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




No American worth his salt should go around looking for a root. I advance this in all modesty, as a not unreasonable opinion.


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


To me, Americanism means an imperative duty to be nobler than the rest of the world.


Meyer London


America is promises to take! America is promises to us to take them.


Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982, American writer)


The American mood, perhaps even the American character, has changed. There are few manifestations any longer of the old American self-assurance which so irritated Dickens. Instead, there is a sense of frustration so perceptible that even our politicians have attempted to exploit it.


Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982, American writer)


There is one expanding horror in American life. It is that our long odyssey toward liberty, democracy and freedom-for-all may be achieved in such a way that utopia remains forever closed, and we live in freedom and hell, debased of style, not individual from one another, void of courage, our fear rationalized away.


Norman Mailer (1923-, American author)


Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born here in America doesn't make you an American.


Malcolm X (1925-1965, American black leader, activist)


I don't see America as a mainland, but as a sea, a big ocean. Sometimes a storm arises, a formidable current develops, and it seems it will engulf everything. Wait a moment, another current will appear and bring the first one to naught.


Jacques Maritain (1882-1973, French philosopher)


The American character looks always as if it had just had a rather bad haircut, which gives it, in our eyes at any rate, a greater humanity than the European, which even among its beggars has an all too professional air.


Mary McCarthy (1912-1989, American author, critic)


America is like one of those old-fashioned six-cylinder truck engines that can be missing two sparkplugs and have a broken flywheel and have a crankshaft that's 5000 millimeters off fitting properly, and two bad ball-bearings, and still runs. We're in that kind of situation. We can have substantial parts of the population committing suicide, and still run and look fairly good.


Thomas McGuane


People in America, of course, live in all sorts of fashions, because they are foreigners, or unlucky, or depraved, or without ambition; people live like that, but Americans live in white detached houses with green shutters. Rigidly, blindly, the dream takes precedence.


Margaret Mead (1901-1978, American anthropologist)


Actually we are a vulgar, pushing mob whose passions are easily mobilized by demagogues, newspaper men, religious quacks, agitators and such like. To call this a society of free peoples is blasphemous. What have we to offer the world besides the superabundant loot which we recklessly plunder from the earth under the maniacal delusion that this insane activity represents progress and enlightenment?


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


I have never been able to look upon America as young and vital but rather as prematurely old, as a fruit which rotted before it had a chance to ripen.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


I see America spreading disaster. I see America as a black curse upon the world. I see a long night settling in and that mushroom which has poisoned the world withering at the roots.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


Perhaps I am still very much of an American. That is to say, naive, optimistic, gullible. In the eyes of a European, what am I but an American to the core, an American who exposes his Americanism like a sore. Like it or not, I am a product of this land of plenty, a believer in superabundance, a believer in miracles.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


Being blunt with your feelings is very American. In this big country, I can be as brash as New York, as hedonistic as Los Angeles, as sensuous as San Francisco, as brainy as Boston, as proper as Philadelphia, as brawny as Chicago, as warm as Palm Springs, as friendly as my adopted home town of Dallas, Fort Worth, and as peaceful as the inland waterway that rubs up against my former home in Virginia Beach.


Martina Navratilova (1956-, American tennis player)


If you think the United States has stood still, who built The largest shopping center in the world?


Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994, American President (37th))


It is impossible for a stranger traveling through the United States to tell from the appearance of the people or the country whether he is in Toledo, Ohio, or Portland, Oregon. Ninety million Americans cut their hair in the same way, eat each morning exactly the same breakfast, tie up the small girls curls with precisely the same kind of ribbon fashioned into bows exactly alike; and in every way all try to look and act as much like all the others as they can.


Lord Northcliffe


It's difficult to believe that people are still starving in this country because food isn't available.


Ronald Reagan (1911-2004, American President (40th))


Our American tradition of neighbor helping neighbor has always been one of our greatest strengths and most noble traditions.


Ronald Reagan (1911-2004, American President (40th))


Our country is great because it is built on principles of self-reliance, opportunity, innovation, and compassion for others.


Ronald Reagan (1911-2004, American President (40th))


The main thing that endears the United Nations to member governments, and so enables it to survive, is its proven capacity to fail. You can safely appeal to the United Nations in the comfortable certainty that it will let you down.


Conor Cruise O'Brien (1917-, Irish historian, critic, and statesman)


Is America a land of God where saints abide for ever? Where golden fields spread fair and broad, where flows the crystal river? Certainly not flush with saints, and a good thing, too, for the saints sent buzzing into man's ken now are but poor-mouthed ecclesiastical film stars and cliche-shouting publicity agents. Their little knowledge bringing them nearer to their ignorance, ignorance bringing them nearer to death, but nearness to death no nearer to God.


Sean O'Casey (1884-1964, Irish dramatist)


America has run the world for at least the past 50 years, and when you're at the top that long, you forget what it's like in the valley. There are 5+ billion people out there now who are willing to study harder, work harder for less money and be more industrious than we are. And we're linked to them by technology. With telecommunications, you can have your bookkeeping done in Madra, India, for less than it costs here. Today technology can replace whole new industries, so you have to stay flexible. To survive today, you have to be able to walk on quicksand and dance with electrons.


Frank Ogden


One can not be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work.


Georgia O'Keeffe (American painter)


I take space to be the central fact to man born in America. I spell it large because it comes large here. Large and without mercy.


Charles Olson


Our democracy, our culture, our whole way of life is a spectacular triumph of the blah. Why not have a political convention without politics to nominate a leader who's out in front of nobody? Maybe our national mindlessness is the very thing that keeps us from turning into one of those smelly European countries full of pseudo-reds and crypto-fascists and greens who dress like forest elves.


P. J. O'Rourke (1947-, American journalist)


America once had the clarity of the pioneer ax.


Robert Osborne


It is capitalist America that produced the modern independent woman. Never in history have women had more freedom of choice in regard to dress, behavior, career, and sexual orientation.


Camille Paglia (1947-, American author, critic, educator)


The voice of America has no undertones or overtones in it. It repeats its optimistic catchwords in a tireless monologue that has the slightly metallic sound of a gramophone.


Vance Palmer (1885-1959, Australian author, poet)


The North American system only wants to consider the positive aspects of reality. Men and women are subjected from childhood to an inexorable process of adaptation; certain principles, contained in brief formulas are endlessly repeated by the Press, the radio, the churches, and the schools, and by those kindly, sinister beings, the North American mothers and wives. A person imprisoned by these schemes is like a plant in a flowerpot too small for it: he cannot grow or mature.


Octavio Paz (1914-1998, Mexican poet, essayist)


The American people have a genius for splendid and unselfish action, and into the hands of America, God has placed the destinies of afflicted humanity.


Pope Pius XII


We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.


Alexander Pope (1688-1744, British poet, critic, translator)


Double, no triple, our troubles and we'd still be better off than any other people on earth. It is time that we recognized that ours was, in truth, a noble cause.


Ronald Reagan (1911-2004, American President (40th))


Through the history of our nation, Americans have always extended their hands in gestures of assistance.


Ronald Reagan (1911-2004, American President (40th))


The rising power of the United States in world affairs requires, not a more compliant press, but a relentless barrage of facts and criticism. Our job in this age, as I see it, is not to serve as cheerleaders for our side in the present world struggle but to help the largest possible number of people to see the realities of the changing and convulsive world in which American policy must operate.


James Reston (1909-1995, Dutch-born American journalist)


Thank God we're living in a country where the sky's the limit, the stores are open late and you can shop in bed thanks to television.


Joan Rivers (1933-, American comedian, talk show host, actress)


America is a great country, but you can't live in it for nothing.


Will Rogers (1879-1935, American humorist, actor)


A trait no other nation seems to possess in quite the same degree that we do -- namely, a feeling of almost childish injury and resentment unless the world as a whole recognizes how innocent we are of anything but the most generous and harmless intentions.


Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962, American First Lady, columnist, lecturer, humanitarian)


I sometimes think that the saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities -- a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.


Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945, American President (32nd))


This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.


Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945, American President (32nd))


The American people abhor a vacuum.


Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919,  American President (26th))


The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.


Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919,  American President (26th))


The story of Americans is the story of arrested metamorphoses. Those who achieve success come to a halt and accept themselves as they are. Those who fail become resigned and accept themselves as they are.


Harold Rosenberg (1906-1978, American art critic, author)


America is a young country with an old mentality.


George Santayana (1863-1952, American philosopher, poet)


It is veneer, rouge, aestheticism, art museums, new theaters, etc. that make America impotent. The good things are football, kindness, and jazz bands.


George Santayana (1863-1952, American philosopher, poet)


We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.


Chief Seattle (1786-1866, American Indian chief of the Squeamish)


American "energy" is the energy of violence, of free-floating resentment and anxiety unleashed by chronic cultural dislocations which must be, for the most part, ferociously sublimated. This energy has mainly been sublimated into crude materialism and acquisitiveness. Into hectic philanthropy. Into benighted moral crusades, the most spectacular of which was Prohibition. Into an awesome talent for uglifying countryside and cities. Into the loquacity and torment of a minority of gadflies: artists, prophets, muckrakers, cranks, and nuts. And into self-punishing neuroses. But the naked violence keeps breaking through, throwing everything into question.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


The quality of American life is an insult to the possibilities of human growth... the pollution of American space, with gadgetry and cars and TV and box architecture, brutalizes the senses, making gray neurotics of most of us, and perverse spiritual athletes and strident self-transcenders of the best of us.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


In America everything's about who's number one today.


Bruce Springsteen (1949-, American musician, singer, songwriter)


I have met charming people, lots who would be charming if they hadn't got a complex about the British and everyone has pleasant and cheerful manners and I like most of the American voices. On the other hand I don't believe they have any God and their hats are frightful. On balance I prefer the Arabs.


Freya Stark (1893-1993, British travel writer)


America: It's like Britain, only with buttons.


Ringo Starr (1940-, Member of The Beatles)


The United States is just now the oldest country in the world, there always is an oldest country and she is it, it is she who is the mother of the twentieth century civilization. She began to feel herself as it just after the Civil War. And so it is a country the right age to have been born in and the wrong age to live in.


Gertrude Stein (1874-1946, American author)


This monster of a land, this mightiest of nations, this spawn of the future, turns out to be the macrocosm of microcosm me.


John Steinbeck (1902-1968, American author)


Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.


Margaret Thatcher (1925-, British Prime Minister (1979-90))


The biggest difference between ancient Rome and the USA is that in Rome the common man was treated like a dog. In America he sets the tone. This is the first country where the common man could stand erect.


I. F. Stone (1907-1989, American author)


To us Americans much has been given; of us much is required. With all our faults and mistakes, it is our strength in support of the freedom our forefathers loved which has saved mankind from subjection to totalitarian power.


Norman Thomas (1884-1968, American socialist leader)


America is 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 (1939-, American journalist)


The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle.


Alexis De Tocqueville (1805-1859, French social philosopher)


Two things in America are astonishing: the changeableness of most human behavior and the strange stability of certain principles. Men are constantly on the move, but the spirit of humanity seems almost unmoved.


Alexis De Tocqueville (1805-1859, French social philosopher)


America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.


Arnold Toynbee (1852-1883, British economic historian and social reformer)


In Boston they ask, "How much does he know?" In New York, "How much is he worth?" In Philadelphia, "Who were his parents?"


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


There isn't a single human characteristic that can be safely labeled as "American."


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


America and its demons, Europe and its ghost.


Author Unknown


America, where people do not inquire of a stranger, "What is he?" But "What can he do?"


Author Unknown


American is a very difficult language mixed with English.


Author Unknown


On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment -- half-time.


Author Unknown


America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.


John Updike (1932-, American novelist, critic)


On 16 September 1985, when the Commerce Department announced that the United States had become a debtor nation, the American Empire died.


Gore Vidal (1925-, American novelist, critic)


Being American is to eat a lot of beef steak, and boy, we've got a lot more beef steak than any other country, and that's why you ought to be glad you're an American. And people have started looking at these big hunks of bloody meat on their plates, you know, and wondering what on earth they think they're doing.


Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922-, American novelist)


It's the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it. Everybody has their own America, and then they have the pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can't see.


Andy Warhol (1930-, American artist, filmmaker)


I think the greatest curse of American society has been the idea of an easy millennialism -- that some new drug, or the next election or the latest in social engineering will solve everything.


Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989, American writer, poet)


The ideal American type is perfectly expressed by the Protestant, individualist, anti-conformist, and this is the type that is in the process of disappearing. In reality there are few left.


Orson Welles (1915-1985, American film maker)


I despair of the Republic! Such dreariness, such whining sallow women, such utter absence of the amenities, such crass food, crass manners, crass landscape! What a horror it is for a whole nation to be developing without the sense of beauty and eating bananas for breakfast.


Edith Wharton (1862-1937, American author)


A man is not expected to love his country, lest he make an ass of himself. Yet our country, seen through the mists of smog, is curiously lovable, in somewhat the way an individual who has got himself into an unconscionable scrape seems lovable -- or at least deserving of support.


Elwyn Brooks White (1899-1985, American author, editor)


Their manners, speech, dress, friendships -- the freshness and candor of their physiognomy -- the picturesque looseness of their carriage -- their deathless attachment to freedom -- their aversion to anything indecorous or soft or mean -- the practical acknowledgment of the citizens of one state by the citizens of all other states -- the fierceness of their roused resentment -- their curiosity and welcome of novelty -- their self-esteem and wonderful sympathy -- their susceptibility to a slight -- the air they have of persons who never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of superiors -- the fluency of their speech -- their delight in music, a sure symptom of manly tenderness and native elegance of soul -- their good temper and open-handedness -- the terrible significance of their elections, the President's taking off his hat to them, not they to him -- these too are unrhymed poetry. It awaits the gigantic and generous treatment worthy of it.


Walt Whitman (1819-1892, American poet)


America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


The youth of America is their oldest tradition. It has been going on now for three hundred years.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


There is no country in the world where machinery is so lovely as in America.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


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 T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


The interesting and inspiring thing about America is that she asks nothing for herself except what she has a right to ask for humanity itself.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


No... 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.


Israel Zangwill (1864-1926, British writer)


Building a better you is the first step to building a better America.


Zig Ziglar (1926-, American sales trainer, author, motivational speaker)

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