Talk:United States

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the United States page.


By Americans[edit]

  • We can have no ’50-50′ allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all.
  • Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every country.
  • It's pathetic. It really is pathetic. It's sad. We're living in the dark ages in America.
  • We do not consider ourselves threatening. Puzzled when vilified, we assume our accusers must be demented.

It was always accounted a virtue in a man to love his country. With us it is now something more than a virtue. It is a necessity. When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect. Men who have offered their lives for their country know that patriotism is not the fear of something; it is the love of something.

  • Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea.
  • Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.
  • This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
  • If you take advantage of everything America has to offer, there's nothing you can't accomplish.
  • We are now in a budding police state formerly known as the U.S. of A.
  • We are now finally no better than a backwater banana republic.
  • America, the country where the vast majority of the pathetically stupid, embarrassingly white, and disgustingly rich men live.
  • Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I'm not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be.
  • I shall know but one country. The ends I aim at shall be my country's, my God's and Truth's. I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American.

By naturalized Americans[edit]

  • The trouble with these people is that their cities have never been bombed and their mothers have never been told to shut up.
  • America is the land of the uncommon man. It is the land where man is free to develop his genius -- and to get its just rewards.

By non-Americans[edit]

  • God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America.
  • The American loses no opportunity to acquire wealth. Gain is the subject of all his conversations, and the motive for all his actions. Thus, there is perhaps no civilized nation in the world where there is less generosity in the sentiments, less elevation of soul and of mind, less of those pleasant and glittering illusions that constitute the charm or the consolation of life. Here, everything is weighed, calculated and sacrificed to self-interest.
  • The United States is now a country against its own people and against the people of the world. It is anti-democratic.
  • America is a mistake, admittedly a gigantic mistake, but a mistake nevertheless.
  • While envisaging the destruction of imperialism, it is necessary to identify its head, which is no other than the United States of America.
  • The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer.
  • The United States of America is a threat to world peace.
  • There is no doubt that the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like.
  • In this country, more than any other, esteem is based on wealth. Talent is trampled underfoot. How much is this man worth? they ask. Not much? He is despised. One hundred thousand crowns? The knees flex, the incense burns, and the once-bankrupt merchant is revered like a god.
  • I believe the United States is a truly monstrous force in the world.
  • The U.S. is really beyond reason now. It is beyond our imagining to know what they are going to do next and what they are prepared to do. There is only one comparison: Nazi Germany.
  • We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.


Why are the vast majority of these quotes critical? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:34, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

  • That's the world you're living in, and the world hates America's foreign policy. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:42, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
    • Oh please. France funded genocide in Rwanda just a decade ago and I don't see any overly-critical quotes on the French wikiquote page. This is not an outlet for your ideology, however vacuous and myopic it may be. A lot of these quotes hardly even relate to the country in the first place, and some are even duplicates. One quote by Thomas Paine and three by Michael Moore? What an embarrassment.

One word, Communists!*sarcasm*

Really, if that many people hate America for whatever faults it has, know that America is one of the best nations to change and challenge the status quo, and one of the few nations where it needn't come from the barrel of a gun. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:38, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

I removed

Surely Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has more enemies than just the United States. I felt that the quote was to general to be in this Article. I think if people want to have one of his quotes on this page, they can find one that is specifically talking about the United States.

I am certain they are not hard to find. —This unsigned comment is by Blackoutdaddy (talkcontribs) 22:46, 20 August 2007 (UTC).

I removed a quote from an not copyrighted (not published) story, authored by a no one mind you. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:06, 22 September 2007 (UTC)


This DEFINITELY needs balancing! Almost every quote by non-Americans is a negative one. Okay admittedly many people are alienated and intimidated by the aggressive policies of the current administration, but historically over the last 60 years or so there has usually been about a 2/3 approval of the United States in Europe. Even with the current administration there is still about a 1/3 of the population that approves it in Europe. Therefore there must be many more quotes about the United States from famous people over the years that have not been negative. By the way I am NOT American so I have no reason to bias toward a more favourable view. If you check my IP addess it will show that I am from New Zealand (which is actually quite anti-American relative to other western countries) so I have no reason to propagate a favourable view of the United States. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 09:31, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Its not just that, why does Michael Moore, get three quotes to, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S one, and correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think Sylvester Stallone's comment is kept in context, because judging by his movies, I would assume he was a patriot. I've heard the comment before, but I believe he was talking about the modern American media, and not neccessarily the nation as a whole. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:51, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Balanced now. – Illegitimate Barrister, 06:31, 6 September 2015 (UTC)


So how many quotes are allowed on a country page?(StarWarsFanBoy 20:12, 26 December 2009 (UTC))

Authorship controversy[edit]

The quote "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilisation in between" is attributed here to Georges Clemenceau, also attributed to George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. Elsewhere other famous personalities are mentioned.

However the first similar reference I could find is from 1887, in French, in "revue britannique", where it seems applied to Spain.

Later, it is applied to Russia in The contemporary theatre, from James Agate, in 1926. One can find a close formulation in 1841, also in French and for Russia, in "Histoire des progrès de la civilisation en Europe depuis l'ère Chrétienne jusqu' au XIXe siècle", by Hippolyle Roux-Ferrand, without however the mention of civilisation.

First references to USA seem to appear in 1932, and are attributed to "a witty Frenchman", possibly a journalist. Unfortunately I can't access to the whole publications on google books and I can't see if the precise attribution is given. Two years later some attribute it to John O'Hara.

There is also a book from Charles Du Bus de Warnaffe published in 1924 which is named De la barbarie à la décadence (from barbarism to decadence), but I don't know what it is about. Skippy le Grand Gourou 08:34, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

I'm quite interested to read about this, I have seen the quote attributed to almost every witty intellectual of the past hundred years. It makes sense that it saw repeated use... perhaps attributing to (say) Clemenceau is in the same league as attributing the phrase "Brave new world" to Huxley. 00:00, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Proposed new layout[edit]

The Americans/immigrants/non-Americans balance seems awkward and unsuitable to me. Perhaps it would be preferable to divide the sections up by centuries (18th through 21st)? That way it wouldn't seem so random, and we'd have a sense of chronological flow. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 17:54, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I fully agree and endorse this - it would be much better to sort the quotes chronologically. And the addition of subsections by periods of time (similar to what we do with some president's pages where we divide the quotes by year - see George W. Bush or Barack Obama) would be nice. Good idea. ~ UDScott (talk) 18:14, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Reversion of some EXTREME alteration of layout and content[edit]

I just reverted some MAJOR changes made by Y-S.Ko (talk · contributions). I see NO need for a stripping out of comments of US presidents, nor any need for a separate page of segregated quotes "Presidents of the United States on the United States" which was subsequently created. I believe such breakdown into VERY specialized pages is extremely unwarranted. I have also restored MANY of the images that were removed, though I did not restore some that seemed more recently added, and in an order that seemed somewhat unorganized, in my brief glancing at the them. It might perhaps be useful to re-organize the page — but I do not agree on FILTERING it out in quite so extensive, extreme and sudden a manner as was done without ANY discussion of such an EXTREME changing of CONTENT. I believe that the separation of quotes into "Americans" and "non-Americans" should be rejected, and a simple alphabetical listing of the authors of quotes within alphabetized sections should be done, as is done on MANY theme pages. IF such changes as that are agreed to, within the next month or so, I would go ahead and do it sometime next month. ~ Kalki·· 05:17, 23 December 2015 (UTC) + tweaks

I have just reviewed the net effect of the edits which were made, and my partial reversions. I would probably restore a few more of the quotes I have not yet restored — but will save such tasks for later, IF an agreement can be determined, along the lines of simply organizing this page into alphabetized sections within the next month or so. ~ Kalki·· 05:25, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
I agree that pulling quotes out based on filters is not a good idea. Instead, I would simply have subsections based on periods of time and sort the quotes chronologically. Yes, the page would be large, but this is a large subject. Arbitrarily creating new pages simply to trim the page makes it harder for people to find quotes if they are looking for them. ~ UDScott (talk) 14:09, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
Good revert, Kalki, and I agree with it. I see no need to remove a quote from one page simply because it is on another, as a quote can be fitting for multiple pages if it fits the topic of discussion. Otherwise, every page here would be a stub.
However, creation of new articles that address more specific aspects of quotes are a good thing and those articles should be kept as long as they are not too tedious and pedantic, but, their quotes should also be kept on the main topic's article as well. On that note, I agree that "Presidents of the U.S. on the U.S." seems way too tediously pedantic and probably should be merged into the regular "U.S. President" article instead.
That said, I have been pondering dividing the U.S. page into more headers, as UDScott just suggested, since the sub-sections are getting pretty big. Whether those headers would be named by alphabetical ordering by author name or by topic, I have not yet decided upon. I feel having subject-derived headers for a huge topic such as a country would be too POV, so I have been leaning towards alphabetical order by author name, since that seems more neutral and objective in my view.
While we're at it, a horizontal table of contents template would probably be a good idea to make. Best regards, – Illegitimate Barrister, 00:18, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
I still believe it would be better to divide the quotes by time period (say by decade or by century) than to divide them alphabetically by speaker. Just as we do with the president pages, I feel that this would better serve the reader to understand quotes about such a large subject as the U.S. ~ UDScott (talk) 13:49, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm not so sure about that. We usually only divide a page's sub-headers into time periods if it's about a person. If it is about other topics, then we usually do alphabetical order by name, since it has multiple quotes from multiple different authors. This might also create problems with categorizing them, as not all of our quotes have exact dates, some are unknown. That also raises the question of which quotes to put into which sections. Do we put a quote from 2015 under the 19th century if it talks about the 19th century? Doing so might also create an imbalance in the content of each section, as quotes will probably be lopsided in favor of a certain time period. Besides, if somebody wants to find quotes from a specific time period, all they have to do is CTRL+F and type in the year they wish to find. Best regards, I.B. – Illegitimate Barrister, 13:09, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

Questionable development of this lemma in the past three years[edit]

In the past three years 4000 edits seem to have turned this lemma of quotes into a lemma of abstracts. Just one examples: Three years ago the was one quote by Calvin Coolidge of 19 words, now there 54 quotes of over 7500 words (over 20 pages of text). Is this really what anybody wants? -- Mdd (talk) 12:51, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

At nearly a half million bytes, the present article certainly seems unwieldy to me. It must be a rare visitor who undertakes to read the whole thing, much less accomplishes it. Anyone who does read it all will surely find a bewildering array of diverse and distinct topics lumped together here, each having some bearing upon or relation to the United States but all together being a great mishmash lacking coherent thematic focus.

Observing that we do have some articles that are focused on narrower themes relating to the United States, such as the American Dream, I wonder if it might be better to break most of this, or even all of it, into a set of more particular topics.

At the very least, I think there are numerous broad topics such as Race in the United States, the Second Amendment, and American imperialism, to name a few, that ought not all be heaped together in one ginormous article. ~ Ningauble (talk) 15:43, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Quotes requiring editorial work[edit]

the following quote seems non-notable, and attribution is unclear

the following quote seems marginally relevant if at all to article topic

  • In the U.S., if you are a singer, you're usually a singer for life.

Representation of African American voices[edit]

I hope the Wikiquote community will agree that African American voices are underrepresented in the United States article and help to remedy this. I have added several quotations representing these voices and will continue to add more. ~ Peter1c (talk) 16:58, 8 January 2019 (UTC)

Their voices are underrepresented in all Wq-articles.--Risto hot sir (talk) 17:09, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with the race of the people saying the quotes. It has to do with the rampant anti-Americanism of the quotes, being almost at the very front of the page. That's POV pushing. -- 06:28, 9 January 2019 (UTC)

I want to reiterate the emphasis on creating an account to properly participate in editorial debates. The inclusion of the images and quotations you propose to remove is supported by at least three experienced editors and no experienced editors have voiced agreement with your intent to remove the images. Having an account permits the community to know the history of an editor's contributions. Your concerns are valid, and they will be taken more seriously if you create an account. The racist history of the United States is an objective historical fact, not an anti-American point of view. Voices that recognize the reality of racism merit emphasis because the history of racism in the United States is an objective fact. ~ Peter1c (talk) 12:50, 9 January 2019 (UTC)

There are 233 African Americans at WQ at the moment while the amount of notable persons is about 20 000. And in Dixie almost all African Americans are sportspeople, musicians or civil rights activists. What's the reason?--Risto hot sir (talk) 15:43, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
  • seems pretty non-neutral to start any article on any country with a charged political statement and an image of a protest. I mean, compare:
  • Turkey - National flag with vaguely positive quote from a British MP
  • Germany - National flag with vaguely positive quote from a general and military historian
  • Japan - National flag with vaguely positive aspirational quote from Japanese MP
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - National flag with vaguely positive quote from a military leader
Then we are going to use an image of a protest and a radical political statement from a convicted felon for this article? I mean, in context, all the above countries have at one point been associated with serious war crimes. The quote on Bosnia and Herzegovina is from an actual convicted war criminal. But it looks like it's fairly common practice across nation articles to start out with a vaguely positive quote and a national flag. GMGtalk 16:04, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
I agree that an image of a protest (even a protest that was essential to a country's founding or restructuring of government, such as the Boston Tea Party or [[w:Arab Spring|Arab Spring), is not a good idea, because it's a vast oversimplification that singles out a single issue for importance that ultimately has less of an impact on large swaths of the population than it does for others, and places far too much emphasis on one particular time period. Why the civil rights period instead of the American civil war, or why not the Occupy Wall Street protests, going along with what Dr. King said in The Radical King, p. 249, "Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. ... What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn't earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?"
I've moved up two quotes with greater "endurance factor" from "America the Beautiful" by Katharine Lee Bates, accompanying two less dated images of landscapes, this should be fairly non controversial, it's what I normally do using flowers for movies about war crimes, rape and genocide because I assume it's not just images of genitals that gets Wikiquote filtered, and if you really need to know all the details Wikipedia is a a much better learning resource for history, quotes are nice and all and reveal the opinions of individuals, but historical academia is more about group consensus than individual opinion.
Conversely, I would you to imagine instead of protests, that someone added images of military hardware; both technology and political movements addressing specific grievances, like fashion, can quickly become out of date; notice the Wikipedia page for computers has a wide assortment rather than a random computer from the 1980's that some editor personally preferred because that's what they grew up on.
For someone who denounces racism, this seems an awful lot like "benevolent" racism, (apparently this editor doesn't particularly care as much about Indigenous Americans, despite the country being built on their lands), not to mention willfully ignorant sexism. Women represent slightly more than 50% of the population of countries that don't artificially adjust that number, yet having a suffragette protest would also be inappropriate in my opinion even though women are the statistical majority, women aren't protesting for a vote anymore, they are protesting for safer workplaces and more job opportunities, which I imagine someone who is more outspoken against the value of work than Buckminster Fuller, doesn't particularly think is an important issue, as they would be safe from workplace sexual harassment at home, as others have said in notable publications. I would guess that the strong opposition to flags and other state symbols, (for this one country and seemingly not the others) seems largely based off of an editor's opinion regarding the larger issues of iconoclasm and idolatry, even though flags generally don't have race or gender, which avoids the problem of unequal representation, even if it is more dehumanizing, it is at least equally dehumanizing to everyone. CensoredScribe (talk) 16:25, 15 July 2019 (UTC)