Samuel Eliot Morison
Samuel Eliot Morison (July 9, 1887 – May 15, 1976) was an American historian noted for his works of maritime history and American history that were both authoritative and popular. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912, and taught history at the university for 40 years. He won Pulitzer Prizes for Admiral of the Ocean Sea (1942), a biography of Christopher Columbus, and John Paul Jones: A Sailor's Biography (1959). In 1942, he was commissioned to write a history of United States naval operations in World War II, which was published in 15 volumes between 1947 and 1962. Morison wrote the popular Oxford History of the American People (1965), and co-authored the classic textbook The Growth of the American Republic (1930) with Henry Steele Commager.
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The Life and Letters of Harrison Gray Otis, Volume I (1913)
- The Life and Letters of Harrison Gray Otis, 1765-1848, In Two Volumes: Volume I. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company. Hardcover. A scanned, digital copy of an original 1913 hardcover edition is publicly-available through the archives of the University of Illinois library
- After the Chesapeake incident, Jefferson lost the only chance of declaring war against Great Britain, when such a war would have secured unanimous support. Looking back on 1807 from a period of Hague conferences and arbitration treaties, Jefferson's moderation and restraint at that trying period seems most commendable. But the sequel proved that none of his expedients could prevent a war, which might far better have come in 1807, with the entire nation up in arms over the insult to its flag, than in 1812, after one section of the Union had been led by four years of commercial restriction into an attitude of violent disaffection. Instead of commencing reprisals or encour- aging the war spirit, Jefferson issued, on July 2, 1807, a proclamation closing American ports to British men-of-war, and expressing his confidence that Great Britain would apologize for the Leopard's action. The British government did acknowledge its fault, though somewhat ungraciously, and sent a special envoy to the United States to make reparation for the damage done, but with such conditions attached as to make it impossible for Jefferson to accept the offer.
- p. 321
Three Centuries of Harvard (1936)
- Cambridge: Harvard University Press. All quotes are from the 1965 seventh printing hardcover.
- Challenging is the note of freedom that still rings out from the Harvard Yard, into a world by no means so eager to hear it as a century ago. The University is a school of liberty as well as of learning; and events of the last few years have driven home the lesson that only in an atmosphere of liberty, and in a body politic that practises as well as preaches democracy, can learning flourish. Standing on the threshold of her fourth century, the University asks of the State, freedom; of her sons, loyalty; of God, grace that she may be saved from the besetting sin of pride, wisdom to do his will, and power 'to advance Learning, and perpetuate it to Posterity.'
- p. 489
History as a Literary Art (1946)
- History as a Literary Art: An Appeal to Young Historians. Boston: Old South Association. Originally published as a 25-cent pamphlet by the Old South Association, Morison later included the essay in his 1953 book By Land and By Sea.
- Exploring American History has been a very absorbing and exciting business now for three quarters of a century. Thousands of graduate students have produced thousands of monographs on every aspect of the history of the Americas. But the American reading public for the most part is blissfully ignorant of this vast output. When John Citizen feels the urge to read history, he goes to the novels of Kenneth Roberts or Margaret Mitchell, not to the histories of Professor this or Doctor that. Why? American historians, in their eagerness to present facts and their laudable concern to tell the truth, have neglected the literary aspects of their craft. They have forgotten that there is an art of writing history.
- Even the earliest colonial historians, like William Bradford and Robert Beverley, knew that; they put conscious art into their narratives. And the historians of our classical period, Prescott and Motley, Irving and Bancroft, Parkman and Fiske, were great literary craftsmen. Their many-volumed works sold in sufficient quantities to give them handsome returns; even today they are widely read. But the first generation of seminar-trained historians, educated in Germany or by teachers trained there, imagined that history would tell itself, provided one was honest, thorough, and painstaking. Some of them went so far as to regard history as pure science and to assert that writers thereof had no more business trying to be “literary” than did writers of statistical reports or performers of scientific experiments. Professors warned their pupils (quite unnecessarily) against “fine writing,” and endeavored to protect their innocence from the seductive charm of Washington Irving or the masculine glamour of Macaulay.
- And in this flight of history from literature the public was left behind. American history became a bore to the reader and a drug on the market; even historians with something to say and the talent for saying it (Henry Adams, for instance) could not sell their books. The most popular American histories of the period 1890–1905 were those of John Fiske, a philosopher who had no historical training, but wrote with life and movement.
- Theodore Roosevelt in his presidential address before the American Historical Association in 1912 made a ringing plea to the young historian to do better: “He must ever remember that while the worst offense of which he can be guilty is to write vividly and inaccurately, yet that unless he writes vividly he cannot write truthfully; for no amount of dull, painstaking detail will sum up the whole truth unless the genius is there to paint the truth.”
- And although American historians cannot hope, as Theodore Roosevelt did, to “watch the nearing chariots of the champions,” or to look forward to the day when “for us the war-horns of King Olaf shall wail across the flood, and the harps sound high at festivals in forgotten halls,” we may indeed “show how the land which the pioneers won slowly and with incredible hardship was filled in two generations by the overflow from the countries of western and central Europe.” We may describe the race, class, and religious conflicts that immigration has engendered, and trace the rise of the labor movement with a literary art that compels people to read about it.You do not need chariots and horsemen, harps and war-horns, to make history interesting.
- Of course, what we should all like to attain in writing history is style. “The sense for style,” says Whitehead in his Aims of Education, “is an aesthetic sense, based on admiration for the direct attainment of a foreseen end, simply and without waste. Style in art, style in literature, style in science, style in logic, style in practical execution, have fundamentally the same aesthetic qualities, namely, attainment and restraint. Style, in its finest sense, is the last acquirement of the educated mind; it is also the most useful. It pervades the whole being. . . Style is the ultimate morality of mind.”
- Unfortunately, there is no royal road to style. It cannot be attained by mere industry; it can never be achieved through imitation, although it may be promoted by example. Reading the greatest literary artists among historians will help; but do not forget that what was acceptable style in 1850 might seem turgid today. We can still read Macaulay with admiration and pleasure; we can still learn paragraph structure and other things from Macaulay; but anyone who tried to imitate Macaulay today would be a pompous ass.
- A few hints as to the craft may be useful to budding historians. First and foremost, get writing! Young scholars generally wish to secure the last fact before writing anything, like General McClellan refusing to advance (as people said) until the last mule was shod. It is a terrible strain, isn’t it, to sit down at a desk, with your notes all neatly docketed, and begin to write? You pretend to your wife that you mustn’t be interrupted; but, actually, you welcome a ring of the telephone, a knock at the door, or a bellow from the baby as an excuse to break off. Finally, after smoking sundry cigarettes and pacing about the house two or three times, you commit a lame paragraph or two to paper. By the time you get to the third, one bit of information you want is lacking. What a relief! Now you must go back to the library or the archives to do some more digging. That’s where you are happy! And what you turn up there leads to more questions and prolongs the delicious process of research. Half the pleas I have heard from graduate students for more time or another grant-in-aid are mere excuses to postpone the painful drudgery of writing.
- Finally, the historian should have frequent recourse to the book of life. The richer his personal experience, the wider his human contacts, the more likely he is to effect a living contact with his audience. In writing, similes drawn from the current experience of this mechanical age, rather than those rifled from the literary baggage of past eras, are the ones that will go home to his reader. Service on a jury or a local committee may be a revelation as to the political thoughts and habits of mankind. A month’s labor in a modern factory would help any young academician to clarify his ideas of labor and capital. A camping trip in the woods will tell him things about Western pioneering that he can never learn in books. The great historians, with few exceptions, are those who have not merely studied, but lived; and whose studies have ranged over a much wider field than the period or subject of which they write.
- The veterans of World War II who, for the most part, have completed their studies in college or graduate school should not regard the years of their war service as wasted. Rather should they realize that the war gave them a rich experience of life, which is the best equipment for an historian. They have “been around”; they have seen mankind at his best and his worst; they have shared the joy and passion of a mighty effort; and they can read man’s doings in the past with far greater understanding than if they had spent these years in sheltered academic groves.
- To these young men especially, and to all young men I say (as the poet Chapman said to the young Elizabethan): “Be free, all worthy spirits, and stretch yourselves!” Bring all your knowledge of life to bear on everything that you write. Never let yourself bog down in pedantry and detail. Bring history, the most humane and noble form of letters, back to the proud position she once held; knowing that your words, if they are read and remembered, will enter into the stream of life, and perhaps move men to thought and action centuries hence, as do those of Thucydides after more than two thousand years.
The Battle of the Atlantic (1947)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume I: The Battle of the Atlantic. Boston: Little, Brown & Company. All quotes are from the 1953-revised hardcover publication.
- In retrospect, the person I feel most grateful to is the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt. For he appreciated the value of a history of this sort, as soon as I had called the need of it to his attention; he commissioned me to undertake it, and even during the war found time to talk with me on the subject. My admiration for the quality of his leadership of our armed forces has, if anything, increased with the lapse of years. So I have dedicated this revised Volume I, and the series, to his memory.
- p. xviii
Operations in North African Waters (1947)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume II: Operations in North African Waters. Boston: Little, Brown & Company. All quotes are from the 1953-revised hardcover publication.
- General Eisenhower was reluctant to exploit the Tunisian victory prematurely by moving up the Sicilian D-Day from 10 July. He decided to use the time at his disposal to capture the Italian island of Pantelleria, although his air force advisors regarded it as not worth the effort, alleging that it could easily be neutralized by air bombing. But the General wished to deny to the enemy the excellent radio direction stations on the island, use of which would have prevented tactical surprise in the forthcoming Sicilian operation; and he wanted the island as an advanced base for Allied fighter planes. The Combined Chiefs of Staff signaled permission on 13 May 1943 for Operation "Corkscrew," which did indeed draw the cork from the Sicilian bottle.
- p. 275
The Rising Sun in the Pacific (1948)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume III: The Rising Sun in the Pacific. Boston: Little, Brown & Company. All quotes are from the 1953-revised hardcover publication.
- Thus, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, far from being a "strategic necessity," as the Japanese claimed even after the war, was a strategic imbecility. One can search military history in vain for an operation more fatal to the aggressor. On the tactical level, the Pearl Harbor attack was wrongly concentrated on ships rather than permanent installations and oil tanks. On the strategic level it was idiotic. On the high political level it was disastrous.
- p. 132
Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions (1949)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume IV: Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions. Boston: Little, Brown & Company. All quotes are from the 1953-revised hardcover publication.
- So far so good; but it never remains good long on Guadalcanal.
- p. 287
The Struggle for Guadalcanal (1949)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume V: The Struggle for Guadalcanal. Boston: Little, Brown & Company. All quotes are from the 1953-revised hardcover publication.
- Tactically- in the sense of coming to grips with the enemy- Guadalcanal was a profitable lesson book. The recommendations of Guadalcanal commanders became doctrine for Allied fighting men the world over. And it was the veteran from "the 'Canal" who went back to man the new ship or form the cornerstone for the new regiment. On top level, mark well the names of Halsey, Turner, Vandegrift, Patch, Geiger, Collins, Lee, Kinkaid, Ainsworth, Merrill. They would be heard from again. Strategically, as seen from Pearl Harbor or Constitution Avenue, Guadalcanal was worth every ship, every plane and life that it cost. The enemy was stopped in his many-taloned reach for the antipodes. Task One in the arduous climb to Rabaul was neatly if tardily packaged and filed away.
- p. 372-373
- There were more subtle implications to Guadalcanal. The lordly Samurai, with his nose rubbed in the mud and his sword rusted by the salt of Ironbottom Sound, was forced to revise his theory of invincibility. A month previously Hirohito had issued an imperial rescript stating that in the Solomon Islands "a decisive battle is being fought between Japan and America." Radio Tokyo gave out that the Imperial forces, "after pinning down the Americans to a corner of the island," had accomplished their mission and so departed to fight elsewhere. There was a laugh for Americans in that; but Guadalcanal never inspired much laughter. For those of us who were there, or whose friends were there, Guadalcanal is not a name but an emotion, recalling desperate fights in the air, furious night naval battles, frantic work at supply or construction, savage fighting in the sodden jungle, nights broken by screaming bombs and deafening explosions of naval shells. Sometimes I dream of a great battle monument on Guadalcanal; a granite monolith on which the names of all who fell and of all the ships that rest in Ironbottom Sound may be carved. At other times I feel that the jagged cone of Savo Island, forever brooding over the blood-thickened waters of the Sound, is the best monument to the men and ships who rolled back the enemy tide.
- p. 373
Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier (1950)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume VI: Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier. Boston: Little, Brown & Company. All quotes are from the 1953-revised hardcover publication.
- Generally, in an expeditionary force, a 3-to-1 ratio of superiority over the defending enemy is considered indispensable; and often in this war, as at Munda and Tarawa, that proved to be not enough. Here, the ratio at the start was about 1 to 4. Why then did the venture succeed? Simply because the United States and Australia dominated that stretch of the ocean and the air over it. The enemy had so few boats and barges that he was able to apply to his 4 to 1 superiority against the Cavalry-cum-Seabee spearhead. The Navy not only provided the Army with seagoing artillery but brought up troopers, beans and bullets in greater numbers; while the Japanese were as completely sealed off from help as MacArthur's forces had been on Bataan early in 1942.
- p. 448
- Thus, for the neutralized but virtually impregnable Fortress Rabaul, the Allies substituted a better base behind the Bismarcks Barrier, further advanced along the New Guinea-Mindanao axis, more useful to the Allies and dangerous to the enemy. Algernon Sidney's motto, Manus haec inimica tyrannis, "this hand, enemy to tyrants," applied to a Manus that he never knew; for Manus in the Admiralties proved to be one of those air and naval bases, like Saipan and Okinawa, whose possession by the Allies rendered the defeat of Japan inevitable.
- p. 448
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume IX: Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, January 1943-June 1944. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.
- Was President Roosevelt right when he predicted at the TRIDENT Conference in May 1943 that committing large armies to Italy "might result in attrition for the United Nations and play into Germany's hands"? Was Admiral King wrong in predicting that the invasion of Italy would "create a vacuum into which Allied forces would be sucked"? Before that campaign was over- and it was not finished until eleven months after the liberation of Rome- an army contributed by ten Allied nations faced Vietinghoff's Southwestern Army Group; and the Germans were still on Italian soil when that group surrendered on 2 May 1945.
Yet there is much to be said in defense of the Italian campaign, in the light of its other object as stated in the original directive to General Eisenhower: - "To contain the maximum number of German forces." Granted that the Allies had to fight Germans somewhere during the ten months that would elapse between the conquest of Sicily and D-day in Normandy, where else could they have fought them with any prospect of success? What was the alternative to Italy? Search the coasts of Europe and the Near East as you will, there was none, other than invading islands of slight strategic value, which the Germans would probably have evacuated in any case; or taking the long and torturous Balkans route which every military commander regarded as impracticable. We instinctively resent military campaigns in which there is great suffering with little result, as the American public in 1864 resented Grant's Wilderness campaign. But let us admit that the Italian campaign, like Grant's, was fought because it had to be fought.
- p. 382
The Atlantic Battle Won (1956)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume X: The Atlantic Battle Won, May 1943-May 1945. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.
- It was a very costly war to both sides. The Germans reckon that they lost 32,000 submariners from 781 U-boats. They and the Italian submarines sank 2828 Allied and neutral merchant ships of 14,687,231 tons, together with 158 British Commonwealth and 29 American warships, several warships of other nations, and a very large number of aircraft. The loss of life at sea that the U-boats and Luftwaffe inflicted on the Allies has only been computed for the British merchant marine, which alone lost 29,994 men to enemy action. Hardly less than 40,000 men, and several hundred women and children, went down into the depths as a result of enemy submarine and aircraft attacks. The Atlantic, which since the dawn of history has been taking the lives of brave and adventurous men, must have received more human bodies into its ocean graveyard during the years 1939-1945 than in all other naval wars since the fleets of Blake and Van Tromp grappled in the Narrow Seas. Sailormen all, and passengers too, we salute you!
- p. 363
- To one and all, then, of the British, Canadian and United States Navies, Air Forces and Merchant Marines, and to the gallant ships and squadrons of other Allied nations operating under their command, and to the scientists, shipbuilders and builders of aircraft- this historian, who has followed them from the humiliating winter of 1941-1942 to the glorious summer of 1945, can only say: - "Well done, aye, magnificently done; and the free world is your debtor!"
- p. 364
The Invasion of France and Germany (1957)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XI: The Invasion of France and Germany, 1944-1945. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.
- A few days before General Eisenhower disbanded SHAEF, General MacArthur announced the liberation of the Philippines. Okinawa was almost secured, and the Navy was drawing a cordon tight about Japan. Nobody- even those in on the secret of the atomic bomb- could guess what the immediate future might bring.
- p. 330
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XII: Leyte, June 1944-January 1945. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.
- If the prospects of a Japanese victory after the loss of Saipan were hopeless, as many leaders realized, they had declined to zero by December 1944, when the Great Battle for Leyte Gulf had been lost, Leyte itself overrun, and the Japanese merchant navy reduced to a mere skeleton. But Japan, by virtue of her traditions, her victorious past, her no-surrender psychology, and other factors in the national make-up, was unable as yet to make a conciliatory move. Some of her leading militarists still entertained the vain hope that the Western Allies would lose heart over the great expenditure of life necessary to carry the war into the home islands of Japan, and be the first to cry, "Let us have peace!"
- p. 414
John Paul Jones (1959)
- John Paul Jones: A Sailor's Biography. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.
- Yet, first and always, Paul Jones was a fighting sailor. In the history of the United States Navy, whose rise to be the greatest navy in the world he desired and foretold, Paul Jones now occupies a place comparable only with that of Nelson in the Royal Navy of Great Britain. And, although he never had Nelson's opportunities for fame, I have no doubt that, given them, he would have proved himself to be a great naval tactician and strategist. In the board-to-board, hand-to-hand sea fights in which he did engage, he was without peer.
- p. 4
- Thus, although Jones had it in him to be a great naval strategist, he found opportunity to prove himself only on the tactical level. There he was magnificent. Recall how he made prompt and sure decisions in emergencies, perfectly adapting his tactics to suddenly confronted facts, as in those first audacious cruises in Providence and Alfred and in the battles of Ranger vs. Drake, Bonhomme Richard vs. Serapis, and Ariel vs. Triumph. That sort of thing is the sure mark of a master in warfare. Of the quality of his seamanship, one needs no more evidence than those early escapes from faster and more powerful ships, and the saving of Ariel from crashing on the Penmarch rocks. His battle with Serapis, as an example of how a man through sheer guts, refusing to admit the possibility of defeat, can emerge victorious from the most desperate circumstances, is an inspiration to every sailor. To every sailor, I say, not only to Americans. In one of his letters of 1780, Jones wrote, "The English Nation may hate me, but I will force them to esteem me too." This prophecy was fulfilled over a century and a half later, when the Right Honourable Albert Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty, in a broadcast beamed to America, declared that Paul Jones' defiant answer to Pearson expressed exactly what England felt in the dark days of the Battle for Britain. And in the six months of tribulation for the United States that followed the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor, the one sentiment in the back of every American sailor's mind was that of John Paul Jones: I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT
- p. 412-413
Victory in the Pacific (1960)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XIV: Victory in the Pacific. Boston: Little, Brown & Company. All quotes are from the 1960 hardcover publication.
- I now discharge my promise, and compete my design, of writing the History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Eighteen years have elapsed since I was commissioned in the Navy by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to do this task; thirteen years since the first volume came off the press. Fortunately good health, excellent assistance and the constant support and encouragement of my beloved wife, Priscilla Barton Morison, have enabled me to keep up a rate of production better than one volume a year.
- p. ix
- If victory over Japan meant anything beyond a change in the balance of power, it meant that eternal values and immutable principles, which had come down to us from ancient Hellas, had been reaffirmed and reestablished. Often these principles are broken, often these values are lost to sight when people are struggling for survival; but to them man must return, and does return, in order to enjoy his Creator's greatest gifts- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
- p. 370
Supplement and Index (1962)
- History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XV: Supplement and General Index. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.
- Dedicated to the men of the Fleet
- The situation in China was full of explosives, the handling of which required delicacy. Shortly before the actual surrender the Japanese withdrew their forces to the Yangtze Valley and to North China, where the Chinese Communists demanded that they receive the Japanese surrender. General Okamura, commander of the North China Area Army, refused, but on 17 August let it be known that he would surrender to Chiang Kai-shek. Unfortunately, the Generalissimo and his Nationalist armies were far distant, in southwest China. A Japanese puppet Chinese government with its own "Peace Preservation Troops" further complicated matters. And although the United States was willing to assist the Nationalist government to reestablish control over Chinese territory, it was fearful of being involved in a civil war.
- p. 4
- As soon as Japan accepted surrender terms, the Navy moved into high gear on the twin problems of reducing its strength to a peacetime fleet and discharging its excess number of sailors. By an "Al-nav" of 15 August 1945, it replaced its "computed-age" formula for the release of officers and men to a point system such as the Army had been using in its rotation of troops. Age, length of service and number of dependents established an individual's number if points, which determined his eligibility and priority for discharge. Naval separation centers were established at key cities and training stations throughout the country.
- p. 18
The Two-Ocean War (1963)
- The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War. Boston: Little, Brown & Company. All quotes are from the original 1963 hardcover publication.
- After any overwhelming disaster there is a search for the culprit; and this search is still being pursued, for partisan purposes, after two Navy and two Army investigations and a lengthy congressional one have combed every phase of omission and commission. No military event in our or any other country's history has been the subject of such exhaustive research as the air assault on Pearl Harbor.
- p. 70
- Admiral Ernest J. King was the Navy's principal architect of victory. A stern sailor of commanding presence, vast sea-knowledge, and keen strategic sense, he was so insistent on maintaining the independence of the Navy, not only from our great Ally but from the Army, that he seemed at times to be anti-British and anti-Army. Neither was true; but King's one mistaken idea was his steady opposition to "mixed groups" from different Navies in the same task force; an idea strengthened by the unfortunate experience of the ABDA command... We may, however, concede to Admiral King a few prejudices, for he was undoubtedly the best naval strategist and organizer in our history. His insistence on limited offensives to keep the Japanese off balance, his successful efforts to provide more and more escorts for convoys, his promotion of the escort carrier antisubmarine groups, his constant backing of General Marshall to produce a firm date for Operation OVERLORD from the reluctant British; his insistence on the dual approach to Japan, are but a few of the many decisions that prove his genius. King's strategy for the defeat of Japan- the Formosa and China Coast approach, rather than the Luzon-Okinawa route- was overruled; but may well, in the long run, have been better than MacArthur's, which was adopted. King was also defeated in his many attempts to interest the Royal Navy in a Southeast Asia comeback; and in this he was right. The liberation of Malaya before the war's end would have spared the British Empire a long battle with local Communists and would have provided at least a more orderly transfer of sovereignty in the Netherlands East Indies.
- p. 579-580
The Oxford History of the American People (1965)
- New York: Oxford University Press. All quotes are from the original 1965 hardcover publication.
- The reason why the 1840 campaign became the jolliest and most idiotic presidential contest in our history is that the Whigs beat the Democrats by their own methods. They adopted no platform, nominated a military hero, ignored real issues, and appealed to the emotions rather than the brains of the voters. Expectations of profit and patronage were employed to "get out the vote," and the people were given a big show. Democratic politicians, even Jackson himself, now complained of Whig demagoguery.
- p. 456
- Andrew Jackson ended his long life of pain at Hermitage in 1845; John Quincy Adams, stricken at his seat in the House, survived his old rival less than three years. "Old Bullion" Benton was defeated for re-election to the Senate in 1851; his sturdy nationalism had grown too old-fashioned for Missouri. Clay and Webster, the one denounced as traitor by Southern hotspurs, the other compared with Lucifer by New England reformers, had two years only to live; time enough to give them grave doubts whether their compromise could long be maintained. With their death the second generation of independent Americans may be said to have gone. Of all statesmen born during the last century and brought up in the generous atmosphere of American Revolution and Jeffersonian Republicanism, only Van Buren was alive, fuming at home over the "half-baked politicians" of the 1850s; and the limp Buchanan. There seemed nobody left to lead the nation but weak, twofaced trimmers and angry young men, radical or reactionary.
- p. 574
- With the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, something seemed to die in each one of us. Yet the memory of that bright, vivid personality, that great gentleman whose every act and appearance appealed to our pride and gave us fresh confidence in ourselves and our country, will live in us for a long, long time.
- p. 1122
Quotes about Morison
- As a young man I read Morison's early Maritime History of Massachusetts and knew that I had come upon a real historian- one who seeks the truth, tells it in a pattern of significance to destiny, and fills it with the sunlight and shadows that illumine and darken this swift voyage of man. I met him not long therafter, but first came to know him when he landed upon the "Monks of Makalapa"- a sometime term for Admiral Nimitz's staff, who dwelt at the Makalapa headquarters. He came on board early in his naval writing career, with his crooked London market coronas, his Colombo songs, his Scottish thrift, his Boston charm or haughtiness as the mood served, and his indefatigable application. At that time I was a gunner, but, in the little spare time I had, helped to prepare Nimitz's war reports and battle analyses. Hence our paths naturally crossed and lay alongside each other for a period. Then, years afterward, through the inscrutable workings of the unknown, I came to my present office. Among the multitude of other duties, it includes responsibility i contracting for, supporting with major staff assistance, clearing the MSS and handling other facets of the Morison series.
- Ernest M. Eller, Director of Naval History for the United States Navy from October 1956 to January 1970, in the Introduction to History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XV: Supplement and General Index (1962), Boston: Little, Brown & Company, p. vii-viii
- Chroniclers of the US invasion of 1898 describe the landscape itself as voluptuous and fertile, "yielding herself to our virile marines.” In his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea (1942), US Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison wrote, "In the Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola they found young and beautiful women, who everywhere were naked, in most places accessible, and presumably complaisant." Presumed by whom? Echoing the writers of 1898, he too describes the conquest of the Americas in sexual terms: "Never again may mortal men hope to recapture the amazement, the wonder, the delight of those October days in 1492, when the new world gracefully yielded her virginity to the conquering Castilians." Gracefully.
- Aurora Levins Morales Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals (2019 edition)