummings (1894-1962, American poet)


America is the world's living myth. There's no sense of wrong when you kill an American or blame America for some local disaster. This is our function, to be character types, to embody recurring themes that people can use to comfort themselves, justify themselves and so on. We're here to accommodate. Whatever people need, we provide. A myth is a useful thing.


Don Delillo (1926-, American author)


If its individual citizens, to a man, are to be believed, it always is depressed, and always is stagnated, and always is at an alarming crisis, and never was otherwise; though as a body, they are ready to make oath upon the Evangelists, at any hour of the day or night, that it is the most thriving and prosperous of all countries on the habitable globe.


Charles Dickens (1812-1870, British novelist)


Americans cannot realize how many chances for mental improvement they lose by their inveterate habit of keeping six conversations when there are twelve in the room.


Ernest Dimnet (1866-1954, French clergyman)


I like America, just as everybody else does. I love America, I gotta say that. But America will be judged.


Bob Dylan (1941-, American musician, singer, songwriter)


The ideology of this America wants to establish reassurance through imitation. But profit defeats ideology, because the consumers want to be thrilled not only by the guarantee of the Good but also by the shudder of the Bad.


Umberto Eco (1929-, Italian novelist and critic)


There is a constant in the average American imagination and taste, for which the past must be preserved and celebrated in full-scale authentic copy; a philosophy of immortality as duplication. It dominates the relation with the self, with the past, not infrequently with the present, always with History and even with the European tradition.


Umberto Eco (1929-, Italian novelist and critic)


The American lives even more for his goals, for the future, than the European. Life for him is always becoming, never being.


Albert Einstein (1879-1955, German-born American physicist)


Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969, American President (34th))


I have only one yardstick by which I test every major problem -- and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969, American President (34th))


Only Americans can hurt America.


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969, American President (34th))


There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969, American President (34th))


Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969, American President (34th))


I hate this shallow Americanism which hopes to get rich by credit, to get knowledge by raps on midnight tables, to learn the economy of the mind by phrenology, or skill without study, or mastery without apprenticeship.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


In America the geography is sublime, but the men are not; the inventions are excellent, but the inventors one is sometimes ashamed of.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Our country was built on voluntarism, and we need to do all we can to perpetuate this unique quality that has made our nation so great.


Marilyn Erickson


If we Americans are to survive, it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans; to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front, whether of white Americans or black ones or purple or blue or green. If we in America have reached that point in our desperate culture when we must murder children, no matter for what reason or what color, we don't deserve to survive and probably won't.


William Faulkner (1897-1962, American novelist)


To be an American (unlike being English or French or whatever) is precisely to imagine a destiny rather than to inherit one; since we have always been, insofar as we are Americans at all, inhabitants of myth rather than history.


Leslie Fiedler (1917-, American literary critic, educator)


America is a willingness of the heart.


F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940, American writer)

Author's website:


France was a land, England was a people, but America, having about it still that quality of the idea, was harder to utter -- it was the graves at Shiloh and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart.


F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940, American writer)

Author's website:


There are no second acts in American lives.


F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940, American writer)

Author's website:


America is rather like life. You can usually find in it what you look for. It will probably be interesting, and it is sure to be large.


Edward M. Forster (1879-1970, British novelist, essayist)


We are more thoroughly an enlightened people, with respect to our political interests, than perhaps any other under heaven. Every man among us reads, and is so easy in his circumstances as to have leisure for conversations of improvement and for acquiring information.


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, American scientist, publisher, diplomat)


America is a mistake, a giant mistake.


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939, Austrian physician, founder of Psychoanalysis)


America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success.


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939, Austrian physician, founder of Psychoanalysis)


If you don't know how great this country is, I know someone who does; Russia.


Robert Frost (1875-1963, American poet)


What the United States does best is to understand itself. What it does worst is understand others.


Carlos Fuentes (1928-, Mexican novelist, short-story writer)


America does not concern itself now with Impressionism. We own no involved philosophy. The psyche of the land is to be found in its movement. It is to be felt as a dramatic force of energy and vitality. We move; we do not stand still. We have not yet arrived at the stock-taking stage.


Martha Graham (1894-1991, American dancer, teacher, and choreographer)


The genius of the American system is that we have created extraordinary results from plain old ordinary people.


Phil Gramm


Good Americans when they die, go to Paris.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea.


John Gunther


I have a great fear for the moral will of Americans if it takes more than a week to achieve the results.


Michael S. Harper


No author, without a trial, can conceive of the difficulty of writing a romance about a country where there is no shadow, no antiquity, no mystery, no picturesque and gloomy wrong, nor anything but a commonplace prosperity, in broad and simple daylight, as is happily the case with my dear native land.


Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864, American novelist, short story writer)


America is, therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that lie before us, the burden of the World's history shall reveal itself. It is a land of desire for all those who are weary of the historical lumber-room of Old Europe.


Georg Hegel (1770-1831, German philosopher)


The superficiality of the American is the result of his hustling. It needs leisure to think things out; it needs leisure to mature. People in a hurry cannot think, cannot grow, nor can they decay. They are preserved in a state of perpetual puerility.


Eric Hoffer (1902-1983, American author, philosopher)


The fabric of American life is woven around our tens of thousands of voluntary associations.


Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964, American President (31st))


The hope of America and the world is to regenerate liberty with its responsibilities and its obligations -- not to abandon it.


Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964, American President (31st))


In every American there is an air of incorrigible innocence, which seems to conceal a diabolical cunning.


A. E. Housman (1859-1936, British poet, classical scholar)


American dreams are strongest in the hearts of those who have seen America only in their dreams.


Pico Iyer


Knavery seems to be so much a striking feature of its inhabitants that it may not in the end be an evil that they will become aliens to this kingdom.


King George III (1738-1820, King of England and Ireland (1760--1820))


It is, I think, an indisputable fact that Americans are, as Americans, the most self-conscious people in the world, and the most addicted to the belief that the other nations of the earth are in a conspiracy to undervalue them.


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


No sovereign, no court, no personal loyalty, no aristocracy, no church, no clergy, no army, no diplomatic service, no country gentlemen, no palaces, no castles, nor manors, nor old country-houses, nor parsonages, nor thatched cottages nor ivied ruins; no cathedrals, nor abbeys, nor little Norman churches; no great Universities nor public schools -- no Oxford, nor Eton, nor Harrow; no literature, no novels, no museums, no pictures, no political society, no sporting class -- no Epsom nor Ascot! Some such list as that might be drawn up of the absent things in American life.


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination. To write well and worthily of American things one need even more than elsewhere to be a master.


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


For this is what America is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest that is sleeping in the unplowed ground.


Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973, American President (36th))


I pray we are still a young and courageous nation, that we have not grown so old and so fat and so prosperous that all we can think about is to sit back with our arms around our money bags. If we choose to do that I have no doubt that the smoldering fires will burst into flame and consume us -- dollars and all.


Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973, American President (36th))


The wonder of nature is the treasure of America....The precious legacy of preservation of beauty will be our gift to posterity.


Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973, American President (36th))


I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


Every American ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated. this is not the case.


John F. Kennedy (1917-1963, American President (35th))


Americans are apt to be unduly interested in discovering what average opinion believes average opinion to be...


John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946, British economist)


For other nations, utopia is a blessed past never to be recovered; for Americans it is just beyond the horizon.


Henry Kissinger (1923-, American Secretary of State)


The trouble with us in America isn't that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.


Louis Kronenberger


America does to me what I knew it would do: it just bumps me. The people charge at you like trucks coming down on you -- no awareness. But one tries to dodge aside in time. Bump! bump! go the trucks. And that is human contact.


D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930, British author)


America is neither free nor brave, but a land of tight, iron-clanking little wills, everybody trying to put it over everybody else, and a land of men absolutely devoid of the real courage of trust, trust in life's sacred spontaneity. They can't trust life until they can control it.


D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930, British author)


Part of the American dream is to live long and die young. Only those Americans who are willing to die for their country are fit to live.


Douglas Macarthur (1880-1964, American army general during WW II)


The trouble with this country is that there are too many people going about saying, "The trouble with this country is..."


Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951, American novelist, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature)


I feel most at home in the United States, not because it is intrinsically a more interesting country, but because no one really belongs there any more than I do. We are all there together in its wholly excellent vacuum.


Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957, British author, painter)


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