United States

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I love our flag, our constitution, and our country, with a love that has no bounds. I defended all three for 35 years as a soldier and was willing to give my life in their defense. Americans revere their flag as a symbol of the nation. ~ Colin L. Powell
Above the pyramid on the great seal of the United States it says, in Latin, 'God has favored our undertaking'. God will not favor everything that we do. It is rather our duty to divine his will. ~ Lyndon B. Johnson
America at least has demonstrated that republics are not ungrateful. It is one of the glories of our country that so long as we remain faithful to the cause of justice and truth and liberty, this action will continue. ~ Calvin Coolidge
American citizenship is a high estate. He who holds it is the peer of kings. It has been secured only by untold toil and effort. It will be maintained by no other method. It demands the best that men and women have to give, but it likewise awards to its partakers the best that there is on earth. ~ Calvin Coolidge
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. ~ Abraham Lincoln
That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. ~ Richard Lee
When the people of the colonies were defending their liberties against the might of kings, they chose their banner from the design set in the firmament through all eternity. The flags of great empires of that day have gone, but the stars and stripes remain. ~ Calvin Coolidge
The barriers of time and space vanish. All America that ever was and ever will be lives every moment. ~ Richard McKenna
How unique is the United States of America. No other nation has been created so swiftly and successfully. No other nation has been built upon an idea; the idea of liberty. No other nation has so successfully combined people of different races and nations within a single culture. ~ Margaret Thatcher
Both the founding fathers of the United States and successive waves of immigrants to your country were determined to create a new identity. Whether in flight from persecution or from poverty, the huddled masses have, with few exceptions, welcomed American values, the American way of life and American opportunities. And America herself has bound them to her with powerful bonds of patriotism and pride. ~ Margaret Thatcher
The United States has long been seen as the 'land of opportunity', the home of the American Dream. With the largest national economy in the world, well-developed infrastructure and high educational and social mobility, it is not hard to see its appeal. ~ Kayla Marie Walsh
Rumors of America's decline have been greatly exaggerated. In the key categories of power, the U.S. will remain dominant for the foreseeable future... America is still the world's only superpower... That won't change anytime soon. ~ Ian Bremmer
The gem of the ocean; the home of the brave and the free. The shrine of each patriot's devotion; a world offers homage to thee. ~ Thomas à Becket
Strangely, it is always America that is described as degenerate and 'fascist', while it is solely in Europe that actual dictatorships and totalitarian regimes spring up. ~ Jean-Francois Revel
America is a large country. It is a tolerant country. It has room within its borders for many races and many creeds. ~ Calvin Coolidge
I have not one drop of blood in my veins but what is American. ~ John Adams
Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is Americans. ~ Thomas Paine
It is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happines; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety... ~ George Washington
I believe that the United States as a government, if it is going to be true to its own founding documents, does have the job of working toward that time when there is no discrimination made on such inconsequential reason as race, color, or religion. ~ Dwight Eisenhower
There is no better American spirit than that which is exhibited by many of those who have recently come to our shores. ~ Calvin Coolidge
Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as anyone else. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
When the constitution says 'We the People', that's not just a rhetorical flourish. That's a description of the nature of the Union. ~ Christopher Shelley
The cornerstone of this republic, as of all free governments, is respect for and obedience to the law. Where we permit the law to be defied or evaded, whether by rich man or poor man, by black man or white, we are by just so much weakening the bonds of our civilization and increasing the chances of its overthrow. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
We are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people... We are and forever will be the United States of America... We we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth. ~ Barack H. Obama II
America... commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well. ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
America is the only heaven on earth; is the place closest to the heavenly experience. ~ Bennet Omalu
The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York... ~ Horace Walpole
Never fear, true hearts! A people which has shown the quality of its genius as this nation has in the last four years will finish its work. It will go forward and not backward. For our America shall be the Sinai of the nations, and from the terrible thunders and lightnings of its great struggle shall proceed the divine law of liberty that shall subdue and harmonize the world. ~ George William Curtis
The truest American president we have ever had, the companion of Washington in our love and honor, recognized that the poorest man, however outraged, however ignorant, however despised, however black, was, as a man, his equal. ~ George William Curtis
Our inhabitants are especially free to promote their own welfare. They are unburdened by militarism. They are not called upon to support any imperialistic designs. Every mother can rest in the assurance that her children will find here a land of devotion, prosperity and peace. ~ Calvin Coolidge
American government was the result of an effort to establish institutions under which the people as a whole should have the largest possible advantages. Class and privilege were outlawed, freedom and opportunity were guaranteed. They undertook to provide conditions under which service would be adequately rewarded, and where the people would own their own property and control their own government. ~ Calvin Coolidge
We have built no national temples but the Capitol; we consult no common oracle but the Constitution. ~ Rufus Choate
My whole life has taught me what America means. I am indebted to my country beyond any human power to repay. ~ Herbert Hoover
America leads; we are the indispensable nation. We have capacity no one else has. Our military is the best in the history of the world, and when trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don't call Beijing. They don't call Moscow. They call us. That's the deal. ~ Barack H. Obama II
When there's a typhoon in the Philippines, take a look at who's helping the Philippines deal with that situation. When there's an earthquake in Haiti, take a look at who's leading the charge making sure Haiti can rebuild. That's how we roll, and that's what makes this America. ~ Barack H. Obama II
America has evolved a model for this new free world... America has demonstrated that peoples of the East and peoples of the West may walk side by side in mutual respect and with mutual benefit. ~ Douglas MacArthur
Americans don't hold grudges for long... Hardly any of us hate the Japanese, the Germans, or the Vietnamese. We rightly despise the Taliban and ISIS, but not the innocent people of Afghanistan. ~ Michael Totten
The nation, at its birth, had been dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal... The proposition of equality was the 'central idea' of the founding, from which all its minor thoughts emanated. ~ Harry V. Jaffa
Equality is one of the main principles of the American. ~ Jimmy Dick
Whenever challenges face the world, one fact is clear. The world looks to the United States... The United States is 'the indispensable nation' when trouble arises in the world. From responding to humanitarian crises to confronting terrorism, America leads. ~ Tanya Somanader
The U.S. doesn't cave. ~ Michael Totten
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. ~ Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
You don't have to bribe the police here; they're satisfied. ~ Tamar Jacoby
As a nation based on the idea of equality, America has been a melting pot. It has taken people from diverse traditions and turned them into freedom-loving and decent citizens... In principle, people of all races can become citizens of a nation based on the idea that ‍'‍all men are created equal‍'‍. ~ Thomas West
Let it never be forgotten that the cause of the United States is the cause of human nature, not of white men nor black men nor red men nor brown men, but of man, of mankind. ~ George William Curtis
Most Americans no longer know what America stands for. For them, America has become just another country, a place located between Canada and Mexico. But America was founded to be an idea, not another country. ~ Dennis Prager
The Declaration of Independence, the document that articulated the principle of human rights endowed by the Creator, thereby ultimately ensuring the end of slavery, and led to the establishment of the country that has served as the beacon of hope for people of every race and ethnicity. More black Africans have voluntarily emigrated to the United States to seek liberty and opportunity than came to America as slaves... America gradually became the least-xenophobic, least-racist nation in the world. In no country do people become accepted as full members of the society as do immigrants to America. ~ Dennis Prager
Colored people have repeatedly proved their devotion to the high ideals of our country. They gave their services in the war with the same patriotism and readiness that other citizens did. ~ Calvin Coolidge
It is one of the anomalies of the human story that these peoples, who could not be assimilated and unified... should on coming to America discover an amazing genius for cooperation, for fusion, and for harmonious effort. Yet they were the same people when they came here that they had been on the other side... Quite apparently, they found something in our institutions, something in the American system of Government and society which they themselves helped to construct, that furnished to all of them a political and cultural common denominator. ~ Calvin Coolidge
As the United States is the freest of all nations, so, too, its people sympathize with all people struggling for liberty and self-government; but while so sympathizing it is due to our honor that we should abstain from enforcing our views upon unwilling nations and from taking an interested part, without invitation. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. ~ Pledge of Allegiance to flag of the United States (1923–1954)
We are situated differently in this respect from any other country. All the other great powers have a comparatively homogeneous population, close kindred in race and blood and speech, and commonly little divided in religious beliefs. Our great nation is made up of the strong and virile pioneering stock of nearly all the countries of the world. We have a variety of race and language and religious belief. ~ Calvin Coolidge
We've gotten to where we've nearly 'them'ed ourselves to death. Them and them and them. But this is America. There is no them; there's only us. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all. ~ Bill Clinton
To deny a man his hopes because of his color or race, his religion or the place of his birth–is not only to do injustice, it is to deny America and to dishonor the dead who gave their lives for American freedom. ~ Lyndon B. Johnson
Protect the law-abiding citizen, whether of native or foreign birth, wherever his rights are jeopardized or the flag of our country floats. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
As a nation, our first duty must be to those who are already our inhabitants, whether native or immigrants. To them we owe an especial and a weighty obligation. They came to us with stout hearts and high hopes of bettering their estate. They have contributed much to making our country what it is. They magnificently proved their loyalty by contributing their full part when the war made demand for sacrifices by all Americans. ~ Calvin Coolidge
Too many of our citizens have cause to doubt our nation’s justice when the law points a finger of suspicion at groups, instead of individuals. All our citizens are created equal and must be treated equally. ~ George W. Bush
The essence of U.S. military predominance in the world is, ultimately, the fact that it can, at will, drop bombs, with only a few hours' notice, at absolutely any point on the surface of the planet. No other government has ever had anything remotely like this sort of capability. ~ David Graeber
Alone of all flags, it expresses the sovereignty of the people which endures when all else passes away. Speaking with their voice, it has the sanctity of revelations. He who lives under it and disloyal to it is a traitor to the human race everywhere. What could be saved if the flag of the American nation were to perish? ~ Calvin Coolidge
The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. ~ Thomas Paine
In the case of a people which represents many nations, cultures, and races, as does our own, a unification of interests and ideals in recreations is bound to wield a telling influence for solidarity of the entire population. No more truly democratic force can be set off against the tendency to class and caste than the democracy of individual parts and prowess in sport. ~ Calvin Coolidge
Americans never quit. ~ Douglas MacArthur
At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. ~ Lyndon B. Johnson
We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in. ~ Thomas Paine
In America, the law is king. ~ Thomas Paine
The star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave. O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! ~ The Star-Spangled Banner
When the architect intends a grand structure, he makes the foundation broad and strong. We should imitate this prudence in laying the foundations of the future republic... We should welcome to our ample continent all the nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples, and as fast as they learn our language and comprehend the duties of citizenship, we should incorporate them into the American body politic. The outspread wings of the American eagle are broad enough to shelter all who are likely to come. ~ Frederick Douglass
Encourage free schools, and resolve that not one dollar of money shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian school. Resolve that neither the state nor nation, or both combined, shall support institutions of learning other than those sufficient to afford every child growing up in the land the opportunity of a good common school education. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separate. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
This is a beautiful country. ~ John Brown
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character or enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. ~ Joel Barlow
The triumph of the Union is dispensable not only to the existence of our country to the well being of mankind. ~ Horace Greeley
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. ~ Paragraph III, Article IV of the United States Constitution
There is no gentleman in America, but he who feels that every man is his equal in natural right, and who does not know that he is cheated if every man does not have fair play. ~ George William Curtis
Our liberties remain unimpaired; the bondmen have been freed from slavery. We have become possessed of the respect, if not the friendship, of all civilized nations. Our progress has been great. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
We are, proudly, a people with no sense of class or caste. We judge no man by his name or inheritance, but by what he does, and for what he stands. And so likewise do we judge other nations. The right of no nation depends upon the date of its birth or the size of its power. ~ Dwight Eisenhower
The United States was made by men of all races and colors, not for white men, but for the refuge and defense of man. If it does not rest upon the natural rights of man, it rests nowhere. ~ George William Curtis
I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives... For though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire. ~ Thomas Paine
We want America free at home, and free in the world. We want to silence the outcry of nation against nation, in the fullness of understanding, and we wish to silence the cry of class against class, and stifle the party appeal to class, so that we may ensure tranquility in our own freedom. ~ Warren G. Harding
Manhood in America is to be measured not by the color of the skin, but by the quality of the soul. ~ George William Curtis
This nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Painfully convinced of the unutterable wrongs and woes of slavery, profoundly believing that, according to the true spirit of the constitution and the sentiments of the fathers, it can find no place. ~ Charles Sumner
Beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. ~ Katharine L. Bates
For purple mountain majesties. Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee! ~ Katharine L. Bates
This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, north and south. All men are created equal. Government by consent of the governed. Give me liberty or give me death. Well, those are not just clever words, or those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died. ~ Lyndon B. Johnson
We are one nation and one people. Our fate as a nation and our future as a people rest not upon one citizen, but upon all citizens. ~ Lyndon B. Johnson
For every generation, there is a destiny. For some, history decides. For this generation, the choice must be our own. Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country. To right wrong, to do justice, to serve man. ~ Lyndon B. Johnson
America is the land of opportunity. It certainly was for me. ~ Jill Ellis
Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom. Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities. Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders. We believe that all men are created equal. ~ Lyndon B. Johnson
Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal. ~ Bill Clinton
There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. ~ Bill Clinton
The liberal attitude of every citizen toward his fellows. It is this factor which has preserved to all of us that equality of opportunity which enables every American to become the architect of whatever fortune he deserves. ~ Calvin Coolidge
America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world. ~ John McCain
The old world is engaged in a struggle to find a way by which each race living on its own soil, separated by definite national boundaries, can be assured freedom and peace in the full development of its national life and in the realization of international opportunities. The task of America is different. It is for her to find the way by which these races, living on one soil, under one form of government, with no territorial lines, can be assimilated and become a part of her integral national life. ~ Frances Kellor
Every man lives in his neighborhood, and beyond his home and his job. To most men, except in the largest cities, the municipality is interpreted in terms of his neighborhood. Few men get beyond this except through occasional excursions into the larger world. America is a country of parallel neighborhoods; the native American in one section and the immigrant in another. Americanization is the elimination of the parallel line. So long as the American thinks that a house in his street is too good for his immigrant neighbor and tolerates discriminations in sanitation, housing, and enforcement of municipal laws, he can serve on all Americanization committees that exist and still fail in his efforts ~ Frances Kellor
There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Place first the broadly tolerant attitude that has been a characteristic of this country. I use the word in its most inclusive sense, to cover tolerance of religious opinion, tolerance in politics, tolerance in social relationships; in general. ~ Calvin Coolidge
The immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn't doing his part as an American. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
We are a people born of many peoples. Our culture, our skills, our very aspirations have been shaped by immigrants, and their sons and daughters, from all the Earth. ~ Dwight Eisenhower
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. ~ James Madison
The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. ~ Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
As a people we claim the right to speak with peculiar emphasis for freedom and for fair treatment of all men without regard to differences of race, fortune, creed, or color. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
That American spirit; it's that non-wilting behavior. ~ Michael Davies
Perhaps no country on earth has greater responsibilities than America. ~ Calvin Coolidge
As there can be no second class citizens before the law of America, so, we believe, there can be no second-class nations before the law of the world community. ~ Dwight Eisenhower
Our experience in that respect ought not to lead us too hastily to assume that we have been therefore better than other people, but certainly we have been more fortunate. We came on the stage at a later time, so that this country had presented to it, already attained, a civilization that other countries had secured only as a result of a long and painful struggle. ~ Calvin Coolidge
The stakes for America are never small. If our country does not lead the cause of freedom, it will not be led. ~ George W. Bush
We went in and came out singularly free from those questionable causes and results which have often characterized other wars. We were not moved by the age-old antagonisms of racial jealousies and hatreds. We were not seeking to gratify the ambitions of any reigning dynasty. We were not inspired by trade and commercial rivalries. We harbored no imperialistic designs. We feared no other country. We coveted no territory. ~ Calvin Coolidge
I suggest for your earnest consideration, and most earnestly recommend it, that a constitutional amendment be submitted to the legislatures of the several states for ratification, making it the duty of each of the several states to establish and forever maintain free public schools adequate to the education of all the children in the rudimentary branches within their respective limits, irrespective of sex, color, birthplace, or religions. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
For most of our history, America felt safe behind two great oceans. But with the spread of technology, distance no longer means security. ~ George W. Bush
Our condition today is not merely that of one people under one flag, but of a thoroughly united people who have seen bitterness and enmity which once threatened to sever them pass away, and a spirit of kindness and good will reign over them all. ~ Calvin Coolidge
The chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. ~ Calvin Coolidge
This nation was created to give expression, validity and purpose to our spiritual heritage—the supreme worth of the individual. In such a nation—a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—racial discrimination has no place. ~ Republican Party Platform of 1960
A different idea has taken place with the people of America, more favorable to the natural rights of mankind, and to that natural, innate desire of liberty, with which Heaven, without regard to color, complexion, or shape of noses-features, has inspired all the human race. And upon this ground our constitution. ~ William Cushing
American soldiers are warriors for freedom. ~ Black Rain
Throughout history the American fighting man and woman has served the ideals that everyone, not just those lucky enough to be born between two oceans and imaginary fences, was born with the God-given rights to live, to live with representative governments, and to pursue their own happiness, regardless of culture, color, race, religion, and so forth. ~ Black Rain
American soldiers have always comprised an army out to set others free. ~ Black Rain
What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people? Unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many, coming together to shape their country's course? What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this? ~ Barack H. Obama II
I shudder when I think of the calamities which slavery is likely to produce in this country. ~ John Adams
The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the colored men from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man. They were tempted, but not one betrayed his country. ~ Calvin Coolidge
Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. ~ George W. Bush
During the war 500,000 colored men and boys were called up under the draft, not one of whom sought to evade it. They took their places wherever assigned in defense of the nation of which they are just as truly citizens as are any others. ~ Calvin Coolidge
Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. ~ George W. Bush
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. ~ Section III, Article III of the U.S. Constitution
Did we say, 'Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us'? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No. The only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead, and that is the kind of nation we are. ~ Colin Powell
The spirit of America is to help everybody and injure nobody. ~ Calvin Coolidge
There can be no permanent disfranchised peasantry in the United States. Freedom can never yield its fullness of blessings so long as the law or its administration places the smallest obstacle in the pathway of any virtuous citizen. ~ James A. Garfield
We have waged no wars to determine a succession, establish a dynasty, or glorify a reigning house. Our military operations have been for the service of the cause of humanity. The principles on which they have been fought have more and more come to be accepted as the ultimate standards of the world. ~ Calvin Coolidge
If the American name is no longer a by-word and a hissing to a mocking earth, if the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army who rest in these honored graves all around us. ~ Frederick Douglass
Blood that has soaked into the sands of a beach is all of one color. America stands unique in the world: the only country not founded on race but on a way, an ideal. Not in spite of but because of our polyglot background, we have had all the strength in the world. That is the American way. ~ Ronald W. Reagan
A strong America is the world's best hope for peace and freedom. Yet the cause of freedom rests on more than our ability to defend ourselves and our allies. ~ George W. Bush
Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy. A policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. ~ George Washington
We have, as all will agree, a free government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Today's soldiers, and the democratic fallen, now occupy a prominent place in a long tradition of American liberators. ~ Joseph M. Skelly
If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us. ~ George W. Bush
America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. The rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women, private property, free speech, equal justice, and religious tolerance. ~ George W. Bush
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. ~ Abraham Lincoln
What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength our gallant and disciplined army? These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of those may be turned against our liberties, without making us weaker or stronger for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. ~ Abraham Lincoln
America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights and previleges. ~ George Washington
Every man has a right to one country. He has a right to love and serve that country and to feel that it is absolutely his country and that he has in it every right possessed by anyone else. It is our duty to require the man of German blood who is an American citizen to give up all allegiance to Germany wholeheartedly and without on his part any mental reservation whatever. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Duties are reciprocal, and from the standpoint of American patriotism, one is as important as the other. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Americans. America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it. ~ Eric Hoffer
The United States is based on a simple premise. The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression; to preserve freedom and peace. ~ Ronald W. Reagan
We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions, bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities. Whoever seeks to set one race against another seeks to enslave all races. Whoever seeks to set one religion against another, seeks to destroy all religion. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
Remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
No part of the community responded more willingly, more generously, more unqualifiedly, to the demand for special extraordinary exertion, than did the members of the Negro race. ~ Calvin Coolidge
For happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. ~ George Washington
Whether in the military service, or in the vast mobilization of industrial resources which the war required, the Negro did his part precisely as did the white man. He drew no color line when patriotism made its call upon him. He gave precisely as his white fellow citizens gave, to the limit of resources and abilities, to help the general cause. ~ Calvin Coolidge
To grant suffrage to the black man in this country is not innovation, but restoration. It is a return to the ancient principles and practices of the fathers. ~ James A. Garfield
The American Negro established his right to the gratitude and appreciation which the Nation has been glad to accord. ~ Calvin Coolidge
We are a land of immigrants, and we ought to recognize that. America's soul is rejuvenated when people come to our country and work hard to realize dreams. ~ George W. Bush
The present difficulty, in bringing all parts of the United States to a happy unity and love of country grows out of the prejudice to color. The prejudice is a senseless one, but it exists. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil. America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. ~ George W. Bush
The Americans have enough sense to prefer strong and prosperous friends, and they realize that their most lucrative international trade is with other highly industrialized countries, not with weak and backward ones. ~ Muhammad Reza Pahlavi
All of us, no matter from what land our parents came, no matter in what way we may severally worship our Creator, must stand shoulder to shoulder in a united America for the elimination of race and religious prejudice. We must stand for a reign of equal justice to both big and small. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
I found America the friendliest, most forgiving, and most generous nation I had ever visited. ~ Jorge Luis Borges
Let us keep our desire to help other lands as a great and broad principle, not to help in one place and do harm in another, but to render assistance everywhere. ~ Calvin Coolidge
In this enlightened age, and in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest offices that are known in the United States. ~ George Washington
The proudest human that walks the earth is a free American citizen. ~ Dwight Eisenhower
People have marveled at the growth and strength of America. They have wondered how a few weak and discordant colonies were able to win their independence from one of the greatest powers of the world. They have been amazed at our genius for self-government. They have been unable to comprehend how the shock of a great Civil War did not destroy our Union. They do not understand the economic progress of our people. It is true that we have had the advantage of great natural resources, but those have not been exclusively ours. Others have been equally fortunate in that direction. The progress of America has been due to the spirit of the people. ~ Calvin Coolidge
The peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings. ~ George W. Bush
The United States is a monarchy with an elective king. ~ The Knoxville Journal
In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American. ~ Antonin Scalia
It seems to me that the United States and France can learn from each other. French universalism, or its equivalent, is a powerful weapon against racism, which is based on the belief in innate unalterable differences among human groups. Stressing what rights all people have because of what they have in common remains at the heart of anti-racism. ~ George M. Fredrickson
America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. ~ George W. Bush
Conquer we must, when our cause it is just! ~ "The Star-Spangled Banner"
Terrorists aren't trying to kill us because we offended them. They attack us because they want to impose their view of the world on as many people as they can, and America is standing in their way. ~ Marco Rubio
If Americans should now turn back, submit again to slavery, it would be a betrayal so base the human race might better perish. ~ Isabel Paterson
The United States, in its essential spirit and intention, recognizes the essential manhood of Dred Scott as absolutely as it does that of the president, of the chief justice, or of any senator of the United States. ~ George William Curtis
The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. ~ James Madison
Every measure of prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. ~ John Adams
The U.S. is a very democratic state. There's no doubt about that; and it originally developed as a democratic state. When the first settlers set their foot on the continent, life forced them to forge a relationship and maintain a dialogue with each other to survive. ~ Vladimir V. Putin
Fuzziness about the world outside is unique to America. - Ashraf Pahlavi
Americans love to eat. They are fatally attracted to the slow death of fast food. ~ George Carlin
Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves. ~ Albert Einstein

The United States of America (U.S.), commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a country located on the continent of North America, with territories located on islands in the Carribean Sea and Pacific Ocean. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the country. New York City is the most populous city in the country, whereas California is the most populous federated state. The country's head of state is Barack H. Obama II, who has been the U.S. president since January 2009, after succeeding George W. Bush. The country's capital is Washington, D.C., which is located on the northern border of the U.S. state of Virginia. It is also one of the founders of the United Nations organization, of which it is a permanent member.

Quotes[edit]

By Americans[edit]

Alphabetized by author's last name. If a monarch, alphabetized by first name. If a work without a nominal author, then alphabetized by the work's title or the publisher's name.

A[edit]

  • The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an 'equalizer'. Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed — but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny.
  • We are in the very midst of a Revolution, the most compleat, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the History of Nations.
  • Britain has been moving earth and hell to obtain allies against us, yet it is improper in us to propose an alliance! Great Britain has borrowed all the superfluous wealth of Europe, in Italy, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and some in France, to murder us, yet it is dishonorable in us to propose to borrow money! By heaven, I would make a bargain with all Europe, if it lay with me. Let all Europe stand still, neither lend men nor money nor ships to England nor America, and let them fight it out alone. I would give my share of millions for such a bargain. America is treated unfairly and ungenerously by Europe. But thus it is, mankind will be servile to tyrannical masters, and basely devoted to vile idols.
  • I shudder when I think of the calamities which slavery is likely to produce in this country. You would think me mad if I were to describe my anticipations.
    • John Adams (1820), as quoted in John Adams (1962), by Page Smith, Garden City, New York: Doubleday, p. 138.
  • Slavery in this country, I have seen hanging over it like a black cloud for half a century.
  • America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet on her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world; she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit. . . . Her glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.
    • John Quincy Adams, address as Secretary of State to the U.S. House of Representatives (4 July 1821).
  • And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.
    • Samuel Adams, (6 February 1788), reported in Charles Hale, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1856), p. 86. This language was proposed in the Massachusetts convention for ratification of the U.S. Constitution to be added to Article I of that document.
  • To make America the greatest is my goal,
    So I beat the Russians, and I beat the Pole,
    and for the USA won the medal of gold.
    Italians said: 'You're Greater than the Cassius of old'.
    We like your name, we like your game,
    So make Rome your home if you will.
    I said I appreciate your kind hospitality,
    But the USA is my country still,
    'Cause they're waiting to welcome me in Louisville.
    • Muhammad Ali, poem written after winning the gold medal in the 1960 Olympic Summer Games in Rome, Italy, p. 35.
  • I am America; I am the part you won't recognize. But, get used to me.
  • 'Race' and 'ethnicity' categories have changed significantly over time to reflect changes in the American population. Since 1900, 26 different racial terms have been used to identify populations in the U.S. Census. Preserving outdated terms for the sake of questionable continuity is a disservice to the nation and the American people.
  • Yet the concept of race has become thoroughly, and perniciously, woven into the cultural and political fabric of the United States. It has become an essential element of both individual identity and government policy. Because so much harm has been based on 'racial' distinctions over the years, correctives for such harm must also acknowledge the impact of 'racial' consciousness among the U.S. populace, regardless of the fact that 'race' has no scientific justification in human biology. Eventually, however, these classifications must be transcended and replaced by more non-racist and accurate ways of representing the diversity of the U.S. population. This is the dilemma and opportunity of the moment. It is important to recognize the categories to which individuals have been assigned historically in order to be vigilant about the elimination of discrimination. Yet ultimately, the effective elimination of discrimination will require an end to such categorization, and a transition toward social and cultural categories that will prove more scientifically useful and personally resonant for the public than are categories of 'race'. Redress of the past and transition for the future can be simultaneously effected.
  • Negroes are American citizens. First class taxpayers, but so often treated as second class citizens, if there is such. In our hearts, we would like to know what it is that the white man has against the negro. What can we do to make peace with the white man? We have to live on this earth together. We cannot do without each other. We as a group, want your friendship, won't you accept?
  • We belong to the greatest country in the world, men. Have a lot of pride. On three, USA. One, two, three. USA!
  • Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on the confession in open court.
  • The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
  • The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States...

B[edit]

  • A country whose founding statesmen were adamant about the dangers of armed, standing government forces; a country that enshrined the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights and revered and protected the age-old notion that the home is a place of privacy and sanctuary.
  • As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character or enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
  • USA! Come on and raise up! This one's for you, uh-huh! this one's for who? Us, us! Us! Yes, sir! Say it loud, United States of America! Time to put it down and do it like this; now fight for something that's worth it. I'm a country boy; never really cared before what was going on. Now that it came a little closer to home, I've got a couple more.
  • Beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties. Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee!
  • I believe in the protection of divine Providence... I believe there are millions of Americans that are, still believe in, and are still harkening to the spirit... God is not neutral in freedom of all of mankind... If America falls, freedom all over the world takes a mighty blow, and it may take a thousand years to be able to recover from it.
  • For too long in this society, we have celebrated unrestrained individualism over common community. For too long as a nation, we have been lulled by the anthem of self-interest... We must rekindle the fire of idealism in our society, for nothing suffocates the promise of America more than unbounded cynicism and indifference.
  • Let tyrants shake their iron rod, and slavery clank her galling chains. We fear them not, we trust in God... God forever reigns. The foe comes on with haughty stride. Our troops advance with martial noise. Their veterans flee before our youth, and generals yield to beardless boys.
  • Throughout the history of the United States, government at all levels has been an oppressive force on people of color, especially black people. The republic was founded with African chattel slavery implicitly recognized in the Constitution. After Reconstruction, state and local governments enacted harsh laws and stripped rights from freedmen, ushering an era of white American terrorism that was aided, abetted, and sometimes perpetrated by law enforcement itself. One hundred years after Emancipation, police sicced dogs and firemen turned fire hoses on men, women, and children alike who were peacefully appealing for equal treatment, dignity, and individual rights. Today, police officers sometimes harass, profile, and abuse black people in cities all over the nation, contributing to the disproportionate number of blacks and other minorities in jails and prisons in the country that leads the world in incarceration... The history of black people in the United States is perhaps most quintessentially American story of freedom and liberty.
  • Many of the oppressions America has foisted upon its citizens, particularly its black citizens, indeed came from government actors and agents... It is simply not enough to believe that, given free choices, citizens will make decisions that maximize their own benefit, ultimately to the benefit of all people. The United States’ long history with both public and private discrimination is a testament to the power of racial prejudice and its power to overcome rational self-interest.
  • America is an exceptional nation in large part because we've aspired to rise above such prejudices and guarantee life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to everyone.
  • In order to have political power abroad, you must first have stability at home. The U.S. has the oldest working national constitution in the world, as well as strong institutions and rule of law to accompany it. While far from perfect, the governing document created by America’s founding fathers has evolved along with its people. The numbers show the enduring attraction of this system: 45 million people living in the U.S. today were born in a foreign country. That is more than four times higher than the next highest country. For many people around the world, America remains the ideal place to start a new life.
  • The idea of 'American exceptionalism' has become something of a hot potato in the political rhetoric of our day, but the truth is America is a very exceptional country and has a special place in the history of the world. We're not a nation in any traditional sense, as we are not defined by any specific ethnic or linguistic or religious identity. We are a people united by a common constitution and common political ideals of representative democracy and individual liberty. There's no other country in the history of the world like the United States of America and we should rightfully feel proud of it. However, there never would have been a United States of America had it not been for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who gave their lives in the struggles to secure and defend American liberty. Not all the wars were wise and, truth be told, not all the wars were just. That's worth remembering, but it does not change the fact that our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have fought and died for love of country. They have given their lives at places as far removed in time and distance as Saratoga, Lundy's Lane, Churubusco, Gettysburg, Little Big Horn, San Juan Hill, Belleau Wood, Bastogne, Iwo Jima, Heartbreak Ridge, Ia Drang, Kandahar, Fallujah, and such insignificant places as the tiny hamlet of Kuala Batee on the Sumatran coast.
  • Slavery, throughout its entire existence in the United States, is none other than the most barbarous, unprovoked and unjustifiable war of one portion of its citizens against another portion, the only conditions of which are perpetual imprisonment and hopeless servitude, or absolute extermination, in utter disregard and violation of those eternal and self-evident truths set forth in our Declaration of Independence.
  • I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land can never be purged away but with blood. I had as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed, it might be done.
    • John Brown, as quoted in a note that he had at his execution (2 December 1859), most sources say it was handed to the guard, but some dispute that and claim it was handed to a reporter accompaning him; as quoted in John Brown and his Men (1894) by Richard Josiah Hinton.
  • The protection of America itself will assume a high priority in a new century. Once a strategic afterthought, homeland defense has become an urgent duty. For most of our history, America felt safe behind two great oceans. But with the spread of technology, distance no longer means security.
  • The peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings... We have a place, all of us, in a long story. A story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer... America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them; and every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American... The stakes for America are never small. If our country does not lead the cause of freedom, it will not be led.
  • An artist using statistics as a brush could paint two very different pictures of our country. One would have warning signs: increasing layoffs, rising energy prices, too many failing schools, persistent poverty, the stubborn vestiges of racism. Another picture would be full of blessings: a balanced budget, big surpluses, a military that is second to none, a country at peace with its neighbors, technology that is revolutionizing the world, and our greatest strength, concerned citizens who care for our country and care for each other... Too many of our citizens have cause to doubt our nation’s justice when the law points a finger of suspicion at groups, instead of individuals. All our citizens are created equal and must be treated equally... A strong America is the world's best hope for peace and freedom. Yet the cause of freedom rests on more than our ability to defend ourselves and our allies. Freedom is exported every day, as we ship goods and products that improve the lives of millions of people. Free trade brings greater political and personal freedom.
  • Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve... America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining... Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time.
  • No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them. We have no intention of imposing our culture. But America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. The rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women, private property, free speech, equal justice, and religious tolerance... Beyond all differences of race or creed, we are one country, mourning together and facing danger together. Deep in the American character, there is honor, and it is stronger than cynicism.
  • America rejects bigotry. We reject every act of hatred... We are one country. Every immigrant can be fully and equally American because we're one country. Race and color should not divide us, because America is one country.
  • Any suggestion that a segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong. Recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country. He has apologized and rightly so. Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals, and the founding ideals of our nation, and in fact the founding ideals of the political party I represent, was and remains today the equal dignity and equal rights of every American.
  • Americans have upheld the ideals of America by exposing laws and habits contradicting those ideals... Americans share a belief in the values of liberty and dignity; we must share in the labor of advancing those values... In the struggle of the centuries, America learned that freedom is not the possession of one race. We know with equal certainty that freedom is not the possession of one nation. This belief in the natural rights of man, this conviction that justice should reach wherever the sun passes, leads America into the world. With the power and resources given to us, the United States seeks to bring peace where there is conflict, hope where there's suffering, and liberty where there's tyranny.
  • The exercise of rights is ennobled by service and mercy and a heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.
  • We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it... The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil. America rejects the false comfort of isolationism.
  • America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead... The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God and that liberty and justice light the path to peace. This is the belief that gave birth to our nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens... America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace.
  • The greatest nation, ever. Here you can strive and succeed as far as you dare to dream. It says something about our country that millions around the world are willing to leave their homes and families and risk everything to come here and realize the American dream. Their pursuit of that dream invigorates our national soul. It renews our country’s character; and it adds vitality to our culture... A land that is compassionate and decent... We believe in the rights and dignity of our own citizenry, we are committed to defending the rights and dignity of people everywhere. America has liberated millions around the world from tyranny and terror. We’ve helped turn the tide against deadly disease in places like Africa. In our hearts we believe all are created equal... The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is Almighty God’s gift to humanity... It is essential to this nation's future that we remember that the freedom to worship who we want, and how we want, or not worship at all, is a core belief.

C[edit]

  • You mess with Israel, you are messing with the United States of America. It's that simple.
  • Americans love to eat. They are fatally attracted to the slow death of fast food.
  • I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I wouldn't support a ban on all Muslims coming into this country.
  • We have built no national temples but the Capitol; we consult no common oracle but the Constitution.
    • Rufus Choate, The Importance of Illustrating New-England History by a Series of Romances like the Waverley Novels (1833), a lecture delivered at Salem, Massachusetts.
  • We recognize the equality of all men before the law, and hold that it is the duty of government in its dealings with the people to mete out equal and exact justice to all, of whatever nativity, race, color, or persuasion, religious or political.
  • America is the most inventive country in the world. Why? Because everybody has access to information. In the Soviet Union it was illegal to take a photograph of a train station. Look what happened to them. They tried to classify everything. The more information available to the average person, the greater the synergy that develops from it.
    • Tom Clancy, as quoted in Vonnegut and Clancy on Technology, by David H. Freedman and Sarah Schafer.
  • I have heard something said on this and a former occasion about allegiance to the south. I know no south, no north, no east, no west, to which I owe any allegiance. I owe allegiance to two sovereignty, and only two. One is the sovereignty of this Union, and the other is the sovereignty of the state of Kentucky. My allegiance is to this Union and to my state, but if gentlemen suppose they can exact from me an acknowledgement of allegiance to any ideal or future contemplated confederacy of the south, I here declare that I owe no allegiance to it. Nor will I, for one, come under any such allegiance if I can avoid it.
    • Henry Clay, speech in the Senate (14 February 1850), as quoted in The Life, Correspondence, and Speeches of Henry Clay (Vol. 3); ed. Calvin Colton: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1857.
  • Americans think of themselves collectively as a huge rescue squad on twenty-four-hour call to any spot on the globe where dispute and conflict may erupt.
  • As to the American tradition of non-meddling, Anarchism asks that it be carried down to the individual himself. It demands no jealous barrier of isolation; it knows that such isolation is undesirable and impossible; but it teaches that by all men's strictly minding their own business, a fluid society, freely adapting itself to mutual needs, wherein all the world shall belong to all men, as much as each has need or desire, will result. And when Modern Revolution has thus been carried to the heart of the whole world — if it ever shall be, as I hope it will — then may we hope to see a resurrection of that proud spirit of our fathers which put the simple dignity of Man above the gauds of wealth and class, and held that to be an American was greater than to be a king. In that day there shall be neither kings nor Americans — only Men; over the whole earth, MEN.
  • We've gotten to where we've nearly 'them'ed ourselves to death. Them and them and them. But this is America. There is no them; there's only us. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all.
  • Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.
  • Despite what you hear, we don't need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great.
  • Washington made it clear that a person did not have to be of a certain religion or have a particular ethnic background to be an American patriot.
  • July 4, 1776 was the historic day on which the representatives of three millions of people vocalized Concord and Lexington, and Bunker Hill, which gave notice to the world that they proposed to establish an independent nation on the theory that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The wonder and glory of the American people is not the ringing Declaration of that day, but the action then already begun, and in the process of being carried out, in spite of every obstacle that war could interpose, making the theory of freedom and equality a reality. We revere that day because it marks the beginnings of independence, the beginnings of a constitution that was finally to give universal freedom and equality to all American citizens — the beginnings of a government that was to recognize beyond all others the power and worth and dignity of man.
  • The doctrine of the Declaration of Independence predicated upon the glory of man and the corresponding duty to society that the rights of citizens ought to be protected with every power and resource of the state, and a government that does any less is false to the teachings of that great document. False to the name 'American'. The assertion of human rights is not but a call of human sacrifice. This is yet the spirit of the American people. Only so long as this flame burns shall we endure, and the light of liberty be shed over the nations of the earth... When the people of the colonies were defending their liberties against the might of kings, they chose their banner from the design set in the firmament through all eternity. The flags of great empires of that day have gone, but the stars and stripes remain. It pictures a vision of a people whose eyes are turned to the rising dawn. It represents of the hope of a father for his posterity. It was never flaunted for the glory of royalty, but to be born under it is to be the child of a king, and to establish a home under it is to be the founder of a royal house. Alone of all flags, it expresses the sovereignty of the people which endures when all else passes away. Speaking with their voice, it has the sanctity of revelations. He who lives under it and disloyal to it is a traitor to the human race everywhere. What could be saved if the flag of the American nation were to perish?
  • To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.
    • Calvin Coolidge, message to the National Security League in honor of Constitution Day, as quoted in The New York Times (17 September 1923) "Ceremonies Mark Constitution Day".
  • Numbered among our population are some 12,000,000 colored people. Under our Constitution their rights are just as sacred as those of any other citizen. It is both a public and a private duty to protect those rights.
  • In the case of a people which represents many nations, cultures, and races, as does our own, a unification of interests and ideals in recreations is bound to wield a telling influence for solidarity of the entire population. No more truly democratic force can be set off against the tendency to class and caste than the democracy of individual parts and prowess in sport.
  • American citizenship is a high estate. He who holds it is the peer of kings. It has been secured only by untold toil and effort. It will be maintained by no other method. It demands the best that men and women have to give, but it likewise awards to its partakers the best that there is on earth. To attempt to turn it into a thing of ease and inaction would be only to debase it. To cease to struggle and toil and sacrifice for it is not only to cease to be worthy of it but is to start a retreat toward barbarism. No matter what others may say, no matter what others may do, this is the stand that those must maintain who are worthy to be called Americans.
  • The accomplishments of the colored people in the United States, in the brief historic period since they were brought here from the restrictions of their native continent, can not but make us realize that there is something essential in our civilization which gives it a special power... The progress of the colored people on this continent is one of the marvels of modern history. We are perhaps even yet too near to this phenomenon to be able fully to appreciate its significance. That can be impressed on us only as we study and contrast the rapid advancement of the colored people in America with the slow and painful upward movement of humanity as a whole throughout the long human story... The Nation has need of all that can be contributed to it through the best efforts of all its citizens. The colored people have repeatedly proved their devotion to the high ideals of our country. They gave their services in the war with the same patriotism and readiness that other citizens did. The records of the selective draft show that somewhat more than 2,250,000 colored men were registered. The records further prove that, far from seeking to avoid participation in the national defense, they showed that they wished to enlist before the selective service act was put into operation, and they did not attempt to evade that act afterwards.
  • The Negro community of America has already so far progressed that its members can be assured that their future is in their own hands. Racial hostility, ancient tradition, and social prejudice are not to be eliminated immediately or easily, but they will be lessened as the colored people by their own efforts and under their own leaders shall prove worthy of the fullest measure of opportunity... The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the colored men from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man. They were tempted, but not one betrayed his country. Among well-nigh 400,000 colored men who were taken into the military service, about one-half had overseas experience. They came home with many decorations and their conduct repeatedly won high commendation from both American and European commanders... No part of the community responded more willingly, more generously, more unqualifiedly, to the demand for special extraordinary exertion, than did the members of the Negro race. Whether in the military service, or in the vast mobilization of industrial resources which the war required, the Negro did his part precisely as did the white man. He drew no color line when patriotism made its call upon him. He gave precisely as his white fellow citizens gave, to the limit of resources and abilities, to help the general cause. Thus the American Negro established his right to the gratitude and appreciation which the Nation has been glad to accord.
  • During the war 500,000 colored men and boys were called up under the draft, not one of whom sought to evade it. They took their places wherever assigned in defense of the nation of which they are just as truly citizens as are any others. The suggestion of denying any measure of their full political rights to such a great group of our population as the colored people is one which, however it might be received in some other quarters, could not possibly be permitted by one who feels a responsibility for living up to the traditions and maintaining the principles of the Republican Party. Our Constitution guarantees equal rights to all our citizens, without discrimination on account of race or color. I have taken my oath to support that Constitution. It is the source of your rights and my rights. I propose to regard it, and administer it, as the source of the rights of all the people, whatever their belief or race.
  • I believe in the American Constitution. I favor the American system of individual enterprise, and I am opposed to any general extension of government ownership, and control. I believe not only in advocating economy in public expenditure, but in its practical application and actual accomplishment. I believe in a reduction and reform of taxation, and shall continue my efforts in that direction.
    • Calvin Coolidge, formal acceptance speech of the Republican Party's nomination for President (14 August 1924), as quoted in Coolidge: An American Enigma (1998), by Robert Sobel, Regnery Publishing, p. 292.
  • If the Constitution of the United States be tyranny; if the rule that no one shall be convicted of a crime save by a jury of his peers; that no orders of nobility shall be granted; that slavery shall not be permitted to exist in any state or territory; that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; if these and many other provisions made by the people be tyranny, then the Supreme Court when it makes decisions in accordance with these principles of our fundamental law is tyrannical. Otherwise it is exercising the power of government for the preservation of liberty. The fact is that the Constitution is the source of our freedom. Maintaining it, interpreting it, and declaring it, are the only methods by which the Constitution can be preserved and our liberties guaranteed... America is a large country. It is a tolerant country. It has room within its borders for many races and many creeds.
  • Our American government was the result of an effort to establish institutions under which the people as a whole should have the largest possible advantages. Class and privilege were outlawed, freedom and opportunity were guaranteed. They undertook to provide conditions under which service would be adequately rewarded, and where the people would own their own property and control their own government. They had no other motive. They were actuated by no other purpose. If we are to maintain what they established, it is important to understand the foundation on which they built, and the claims by which they justified the sovereign rights and royal estate of every American citizen... Our inhabitants are especially free to promote their own welfare. They are unburdened by militarism. They are not called upon to support any imperialistic designs. Every mother can rest in the assurance that her children will find here a land of devotion, prosperity and peace. The tall shaft near which we are gathered and yonder stately memorial remind us that our standards of manhood are revealed in the adoration which we pay to Washington and Lincoln. They are unrivaled and unsurpassed. Above all else, they are Americans.
  • It is a truism, of course, but it is none the less a fact which we must never forget, that this continent and this American community have been blessed with an unparalleled capacity for assimilating peoples of varying races and nations. The continuing migration which in three centuries has established here this nation of more than a hundred million, has been the greatest that history records as taking place in any such brief period. Viewing it historically, we find that the migration to America was little more than a westward projection of the series of great movements of peoples... It was the fate of Europe to be always a battleground. Differences in race, in religion, in political genius and social ideals, seemed always, in the atmosphere of our mother continent, to be invitations to contest by battle. From the dawn of history, and we can only conjecture how much longer, the conflicts of races and civilizations, of traditions and usages, have gone on. It is one of the anomalies of the human story that these peoples, who could not be assimilated and unified under the skies of Europe, should on coming to America discover an amazing genius for cooperation, for fusion, and for harmonious effort. Yet they were the same people when they came here that they had been on the other side of the Atlantic. Quite apparently, they found something in our institutions, something in the American system of Government and society which they themselves helped to construct, that furnished to all of them a political and cultural common denominator.
  • Among these I should place, first, the broadly tolerant attitude that has been a characteristic of this country. I use the word in its most inclusive sense, to cover tolerance of religious opinion, tolerance in politics, tolerance in social relationships; in general, the liberal attitude of every citizen toward his fellows. It is this factor which has preserved to all of us that equality of opportunity which enables every American to become the architect of whatever fortune he deserves... As a nation, our first duty must be to those who are already our inhabitants, whether native or immigrants. To them we owe an especial and a weighty obligation. They came to us with stout hearts and high hopes of bettering their estate. They have contributed much to making our country what it is. They magnificently proved their loyalty by contributing their full part when the war made demand for sacrifices by all Americans... It must be the hope of every American citizen to maintain here as a permanent establishment, and as a perpetual inheritance for Americans of the future, the full measure of benefits and advantages which our people have been privileged to enjoy.
  • There is abundant room here for the preservation and development of the many divergent virtues that are characteristic of the different races which have made America their home. They ought to cling to all these virtues and cultivate them tenaciously... I know that there is no better American spirit than that which is exhibited by many of those who have recently come to our shores... Let us keep our desire to help other lands as a great and broad principle, not to help in one place and do harm in another, but to render assistance everywhere. Let us remember also that the best method of promoting this action is by giving undivided allegiance to America, maintaining its institutions, supporting its Government, and, by leaving it internally harmonious, making it eternally powerful in promoting a reign of justice and mercy throughout the earth... The spirit of America is to help everybody and injure nobody. We can be in a position to help only by unifying the American nation, building it up, making it strong, keeping it independent, using its inclination to help and its disclination to injure. Those who cast in their lot with this country can be true to the land of their origin only by first being true to America.
  • After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world... The chief ideal of the American people is idealism. I cannot repeat too often that America is a nation of idealists. That is the only motive to which they ever give any strong and lasting reaction.
  • Our people were influenced by many motives to undertake to carry on this gigantic conflict, but we went in and came out singularly free from those questionable causes and results which have often characterized other wars. We were not moved by the age-old antagonisms of racial jealousies and hatreds. We were not seeking to gratify the ambitions of any reigning dynasty. We were not inspired by trade and commercial rivalries. We harbored no imperialistic designs. We feared no other country. We coveted no territory... Though of many different nationalities, our people had a spiritual bond. They were all Americans... All the races, religions, and nationalities of the world were represented in the armed forces of this nation, as they were in the body of our population. No man's patriotism was impugned or service questioned because of his racial origin, his political opinion, or his religious convictions. Immigrants and sons of immigrants from the central European countries fought side by side with those who descended from the countries which were our allies, with the sons of equatorial Africa, and with the red men of our own aboriginal population, all of them equally proud of the name Americans.
  • If we are to have that harmony and tranquility, that union of spirit which is the foundation of real national genius and national progress, we must all realize that there are true Americans who did not happen to be born in our section of the country, who do not attend our place of religious worship, who are not of our racial stock, or who are not proficient in our language. If we are to create on this continent a free Republic and an enlightened civilization that will be capable of reflecting the true greatness and glory of mankind, it will be necessary to regard these differences as accidental and unessential. We shall have to look beyond the outward manifestations of race and creed. Divine Providence has not bestowed upon any race a monopoly of patriotism and character. The same principle that it is necessary to apply to the attitude of mind among our own people it is also necessary to apply to the attitude of mind among the different nations.
  • The generally expressed desire of 'America first' can not be criticized. It is a perfectly correct aspiration for our people to cherish. But the problem which we have to solve is how to make America first. It can not be done by the cultivation of national bigotry, arrogance, or selfishness. Hatreds, jealousies, and suspicions will not be productive of any benefits in this direction. Here again we must apply the rule of toleration. Because there are other peoples whose ways are not our ways, and whose thoughts are not our thoughts, we are not warranted in drawing the conclusion that they are adding nothing to the sum of civilization. We can make little contribution to the welfare of humanity on the theory that we are a superior people and all others are an inferior people... We can only make America first in the true sense which that means by cultivating a spirit of friendship and good will, by the exercise of the virtues of patience and forbearance, by being 'plenteous in mercy', and through progress at home and helpfulness abroad standing as an example of real service to humanity.
  • America at least has demonstrated that republics are not ungrateful. It is one of the glories of our country that so long as we remain faithful to the cause of justice and truth and liberty, this action will continue. We have waged no wars to determine a succession, establish a dynasty, or glorify a reigning house. Our military operations have been for the service of the cause of humanity. The principles on which they have been fought have more and more come to be accepted as the ultimate standards of the world. They have been of an enduring substance, which is not weakened but only strengthened by the passage of time and the contemplation of reason.
  • Our experience in that respect ought not to lead us too hastily to assume that we have been therefore better than other people, but certainly we have been more fortunate. We came on the stage at a later time, so that this country had presented to it, already attained, a civilization that other countries had secured only as a result of a long and painful struggle. Of the various races of which we are composed, substantially all have a history for making warfare which is oftentimes hard to justify, as they have come up through various degrees of development. They bore this burden in ages past in order that this country might be freed from it. Under the circumstances it behooves us to look on their record of advance through great difficulties with much compassion and be thankful that we have been spared from a like experience, and out of our compassion and our thankfulness constantly to remember that because of greater advantages and opportunities we are charged with superior duties and obligations. Perhaps no country on earth has greater responsibilities than America.
  • We are situated differently in this respect from any other country. All the other great powers have a comparatively homogeneous population, close kindred in race and blood and speech, and commonly little divided in religious beliefs. Our great nation is made up of the strong and virile pioneering stock of nearly all the countries of the world. We have a variety of race and language and religious belief.
  • Yet in time of stress and public agitation we have too great a tendency to disregard this policy and indulge in race hatred, religious intolerance, and disregard of equal rights. Such sentiments are bound to react upon those who harbor them. Instead of being a benefit they are a positive injury. We do not have to examine history very far before we see whole countries that have been blighted, whole civilizations that have been shattered by a spirit of intolerance. They are destructive of order and progress at home and a danger to peace and good will abroad. No better example exists of toleration than that which is exhibited by those who wore the blue toward those who wore the gray. Our condition today is not merely that of one people under one flag, but of a thoroughly united people who have seen bitterness and enmity which once threatened to sever them pass away, and a spirit of kindness and good will reign over them all.
  • People have marveled at the growth and strength of America. They have wondered how a few weak and discordant colonies were able to win their independence from one of the greatest powers of the world. They have been amazed at our genius for self-government. They have been unable to comprehend how the shock of a great Civil War did not destroy our Union. They do not understand the economic progress of our people. It is true that we have had the advantage of great natural resources, but those have not been exclusively ours. Others have been equally fortunate in that direction. The progress of America has been due to the spirit of the people. It is in no small degree due to that spirit that we have been able to produce such great leaders.
  • Other countries may boast of this and that, but nobody can touch the United States for poisonous snakes. We have about twenty species, most of them deadly, and Europe has only five or six, none of them much good. We have fifteen kinds of Rattlesnakes alone and nobody else has even one. There is a species in Central and South America, but it probably came from the United States.
  • There was not in all the colonial legislation of America one single law which recognized the rightfulness of slavery in the abstract; that in 1774 Virginia stigmatized the slave-trade as 'wicked, cruel, and unnatural'; that in the same year Congress protested against it 'under the sacred ties of virtue, honor, and love of country'; that in 1775 the same Congress denied that God intended one man to own another as a slave; that the new Discipline of the Methodist Church, in 1784, and the Pastoral Letter of the Presbyterian Church, in 1788, denounced slavery; that abolition societies existed in slave States, and that it was hardly the interest even of the cotton-growing States, where it took a slave a day to clean a pound of cotton, to uphold the system... Jefferson, in his address to the Virginia Legislature of 1774, says that 'the abolition of domestic slavery is the greatest object of desire in these colonies, where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state'; and while he constantly remembers to remind us that the Jeffersonian prohibition of slavery in the territories was lost in 1784, he forgets to add that it was lost, not by a majority of votes — for there were sixteen in its favor to seven against it — but because the sixteen votes did not represent two thirds of the States; and he also incessantly forgets to tell us that this Jeffersonian prohibition was restored by the Congress of 1785, and erected into the famous Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which was re-enacted by the first Congress of the United States and approved by the first President.
  • There is no gentleman in America, but he who feels that every man is his equal in natural right, and who does not know that he is cheated if every man does not have fair play... The truest American president we have ever had, the companion of Washington in our love and honor, recognized that the poorest man, however outraged, however ignorant, however despised, however black, was, as a man, his equal. The child of the American people was their most prophetic man, because, whether as small shop-keeper, as flat-boatman, as volunteer captain, as honest lawyer, as defender of the Declaration, as President of the United States, he knew by the profoundest instinct and the widest experience and reflection, that in the most vital faith of this country it is just as honorable for an honest man to curry a horse and black a boot as it is to raise cotton or corn, to sell molasses or cloth, to practice medicine or law, to gamble in stocks or speculate in petroleum. He knew the European doctrine that the king makes the gentleman; but he believed with his whole soul the doctrine, the American doctrine, that worth makes the man.
  • We have shown, first, that a popular government, under which the poorest and the most ignorant of every race but one are equal voters with the richest and most intelligent, is the most powerful and flexible in history. It is proved to be neither violent nor cruel nor impatient, but fixed in purpose, faithful to its own officers, tolerant of vast expense, of enormous losses, of torturing delays, and strongest at the very points where fatal weakness was most suspected... I am no more a child, but a man; no longer a confederacy, but a nation. I am no more Virginia, New York, Carolina, or Massachusetts, but the United States of America.
  • The spirit of caste, if naturally more malignant in a region where personal slavery has been abolished against the will of the dominant class, is not confined to it. We are apt to draw the line geographically, but it will not run so. They may be sad goats on the other side of the line, but we sheep may find an occasional speck in our virtuous wool. 'Caste must be maintained', say the governors and legislatures of Mississippi and Louisiana and Alabama and North and South Carolina and Georgia.' 'Amen', says Connecticut, 'that is a political wooden nutmeg for this market'. 'Amen', says New York, which prefers to pour political power into a foreign white whiskey-skin rather than into a native sound and serviceable vessel of a darker hue. 'Amen', says Indiana, which asks her colored children to fight and die for her upon the battle-field, and refuses by her laws to permit the survivors to return to their homes. 'Amen', say Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, and West Virginia, which forbid an entire class of their citizens to vote upon equal qualifications with others. And why? Because the party of hostility to human rights, which is 'conservative' in this growing, aspiring, expanding country, exactly as sheet-iron swaddling-clothes are conservative of a new-born babe, pursued by the pitiless logic of the sublime American principle and driven from one absurdity to another, now claims that ours is 'a white man's government'. Oh, no! Gentlemen, you may wish to make it so, but it was not made so. The false history of Judge Taney was promptly corrected from Judge Taney's bench by Justice Curtis.
  • The United States was made by men of all races and colors, not for white men, but for the refuge and defense of man. If it does not rest upon the natural rights of man, it rests nowhere. If it does not exist by the consent of governed then any exclusion is possible, and it is a shorter step from an exclusive white man's government to an exclusively rich white man's government, than it is from a system for mankind to one for white men. The spirit which excludes some men today because they are of a certain color, may exclude others tomorrow because they are of a certain poverty or a certain church or a certain birthplace. There is no safety, no guarantee, no security in a prejudice. If we build strong and long, we must build upon moral principle.
  • Inferior race? Was it they who carved the skulls of our boys into drinking, cups and their bones into trinkets? Was it they who starved and froze our brothers into idiocy and madness at Andersonville and Belle-Isle? Was it they who hunted our darlings with bloodhounds, or hung faithful Union men before the very eyes of their wives and children? Come! Come! Brothers of my race, whether at the north or south, these things which we all execrate and abhor were the work of men of our own color. Let us clasp hands in speechless shame, and confess that manhood in America is to be measured not by the color of the skin, but by the quality of the soul... Never fear, true hearts! A people which has shown the quality of its genius as this nation has in the last four years will finish its work. It will go forward and not backward. For our America shall be the Sinai of the nations, and from the terrible thunders and lightnings of its great struggle shall proceed the divine law of liberty that shall subdue and harmonize the world.
  • As to the doctrine of slavery and the right of Christians to hold Africans in perpetual servitude, and sell and treat them as we do our horses and cattle, that, it is true, has been heretofore countenanced by the Province Laws formerly, but nowhere is it expressly enacted or established. It has been a usage, a usage which took its origin from the practice of some of the European nations, and the regulations of British government respecting the then-colonies, for the benefit of trade and wealth. But whatever sentiments have formerly prevailed in this particular or slid in upon us by the example of others, a different idea has taken place with the people of America, more favorable to the natural rights of mankind, and to that natural, innate desire of liberty, with which Heaven, without regard to color, complexion, or shape of noses-features, has inspired all the human race. And upon this ground our constitution of government, by which the people of this Commonwealth have solemnly bound themselves, sets out with declaring that all men are born free and equal, and that every subject is entitled to liberty, and to have it guarded by the laws, as well as life and property, and in short is totally repugnant to the idea of being born slaves. This being the case, I think the idea of slavery is inconsistent with our own conduct and constitution; and there can be no such thing as perpetual servitude of a rational creature, unless his liberty is forfeited by some criminal conduct or given up by personal consent or contract.

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  • Belief in the American dream is woefully misguided when compared with objective reality. Addressing the rising economic gap between rich and poor in society, it seems, will require us to contend not only with economic and political issues, but also with biases of our psychology.
    • "American Dream? Or Mirage?" (1 May 2015), written by Shai Davidai, Michael W. Kraus, and A. David Nussbaum, Sunday Review, New York City: The New York Times Company.
  • Our country, in her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right, and always successful, right or wrong.
    • Steven Decatur, at a social gathering in (April 1816), as quoted in Stephen Decatur American Naval Hero, 1779–1820 (2005), by Robert J. Allison, University of Massachusetts Press, pp. 183–184.
  • The metaphor of the melting pot is unfortunate and misleading. A more accurate analogy would be a salad bowl, for, though the salad is an entity, the lettuce can still be distinguished from the chicory, the tomatoes from the cabbage.
    • Carl Degler, Out of Our Past: The Forces That Shaped Modern America (1970), rev. ed., chapter 10, section 4, p. 296.
  • If you hurt my friends, then you hurt my pride. I've got to be a man; I can't let it slide. I am a real American; fight for the rights of every man. I am a real American; fight for what's right. Fight for your life!
  • The declaration was a nice document. Notice the part about all men being equal? Ending slavery was part of fulfilling that document. Therefore the south was blocking the fulfillment of the promises made in the declaration. It is ironic that secessionists want to claim the declaration, yet reject the issue of equality it contains. As we have been finding out, equality is one of the main principles of the American Revolution. We are still striving to fully realize that promise. The people that advocate secession whether it was in 1860 or today only claim the declaration in an attempt to deny the principles of the American Revolution. It is a big paradox and one the big reasons why secession today will not occur again.
  • As to nation, I belong to none. I have no protection at home, or resting-place abroad. The land of my birth welcomes me to her shores only as a slave, and spurns with contempt the idea of treating me differently. So that I am an outcast from the society of my childhood, and an outlaw in the land of my birth... In thinking of America, I sometimes find myself admiring her bright blue sky — her grand old woods — her fertile fields — her beautiful rivers — her mighty lakes, and star-crowned mountains. But my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to mourning. When I remember that all is cursed with the infernal spirit of slaveholding, robbery and wrong, — when I remember that with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters, I am filled with unutterable loathing.
  • The way to abolish slavery in America is to vote such men into power as well use their powers for the abolition of slavery... The Constitution itself. Its language is 'we the people'. Not we the white people, not even we the citizens, not we the privileged class, not we the high, not we the low, but we the people. Not we the horses, sheep, and swine, and wheel-barrows, but we the people, we the human inhabitants. If Negroes are people, they are included in the benefits for which the Constitution of America was ordained and established. But how dare any man who pretends to be a friend to the Negro thus gratuitously concede away what the Negro has a right to claim under the Constitution?
  • My argument against the dissolution of the American Union is this. It would place the slave system more exclusively under the control of the slave-holding states, and withdraw it from the power in the northern states which is opposed to slavery. Slavery is essentially barbarous in its character. It, above all things else, dreads the presence of an advanced civilization. It flourishes best where it meets no reproving frowns, and hears no condemning voices. While in the Union it will meet with both. Its hope of life, in the last resort, is to get out of the Union. I am, therefore, for drawing the bond of the Union more completely under the power of the free states. What they most dread, that I most desire.
  • We deem it a settled point that the destiny of the colored man is bound up with that of the white people of this country. … We are here, and here we are likely to be. To imagine that we shall ever be eradicated is absurd and ridiculous. We can be remodified, changed, assimilated, but never extinguished. We repeat, therefore, that we are here; and that this is our country; and the question for the philosophers and statesmen of the land ought to be, What principles should dictate the policy of the action toward us? We shall neither die out, nor be driven out; but shall go with this people, either as a testimony against them, or as an evidence in their favor throughout their generations.
    • Frederick Douglass, essay in North Star (November 1858); as quoted in Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (1992) by Derrick Bell, p. 40.
  • It is thought by many, and said by some, that this republic has already seen its best days; that the historian may now write the story of its decline and fall. Two classes of men are just now especially afflicted with such forebodings. The first are those who are croakers by nature. The men who have a taste for funerals, and especially national funerals. They never see the bright side of anything, and probably never will. Like the raven in the lines of Edgar A. Poe, they have learned two words, and those are, 'never more'. They usually begin by telling us what we never shall see.
  • I am especially to speak to you of the character and mission of the United States, with special reference to the question whether we are the better or the worse for being composed of different races of men. I propose to consider first, what we are, second, what we are likely to be, and, thirdly, what we ought to be. Without undue vanity or unjust depreciation of others, we may claim to be, in many respects, the most fortunate of nations. We stand in relations to all others, as youth to age. Other nations have had their day of greatness and glory; we are yet to have our day, and that day is coming. The dawn is already upon us. It is bright and full of promise. Other nations have reached their culminating point. We are at the beginning of our ascent. They have apparently exhausted the conditions essential to their further growth and extension, while we are abundant in all the material essential to further national growth and greatness. The resources of European statesmanship are now sorely taxed to maintain their nationalities at their ancient height of greatness and power. American statesmanship, worthy of the name, is now taxing its energies to frame measures to meet the demands of constantly increasing expansion of power, responsibility and duty. Without fault or merit on either side, theirs or ours, the balance is largely in our favor. Like the grand old forests, renewed and enriched from decaying trunks once full of life and beauty, but now moss-covered, oozy and crumbling, we are destined to grow and flourish while they decline and fade.
  • We have for a long time hesitated to adopt and carry out the only principle which can solve that difficulty and give peace, strength and security to the republic, and that is the principle of absolute equality. We are a country of all extremes, ends and opposites. The most conspicuous example of composite nationality in the world. Our people defy all the ethnological and logical classifications. In races we range all the way from black to white, with intermediate shades which, as in the apocalyptic vision, no man can name or number... America is no longer an obscure and inaccessible country. Our ships are in every sea, our commerce is in every port, our language is heard all around the globe, steam and lightning have revolutionized the whole domain of human thought, changed all geographical relations, make a day of the present seem equal to a thousand years of the past, and the continent that Columbus only conjectured four centuries ago is now the center of the world.
  • A liberal and brotherly welcome to all who are likely to come to the United States is the only wise policy which this nation can adopt. It has been thoughtfully observed that every nation, owing to its peculiar character and composition, has a definite mission in the world. What that mission is, and what policy is best adapted to assist in its fulfillment, is the business of its people and its statesmen to know, and knowing, to make a noble use of this knowledge. I need not stop here to name or describe the missions of other or more ancient nationalities. Our seems plain and unmistakable. Our geographical position, our relation to the outside world, our fundamental principles of government, world-embracing in their scope and character, our vast resources, requiring all manner of labor to develop them, and our already existing composite population, all conspire to one grand end, and that is, to make us the perfect national illustration of the unity and dignity of the human family that the world has ever seen.
  • In whatever else other nations may have been great and grand, our greatness and grandeur will be found in the faithful application of the principle of perfect civil equality to the people of all races and of all creeds. We are not only bound to this position by our organic structure and by our revolutionary antecedents, but by the genius of our people. Gathered here from all quarters of the globe, by a common aspiration for national liberty as against caste, divine right govern and privileged classes, it would be unwise to be found fighting against ourselves and among ourselves, it would be unadvised to attempt to set up any one race above another, or one religion above another, or prescribe any on account of race, color or creed.
  • All great qualities are never found in any one man or in any one race. The whole of humanity, like the whole of everything else, is ever greater than a part. Men only know themselves by knowing others, and contact is essential to this knowledge. In one race we perceive the predominance of imagination; in another, like the Chinese, we remark its almost total absence. In one people we have the reasoning faculty; in another the genius for music; in another exists courage, in another great physical vigor, and so on through the whole list of human qualities. All are needed to temper, modify, round and complete the whole man and the whole nation. Not the least among the arguments whose consideration should dispose us to welcome among us the peoples of all countries, nationalities and colors, is the fact that all races and varieties of men are improvable. This is the grand distinguishing attribute of humanity, and separates man from all other animals. If it could be shown that any particular race of men are literally incapable of improvement, we might hesitate to welcome them here. But no such men are any where to be found, and if they were, it is not likely that they would ever trouble us with their presence. The fact that the Chinese and other nations desire to come and do come is a proof of their capacity for improvement and of their fitness to come.
  • When the architect intends a grand structure, he makes the foundation broad and strong. We should imitate this prudence in laying the foundations of the future republic. There is a law of harmony in all departments of nature. The oak is in the acorn. The career and destiny of individual men are enfolded in the elements of which they are composed. The same is true of a nation. It will be something or it will be nothing. It will be great, or it will be small, according to its own essential qualities. As these are rich and varied, or pure and simple, slender and feeble, broad and strong, so will be the life and destiny of the nation itself. The stream cannot rise higher than its source. The ship cannot sail faster than the wind. The flight of the arrow depends upon the strength and elasticity of the bow, and as with these, so with a nation.
  • Reach a degree of civilization higher and grander than any yet attained; we should welcome to our ample continent all the nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples, and as fast as they learn our language and comprehend the duties of citizenship, we should incorporate them into the American body politic. The outspread wings of the American eagle are broad enough to shelter all who are likely to come. As a matter of selfish policy, leaving right and humanity out of the question, we cannot wisely pursue any other course. Other governments mainly depend for security upon the sword; ours depends mainly upon the friendship of the people. In all matters, in time of peace, in time of war, and at all times, it makes its appeal to the people, and to all classes of the people. Its strength lies in their friendship and cheerful support in every time of need, and that policy is a mad one which would reduce the number of its friends by excluding those who would come, or by alienating those who are already here.
  • Our republic is itself a strong argument in favor of composite nationality. It is no disparagement to the Americans of English descent to affirm that much of the wealth, leisure, culture, refinement and civilization of the country are due to the arm of the negro and the muscle of the Irishman. Without these, and the wealth created by their sturdy toil, English civilization had still lingered this side of the Alleghanies, and the wolf still be howling on their summits. To no class of our population are we more indebted for valuable qualities of head, heart, and hand, than to the German. Say what we will of their lager, their smoke, and their metaphysics, they have brought to us a fresh, vigorous and child-like nature; a boundless facility in the acquisition of knowledge; a subtle and far-reaching intellect, and a fearless love of truth. Though remarkable for patient and laborious thought, the true German is a joyous child of freedom, fond of manly sports, a lover of music, and a happy man generally. Though he never forgets that he is a German, he never fails to remember that he is an American.
  • We shall spread the network of our science and our civilization over all who seek their shelter, whether from Asia, Africa, or the isles of the sea. We shall mold them all, each after his kind, into Americans. Indian and Celt, Negro and Saxon, Latin and Teuton, Mongolian and Caucasian, Jew and gentile, all shall here bow to the same law, speak the same language, support the same government, enjoy the same liberty, vibrate with the same national enthusiasm, and seek the same national ends.
  • We are not here to applaud manly courage, save as it has been displayed in a noble cause. We must never forget that victory to the rebellion meant death to the republic. We must never forget that the loyal soldiers who rest beneath this sod flung themselves between the nation and the nation destroyers. If today we have a country not boiling in an agony of blood, like France, if now we have a united country, no longer cursed by the hell-black system of human bondage, if the American name is no longer a by-word and a hissing to a mocking earth, if the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army who rest in these honored graves all around us.
  • That we are here in peace today is a compliment and a credit to American civilization, and a prophecy of still greater national enlightenment and progress in the future. I refer to the past not in malice, for this is no day for malice, but simply to place more distinctly in front the gratifying and glorious change which has come both to our white fellow citizens and ourselves, and to congratulate all upon the contrast between now and then, the new dispensation of freedom with its thousand blessings to both races, and the old dispensation of slavery with its ten thousand evils to both races, white and black. In view, then, of the past, the present, and the future, with the long and dark history of our bondage behind us, and with liberty, progress, and enlightenment before us, I again congratulate you upon this auspicious day and hour.
  • Social equality does not necessarily follow from civil equality, and yet for the purpose of a hell black and damning prejudice, our papers still insist that the Civil Rights Bill is a Bill to establish social equality. If it is a Bill for social equality, so is the Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men have equal rights; so is the Sermon on the Mount, so is the Golden Rule, that commands us to do to others as we would that others should do to us; so is the Apostolic teaching, that of one blood God has made all nations to dwell on all the face of the earth; so is the Constitution of the United States, and so are the laws and customs of every civilized country in the world; for nowhere, outside of the United States is any man denied civil rights on account of his color.
  • From the first I saw no chance of bettering the condition of the freedman until he should cease to be merely a freedman and should become a citizen. I insisted that there was no safety for him or for anybody else in America outside the American government; that to guard, protect, and maintain his liberty the freedman should have the ballot; that the liberties of the American people were dependent upon the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box; that without these no class of people could live and flourish in this country; and this was now the word for the hour with me, and the word to which the people of the North willingly listened when I spoke. Hence, regarding as I did the elective franchise as the one great power by which all civil rights are obtained, enjoyed, and maintained under our form of government, and the one without which freedom to any class is delusive if not impossible, I set myself to work with whatever force and energy I possessed to secure this power for the recently-emancipated millions.

E[edit]

  • There is enormous elasticity in the American political system... The country has the capacity to deal with what it now faces, both inside and outside its borders.
  • Let us never forget that the deep things that are American are the soul and the spirit. The Statue of Liberty is not tired, and not because it is made of bronze. It is because no matter what happens, here the individual is dignified because he is created in the image of his god. Let us not forget it.
  • We are a people born of many peoples. Our culture, our skills, our very aspirations have been shaped by immigrants, and their sons and daughters, from all the Earth. Sam Gompers from England, Andrew Carnegie from Scotland, Albert Einstein from Germany, and Booker T. Washington and Al Smith, Marconi and Caruso. Men of all nations and races and estates, they have made us what we are... So it is that the laws most binding us as a people are laws of the spirit, proclaimed in church and synagogue and mosque. These are the laws that truly declare the eternal equality of all men, of all races, before the man-made laws of our land. And we are profoundly aware that, in the world, we can claim the trust of hundreds of millions of people, across Africa and Asia, only as we ourselves hold high the banner of justice for all... We are, proudly, a people with no sense of class or caste. We judge no man by his name or inheritance, but by what he does, and for what he stands. And so likewise do we judge other nations. The right of no nation depends upon the date of its birth or the size of its power. As there can be no second class citizens before the law of America, so, we believe, there can be no second-class nations before the law of the world community.
  • I believe that the United States as a government, if it is going to be true to its own founding documents, does have the job of working toward that time when there is no discrimination made on such inconsequential reason as race, color, or religion.
  • Un-American activity cannot be prevented or routed out by employing un-American methods; to preserve freedom we must use the tools that freedom provides.
    • Dwight Eisenhower, as quoted in The White House Years: Mandate for Change: 1953–1956: A Personal Account (1963), p. 331.
  • I was against it on two counts. First, the Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon.
    • Dwight Eisenhower, On his stated opposition to the use of the atomic bomb against the Japanese at the end of World War II, as quoted in Newsweek (11 November 1963).

F[edit]

  • Rally round the flag, boys—
    Give it to the breeze!
    That's the banner that we bore
    On the land and seas.
    Brave hearts are under it,
    Let the traitors brag,
    Gallant lads, fire away!
    And fight for the flag.
    Their flag is but a rag—
    Ours is the true one;
    Up with the Stars and Stripes!
    with the new one!
    Let our colors fly, boys—
    Guard them day and night;
    For victory is liberty,
    And God will bless the right.
    • James Thomas Fields, "The Stars and Stripes"; reported in Florence Adams and Elizabeth McCarrick, Highdays & Holidays (1927), pp. 182–83.
  • The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
    • Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
  • Democracy is the creed of a province; it dwells in fetid wards. Republicanism is the religion of a nation; it creates imperial commonwealths out of desert wastes. These 'imperial commonwealths' constitute the foremost nation of the earth. The American republic. It leads them all in public school systems, home comforts, multiplicity of labor-saving machinery, public service, perfect autonomy of government for local communities, modes of travel, engines of general intelligence, public caravansaries, means of adjudicating disputes between man and man, freedom of thought, religion, press and speech, and in the utmost freedom of action in individuals consistent with good order and the rights of others, without the slightest government restraint or espionage. Notwithstanding the crimes of the south against the blacks, we hold the beacon of civil liberty and personal equality higher than any other nation. The light of our civilization goes farther into the jungles of ignorance and barbarism, deeper into the dungeons of tyranny and oppression than that of any other people. Nations, the guiding star of the world. We are the load-stone of nations, the guiding star of the world.
  • Let us put an end to self-inflicted wounds. Let us remember that our national unity is a most priceless asset.
    • Gerald Ford, as quoted in address to joint session of the United States Congress (10 April 1975).
  • February 19 is the anniversary of a very, very sad day in American history. It was on that date in 1942 that Executive Order 9066 was issued resulting in the uprooting of many, many loyal Americans. Over 100,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were removed from their homes, detained in special camps, and eventually relocated. We now know what we should have known then. Not only was that evacuation wrong but Japanese-Americans were and are loyal Americans. On the battlefield and at home the names of Japanese-Americans have been and continue to be written in history for the sacrifices and the contributions they have made to the well-being and to the security of this, our common Nation. Executive Order 9066 ceased to be effective at the end of World War II. Because there was no formal statement of its termination, there remains some concern among Japanese-Americans that there yet may be some life in that obsolete document. The proclamation that I am signing here today should remove all doubt on that matter. I call upon the American people to affirm with me the unhyphenated American promise that we have learned from the tragedy of that long ago experience; forever to treasure liberty and justice for each individual American and resolve that this kind of error shall never be made again.
  • The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • It seems to me that the United States and France can learn from each other. French universalism, or its equivalent, is a powerful weapon against racism, which is based on the belief in innate unalterable differences among human groups. Stressing what rights all people have because of what they have in common remains at the heart of anti-racism. A stronger awareness of such human commonality may be needed in the United States at a time when a stress on diversity and ethnic particularism may deprive us of any compelling vision of the larger national community and impede cooperation in the pursuit of a free and just society. On the other hand the identification of such universalism with a particular national identity and with specific cultural traits that go beyond essential human rights can lead to an intolerance of the Other that approaches color-coded racism in its harmful effects.
  • There are two Americas. One is the America of Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson; the other is the America of Teddy Roosevelt and the modern superpatriots. One is generous and humane, the other narrowly egotistical; one is self-critical, the other self-righteous; one is sensible, the other romantic; one is good-humored, the other solemn; one is inquiring, the other pontificating; one is moderate, the other filled with passionate intensity; one is judicious and the other arrogant in the use of great power.

G[edit]

  • The colonists were struggling not only against the armies of a great nation, but against the settled opinions of mankind; for the world did not then believe that the supreme authority of government could be safely intrusted to the guardianship of the people themselves... The elevation of the negro race from slavery to the full rights of citizenship is the most important political change we have known since the adoption of the Constitution of 1787. No thoughtful man can fail to appreciate its beneficent effect upon our institutions and people. It has freed us from the perpetual danger of war and dissolution. It has added immensely to the moral and industrial forces of our people. It has liberated the master as well as the slave from a relation which wronged and enfeebled both. It has surrendered to their own guardianship the manhood of more than 5,000,000 people, and has opened to each one of them a career of freedom and usefulness... There can be no permanent disfranchised peasantry in the United States. Freedom can never yield its fullness of blessings so long as the law or its administration places the smallest obstacle in the pathway of any virtuous citizen.
  • I have not come here with reference to any flag but that of freedom. If your Union does not symbolize universal emancipation, it brings no Union for me. If your Constitution does not guarantee freedom for all, it is not a Constitution I can ascribe to. If your flag is stained by the blood of a brother held in bondage, I repudiate it in the name of God. I came here to witness the unfurling of a flag under which every human being is to be recognized as entitled to his freedom. Therefore, with a clear conscience, without any compromise of principles, I accepted the invitation of the Government of the United States to be present and witness the ceremonies that have taken place today. And now let me give the sentiment which has been, and ever will be, the governing passion of my soul: 'Liberty for each, for all, and forever!'
  • Oh, give us a flag, all free without a slave! We'll fight to defend it, as our fathers did so brave... We'll stand by the Union, if we only have a chance.
  • The U.S. military, unlike any other, maintains a doctrine of global power projection: that it should have the ability, through roughly 800 overseas military bases, to intervene with deadly force absolutely anywhere on the planet. In a way, though, land forces are secondary; at least since World War II, the key to U.S. military doctrine has always been a reliance on air power. The United States has fought no war in which it did not control the skies, and it has relied on aerial bombardment far more systematically than any other military-in its recent occupation of Iraq, for instance, even going so far as to bomb residential neighborhoods of cities ostensibly under its own control. The essence of U.S. military predominance in the world is, ultimately, the fact that it can, at will, drop bombs, with only a few hours' notice, at absolutely any point on the surface of the planet. No other government has ever had anything remotely like this sort of capability. In fact, a case could well be made that it is this very power that holds the entire world monetary system, organized around the dollar, together.
  • I would protect the law-abiding citizen, whether of native or foreign birth, wherever his rights are jeopardized or the flag of our country floats.
  • As the United States is the freest of all nations, so, too, its people sympathize with all people struggling for liberty and self-government; but while so sympathizing it is due to our honor that we should abstain from enforcing our views upon unwilling nations and from taking an interested part, without invitation.
  • Under existing conditions the negro votes the Republican ticket because he knows his friends are of that party. Many a good citizen votes the opposite, not because he agrees with the great principles of state which separate parties, but because, generally, he is opposed to negro rule. This is a most delusive cry. Treat the negro as a citizen and a voter, as he is and must remain, and soon parties will be divided, not on the color line, but on principle. Then we shall have no complaint of sectional interference.
  • Encourage free schools, and resolve that not one dollar of money shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian school. Resolve that neither the state nor nation, or both combined, shall support institutions of learning other than those sufficient to afford every child growing up in the land the opportunity of a good common school education, unmixed with sectarian, pagan, or atheistical tenets. Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separate.
  • Our liberties remain unimpaired; the bondmen have been freed from slavery; we have become possessed of the respect, if not the friendship, of all civilized nations. Our progress has been great in all the arts—in science, agriculture, commerce, navigation, mining, mechanics, law, medicine, etc.; and in general education the progress is likewise encouraging. Our thirteen States have become thirty-eight, including Colorado (which has taken the initiatory steps to become a State), and eight Territories, including the Indian Territory and Alaska, and excluding Colorado, making a territory extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. On the south we have extended to the Gulf of Mexico, and in the west from the Mississippi to the Pacific.
  • As the primary step, therefore, to our advancement in all that has marked our progress in the past century, I suggest for your earnest consideration, and most earnestly recommend it, that a constitutional amendment be submitted to the legislatures of the several states for ratification, making it the duty of each of the several states to establish and forever maintain free public schools adequate to the education of all the children in the rudimentary branches within their respective limits, irrespective of sex, color, birthplace, or religions; forbidding the teaching in said schools of religious, atheistic, or pagan tenets; and prohibiting the granting of any school funds or school taxes, or any part thereof, either by legislative, municipal, or other authority, for the benefit or in aid, directly or indirectly, of any religious sect or denomination, or in aid or for the benefit of any other object of any nature or kind whatever.
  • It is to be hoped that such legislation may be another step toward the great consummation to be reached, when no man shall be permitted, directly or indirectly, under any guise, excuse, or form of law, to hold his fellow-man in bondage. I am of opinion also that it is the duty of the United States, as contributing toward that end, and required by the spirit of the age in which we live, to provide by suitable legislation that no citizen of the United States shall hold slaves as property in any other country or be interested therein.
  • As soon as slavery fired upon the flag it was felt, we all felt, even those who did not object to slaves, that slavery must be destroyed. We felt that it was a stain to the Union that men should be bought and sold like cattle.
  • War has made us a nation of great power and intelligence. We have but little to do to preserve peace, happiness and prosperity at home, and the respect of other nations. Our experience ought to teach us the necessity of the first; our power secures the latter... I cannot stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy; but I feel it within me that it is to be so. The universally kind feeling expressed for me at a time when it was supposed that each day would prove my last, seemed to me the beginning of the answer to 'Let us have peace'. The expression of these kindly feelings were not restricted to a section of the country, nor to a division of the people. They came from individual citizens of all nationalities; from all denominations — the Protestant, the Catholic, and the Jew; and from the various societies of the land — scientific, educational, religious or otherwise. Politics did not enter into the matter at all. I am not egotist enough to suppose all this significance should be given because I was the object of it.
  • ...the greatest, craziest, most dangerous, least stable, most spectacular, least grown-up, and most powerful and magnificent nation ever known.

H[edit]

  • The U.S. economy is likely to continue for the foreseeable future to be a major force not only for global economic growth and innovation but also for global economic stability. When uncertainties emerge in the global economic picture, it is in U.S. treasuries and the U.S. equity markets that global capital seeks refuge. And a number of factors favor the future growth of the American economy. Let me mention just two of them; America's energy boom and its ability to attract talent from every corner of the world.
  • Less than a decade ago, as you might recall, energy was a big challenge for the United States. But since then there has been a boom in domestic U.S. oil and gas production due to the exploitation of shale oil and shale gas deposits through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking. In 2013, the United States overtook Russia as the world’s leading producer of oil and gas. Within two years, it is likely to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's largest crude oil producer. As a consequence, U.S. imports of oil and gas have fallen steeply in the last 5 years, helping to reduce the U.S. trade deficit. Indeed, the United States will soon be a net exporter of energy.
  • Strength of the U.S. economy is the country's edge in human capital, the productivity, innovation, and entrepreneurship of its workers. The United States remains the top destination for smart, skilled, and creative individuals even as the global competition for such workers intensifies. According to a 2010 Gallup study, almost a quarter of the world's adults looking to emigrate list the United States as their ideal destination. And once they arrive, these immigrants make an enormous contribution to innovation and growth in the American economy. A Harvard Business School study found that American immigrants of Chinese and Indian descent accounted for 15% of U.S. domestic patents in 2004, up from just 2% in 1975. The Brookings Institution has estimated that a quarter of technology and engineering businesses started in the United States between 1995 and 2005 had a foreign-born founder. Immigration is thus a great source of America's economic strength.
  • We are committed to sacrifice in battle in order to make America safe for Americans and establish their security on every lawful mission on the high seas or under the shining sun.
  • We are testing popular government's capacity for self-defense. We are resolved to liberate the soul of American life and prove ourselves an American people in fact, spirit, and purpose, and consecrate ourselves anew and everlastingly to human freedom and humanity's justice. Realizing our new relationship with the world, we want to make it fit to live in, and with might and fright and wrathfulness and barbarity crushed by the conscience of a real civilization. Ours is a small concern about the kind of government any people may choose, but we do mean to outlaw the nation which violates the sacred compacts of international relationships. The decision is to be final... A republic worth living in is worth fighting for, and sacrificing for, and dying for. In the fires of this conflict we shall wipe out the disloyalty of those who wear American garb without the faith, and establish a new concord of citizenship and a new devotion, so that we should have made a safe America the home and hope of a people who are truly American in heart and soul.
  • The United States of America. Our call is for unison, not rivaling sympathies. Our need is concord, not the antipathies of long inheritance... We want a free America again. We want America free at home, and free in the world. We want to silence the outcry of nation against nation, in the fullness of understanding, and we wish to silence the cry of class against class, and stifle the party appeal to class, so that we may ensure tranquility in our own freedom. If I could choose but one, I had rather have industrial and social peace at home, than command the international peace of all the world.
  • Much has been said of late about world ideals, but I prefer to think of the ideal for America. I like to think there's something more than the patriotism and practical wisdom of the founding fathers. It's good to believe that maybe destiny held this new world republic to be the supreme example of representative democracy and orderly liberty by which humanity is inspired to higher achievement. It is idle to think we have attained perfection, but there is the satisfying knowledge that we hold orderly processes for making our government reflect the heart and mind of the republic... Ours is not only a fortunate people, but a very common-sensical people, with vision high, but their feet on the earth, with belief in themselves and faith in God. Whether enemies threaten from without or menaces arise from within, there is some indefinable voice saying, ‍'‍Have confidence in the Republic. America will go on‍'‍. Here is the sample of liberty no storms may shake. Here are the altars of freedom no factions shall destroy. It was American in conception, American in its building. It shall be American in the fulfillment. Factional once, we are all American now, and we mean to be all Americans to all the world.
  • In view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved. It is difficult to reconcile that boast with a state of the law which, practically, puts the brand of servitude and degradation upon a large class of our fellow-citizens, our equals before the law... We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our people above all other peoples. But it is difficult to reconcile that boast with a state of the law which, practically, puts the brand of servitude and degradation upon a large class of our fellow citizens, our equals before the law. The thin disguise of 'equal' accommodations for passengers in railroad coaches will not mislead anyone, nor atone for the wrong this day done... I cannot see but that, according to the principles this day announced, such state legislation, although conceived in hostility to, and enacted for the purpose of humiliating, citizens of the United States of a particular race, would be held to be consistent with the constitution.
  • We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.
    • Benjamin Harrison, Statement of 1888, as quoted in Treasury of Presidential Quotations (1964) by Caroline T. Hamsberger
  • The colored people did not intrude themselves upon us. They were brought here in chains and held in the communities where they are now chiefly found by a cruel slave code. Happily for both races, they are now free... But notwithstanding all this, in many parts of our country where the colored population is large the people of that race are by various devices deprived of any effective exercise of their political rights and of many of their civil rights. The wrong does not expend itself upon those whose votes are suppressed. Every constituency in the Union is wronged.
  • God forbid that the day should ever come when, in the American mind, the thought of man as a 'consumer' shall submerge the old American thought of man as a creature of God, endowed with 'unalienable rights'.
    • Benjamin Harrison, "The Status of Annexed Territory and of Its Free Civilized Inhabitants" (1901), North American Review, vol. 172, no. 530 (January 1901), p. 22.
  • From the first days of our nation, Americans have challenged America to be better. It's a noisy process, sometimes raucous, sometimes even ungraceful. But the result is unmistakable. From its beginning, our nation has traveled an arc of change that has led us away from oppression and toward equality and justice. We have meandered to be sure, and sometimes we have taken steps backward. But the general arc of change is undeniable. By the efforts of every generation we have progressed, become a better nation. More just, more tolerant. Citizenship is an invitation to join in that process of change, to join the chorus of Americans challenging America to be better. We challenge ourselves in a million ways, by acts and words. A gesture on a street corner challenges others to be as kind. Putting our children on the school bus each morning challenges us to be as conscientious. We challenge America to improve by voting or volunteering or raking your neighbor’s leaves, by teaching tolerance and confronting intolerance. Joining this process of national improvement is perhaps the greatest of all the privileges of being an American citizen. As we sit here today, I ask you to think for a moment about the path to citizenship.
  • 153 years ago, had we been sitting on these heights, looking over this river in the midst of civil war, we would likely have seen something curious on the river. Rafts, hastily made, barely water-worthy, bearing families with all their possessions, pushing themselves across the river from Fredericksburg to this shore. These were former slaves, run away from bondage. They came here seeking precisely what you have achieved today. By their coming, months before the emancipation proclamation, they were doing what Americans have always done. They challenged America, as if to say, 'We have left bondage to be free. What will you do with us now?' In the spring and summer of 1862, as many as ten thousand former slaves crossed the Rappahannock River to freedom, some of them likely walking these terraces in freedom, looking down upon the river as others followed their path. These men and women and babies and toddlers and boys and girls did not see their acts as momentous for anyone but themselves, but today we can see that their acts were momentous in many ways. By challenging America to accept their determination that they would no longer suffer bondage, they pushed the nation along that arc toward justice, away from oppression. Seven months later, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. And three years after that Congress sent to the states the Fourteenth Amendment, according these former slaves the thing they aspired to most beyond freedom. Citizenship. These people did not just walk the path to citizenship, they blazed a trail where none had existed. They, like you, were determined, courageous souls. I hope you will find inspiration from them, just as we derive inspiration from you. We congratulate you. We join you in celebrating life as Americans. And, we welcome you to the noisy business of being a citizen. And now, mindful that the virtues of our nation come from its people, we bid you, our nation’s newest citizen, to go challenge America to be better still.
  • A friend last weekend said he thought the story about the University of New Hampshire's website publishing a bias-free language guide, which declared that use of the word "American" is "problematic," was a hoax. Of course, it was real.
  • We're Americans. We'd die on our feet than live on our knees.
  • It almost seems that nobody can hate America as much as native Americans. America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it.
    • Eric Hoffer, as quoted in "Thoughts of Eric Hoffer, Including: 'Absolute Faith Corrupts Absolutely'", The New York Times Magazine (25 April 1971), p. 25.
  • I am convinced that America's soul, pulverized by racism, embattled by sexism, over-whelmed by indifference and immorality, polluted with industrial waste, strangled by idiotic government partisanship, over-burdened by taxation, poisoned by an unprincipled media, orphaned by the super-rich, and bilked by the insurance industry can still rise up against these unbearable odds and triumph.
  • You convey too great a compliment when you say that I have earned the right to the presidential nomination. No man can establish such an obligation upon any part of the American people. My country owes me no debt. It gave me, as it gives every boy and girl, a chance. It gave me schooling, independence of action, opportunity for service and honor. In no other land could a boy from a country village, without inheritance or influential friends, look forward with unbounded hope. My whole life has taught me what America means. I am indebted to my country beyond any human power to repay.
    • Herbert Hoover, letter to Senator George H. Moses, chairman of the Republican national convention, upon learning of his nomination for president (14 June 1928). As quoted in The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover (1952), volume 2, p. 195.
  • There does exist a distinctly American way of life which properly ought to be preserved. But it is not defined by race. The American way of life is defined by philosophy. To be American in the spiritual sense is to affirm 'that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.' There is nothing racial in that conviction. Anyone, from any background, can adopt it... The American nation emerged unique, defined not by its shared ethnic or racial or religious identity, but by its shared allegiance to liberty... [R]acism should be opposed, not because it offends, but because it denies the nature of human beings as individuals and places a group above them. Collectivism comes in many forms, with beneficiaries defined on different terms. But whether it's the nation, the race, the faith, the tribe, or any other overriding entity, no group has the right to subordinate individuals, ever, under any circumstances. That is the American way of life.
  • The United States is a country rich in many things, but poor in knowledge of itself with regard to language.

I[edit]

  • What constitutes an American? Not color nor race nor religion. Not the pedigree of his family nor the place of his birth. Not the coincidence of his citizenship. Not his social status nor his bank account. Not his trade nor his profession. An American is one who loves justice and believes in the dignity of man. An American is one who will fight for his freedom and that of his neighbor. An American is one who will sacrifice... An American is one in whose heart is engraved the immortal second sentence of the Declaration of Independence. Americans have always known how to fight for their rights and their way of life. Americans are not afraid to fight. They fight joyously in a just cause.

J[edit]

  • As sons of freedom you are now called upon to defend your most inestimable blessing. As Americans, your country looks with confidence on her adopted children, for a valorous support, as a faithful return for the advantages enjoyed under her mild and equitable government.
  • Our Federal Union! It must be preserved!
    • Andrew Jackson, toast at a celebration of Thomas Jefferson's birthday (13 April 1830); as quoted in Public Men and Events from the Commencement of Mr. Monroe's Administration, in 1817, to the Close of Mr. Fillmore's Administration, in 1853 (1875) by Nathan Sargent.
  • In the tradition of American constitutionalism, all men are equally endowed by their Creator with certain rights. The equality of man is understood in the light of man's inequality with God: because men are not and never can become God or gods — because unqualified wisdom is never available to human beings — only government by the consent of the governed, and under the rule of law, is intrinsically in accordance with the eternal order.
  • The closest election in American history is an event deserving thoughtful and thankful reflection. There were present on the inaugural platform former presidents of both parties, as well as the gracious loser in the contest just ended. They were testimony to the prizing above all political differences, of the rule of law under the constitution. We are accustomed, now, to resolving our differences with ballots and not bullets. We are accustomed, now, when we lose an election to look to the next election to advance our political fortunes. But few of us today are aware of how recent in human experience, and how fragile, is this phenomenon.
  • The motto of the United States is 'e pluribus unum', or 'from many, one'. Originally, this referred to the one union formed from the many states. It became the motto of the country.
  • The United States is engaged today in a great mission to spread democracy.
  • The nation, at its birth, had been dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal... The proposition of equality was the 'central idea' of the founding, from which all its minor thoughts emanated.
  • One may ask, how is it that slavery, or any other form of invidious discrimination, has played so great a role in American history? How could a nation, dedicated at its birth to the proposition that all men are created equal, have tolerated slavery and its effects so long? If we look to the long history of mankind, however, we will ask a different question. Slavery was lawful in every one of the original thirteen states. There was accordingly nothing remarkable in the fact that slavery was not abolished immediately on independence. What is remarkable is that a slave-owning nation would declare that all men are created equal, and thereby make the abolition of slavery a moral and political necessity. To accomplish that task would not be easy... If we are to have a foundation upon which to continue to build a more perfect union, we must return unequivocally, as Lincoln returned, to the source of our greatness in the American founding.
  • There is much more to being a patriot and a citizen than reciting the pledge or raising a flag. Patriots serve. Patriots vote. Patriots attend meetings in their community. Patriots pay attention to the actions of government and speak out when needed. Patriots teach their children about our history, our precious democracy and about citizenship. Being an active, engaged citizen means being a patriotic American every day. No law will make a citizen a patriot.
    • James Janos, Explaining his veto of a bill [HF 2598*/SF 2411/CH 391] requiring public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at least once a week (22 May 2002).
  • As a nation we have made peace and war, as a nation we have vanquished our common enemies. As a nation we have formed alliances, and made treaties, and entered into various compacts and conventions with foreign states.
  • We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
    • Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence of the United States of America (1776).
  • We shall divert through our own Country a branch of commerce which the European States have thought worthy of the most important struggles and sacrifices, and in the event of peace... we shall form to the American union a barrier against the dangerous extension of the British Province of Canada and add to the Empire of liberty an extensive and fertile Country thereby converting dangerous Enemies into valuable friends.
  • It should be our endeavor to cultivate the peace and friendship of every nation, even of that which has injured us most, when we shall have carried our point against her. Our interest will be to throw open the doors of commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent of whatever they may choose to bring into our ports, and asking the same in theirs. Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war.
  • The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, and the final expulsion of England from the American continent.
  • This is your country as well as anybody else's country. This country is founded upon the principle of equality. He that is meritorious and virtuous, intellectual and well informed, must stand highest, without regard to color.
  • The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson, remarks at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (22 May 1964), as quoted in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–64, book 1, p. 704.
  • Fuck your parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If these two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked good. We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mister Ambassador. If your Prime Minister gives me talk about democracy, parliament and constitution, he, his parliament and his constitution may not last long.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson, comment to the Greek ambassador to the United States, Alexander Matsas, over the Cypriot issue (June 1964). As quoted in I Should Have Died (1977) by Philip Deane, pp. 113-114.
  • Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom. Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities. Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders. We believe that all men are created equal. Yet many are denied equal treatment. We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights. Yet many Americans do not enjoy those rights. We believe that all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty. Yet millions are being deprived of those blessings--not because of their own failures, but because of the color of their skin. The reasons are deeply embedded in history and tradition and the nature of man. We can understand--without rancor or hatred--how this all happened. But it cannot continue. Our Constitution, the foundation of our Republic, forbids it. The principles of our freedom forbid it. Morality forbids it.
  • We are one nation and one people. Our fate as a nation and our future as a people rest not upon one citizen, but upon all citizens. This is the majesty and the meaning of this moment. For every generation, there is a destiny. For some, history decides. For this generation, the choice must be our own. Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country. To right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.
  • In this same month ninety-five years ago, on March 30, 1870, the Constitution of the United States was amended for the fifteenth time to guarantee that no citizen of our land should be denied the right to vote because of race or color. The command of the Fifteenth Amendment is unequivocal and its equal force upon State Governments and the Federal Government is unarguable. Section 1 of this Amendment provides: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shah not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. By the oath I have taken 'to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States', duty directs, and strong personal conviction impels, that I advise the Congress that action is necessary, and necessary now, if the Constitution is to be upheld and the rights of all citizens are not to be mocked, abused and denied.
  • At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord... There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans. But there is cause for hope and for faith in our democracy... For the cries of pain and the hymns and protests of oppressed people have summoned into convocation all the majesty of this great Government, the government of the greatest nation on Earth. Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country. To right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.
  • This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South. 'All men are created equal', 'government by consent of the governed', 'give me liberty or give me death'. Well, those are not just clever words, or those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries, and tonight around the world they stand there as guardians of our liberty, risking their lives. Those words are a promise to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity cannot be found in a man's possessions; it cannot be found in his power, or in his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall share in freedom, he shall choose his leaders, educate his children, and provide for his family according to his ability and his merits as a human being.
  • There is no southern problem; there is no northern problem. There is only an American problem, and we are met here tonight as Americans. Not as Democrats or Republicans; we are met here as Americans to solve that problem... To deny a man his hopes because of his color or race, his religion or the place of his birth–is not only to do injustice, it is to deny America and to dishonor the dead who gave their lives for American freedom. Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of man was to flourish, it must be rooted in democracy. The most basic right of all was the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country, in large measure, is the history of the expansion of that right to all of our people.
  • All Americans must have the privileges of citizenship regardless of race. And they are going to have those privileges of citizenship regardless of race. But I would like to caution you and remind you that to exercise these privileges takes much more than just legal right. It requires a trained mind and a healthy body. It requires a decent home, and the chance to find a job, and the opportunity to escape from the clutches of poverty. Of course, people cannot contribute to the Nation if they are never taught to read or write, if their bodies are stunted from hunger, if their sickness goes untended, if their life is spent in hopeless poverty just drawing a welfare check. So we want to open the gates to opportunity. But we are also going to give all our people, black and white, the help that they need to walk through those gates.
  • Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right... It is wrong, deadly wrong, to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of states' rights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights... Above the pyramid on the great seal of the United States it says, in Latin: 'God has favored our undertaking.' God will not favor everything that we do. It is rather our duty to divine His will. But I cannot help believing that He truly understands and that He really favors the undertaking that we begin here tonight.
  • Those wishing to immigrate to America shall be admitted on the basis of their skills and their close relationship to those already here. This is a simple test, and it is a fair test. Those who can contribute most to this country; to its growth, to its strength, to its spirit; will be the first that are admitted to this land. The fairness of this standard is so self-evident that we may well wonder that it has not always been applied. Yet the fact is that for over four decades the immigration policy of the United States has been twisted and has been distorted by the harsh injustice of the national origins quota system. Under that system the ability of new immigrants to come to America depended upon the country of their birth. Only 3 countries were allowed to supply 70 percent of all the immigrants. Families were kept apart because a husband or a wife or a child had been born in the wrong place. Men of needed skill and talent were denied entrance because they came from southern or eastern Europe or from one of the developing continents. This system violated the basic principle of American democracy; the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man. It has been un-American in the highest sense, because it has been untrue to the faith that brought thousands to these shores even before we were a country. Today, with my signature, this system is abolished. We can now believe that it will never again shadow the gate to the American Nation with the twin barriers of prejudice and privilege. Our beautiful America was built by a nation of strangers. From a hundred different places or more they have poured forth into an empty land, joining and blending in one mighty and irresistible tide. The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources--because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples. And from this experience, almost unique in the history of nations, has come America's attitude toward the rest of the world. We, because of what we are, feel safer and stronger in a world as varied as the people who make it up; a world where no country rules another and all countries can deal with the basic problems of human dignity and deal with those problems in their own way. Now, under the monument which has welcomed so many to our shores, the American nation returns to the finest of its traditions today. The days of unlimited immigration are past. But those who do come will come because of what they are, and not because of the land from which they sprung.
  • Our history this year we see in Vietnam. Men there are dying; men named Fernandez and Zajac and Zelinko and Mariano and McCormick. Neither the enemy who killed them nor the people whose independence they have fought to save ever asked them where they or their parents came from. They were all Americans. It was for free men and for America that they gave their all, they gave their lives and selves. By eliminating that same question as a test for immigration the Congress proves ourselves worthy of those men and worthy of our own traditions as a nation.
  • I am a free man, an American, a public servant, and a member of my party, in that order always and only. For 37 years in the service of our Nation, first as a Congressman, as a Senator, and as Vice President, and now as your President, I have put the unity of the people first. I have put it ahead of any divisive partisanship. And in these times as in times before, it is true that a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction, of party, of region, of religion, of race, is a house that cannot stand.

K[edit]

  • The dismissiveness of Americans never ceases to exasperate me... Americans reflexively believe that had Germany occupied the United States, nearly all of us would have joined an armed resistance to the Nazis. That's what I thought, too, when I was 16. But that reflects a hopelessly naive view, both of what the world looked like to most people after the Nazis had conquered Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and France, and of what it actually meant to take up arms against an occupying power.
  • Who cares if it's legal? I don't care if it's legal. Slavery was legal once too, and not just in America, but just about every other country in the world. The powerful have always legalized their subjugation of the less powerful.
  • There are accepted definitions of Americanism. There is none of Americanization. The reason is not hard to find. There is in America a national impulse called Americanization, which was understood as a war necessity before it had developed in time of peace. It acquired a generalization before it had become specific. It was subjected to organization and committed to the achievement of results before it was a branch of knowledge fairly evolved and reduced to practice. There is no science of race assimilation. No nation has had a sufficiently free opportunity with many diverse races to establish its enduring principles and certain procedure. America has this opportunity in her thirty-five different races speaking fifty-four languages, of whom 13,000,000 are foreign-born. One third of her total population has its roots in other soils and in diverse cultures. She has the laboratory for the experiment in her wide expanse of territory, much of it still unsettled; in the elasticity of her institutions; and in the still formative state of her cultural life. The old world is engaged in a struggle to find a way by which each race living on its own soil, separated by definite national boundaries, can be assured freedom and peace in the full development of its national life and in the realization of international opportunities. The task of America is different. It is for her to find the way by which these races, living on one soil, under one form of government, with no territorial lines, can be assimilated and become a part of her integral national life.
  • Americanization is the process, then, of guaranteeing these fundamental requisites to each man, native and foreign-born alike, and just in proportion as the English language and citizenship interpret these requisites, they are Americanization agencies. The failure of Americanization in the past years is identical with the failure of these guarantees. It is in the home, the shop, the neighborhood, the church, and the court that Americanization is wrought, and the mutual relations of races in America as expressed in them will give the eternal principles of race assimilation that we seek.
  • Every man lives in his neighborhood, and beyond his home and his job. To most men, except in the largest cities, the municipality is interpreted in terms of his neighborhood. Few men get beyond this except through occasional excursions into the larger world. America is a country of parallel neighborhoods; the native American in one section and the immigrant in another. Americanization is the elimination of the parallel line. So long as the American thinks that a house in his street is too good for his immigrant neighbor and tolerates discriminations in sanitation, housing, and enforcement of municipal laws, he can serve on all Americanization committees that exist and still fail in his efforts. The immigrant neighborhood is often made up of people who have come from one province in the old country. Inevitably the culture of that neighborhood will be that of the old country; its language will persist and its traditions will flourish. It is not that we undervalue these, or desire to discredit them. But separated from the land and surroundings that gave them birth, from the history that cherishes them, they do not remain the strong, beautiful things they were on the other side. These aliens may retain some of the form of culture of the land of their birth long after its spirit has departed or has lost its savor in a new atmosphere. New opportunities, strange conditions, unforeseen adjustments, necessary sacrifices, and forces unseen and not understood affect the immigrant and his life here, and unless this culture is connected and fused with that of the new world, it loses its vitality or becomes corrupt.
  • Americanization having its roots in political ideals cannot be achieved so long as these ideals, as interpreted by the sources of authority in America, mean one thing for the native-born and another thing for the foreign-born; one thing for men and another for women; one thing for employers and another for employees; one thing for the rich and another for the poor; one thing in one State and another thing in an adjoining State. No American who hopes for national unity can spend too much time insisting upon the most painstaking interpretation of the guarantees of American law, even though it takes him into such technical matters as interpreter service, cost of appeals, discriminatory laws, and race prejudices. Every support of a sound Americanism is strong or weak according as justice is done or not done.
  • America is no longer afraid of the word culture. In fact, it is considering quite seriously in some quarters having a culture of its own and calling it by that name. This makes it possible to consider as Americanization a recognition of the cultural forces in the various races as expressed in their literature and institutions. There is a growing appreciation of the fraternal and religious forces in the lives of the various races and their indispensable value in race fusion. In the old world, the cultural life of a race is so inextricably associated with their religious life that its first vital contact with American cultural life would seem to proceed along the lines of religious and fraternal development.
  • If you think the U.S. rules are burdensome or racist, try living in Asia or Europe! Dual citizenship is nearly impossible... So where in God's name did illegal immigrants in the U.S. get the gumption to expect they shouldn't have to demonstrate who they are to the lawful authorities? If anything the moral posture should be reversed. Illegal immigrants should bend over backwards in thankfulness that Americans are so tolerant they even look the other way on rampant illegality... By law the government is supposed to deport illegal immigrants. Illegal immigration is a misdemeanor, and repeated attempts are a felony. Yet fifteen million people function everyday outside the basic rule of law. That is not 'victory against racism'; it is a massive failure of the U.S. justice system... If you want different immigration laws, then change them through the policy process. But the current regime of 'purposive unenforcement' is incompatible with political order.
  • This nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.
    • John F. Kennedy, Radio and television report to the American people on civil rights (11 June 1963), a quoted in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy (1963), p. 468.
  • I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well. And I look forward to a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity but also for personal distinction.
  • If you're a real American that is, an American Indian you're lucky to be alive. For whether he really believed it or not, the white man has acted on the principle that "The only good Indian is a dead one". This was certainly one of the foundation stones upon which the white European invaders of North America and their descendants established and built the republic of the USA.
    • Stetson Kennedy, Jim Crow Guide: The Way it Was (1955), Ch.1, "No Room For Redskins".
  • Most of the American laws defining race are not to be compared with those once enforced by Nazi Germany, the latter being relatively more liberal. In the view of the Nazis, persons having less than one fourth Jewish blood could qualify as Aryans, whereas many of the American laws specify that persons having one-eighth, one-sixteenth, or 'any ascertainable' Negro blood are Negroes in the eyes of the law and subject to all restrictions governing the conduct of Negroes.
    • Stetson Kennedy, Jim Crow Guide: The Way it Was (1955), Ch.4, "Who is Colored Where".
  • Remember, boys and girls. Your school, like our country, is made up of Americans of many different races, religions, and national origins. So, if you hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race, or national origin, don't wait. Tell him that kind of talk is un-American.
  • It's wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong. It's wrong in America, it's wrong in Germany, it's wrong in Russia, it's wrong in China. It was wrong in 2000 B.C., and it's wrong in 1954 A.D. It always has been wrong, and it always will be wrong. It's wrong to throw our lives away in riotous living. No matter if everybody in Detroit is doing it, it's wrong. It always will be wrong, and it always has been wrong. It's wrong in every age and it's wrong in every nation. Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary.
  • We must work assiduously and with determined boldness to remove from the body politic this cancerous disease of discrimination which is preventing our democratic and Christian health from being realized. Then and only then will we be able to bring into full realization the dream of our American democracy, a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men do not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character, where they recognize that the basic thing about a man is not his specific but his fundamentum.
  • The Declaration of Independence proclaimed to a world, organized politically and spiritually around the concept of the inequality of man, that the dignity of human personality was inherent in man as a living being. The Emancipation Proclamation was the offspring of the Declaration of Independence. It was a constructive use of the force of law to uproot a social order which sought to separate liberty from a segment of humanity. Our pride and progress could be unqualified if the story might end here. But history reveals that America has been a schizophrenic personality where these two documents are concerned. On the one hand she has proudly professed the basic principles inherent in both documents. On the other hand she has sadly practiced the antithesis of these principles.
  • Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal'.
  • This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, 'My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring', and if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
  • We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic. Nobody of honesty can overlook this. Now, I'm sure that if the church had taken a stronger stand all along, we wouldn't have many of the problems that we have. The first way that the church can repent, the first way that it can move out into the arena of social reform is to remove the yoke of segregation from its own body.
  • In the past ten years unarmed gallant men and women of the United States have given living testimony to the moral power and efficacy of nonviolence. By the thousands, faceless, anonymous, relentless young people, black and white, have temporarily left the ivory towers of learning for the barricades of bias. Their courageous and disciplined activities have come as a refreshing oasis in a desert sweltering with the heat of injustice. They have taken our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. One day all of America will be proud of their achievements.
  • We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.
  • In the final analysis the weakness of Black Power is its failure to see that the black man needs the white man and the white man needs the black man. However much we may try to romanticize the slogan, there is no separate black path to power and fulfillment that dies not intersect white paths, and there is no separate white path to power and fulfillment, short of social disaster, that does not share that power with black aspirations for freedom and human dignity. We are bound together in a single garment of destiny. The language, the cultural patterns, the music, the material prosperity, and even the food of America are an amalgam of black and white.
  • Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten. A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present. America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay.
  • America, you must be born again... Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds.
  • I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be as a people, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.
  • All we say to America is: 'Be true to what you said on paper.' If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right... Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determinatio, and let us move on in these powerful days. These days of challenge to make America what it ought to be; we have an opportunity to make America a better nation.
  • The United States was founded on the principle that all human beings, by virtue of their shared human nature, possess equal natural rights. According to the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents, rights come from a creator, not government. Government's purpose is limited to protecting natural rights, which is the standard we use to judge governments. People may exercise their natural right 'to alter or to abolish' a government that violates, rather than protects, these rights. The political logic of the American Founding requires that a government of limited purpose should be a government of limited power. The U.S. Constitution and all state constitutions limit the power of government so that it better achieves its purpose, protecting rights, rather than threatening them.
  • America has been described as an ongoing experiment in self-government, an experiment that can and will fail if the American people ever lose sight of the principles upon which America was founded. The same challenge faces our democratic friends around the world.

L[edit]

  • That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
  • When somebody says they want to fundamentally transform America, well, then you must not love America. It's like saying I'm going to fundamentally transform my wife, or my girlfriend, that means you must not love your wife or your girlfriend.
  • The law of nations knows of no distinction of color, and if an enemy of the United States should enslave and sell any captured persons of their army, it would be a case for the severest retaliation, if not redressed upon complaint.
  • The spread of slavery, I can not but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world—enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites—causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty—criticising the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.
  • Our republican robe is soiled, and trailed in the dust. Let us repurify it. Let us turn and wash it white, in the spirit, if not the blood, of the Revolution. Let us turn slavery from its claims of “moral right,” back upon its existing legal rights, and its arguments of 'necessity'. Let us return it to the position our fathers gave it; and there let it rest in peace. Let us re-adopt the Declaration of Independence, and with it, the practices, and policy, which harmonize with it. Let north and south—let all Americans—let all lovers of liberty everywhere—join in the great and good work. If we do this, we shall not only have saved the Union; but we shall have so saved it, as to make, and to keep it, forever worthy of the saving. We shall have so saved it, that the succeeding millions of free happy people, the world over, shall rise up, and call us blessed, to the latest generations.
  • The Autocrat of all the Russias will resign his crown, and proclaim his subjects free republicans sooner than will our American masters voluntarily give up their slaves.
  • I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal'. We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes'. When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics'. When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty. To Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
  • We are now a mighty nation, we are thirty, or about thirty millions of people, and we own and inhabit about one‑fifteenth part of the dry land of the whole earth. We run our memory back over the pages of history for about eighty‑two years and we discover that we were then a very small people in point of numbers, vastly inferior to what we are now, with a vastly less extent of country, with vastly less of everything we deem desirable among men, we look upon the change as exceedingly advantageous to us and to our posterity, and we fix upon something that happened away back, as in some way or other being connected with this rise of prosperity. We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers; they were iron men, they fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understood that by what they then did it has followed that the degree of prosperity that we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done in this process of time of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it; and we go from these meetings in better humor with ourselves. We feel more attached the one to the other, and more firmly bound to the country we inhabit. In every way we are better men in the age, and race, and country in which we live for these celebrations. But after we have done all this we have not yet reached the whole.
  • There is something else connected with it. We have besides these men—descended by blood from our ancestors—among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe—German, Irish, French and Scandinavian. Men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,' and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.
  • Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man, this race and that race and the other race being inferior and therefore they must be placed in an inferior position. Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal.
  • What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength our gallant and disciplined army? These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of those may be turned against our liberties, without making us weaker or stronger for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.
    • Abraham Lincoln's speech at Edwardsville, Illinois (11 September 1858); quoted in Lincoln, Abraham; Mario Matthew Cuomo, Harold Holzer, G. S. Boritt, Lincoln on Democracy (Fordham University Press, September 1, 2004), 128. ISBN 978-0823223459.
      • Variant of the above quote: What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, our army and our navy. These are not our reliance against tyranny. All of those may be turned against us without making us weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you.
  • One-sixth, and a little more, of the population of the United States are slaves, looked upon as property, as nothing but property. The cash value of these slaves, at a moderate estimate, is $2,000,000,000. This amount of property value has a vast influence on the minds of its owners, very naturally. The same amount of property would have an equal influence upon us if owned in the north. Human nature is the same, people at the south are the same as those at the north, barring the difference in circumstances. Public opinion is founded, to a great extent, on a property basis. What lessons the value of property is opposed, what enhances its value is favored. Public opinion at the south regards slaves as property and insists upon treating them like other property.
  • Look at the magnitude of this subject! One sixth of our population, in round numbers, not quite one sixth, and yet more than a seventh, about one sixth of the whole population of the United States are slaves! The owners of these slaves consider them property. The effect upon the minds of the owners is that of property, and nothing else, it induces them to insist upon all that will favorably affect its value as property, to demand laws and institutions and a public policy that shall increase and secure its value, and make it durable, lasting and universal. The effect on the minds of the owners is to persuade them that there is no wrong in it. The slaveholder does not like to be considered a mean fellow, for holding that species of property, and hence he has to struggle within himself and sets about arguing himself into the belief that Slavery is right. The property influences his mind.
  • The weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in that Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. If it can't be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But, if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle. I was about to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than to surrender it.
  • One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute.
  • This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I cannot be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse.
  • We, on our side, are praying Him to give us victory, because we believe we are right; but those on the other side pray to Him, look for victory, believing they are right. What must He think of us?
  • All persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
  • The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatable things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatable names — liberty and tyranny.
  • Afterward, Vogel invited the audience to come up and be photographed with the re-enactors. I didn't go. I was content just to look down the Mall on that beautiful day, now becoming comfortably warmer. Beyond the reflecting pools, behind the Washington Monument, I could see parts of the Grant sculptures and the wings of the Capitol behind them. It was all very imposing, as befits a great nation. In the aftermath of the morning's program, I was free to imagine, now that we let ourselves remember all of Lincoln's Second Inaugural, what if the United States could live up to its moral implications? What if we did construct a society with no unrequited toil? What if we did achieve a just and lasting peace with all nations? An impossible dream? Well, it was a patriotic occasion, and at a place where dreams have been dreamed before.
  • It is the night-black Massachusetts legendry which packs the really macabre 'kick', Here is the material for a really profound study in group neuroticism; for certainly, no one can deny the existence of a profoundly morbid streak in the Puritan imagination....The very pre-ponderance of passionately pious men in the colony was virtually an assurance of unnatural crime; insomuch as psychology now proves the religious instinct to be a form of transmuted eroticism precisely parallel to the transmutations in other directions which respectively produce such things as sadism, hallucination, melancholia, and other mental morbidities. Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious feelings, and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities expressed in crime, perversion, and insanity. This was aggravated, of course, by the Puritan policy of rigorously suppressing all the natural outlets of excuberant feeling--music, laughter, colour, pageantry, and so on. To observe Christmas Day was once a prison offence....
  • When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled "made in Germany"; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, "Americanism." … The high-sounding phrase "the American way" will be used by interested groups intent on profit, to cover a multitude of sins against the American and Christian tradition, such sins as lawless violence, teargas and shotguns, denial of civil liberties … There is an obligation resting on us all to dedicate our minds to the hard task of thinking in terms of Christian objectives and values, so that we may be saved from moral confusion.
    For never, probably, has there been a time when there was a more vigorous effort to surround social and international questions with such a fog of distortion and prejudices and hysterical appeal to fear.

M[edit]

  • Americans never quit.
    • Douglas MacArthur, as president of the American Olympic committee when the manager of the American boxing team in the 1928 Olympic games wanted to withdraw the team because of what he thought was an unfair decision against an American boxer; reported in The New York Times (9 August 1928), p. 13.
  • America has evolved a model for this new free world... America has demonstrated that peoples of the East and peoples of the West may walk side by side in mutual respect and with mutual benefit.
  • The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for the common liberties and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the late successful resistance of this country against the British arms will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments of the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
  • It is a settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute. The United States, while they wish for war with no nation, will buy peace with none.
    • James Madison, letter to Wolcott Chauncy and William Shaler, summarizing the Treaty of 1815, which ended the Second Barbary War and, with it, the practice of the U.S. government paying tribute to pirate states, as quoted in History and Present Condition of Tripoli: With Some Accounts of the Other Barbary States" by Robert Greenhow, published by T.W. White, 1835, page 46.
  • The United States, having been the first to abolish within the extent of their authority the transportation of the natives of Africa into slavery, by prohibiting the introduction of slaves and by punishing their citizens participating in the traffic, cannot but be gratified at the progress made by concurrent efforts of other nations toward a general suppression of so great an evil.
  • I am proud that I am an American citizen of Japanese ancestry, for my very background makes me appreciate more fully the wonderful advantages of this nation. I believe in her institutions, ideals, and traditions. I glory in her heritage, I boast of her history. I trust in her future. She has granted me liberties and opportunities such as no individual enjoys in this world today. She has given me an education befitting kings. She has entrusted me with the responsibilities of the franchise. She has permitted me to build a home, to earn a livelihood, to worship, think, speak, and act as I please, as a free man equal to every other man. Although some individuals may discriminate against me, I shall never become bitter or lose faith, for I know that such persons are not representative of the majority of the American people. True, I shall do all in my power to discourage such practices, but I shall do it in the American way. Above board, in the open, through courts of law, by education, by proving myself to be worthy of equal treatment and consideration.
  • I am firm in my belief that American sportsmanship and attitude of fair play will judge citizenship and patriotism on the basis of action and achievement, and not on the basis of physical characteristics. Because I believe in America, and I trust she believes in me, and because I have received innumerable benefits from her, I pledge myself to do honor to her at all times and all places, to defend her against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to actively assume my duties and obligations as a citizen, cheerfully and without any reservations whatsoever, in the hope that I may become a better American in a greater America.
  • We are Americans first, Americans last, Americans always. Let us argue our differences. But remember we are not enemies, but comrades in a war against a real enemy, and take courage from the knowledge that our military superiority is matched only by the superiority of our ideals, and our unconquerable love for them... We're Americans, and we'll never surrender. They will.
  • Through the violence, chaos and heartache of war, through deprivation and cruelty and loss, we are always Americans, and different, stronger and better than those who would destroy us.
    • John McCain, as quoted in "Bin Laden's death and the debate over torture" (11 May 2011), The Washington Post
  • By the time of the Gettysburg Address, in November 1863, the North was fighting for a 'new birth of freedom' to transform the Constitution written by the founding fathers, under which the United States had become the world's largest slaveholding country, into a charter of emancipation for a republic where, as the northern version of 'The Battle Cry of Freedom' put it, 'Not a man shall be a slave'.
  • The character of our enemies testifies to America's greatness, for those leaders who most hate us show scant regard for their own peoples' welfare.
  • America - a conservative country without any conservative ideology-appears now before the world a naked and arbitrary power, as, in the name of realism, its men of decision enforce their often crackpot definitions upon world reality. The second-rate mind is in command of the ponderously spoken platitude. In the liberal rhetoric, vagueness, and in the conservative mood, irrationality, are raised to principle. Public relations and the official secret, the trivializing campaign and the terrible fact clumsily accomplished, are replacing the reasoned debate of political ideas in the privately incorporated economy, the military ascendancy, and the political vacuum of modern America.
  • The American elite does not have any real image of peace — other than as an uneasy interlude existing precariously by virtue of the balance of mutual fright. The only seriously accepted plan for peace is the full loaded pistol. In short, war or a high state of war-preparedness is felt to be the normal and seemingly permanent condition of the United States.
  • In the United States… a handful of corporations centralize decisions and responsibilities that are relevant for military and political as well as economic developments of global significance. For nowadays the military and the political cannot be separated from economic considerations of power. We now live not in an economic order or a political order, but in a political economy that is closely linked with military institutions and decisions. This is obvious in the repeated "oil crisis" in the Middle East, or in the relevance of Southeast Asia and African resources for the Western powers…
  • In America, we vote, we decide as a group of people what our policies are, and that's the way we do business. We don't let violence make those determinations for us.

N[edit]

  • America will not die. As the time demands them, great men will appear, and by their combined efforts render liberty and happiness more secure. The people will be ready and answer in every emergency that may arise.
  • Far from there being a consensus on the acceptance of slavery, sectional differences between the north and the south about the practice of it existed, and were subject of political contentions, from the beginning of the American nation!

O[edit]

  • We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America. There's the United States of America.
  • America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes. We get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress: to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice and fairness and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. The America we want for our kids. A rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us. None of it is easy.
  • That's always the case; America leads. We are the indispensable nation. We have capacity no one else has. Our military is the best in the history of the world, and when trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don't call Beijing. They don't call Moscow. They call us. That's the deal... When there's a typhoon in the Philippines, take a look at who's helping the Philippines deal with that situation. When there's an earthquake in Haiti, take a look at who's leading the charge making sure Haiti can rebuild. That's how we roll, and that's what makes this America.
  • My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal, that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.
  • What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people? Unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many, coming together to shape their country’s course? What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this, what greater form of patriotism is there than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?
    • Barack H. Obama II, "Remarks by the President at the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches at Edmund Pettus Bridge" (7 March 2015), Selma, Alabama.
  • Our work is never done. The American experiment in self-government gives work and purpose to each generation.
    • Barack H. Obama II, "Remarks by the President at the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches at Edmund Pettus Bridge" (7 March 2015), Selma, Alabama.
  • Our best corporate citizens are also our most creative... Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn't argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon. That spirit of discovery is in our DNA. We're Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and George Washington Carver. We're Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride. We're every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley racing to shape a better world. And over the past seven years, we've nurtured that spirit.
  • The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It's not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that's the path to ruin. Surveys show our standing around the world is high... When it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead; they call us... The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.
  • But today, more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 50 years after the end of 'separate but equal', when it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can’t be bothered. Today, instead of walking miles every day to school, they're sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching T.V. Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they're fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper. Right now, one in three African American students are dropping out of high school. Only one in five African Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 has gotten a college degree; one in five.
  • The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge piñata — a papier-mâché donkey, for example. The donkey is filled with full employment, low interest rates, affordable housing, comprehensive medical benefits, a balanced budget and other goodies. The American voter is blindfoled and given a stick. The voter then swings the stick wildly in every direction, trying to hit a political candidate on the head and knock some sense into the silly bastard.
  • Wherever there's injustice, oppression, and suffering, America will show up six months late and bomb the country next to where it's happening.

P[edit]

  • Despite what Obama says, racism is not passed along in DNA through the generations. If that were the case, America wouldn't be the tolerant, multi-racial country it is today. Yes, America, like the vast majority of the rest of the world, at one time participated in slavery. While the sin of slavery is not justified, it is important to acknowledge that the sin of slavery isn't a uniquely American sin, but rather one of mankind throughout the course of history. Further, owning slaves is not a sin unique to white people; in fact, black Africans sold other blacks into slavery, and still do today. Slavery is uniquely human, but societies and countries that respect human dignity, like America, have stopped the horrifying practice. America had the dignity to end slavery through a civil war and has since moved forward to correct wrongs with the civil rights movement, affirmative action, legislation, popular culture and much more. Institutional racism is no longer prevalent in the ways the left claims. Obama, elected twice by American voters, is black, as is former Attorney General Eric Holder and current Attorney General Loretta Lynch. There are a number of blacks serving in the U.S. Congress, including Republican Senator Tim Scott and Congresswoman Mia Love, Utah. The likes of Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé are business and pop culture icons. Look around the world and you'll find that America is the most tolerant and open society on earth. The World Values Survey shows India, not the United States, is in fact the most racist country with a class system. The same survey has shown for years that Americans are among the least racist in the world and therefore are the most tolerant. Do racists exist in this country? Of course they do. Is their racism sanctioned by the government and celebrated by fellow citizens? Absolutely not. In fact, the Charleston shooter, who I refuse to name, told friends he felt isolated and alone in his evil, racist views. That's a silver lining. As a society we have corrected many of the wrongs of slavery and racism, the individuals who have not corrected their racist views are an innumerable minority roundly and strongly condemned by the rest of society. The Charleston shooter’s feelings about race are the exception, not the rule, in this country. This is demonstrated by the response in Charleston of blacks and whites holding hands and coming together, not apart, to honor the memory of those who were killed. America isn't a racist country, not even close, and it certainly isn't a 'white supremacist' society. The left falsely saying so promotes not progress but division. American history includes slavery and racism, but its current status and future as a whole does not. The people who lost loved ones at Emanuel AME Church have forgiven their killer. It's time the left does the same with America for her long past sins.
  • Under the banner of the American flag, there have been brutal injustices, including slavery, the systematic destruction of Native Americans, the imprisonment of Japanese Americans and the disenfranchisement of women. But due to other, far-nobler attributes of the United States of America, and the heroic sacrifices of the Americans who carried the flag into battle, the 'Star Spangled Banner' symbolizes freedom, liberty and equality all over the world.
  • I've lived in a number of countries, western and otherwise, and there's always an element of ethnic and/or heritage-based nationalism in those places. Take Denmark for example, lovely country, number one on global happiness rankings, etc. Everyone there is always very polite to non-Danes. But no matter how polite they are, you're always a non-Dane to them, regardless of your skin color. It's the same in most other places. You can't 'be one of them' unless you've always been one of them. America is the only place I know of where the residents, not all of course, but many, will consider people who weren't born here to be Americans. In my mind, the only social criteria for being an American is to be here, and to want to be one. Born in India? China? Nigeria? Get a visa, come to America, and tell me you're an American. That's it. Done deal. You're my countryman. Whether part of that sentiment is from a level if ignorance or unfamiliarity with the world is beside the point.
  • My wife is Chinese, and she similarly struggled with this concept at first. I casually mentioned to her at some point that I considered her American, and she was like, 'but I'm not American, I'm Chinese'. I told her, 'You were born in China, but you live in America, you work in America, and you like America. You can still be Chinese if you want, but you're American too'. 'But China doesn't allow dual citizenship'. 'This has nothing to do with your passport. I consider you American. Pretty much all your coworkers and random people on the street consider you American too'. 'But I have an accent...' 'You're American now whether you like it or not.' She did. It was very interesting for me to see how foreign a concept that was for her.
  • I love our flag, our constitution, and our country, with a love that has no bounds. I defended all three for 35 years as a soldier and was willing to give my life in their defense. Americans revere their flag as a symbol of the nation.
  • Far from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II. We were willing to do it, glad to do it. We went to Korea. We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people. And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, 'Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us'? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No. The only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead, and that is the kind of nation we are.
  • Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America.
  • In America, Jews live in unprecedented equality and security, and America is Israel's defender. The reason is not just that America is so tolerant a society. America does not merely tolerate Jews and Judaism, it honors them. It does so in large part because the United States is the only country that has long defined itself as Judeo-Christian. There are Christian countries, secular countries, and Muslim countries, but America is the only Judeo-Christian country.
  • America-hatred has become a moral litmus test of nations, regimes, and individuals. America represents freedom, a higher quality of life, and a willingness to fight for its values. These qualities are despised by regimes characterized by tyranny and socioeconomic failure, and by individuals in the west who support such regimes or who wish to denigrate America for reasons akin to those of antisemites in their denigration of Jews. With all its flaws, America alone stands between democracy and the ascent of tyranny throughout the world.
  • It is small surprise that among tyrannical regimes and their defenders, America and Israel are so often identified as the same enemy. This is not merely a consequence of America's standing along behind Israel; the United States has aided various Arab countries very generously, and it has on some critical occasions backed Arab regimes, such as Nasser's Egypt in 1956 and Saudi Arabia in 1981, against Israel. The hostility is aroused largely because America and Israel represent democracy, equal rights for women, a higher quality of life, and a willingness to confront despotism. That is why the two non-Muslim countries that have suffered the heaviest lossest from Islamic suicide murderers are Israel and the United States.
  • Yet despite all this hatred, America remains the dreamed-for haven of the world's oppressed; and Israel remains and embattled democracy in the midst of authoritarian states, and the birthplace of the kibbutz to which tens of thousands of youth from around the world have turned for a living lesson in human equality. America today with all its imperfections represents a model of something better, fighting for its ideals and in so doing constituting a moral challenge to others.
  • Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the document that articulated the principle of human rights endowed by the Creator, thereby ultimately ensuring the end of slavery, and led to the establishment of the country that has served as the beacon of hope for people of every race and ethnicity. More black Africans have voluntarily emigrated to the United States to seek liberty and opportunity than came to America as slaves... Conservatives view America as President Abraham Lincoln viewed it; as the 'Last Best Hope of Earth'... America gradually became the least-xenophobic, least-racist nation in the world. In no country do people become accepted as full members of the society as do immigrants to America.
  • Most Americans no longer know what America stands for. For them, America has become just another country, a place located between Canada and Mexico. But America was founded to be an idea, not another country.
  • When the thirteen stripes and stars first appeared at Canton, much curiosity was excited among the people. News was circulated that a strange ship had arrived from the further end of the world, bearing a flag 'as beautiful as a flower'. Every body went to see the kwa kee chuen, or 'flower flagship'. This name at once established itself in the language, and America is now called the kwa kee kwoh, the 'flower flag country', and an American, kwa kee kwoh yin, 'flower flag countryman', a more complimentary designation than that of 'red headed barbarian', the name first bestowed upon the Dutch.
    • George H. Preble, as quoted in "Curiosa Sinica" (15 June 1843), by Choong Kwoh, The Boston Courier
  • If Malcolm X or the Black Panthers had attempted to set up a separate black state on American soil in the tradition of John Brown, their efforts would have been crushed immediately... A nation which, since its founding, has rejected the idea of hereditary entitlements. Slavery and racial discrimination are exceptions to this tradition. Huge, horrific exceptions, but exceptions nonetheless. For all the hypocrisies and bigotries of its citizens and leaders, the United States does promise liberty, equality and justice. The gap between these promises and realities often yaws wide, but the promises abide. They are part of the 'American Dream', the 'American Creed', and the American 'civil religion', which no amount of 'realism' or cynicism seems able to smother.
  • No group in American history has had more reason to disbelieve America's promises than African Americans... Imbued with Christianity and the American Creed, most black Americans rejected the appeals of socialists in the late nineteenth century, Communists in the 1930s, and neo-Marxist 'liberationists' in the 1960s. Rather, when America's unpaid 'promissory note' came due in the 1950s and 1960s, they marched forth from Christian churches to demand fulfillment of the very American promise that 'all men are created equal'. And faith in the redeemability of America's promises remains in the African-American community today, sustaining efforts to overcome continued segregation, unjust incarceration and enduring economic inequality.

R[edit]

  • American soldiers are warriors for freedom. While the motives of their political leaders vary and can be debated, by and large, throughout history the American fighting man and woman has served the ideals that everyone, not just those lucky enough to be born between two oceans and imaginary fences, was born with the God-given rights to live, to live with representative governments, and to pursue their own happiness, regardless of culture, color, race, religion, and so forth. American soldiers have always comprised an army out to set others free.
  • The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise. The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression; to preserve freedom and peace.
  • Blood that has soaked into the sands of a beach is all of one color. America stands unique in the world, the only country not founded on race but on a way, an ideal. Not in spite of but because of our polyglot background, we have had all the strength in the world. That is the American way.
    • Ronald Reagan on 10 August 1988, while signing the Bill Providing Restitution for the Wartime Internment of Japanese-American Civilians, quoting himself at the funeral of Kazuo Masuda in December 1945.
  • [T]he normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom. That, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that 'no persons should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law', it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.
  • It is the highest duty of every American citizen to maintain against all their enemies the integrity of the Union and the paramount authority of the constitution and laws of the United States... Immigration, which in the past has added so much to the wealth, development of resources and increase of power to the nation, the asylum of the oppressed of all nations, should be fostered and encouraged by a liberal and just policy... The people of the United States can never regard with indifference the attempt of any European power to overthrow by force or to supplant by fraud the institutions of any republican government on the western continent and that they will view with extreme jealousy, as menacing to the peace and independence of their own country, the efforts of any such power to obtain new footholds for monarchical government, sustained by foreign military force, in near proximity to the United States.
  • We condemn bigots who inject class, racial and religious prejudice into public and political matters. Bigotry is un-American and a danger to the republic. We deplore the duplicity and insincerity of the party in power in racial and religious matters. Although they have been in office as a 'Majority Party' for many years, they have not kept nor do they intend to keep their promises. The Republican Party will not mislead, exploit or attempt to confuse minority groups for political purposes. All American citizens are entitled to full, impartial enforcement of Federal laws relating to their civil rights. We believe that it is the primary responsibility of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions, and this power, reserved to the states, is essential to the maintenance of our Federal Republic. However, we believe that the Federal Government should take supplemental action within its constitutional jurisdiction to oppose discrimination against race, religion or national origin..
  • This nation was created to give expression, validity and purpose to our spiritual heritage—the supreme worth of the individual. In such a nation—a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—racial discrimination has no place. It can hardly be reconciled with a Constitution that guarantees equal protection under law to all persons. In a deeper sense, too, it is immoral and unjust. As to those matters within reach of political action and leadership, we pledge ourselves unreservedly to its eradication... Equality under law promises more than the equal right to vote and transcends mere relief from discrimination by government. It becomes a reality only when all persons have equal opportunity, without distinction of race, religion, color or national origin, to acquire the essentials of life—housing, education and employment. The Republican Party—the party of Abraham Lincoln—from its very beginning has striven to make this promise a reality. It is today, as it was then, unequivocally dedicated to making the greatest amount of progress toward the objective.
  • America must advance freedom throughout the world as a vital condition of orderly human progress, universal justice, and the security of the American people.
  • America is still the country of fair play, that we can come out of a small town or a poor neighborhood and have the same chance as anyone else... America can overcome any problem, including the dreaded disease called AIDS. We believe that America is still a country where there is more to life than just a constant struggle for money, and we believe that America must have leaders who show us that our struggles amount to something and contribute to something larger, leaders who want us to be all that we can be.
  • Both Socrates and Christ taught economic man to be at least slightly ashamed of himself when he failed to sacrifice the lower capacity to the higher. Freud is America’s great teacher, despite his ardent wish to avoid that fate. For it was precisely the official and parental shams of high ideals that Freud questioned. In their stead, Freud taught lessons which Americans, prepared by their own national experience, learn easily: survive, resign yourself to living within your moral means, suffer no gratuitous failures in a futile search for ethical heights that no longer exist—if they ever did.
    • Philip Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic (1966), chapter 2.
  • Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, remarks before the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, D.C. (21 April 1938), The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1938 (1941), p. 259. FDR is often quoted as having addressed the DAR as "my fellow immigrants." The above words are believed to be the source.
  • We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions, bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities. Whoever seeks to set one race against another seeks to enslave all races. Whoever seeks to set one religion against another, seeks to destroy all religion.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, campaign address, Brooklyn, New York (1 November 1940); The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940 (1941), p. 53.
  • A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. I ask only that what every self-respecting American demands from himself and from his sons shall be demanded of the American nation as a whole. Who among you would teach your boys that ease, that peace, is to be the first Consideration in their eyes-to be the ultimate goal after which they strive?
  • Thank God for the iron in the blood of our fathers, the men who upheld the wisdom of Lincoln, and bore sword or rifle in the armies of Grant! Let us, the children of the men who proved themselves equal to the mighty days, let us, the children of the men who carried the great Civil War to a triumphant conclusion, praise the God of our fathers that the ignoble counsels of peace were rejected; that the suffering and loss, the blackness of sorrow and despair, were unflinchingly faced, and the years of strife endured; for in the end the slave was freed, the Union restored, and the mighty American republic placed once more as a helmeted queen among nations.
  • No country can long endure if its foundations are not laid deep in the material prosperity which comes from thrift, from business energy and enterprise, from hard, unsparing effort in the fields of industrial activity; but neither was any nation ever yet truly great if it relied upon material prosperity alone. All honor must be paid to the architects of our material prosperity, to the great captains of industry who have built our factories and our railroads, to the strong men who toil for wealth with brain or hand; for great is the debt of the nation to these and their kind. But our debt is yet greater to the men whose highest type is to be found in a statesman like Lincoln, a soldier like Ulysses S. Grant. They showed by their lives that they recognized the law of work, the law of strife; they toiled to win a competence for themselves and those dependent upon them; but they recognized that there were yet other and even loftier duties—duties to the nation.
  • We cannot, if we would, play the part of China, and be content to rot by inches in ignoble ease within our borders, taking no interest in what goes on beyond them, sunk in a scrambling commercialism; heedless of the higher life, the life of aspiration, of toil and risk, busying ourselves only with the wants of our bodies for the day, until suddenly we should find, beyond a shadow of question, what China has already found, that in this world the nation that has trained itself to a career of un-warlike and isolated ease is bound, in the end, to go down before other nations which have not lost the manly and adventurous qualities. If we are to be a really great people, we must strive in good faith to play a great part in the world.
  • No country can long endure if its foundations are not laid deep in the material prosperity which comes from thrift, from business energy and enterprise, from hard, unsparing effort in the fields of industrial activity; but neither was any nation ever yet truly great if it relied upon material prosperity alone. All honor must be paid to the architects of our material prosperity, to the great captains of industry who have built our factories and our railroads, to the strong men who toil for wealth with brain or hand; for great is the debt of the nation to these and their kind. But our debt is yet greater to the men whose highest type is to be found in a statesman like Lincoln, a soldier like Grant. They showed by their lives that they recognized the law of work, the law of strife; they toiled to win a competence for themselves and those dependent upon them; but they recognized that there were yet other and even loftier duties—duties to the nation.
  • The problems are different for the different islands. Puerto Rico is not large enough to stand alone. We must govern it wisely and well, primarily in the interest of its own people. Cuba is, in my judgment, entitled ultimately to settle for itself whether it shall be an independent state or an integral portion of the mightiest of republics. But until order and stable liberty are secured, we must remain in the island to insure them, and infinite tact, judgment, moderation, and courage must be shown by our military and civil representatives in keeping the island pacified, in relentlessly stamping out brigandage, in protecting all alike, and yet in showing proper recognition to the men who have fought for Cuban liberty.
  • As a people we claim the right to speak with peculiar emphasis for freedom and for fair treatment of all men without regard to differences of race, fortune, creed, or color. We forfeit the right so to speak when we commit or condone such crimes as these of which I speak. The nation, like the individual, cannot commit a crime with impunity. If we are guilty of lawlessness and brutal violence, whether our guilt consists in active participation therein or in mere connivance and encouragement, we shall assuredly suffer later on because of what we have done.
  • The cornerstone of this republic, as of all free governments, is respect for and obedience to the law. Where we permit the law to be defied or evaded, whether by rich man or poor man, by black man or white, we are by just so much weakening the bonds of our civilization and increasing the chances of its overthrow, and of the substitution therefore of a system in which there shall be violent alternations of anarchy and tyranny.
  • There are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become, it must be by the general recognition that the man's heart and soul, the man's worth and actions, determine his standing.
  • The failure in public and in private life thus to treat each man on his own merits, the recognition of this government as being either for the poor as such or for the rich as such, would prove fatal to our Republic, as such failure and such recognition have always proved fatal in the past to other republics. A healthy republican government must rest upon individuals, not upon classes or sections. As soon as it becomes government by a class or by a section, it departs from the old American ideal.
  • It is unwise to depart from the old American tradition and discriminate for or against any man who desires to come here and become a citizen, save on the ground of that man's fitness for citizenship. ... We can not afford to consider whether he is Catholic or Protestant, Jew or Gentile; whether he is Englishman or Irishman, Frenchman or German, Japanese, Italian, or Scandinavian, or Magyar. What we should desire to find out is the individual quality of the individual man.
    • Theodore Roosevelt, message to the U.S. Congress (1905). As quoted in The Business of Transatlantic Migration between Europe and the United States, 1900–1914 (2012), by Drew Keeling, p. 161.
  • Our country—this great republic—means nothing unless it means the triumph of a real democracy, the triumph of popular government, and, in the long run, of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him.
  • America opened the greatest era in world history. Four centuries have passed since the Spaniards began that colonization on the main land which has resulted in the growth of the nations of Latin America. Three centuries have passed since, with the settlements on the coasts of Virginia and Massachusetts, the real history of what is now the United States began. All this we ultimately owe to the action of an Italian seaman in the service of a Spanish King and a Spanish Queen. It is eminently fitting that one of the largest and most influential social organizations of this great republic, a republic in which the tongue is English, and the blood derived from many sources, should, in its name, commemorate the great Italian. It is eminently fitting to make an address on Americanism.
  • We are a new and distinct nationality. We are developing our own distinctive culture and civilization, and the worth of this civilization will largely depend upon our determination to keep it distinctively our own. Our sons and daughters should be educated here and not abroad. We should freely take from every other nation whatever we can make of use, but we should adopt and develop to our own peculiar needs what we thus take, and never be content merely to copy.
  • Our nation was founded to perpetuate democratic principles. These principles are that each man is to be treated on his worth as a man without regard to the land from which his forefathers came and without regard to the creed which he professes. If the United States proves false to these principles of civil and religious liberty, it will have inflicted the greatest blow on the system of free popular government that has ever been inflicted.
  • What is true of creed is no less true of nationality. There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. This is just as true of the man who puts 'native' before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as anyone else.
  • In my cabinet at the time there were men of English and French, German, Irish, and Dutch blood, men born on this side and men born in Germany and Scotland; but they were all Americans and nothing else; and every one of them was incapable of thinking of himself or of his fellow-countrymen, excepting in terms of American citizenship. If any one of them had anything in the nature of a dual or divided allegiance in his soul, he never would have been appointed to serve under me, and he would have been instantly removed when the discovery was made. There wasn't one of them who was capable of desiring that the policy of the United States should be shaped with reference to the interests of any foreign country or with consideration for anything, outside of the general welfare of humanity, save the honor and interest of the United States, and each was incapable of making any discrimination whatsoever among the citizens of the country he served, of our common country, save discrimination based on conduct and on conduct alone.
  • For an American citizen to vote as a German-American, an Irish-American, or an English-American, is to be a traitor to American institutions; and those hyphenated Americans who terrorize American politicians by threats of the foreign vote are engaged in treason to the American Republic.
  • The foreign-born population of this country must be an Americanized population. No other kind can fight the battles of America either in war or peace. It must talk the language of its native-born fellow-citizens; it must possess American citizenship and American ideals. It must stand firm by its oath of allegiance in word and deed and must show that in very fact it has renounced allegiance to every prince, potentate, or foreign government. It must be maintained on an American standard of living so as to prevent labor disturbances in important plants and at critical times. None of these objects can be secured as long as we have immigrant colonies, ghettos, and immigrant sections, and above all they cannot be assured so long as we consider the immigrant only as an industrial asset. The immigrant must not be allowed to drift or to be put at the mercy of the exploiter.
  • As a people we must be united. If we are not united we shall slip into the gulf of measureless disaster. We must be strong in purpose for our own defense and bent on securing justice within our borders. If as a nation we are split into warring camps, if we teach our citizens not to look upon one another as brothers but as enemies divided by the hatred of creed for creed or of those of one race against those of another race, surely we shall fail and our great democratic experiment on this continent will go down in crushing overthrow.
  • All of us, no matter from what land our parents came, no matter in what way we may severally worship our Creator, must stand shoulder to shoulder in a united America for the elimination of race and religious prejudice. We must stand for a reign of equal justice to both big and small. We must insist on the maintenance of the American standard of living.
  • Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood—the virtues that made America. 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, letter to S. Stanwood Menken, chairman, committee on Congress of Constructive Patriotism (10 January 1917). Roosevelt’s sister, Mrs. Douglas Robinson, read the letter to a national meeting, January 26, 1917. Reported in Proceedings of the Congress of Constructive Patriotism, Washington, D.C., January 25–27, 1917 (1917), p. 172.
  • Every man has a right to one country. He has a right to love and serve that country and to feel that it is absolutely his country and that he has in it every right possessed by anyone else. It is our duty to require the man of German blood who is an American citizen to give up all allegiance to Germany wholeheartedly and without on his part any mental reservation whatever. If he does this it becomes no less our duty to give him the full rights of an American, including our loyal respect and friendship without on our part any mental reservation whatever. The duties are reciprocal, and from the standpoint of American patriotism one is as important as the other.
    • Theodore Roosevelt, "Every Man Has a Right to One Country", The Kansas City Star (15 July 1918), Missouri, p. 2.
  • In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn't doing his part as an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house; and we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.
  • Terrorists aren't trying to kill us because we offended them. They attack us because they want to impose their view of the world on as many people as they can, and America is standing in their way. We need to make it unmistakably clear that we will do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism.

S[edit]

  • Individuals who have been wronged by unlawful racial discrimination should be made whole; but under our Constitution there can be no such thing as either a creditor or a debtor race. That concept is alien to the Constitution's focus upon the individual. ...To pursue the concept of racial entitlement - even for the most admirable and benign of purposes - is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American.
    • Antonin Scalia, Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Mineta, 534 U.S. 103 (1995).
  • This country does not discriminate. No president, no officer in this country should hold office that has any hint of treating people differently because of the color of their skin or where they came from and that kind of thing. We believe in equality and fair treatment and that's the moral principle that we adhere to as a nation.
  • The Union was and is perpetual. The founders intended it so. Madison's letter to Hamilton, 'The Constitution requires an adoption in toto, and for ever', during the New York ratification debates demonstrate that decisively. But on an even more profound scale, the ratification process itself demonstrates that the founders intended the permanence and strength of the Union. They had had it with powerful states. That's why the founders stated in Article VII that ratification had to happen in special conventions, not the state legislatures. If the founders had left it to the state legislatures, those legislatures would have rejected the document out of hand. But the special ratifying conventions were different. They were composed of delegates elected by 'We The People' of each state, not the state itself. In addition, the states liberalized voting rules by getting rid of the property qualifications. This was a special one-time-only thing in order to ensure the broadest possible participation to select delegates in order to make it as democratic as the eighteenth century mindset would allow. In the north, five states even allowed blacks the right to vote. When the Constitution says 'We the People' that's not just a rhetorical flourish. That's a description of the nature of the Union.
  • The founders did not want the national government to be a creature of the states. They had had one of those in the Articles of Confederation, and it didn’t work for them. That’s why the Constitution is very clear in Article VI that it supersedes the states; that’s why all federal and state officials MUST swear or affirm their allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, look it up. The nature of the American Union, then, is based on popular sovereignty, the idea that the people have the right to rule. The American people spoke during ratification and created a new federal government in which they vested their sovereignty. The federal government is not merely an agent of the states, as John C. Calhoun asserted; it was not and is not a compact between states. The founders specifically avoided that. So, if a state wants to leave the Union, the only possible way is for 'We the People' to agree to let it go. But there is no specific mechanism for secession in the constitution as it stands. And really, there is no way to read a right of secession into its text. It isn't there, and that's because the Founders never intended for states to break away. Therefore, secession, which would effectively destroy the Constitution, was and is illegal. And Lincoln was simply carrying out his oath of office to 'preserve, protect, and defend' it.
  • There is a very strong message for my country, the United States, which is very rich, has gotten a lot richer over the last 50 years, but has gotten no happier. The message for the United States is clear. For a society that just chases money, we are chasing the wrong things. Our social fabric is deteriorating, social trust is deteriorating, faith in government is deteriorating
  • Smoke all night, sleep all day. That to me, is the American way!
  • We are America! I don't give a rat's ass if it helps! We are America! We do not fucking torture! We don't do it!
  • Whenever challenges face the world, one fact is clear. The world looks to the United States... The United States is 'the indispensable nation' when trouble arises in the world. From responding to humanitarian crises to confronting terrorism, America leads. Because, as the president said, 'that's how we roll'.
  • Tanya Somanader, "President Obama: That's How We Roll" (29 September 2014), The White House.
  • 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.
    • Adlai Stevenson, speech to the American Legion convention (27 August 1952), New York City. As quoted in "Democratic Candidate Adlai Stevenson Defines the Nature of Patriotism" in Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches In History (2004) by William Safire, pp. 81-82.
  • Painfully convinced of the unutterable wrongs and woes of slavery; profoundly believing that, according to the true spirit of the Constitution and the sentiments of the fathers, it can find no place under our National Government.
    • Charles Sumner, Freedom National, Slavery Sectional (27 July 1852), United States Senate.

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  • We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty, which includes the contribution and assimilation of different racial and ethnic groups.
  • Despite some of the nonsense that has been said about me by those who should know better, and so much nonsense, or some of which subtracts from the sum total of human knowledge, despite this all, I am a man, a black man, an American. And my history is not unlike that of many blacks from the deep South. And in many ways it is not that much different from that of many other Americans.
  • Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal' and 'endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights', they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this nation was built. The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity, any more than they lost their humanity, because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.
  • Want a trip into bizarroland? Take a look at the Twitter feed for Iran's 'Supreme Guide' Ayatollah Khamenei. No, his Twitter feed hasn't been hacked by Al Sharpton. Nor is this a spoof site. It's the real online megaphone for the Iranian dictator. This pasty old man doesn't give a flying fork about black people, especially those who live in the United States. When he and his underlings chant 'Death to America', they don't mean death to white America. They're talking about the whole country, from our black president at the top to undocumented immigrants on the bottom and everyone in between.
  • Vietnamese anti-Americanism scarcely exists. What we call the Vietnam War, and what they call the American War, casts no shadow, especially not in the south, which fought on the American side, but not even in Hanoi, a city heavily bombed by the United States. I saw no evidence that the U.S. or anyone else ever bombed Hanoi. All the damage has apparently been repaired... Americans don't hold grudges for long, either, after the furies of war have subsided. Hardly any of us hate the Japanese, the Germans, or the Vietnamese. We rightly despise the Taliban and ISIS, but not the innocent people of Afghanistan or Iraq.
  • British Muslims are losing the war against ISIS. So says Sunny Hundal in a new essay in Quartz magazine. 'For the vast majority of Muslims who disdain its ideology', he writes, 'the challenge that presents to them is deadlier and far more difficult because they are caught in a pincer movement: with public and government suspicion on one side, and a seductive and supposedly empowering ideology on the other'. According to the FBI, around 200 American Muslims have left the United States to join ISIS. And according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, 600-700 British Muslims have left the United Kingdom just this year alone. The grand total of British Muslims running off to join ISIS is well over 1,000. Compared to just 200 Americans. The number of Muslims in each country is almost identical at roughly 2.7 million apiece. So British Muslims are at least five times more likely to join ISIS than American Muslims. Why? For at least three reasons. As Hundal notes, two ideas have been bouncing around in the British Muslim community for years, that Muslims should travel abroad to defend their fellow Muslims when necessary and to strive for a caliphate, an Islamic government, if and whenever possible. American Muslims don't find these ideas quite so compelling, and I suspect that's for reason number three.
  • The United States is a nation of immigrants. A foreign-born person can become American in a way that he or she simply can't become English or Scottish or Welsh or French or German or anything else except maybe Canadian. National identities in the United States and Canada are based far less on ethnicity and religion than in the old world, where national identities have much longer histories that stretch back hundreds and sometimes even thousands of years. Assimilating into mainstream American culture isn't easy, but there's a well-worn path trod by nearly every family in this country. The process itself is part of our identity.
  • American Muslims are more likely to join ISIS than al-Qaeda. Which isn't the least bit surprising. Al Qaeda does nothing but kill people. Its record is naught but destruction. But ISIS has actually built something. It’s appalling, of course. The Islamic state is a blood-soaked totalitarian prison. But so was the Soviet Union, and it, too, inspired huge numbers of people all over the world to take up arms and violently create knock-offs, from Cuba and Vietnam to South Yemen and even Somalia and Ethiopia. We should never underestimate the appeal of a utopian fantasy in the human psyche even if it is drenched in blood. Some people who find these utopias stirring deny that they’re drenched in blood. Others make excuses. 'You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs'. Still others are attracted to these ideas and places because they’re drenched in blood. Jihadi John, the Kuwait-British man who beheaded a string of jumpsuit-clad journalists and aid workers on camera, is clearly some kind of psychopath. So are the ISIS fighters who serially rape their captured “war brides.” So is Lisa Borch, the 15-year old Danish girl who fell in love with an Islamist extremist and stabbed her mother to death with a kitchen knife. There’s an upside to the exodus, I suppose. Britain and the United States are better off without these people. If they didn’t run off to Syria, they’d be living down the street. We’d have fewer Jihadi Johns and more Lisa Borchs. Syria sure as hell isn’t better off with these people as “immigrants,” but they’ll eventually die there when the Islamic State, like every other monstrous utopian entity, either destroys itself from within or is destroyed from without by fed-up outsiders. When it finally happens, whether it’s next year or two decades from now, the British and American Muslim communities will be, on average, a little more politically moderate and sane than they are now.
  • The United States doesn't randomly grab foreign nationals off the streets to use as bargaining chips... The U.S. doesn't cave.
  • There were no violent Nazi-like demonstrations in the United States against Arabs or Muslims, not even on or after September 11, 2001, when ten times as many people were murdered in the most spectacular terrorist attack in world history... There are five times as many Muslims in the United States as there are in Belgium, but the United States is not a hotbed of homegrown Islamic extremism. We've suffered some acts of terrorism since 9/11—the mass shooting in San Bernardino, the Boston Marathon bombing and the massacre at Fort Hood. If American Muslims and European Muslims were equally predisposed to jihadism, we’d experience roughly five times as many attacks. But we don’t, mostly because Muslims feel more at home in the United States than they do in Europe... The United States has always been better at assimilation than Europe. Ours is a nation of immigrants and always has been. Most of us on this side of the Atlantic have a civic identity, but Europeans, by and large, still have a national blood-and-soil identity... Americans don't want immigrants to self-segregate in cultural ghettoes. It happens to a certain extent anyway, but less so than in Europe. We not only welcome immigrants, we expect and encourage them to join us rather than live separately alongside us. In Europe, by contrast, Muslim immigrants are forever 'the other'. American Muslims are also more interested in joining mainstream American culture. Those who immigrate here must go through a rigorous selection process, and they can't expect to just show up and live on state benefits in perpetuity like they can in Europe. They must work hard and assimilate to some extent, or they'll fail. They have, on average, done a very good job of it. American Muslims are actually a little richer on average than the general population. European Muslims, by contrast, are much poorer on average... A majority of American Muslims view themselves as Americans first, rather than as Muslims first, whereas 81 percent of British Muslims view themselves as Muslims first. French Muslims are as likely as American Muslims to identify first with the nation-state they live in, but France is the only country in Europe that has seriously attempted to nurture a French identity among its immigrant populations... Americans won't likely ever forget how the supposedly 'sophisticated' European opinion-makers said America's chickens were coming home to roost when al-Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center, and how we, for one brain-dead reason or another, had it coming. I wonder what Europeans think of that attitude now.
  • Americans are good at solving problems. We’ve put men on the moon, cured countless diseases, and invented nearly all modern technology from televisions and telephones to microchips and the Internet. We created a durable democracy that has lasted more than 200 years, ended slavery, destroyed Hitler's Nazi regime, and bested the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
  • I am not worried about the Communist Party taking over the Government of the United States, but I am against a person, whose loyalty is not to the Government of the United States, holding a Government job. They are entirely different things. I am not worried about this country ever going Communist. We have too much sense for that.
    • Harry S. Truman, responding to a question at his press conference (February 28, 1947); reported in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1947, p. 191
  • No nation on this globe should be more internationally minded than America because it was built by all nations.
    • Harry S. Truman, speech at Chicago on 17 March 1945, as recorded in Good Old Harry.
  • No California gentleman or lady ever abuses or oppresses a Chinaman, under any circumstances, an explanation that seems to be much needed in the east. Only the scum of the population do it; they and their children. They, and, naturally and consistently, the policemen and politicians, likewise, for these are the dust-licking pimps and slaves of the scum, there as well as elsewhere in America.
  • I think it's un-American not to go out with a woman, not to be with a beautiful woman, not to get my dick sucked.

V[edit]

  • That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

W[edit]

  • We don't believe in credibility, because we know that we're fucking incredible... We don't like to kill our unborn, we need them to grow up and fight our wars.
  • I believe the preservation of our civil liberties to be the most fundamental and important of all our governmental problems, because it always has been with us and always will be with us and if we ever permit those liberties to be destroyed, there will be nothing left in our system worthy of preservation. They constitute the soul of democracy. I believe that there is grave danger in this country of losing our civil liberties as they have been lost in other countries.
    • Earl Warren, views on civil rights declared in a written statement requested by Robert W. Kenny, read during fund raising luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel, in Los Angeles, in the summer of 1938, as quoted in Lawyers Guild Review Vol. 13-14 (1953), p. 47.
  • We have consistently denied the constitutionality of measures which restrict the rights of citizens on account of race. There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.
  • Unhappy it is though to reflect, that a Brother's Sword has been sheathed in a Brother's breast, and that, the once happy and peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched with Blood, or Inhabited by Slaves. Sad alternative! But can a virtuous Man hesitate in his choice?
  • I am sure there never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe, that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God, who is alone able to protect them.
    • George Washington, letter to John Armstrong (11 March 1782), as quoted in Ford's Writings of George Washington (1891), vol. XII, p. 111.
  • America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights and previleges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.
    • George Washington, letter to the members of the Volunteer Association and other Inhabitants of the Kingdom of Ireland who have lately arrived in the City of New York (2 December 1783), as quoted in John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (1938), vol. 27, p. 254.
  • The establishment of our new government seemed to be the last great experiment for promoting human happiness by a reasonable compact in civil society. It was to be in the first instance, in a considerable degree, a government of accommodation as well as a government of laws. Much was to be done by prudence, much by conciliation, much by firmness. Few, who are not philosophical spectators, can realize the difficult and delicate part, which a man in my situation had to act. All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external happiness of elevated office.
  • The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
  • We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land, the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened age, and in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining & holding the highest offices that are known in the United States.
  • It is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
  • While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter.
  • Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can clearly forsee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union, by consolidating it in a common bond of principle.
    • Attributed to George Washington, John Bernard, Retrospections of America, 1797–1811, p. 91 (1887). This is from Bernard's account of a conversation he had with Washington in 1798. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that's what you're asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves...

    Look, I'm sure there have been inequalities. If those inequalities are presently affecting any of the Indians now alive, they have a right to a court hearing. But what happened 100 years ago in our country can't be blamed on us today...

    This may come as a surprise to you, but I wasn't alive when reservations were created — even if I do look that old. I have no idea what the best method of dealing with the Indians in the 1800s would have been. Our forefathers evidently thought they were doing the right thing.

  • I never use the words Democrats and Republicans. It's liberals and Americans.
    • James G. Watt, in a statement of November 1981, quoted in New York Times (10 October 1983); also quoted in Energy and Environment : The Unfinished Business (1986) by Congressional Quarterly, Inc., p. 91.
  • Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.
    • Noah Webster, writing under the nom de plume of "A Citizen of America", as quoted in An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Constitution (17 October 1787).
  • I was a very minor missionary, actually a heretic, but I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape, and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the All-Highest?
  • America has always been very visible... I'm still proud to be from the country that I'm from, I still love the country that I'm from. I'm still able to achieve great things here and I'm doing my best to do so. But, it's amazing. When we came together like that, when we put our differences aside and we declared war on the people that harmed us... When we got together to help the people and the families of the people that died... It made me feel amazing. It made me feel patriotic, it made me feel strong, it made me love this country in a way that in all my years I'd never really loved it. You know? Because that's the America we all dream of. That's the America that we all want, this America that's strong, and powerful and strikes back when necessary. The sleeping giant that we were taught about in our history books, ready to just to just be the super-power that we need to be and having the best army in the world and wow. Wow. A congress and a president that'll work together, and what have we become? Eleven years later? Eleven years later we don't have those answers that we wanted... We've done so much to gut ourselves. We've done so much to gut our freedoms... At the end of the day, the America that we could have been had we stayed on that path, the America that we could have been had we stayed together, had we worked hard to rebuild, to be better to be stronger, is a dream again. You know, and that's really sad... We're more divided than we've ever been, and that? That breaks my heart... You? If you're under the age of eighteen, you've never lived in an America like ours. You know? You've lived in a good country, don't get me wrong. You've lived in a fantastic country, one that's ailing right now, there's no arguing that. But, so close and yet? So far... I remember that American dream, and I just wonder. I wonder if America can ever be the same again. We'll see.
  • Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America, my fellow citizens, I do not say it in disparagement of any other great people. America is the only idealistic nation in the world. When I speak practical judgments about business affairs, I can only guess whether I am speaking the voice of America or not, but when I speak the ideal purposes of history I know that I am speaking the voice of America, because I have saturated myself since I was a boy in the records of that spirit, and everywhere in them there is this authentic tone of the love of justice and the service of humanity. If by any mysterious influence of error America should not take the leading part in this new enterprise of concerted power, the world would experience one of those reversals of sentiment, one of those penetrating chills of reaction, which would lead to a universal cynicism, for if America goes back upon mankind, mankind has no other place to turn. It is the hope of nations all over the world that America will do this great thing.
    • Woodrow Wilson, address at Sioux Falls (8 September 1919), as recorded in Addresses of President Wilson (1919), p. 86; the first portion of this quote has sometimes been paraphrased: "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."
  • Republicanism did not die away. They remain to temper the scramble for private wealth and happiness and they continue to underlie for many of our ideals and aspirations: for our belief in equality and our dislike of pretension and privilege; our deep yearning for individual autonomy and freedom from all ties of dependency; our periodic hopes, expressed, for example, in the election of military heroes and in the mugwump and progressive movements, that some political leaders might rise above parties and become truly disinterested umpires and deliberative representatives; our long-held conviction that farming is morally healthier and freer of selfish marketplace concerns than other activities; our preoccupation with the fragility of the republic and its liability to corruption; and, finally, our remarkable obsession with our own national virtue-an obsession that still bewilders the rest of the world.

X[edit]

  • The problem facing our people here in America is bigger than all other personal or organizational differences. Therefore as leaders, we must stop worrying about the threat we seem to think we pose to each other's personal prestige.
    • Malcolm X, as quoted in Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements (1965) by George Breitman, p. 21.

By naturalized and foreign-born Americans[edit]

B[edit]

  • Americans still admire dignity. But the word has become un-moored from any larger set of rules or ethical system.

C[edit]

  • God's blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn't done with America yet. I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions... Reignite the promise of America... It is a time for truth. It is a time for liberty. It is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States.

E[edit]

  • In America, more than anywhere else, the individual is lost in the achievements of the many. America is beginning to be the world leader in scientific investigation. American scholarship is both patient and inspiring. The Americans show an unselfish devotion to science, which is the very opposite of the conventional European view of your countrymen. Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves. It is not true that the dollar is an American fetish. The American student is not interested in dollars, not even in success as such, but in his task, the object of the search. It is his painstaking application to the study of the infinitely little and the infinitely large which accounts for his success in astronomy.

H[edit]

  • What then is the American, this new man? He is either an European, or the descendant of an European, hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country.

J[edit]

K[edit]

  • Thus are assaults on patriotism failures of character. They are made by privileged people who enjoy the full benefits offered by the country they deride and detest, but they lack the basic decency to pay it the allegiance and respect that honor demands. But honor, of course, is also an object of their derision... In the long and deadly battle against those who hate... and hate America in particular, we must be powerfully armed, morally as well as materially. To sustain us through the worst times we need courage and unity, and these must rest on a justified and informed patriotism.

M[edit]

  • I wasn't born in America, but I got here as fast as I could.

N[edit]

O[edit]

P[edit]

  • The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind... Mingling religion with politics may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America... But where says some is the King of America? I'll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve as monarchy, that in America the law is king... Receive the fugitive and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.
  • Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.
  • It is the object only of war that makes it honorable. And if there was ever a just war since the world began, it is this in which America is now engaged... We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.
  • Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is AMERICANS.
  • Whoever is fortunate enough to be an American citizen came into the greatest inheritance man has ever enjoyed. He has had the benefit of every heroic and intellectual effort men have made for many thousands of years, realized at last. If Americans should now turn back, submit again to slavery, it would be a betrayal so base the human race might better perish.
  • Some anti-Americanism derives simply from our being a colossus that bestrides the earth. This resentment may be incurable. But much anti-Americanism derives from the role U.S. political, economic, and military power has played in denying such freedoms to others. U.S. foreign policy has to be rethought. It needs not tweaking but overhauling. We need: a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States. [..] A country has to look back before it can move forward. Instituting a doctrine of the mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors. When Brandt went down on one knee in the Warsaw ghetto [in 1970], his gesture was gratifying to World War II survivors, but it was also ennobling and cathartic for Germany. Would such an approach be futile for the United States?

R[edit]

  • America's abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America's industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.
    • Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966).
  • Businessmen are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life from the totalitarian statism that is swallowing the rest of the world. All the other social groups- workers, farmers, professional men, scientists, soldiers- exist under dictatorships, even though they exist in chains, in terror, in misery, and in progressive self-destruction. But there is no such group as businessmen under a dictatorship. Their place is taken by armed thugs: by bureaucrats and commissars. Businessmen are the symbol of a free society, the symbol of America.
    • Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966).
  • Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen.
    • Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966).
  • The most profound breach in this country is not between the rich and the poor, but between the people and the intellectuals. In their view of life, the American people are predominantly Apollonian. The mainstream intellectuals are Dionysian. This means the people are reality-oriented, common sense-oriented, technology-oriented. The intellectuals call this "materialistic," and "middle-class." The intellectuals are emotion-oriented, and seek in panic an escape from a reality they are unable to deal with, and from a technological civilization that ignores their feelings.
  • Try to tell a Russian housewife, who trudges miles on foot in sub-zero weather in order to spend hours standing in line at a state store dispensing food rations, that America is defiled by shopping centers, expressways and family cars.
    • Ayn Rand, The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (1971).
  • Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production.
    • Ayn Rand, as quoted in The Ayn Rand Letter.
  • I can say, not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political, and aesthetic roots, that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.
    • Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It (1982).

S[edit]

  • Consistent with Martin Luther King's vision, the government should stop color-coding its citizens.
    • Dinesh D'Souza, "As I See It", in Forbes Vol. 158, no. 13 (2 December 1996), p. 48.
  • In most countries in the world, your fate and your identity are handed to you; in America, you determine them for yourself. America is a country where you get to write the script of your own life. Your life is like a blank sheet of paper, and you are the artist.
  • Americans are the friendliest people you will encounter, but they have few friends.
    • Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About America (2003), Ch. 1: Why They Hate Us.
  • What the immigrant cannot help noticing is that America is a country where the poor live comparatively well. This fact was dramatized in the 1980s, when CBS television broadcast an anti-Reagan documentary, "People Like Us", which was intended to show the miseries of the poor during an American recession. The Soviet Union also broadcast the documentary, with a view to embarrassing the Reagan administration. But by the testimony of former Soviet leaders, it had the opposite effect. Ordinary people across the Soviet Union saw that the poorest Americans have television sets and microwave ovens and cars. They arrived at the same perception of America that I witnessed in a friend of mine from Bombay who has been unsuccessfully trying to move to the United States for nearly a decade. Finally I asked him, "Why are you so eager to come to America"? He replied, "Because I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat."
    • Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About America (2003), Ch. 3: Becoming American.
  • As an immigrant, I am constantly surprised by how much I hear racism talked about and how little I actually see it. Even fewer are the incidents in which I have experienced it directly.
    • Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About America (2003), Ch. 4: The Reparations Fallacy.
  • America is a new kind of society that produces a new kind of human being. That human being—confident, self-reliant, tolerant, generous, future oriented—is a vast improvement over the wretched, servile, fatalistic, and intolerant human being that traditional societies have always produced, and that Islamic societies produce now.
    • Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About America (2003), Ch. 6: America the Beautiful.
  • America is the greatest, freest, and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world.
    • Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About America (2003), Ch. 6: America the Beautiful.
  • America is an abstaining superpower; it shows no real interest in conquering and subjugating the rest of the world. Imagine how the Soviets would have acted if they had won the Cold War. On occasion the United States intervenes to overthrow a tyrannical regime or to halt massive human rights abuses in another country, but it never stays to rule that country.
  • Coerced virtues are not virtues at all. Consider the woman who is required to wear a veil. There is no modesty in this, because she is being compelled. Compulsion cannot produce virtue, it can only produce the outward semblance of virtue. Thus a free society like America's is not merely more prosperous, more varied, more peaceful, and more tolerant; it is also morally superior to the theocratic and authoritarian regimes that America's enemies advocate.
  • We should love our country not just because it is ours, but also because it is good. America is far from perfect, and there is lots of room for improvement. In spite of its flaws, however, American life as it is lived today is the best life that our world has to offer. Ultimately America is worthy of our love and sacrifice because, more than any other society, it makes possible the good life, and the life that is good.
  • When I was a kid, I would sit on the floor of my house in Mumbai and I would read about the great nations, the great empires. The Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire... they all came and they all went. But I always thought there was one exception to that rule, and that's the United States of America, which is a different kind of empire, if it's an empire at all. It's an empire of ideals.
  • The world still needs America. We remain the custodians of the idea that wealth should be obtained through invention and trade, not through forced seizure.
    • Dinesh D'Souza, America: Imagine a World without Her (2014), Ch. 16: Decline Is a Choice.
  • I love America. I chose this country. And like millions of immigrants, I've been blessed by my life in America. This country does something truly unique. It allows you to write the script of your own life.
  • Slavery existed all over the world. The Egyptians had slaves. The Chinese had slaves. The Africans did. American Indians had slaves long before Columbus, and tragically, slavery continues today in many countries. What's uniquely western is the abolition of slavery, and what's uniquely American is the fighting of a great war to end it.

W[edit]

  • No more, America, in mournful strain. Of wrongs, and grievance unredress'd complain. No longer shalt thou dread the iron chain. Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand. Had made, and with it meant t' enslave the land.
    • Phillis Wheatley, "To The Right Honorable William, Earl of Dartmouth" st. 2-3, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773).

By non-Americans[edit]

A[edit]

  • In America I was liberated from a certain naïve belief in culture and attained the capacity to see culture from the outside. To clarify the point: in spite of all social criticism and all consciousness of the primacy of economic factors, the fundamental importance of the mind—“Geist”—was quasi a dogma self-evident to me from the very beginning. The fact that this was not a foregone conclusion, I learned in America, where no reverential silence in the presence of everything intellectual prevailed.
    • Theodor Adorno, as quoted in The Origin of Negative Dialectics (Free Press: 1977), p. 187.
  • I'm happy. America is the country of freedom and democracy, there are jobs opportunities, there is good education, and we are looking forward to having a good life over there.
  • I did more for the Russian serf in giving him land as well as personal liberty, than America did for the negro slave set free by the proclamation of President Lincoln. I am at a loss to understand how you Americans could have been so blind as to leave the negro slave without tools to work out his salvation. In giving him personal liberty, you have him an obligation to perform to the state which he must be unable to fulfill. Without property of any kind he cannot educate himself and his children. I believe the time must come when many will question the manner of American emancipation of the negro slaves in 1863. The vote, in the hands of an ignorant man, without either property or self respect, will be used to the damage of the people at large; for the rich man, without honor or any kind of patriotism, will purchase it, and with it swamp the rights of a free people.
    • Alexander II, emperor of Russia, conversation with Wharton Barker, Pavlovski Palace (August 17, 1879); reported in Barker, "The Secret of Russia's Friendship", The Independent (March 24, 1904), p. 647.

B[edit]

  • In America, if you want to marry a girl, you can not go to her fathers house and swap her for fifteen gallons of insecticide.
  • If you follow your dream, you can do anything in America.
  • At the end of the day, my view that there is no one standard for evaluating political progress or regress that is universally applicable. There’s different reasonable ways approaching the question of what is a good political society. From Plato on we have seen competing models for society, and for utopia. The American standard for measuring political progress and reform in accordance with the democratic ideals embedded in its Constitution and advocated by its founding fathers have had great impact on many political movements in American history. Of course, there is always a huge gap between the ideal and the reality. But at the end of the day, the standard for evaluating reality should draw on the leading political ideas embedded in American civil culture... Not only does the United States claim that their democratic model is best for them, but it's that it is best for the rest of the world. Some Americans assume that alternative systems are fundamentally illegitimate. Naturally this attitude upsets many...
  • I found America the friendliest, most forgiving, and most generous nation I had ever visited. We South Americans tend to think of things in terms of convenience, whereas people in the United States approach things ethically. This — amateur Protestant that I am — I admired above all. It even helped me overlook skyscrapers, paper bags, television, plastics, and the unholy jungle of gadgets.
  • The USA is the world's foremost economic and military power, with global interests and an unmatched global reach. America's gross domestic product accounts for close to a quarter of the world total, and its military budget is reckoned to be almost as much as the rest of the world's defence spending put together. The country is also a major source of entertainment: American TV, Hollywood films, jazz, blues, rock and rap music are primary ingredients in global popular culture. The United States originated in a revolution which separated it from the British Crown. The constitution, drafted in 1787, established a federal system with a division of powers which has remained unchanged in form since its inception. People from all over the globe still try make the U.S. their home... The U.S. contains a highly diverse population, the product of numerous and sustained waves of immigration. Ethnic and racial diversity - the "melting pot" - is celebrated as a core element of the American ideology. The 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed racial and other discrimination... U.S. foreign policy has often mixed the idealism of its 'mission' to spread democracy with the pursuit of national self-interest. Given America's leading role on the international stage, its foreign policy aims and actions are likely to remain the subject of heated debate and criticism, as well as praise.

C[edit]

D[edit]

  • Now, then. Landon Donovan for the United States. Twisting, turning. Can he find the right ball? Cesar hit it away; it's played back in by Bocanegra. Oh, and nearly Altidore getting under of it. A really good clearance by Jokić; just when it looked as if Jozy Altidore might be in. They really have to put Slovenia under pressure. If they can get one goal, I think, John. You just wonder, whether then Slovenia might start to look a little bit shaky and start to wonder. He's got in, behind. Donovan, Donovan goes in and he scores! Oh, what a goal! Landon Donovan, tremendous strike for the United States! It looked impossible, but Donovan did it! And the USA are back in business!
  • Four minutes of added time. That might lift the United States, that's time enough. Dreadfully negative, really. From the Algerians, they're looking for things on the break. I suspect they'll get a chance or two, on the break. Ghezzal, that's a good ball he's found there to Guedioura who plays it deep. Saïfi, with a header. Howard, gratefully claims it. Distribution, brilliant. Landon Donovan. Oh, are things on here for the USA? Can they do it here? Cross, and Dempsey is denied again, and Donovan has scored! Oh, can you believe this? Go, go, USA! Certainly through! Oh, it's incredible! You could not write a script like this!
  • Oh, can you believe this? Abby Wambach has saved the USA's life in this World Cup!
  • The United States brags about its political system.
    • Xiaoping Deng, as quoted in The Pacific Rim and the Western World: Strategic, Economic, and Cultural Perspectives (1987), p. 105.

E[edit]

F[edit]

  • America continues to be, for many, a land of dreams. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people. In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants... Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our 'neighbors' and everything around us.

G[edit]

  • I was the last to consent to the separation; but the separation having been made and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power.
    • George III, to John Adams in Londnon, as quoted in Adams, C.F. (editor) (1850–56), The works of John Adams, second president of the United States, vol. VIII, pp. 255–257, quoted in Ayling, p. 323 and Hibbert, p. 165
  • American society is still among the healthiest in world, if not the best. The United Nations’ Human Development Index, a measure of a health, education and standard-of-living indicators, ranks America eighth, behind Australia and a handful of European nations. The United States remains the most coveted destination for would-be immigrants and foreign students.

H[edit]

  • In the U.S., if you are a singer, you're usually a singer for life.
  • [F]armers! Go to America! There, neither princes nor nobles exist; there, all people are equal.
  • I know that's hard for you to accept, but George kind of knocked it out of the park. I can tell you, and I'm actually here to tell you that America now has five million people being kept alive by these drugs. That's something that everyone should know.
  • The gigantic North American state, with the enormous resources of its virgin soil, is much more invulnerable than the encircled German Reich. Should a day come when the die which will finally decide the destinies of the nations will have to be cast in that country, England would be doomed if she stood alone.
  • This is the last disgusting death-rattle of a corrupt and outworn system which is a blot on the history of this people. Since the Civil War, in which the Southern States were conquered, against all historical logic and sound sense, the American people have been in a condition of political and popular decay. In that war, it was not the Southern States, but the American people themselves who were conquered. In this spurious blossoming of economic progress and power politics, America has ever since been drawn deeper into the mire of progressive self-destruction. The beginnings of a great new social order based on the principle of slavery and inequality were destroyed by that war, and with them also the embryo of a future truly great America that would not have been ruled by a corrupt caste of tradesmen, but by a real Herren-class that would have swept away all the falsities of liberty and equality.

J[edit]

  • Thus the American presents a strange picture: a European with Negro behaviour and an Indian soul.
    • Carl Jung, Civilization in Transition (1964), tr. R. F. C. Hull, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, p. 46.

K[edit]

  • A British vessel, stopping on the way back from India at the Comoro Islands in the Mozambique Channel, finds the native inhabitants in revolt against their Arab masters; and when they ask why they have taken arms, are told, 'America is free, could not we be?'
    • Gijsbert Karel, Count van Hogendorp, in 1784, as quoted in "The age of the democratic revolution: a political history of Europe and America, 1760-1860" (1969), by Robert Roswell Palmer.
  • I hope that there is no jealousy, or even ground of jealousy, on the part of the Americans, but that they know that when their rights come to be discussed here the greatest attention will be paid to their interests. They have long been acquainted with the habits of this country, and with the mode of administering justice here. Until within these few years their causes used to come over here to be discussed, and I never heard that the decisions in our Courts ever awakened the least jealousy in the breasts of the inhabitants of that country.
    • Lord Kenyon, C.J., Wilson v. Marryat (1798), 8 T. R. 44, reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 13.
  • We always knew that Americans were smart people. Stupid people could not have risen to the economic level that they've reached.
  • American society, composed of diverse races and ethnicities, has a lot of tolerance of different kinds of people and can embrace them all as Americans. Korean society, however, is composed of a single ethnicity. It is more intolerant to people of different ethnicity and skin colors. Koreans have a strong bond to people of Korean ethnic origin even when, as in the case of the gunman, a large proportion of their upbringing took place in a different culture. That's why there is widespread mourning and collective guilt over the gunman's behavior and its consequences. It's doubtful whether the South Korean reaction will really help anyone... In its guilt-laden reaction to the Virginia Tech massacre South Korea may be muddling America's healing process. The American reaction is that the crime was committed by a single isolated individual who happened to be South Korean, and that it's not South Korea that committed the crime. But South Korea doesn't seem to make a distinction in this sense... Koreans are in shock and concerned that this incident will have a negative impact on South Korea's well-built reputation and the future treatment of all Koreans in America. But it's solely Korea's perspective, and it's an overreaction.
  • My whole opinion about Americans changed completely while escaping from North Korea. While I was on my way to South Korea, I got caught by Chinese cops and was about to be sent back to North Korea. But thanks to some Americans from a non-profit organization, I was released from the Chinese prison holding North Korean refuges in order to send them back to North Korea. When I first found out about this, I couldn't believe that Americans helped and saved my life. They were so different from the kind of Americans were supposed to be. I couldn't believe that Americans took their time and money in order to help me of different race and nationality. It was hard for me to believe that Americans donated their money to help North Korean refugees like me. At first, I didn't believe all of this. But when my parents who had escaped before me and arrived in Thailand told me all about this in detail, I was so touched. I haven't forgotten how grateful I am since then. To this day, I still think that Americans are the people who saved my life.
  • When my family escaped from North Korea, our final destination was America, not South Korea. The reason why we initially chose to immigrate to America was because we received help from an American civic group called LiNK. At the time my family left North Korea, it cost about $3,000 to take one person out of North Korea and bring them to the immigration office in Thailand. So, it cost approximately $9,000 for the three members of my family to escape from North Korea. Even when I was arrested by Chinese authorities, this American civic group paid to rescue me from the Chinese detention center. For these reasons, I’m still thankful for all the Americans who helped me. I think they literally saved my life. I'm opening with this story because, if I could turn back time, I would choose to immigrate to America, instead of South Korea... I had a chance to visit America in August 2014. To be honest, I didn't love New York City because it was too crowded, hectic and flamboyant. But I absolutely loved other parts of America I visited. They felt like paradise to me. If I could speak English and if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would allow me to immigrate to America, I would live in the U.S. rather than South Korea. I don’t know if it will ever happen. Right now, I will continue to work hard for my company so that I can be a valuable employee at the company.

L[edit]

  • U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Korean-American Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College, as the next head of the World Bank. Obama's selection of Kim drew praise both in the U.S. and here in Korea. Kim moved to the U.S. with his parents when he was five and is an American citizen, but Koreans like to think of him as one of their own. Americans also congratulated Kim, who became the first Asian-American president of an Ivy League university and nominee for the next head of the World Bank. Critics voiced concerns whether Kim, a medical doctor by training, would be able to handle the developmental assistance the World Bank is known for, but nobody had any problem with his ethnic background. Yet the exact opposite is happening here in Korea right now. The Philippine-born naturalized Korean citizen Jasmine Lee, who became a Saenuri Party lawmaker, has been the victim of malicious attacks on the Internet since the April 11 general election. People have been posting malicious comments about her on Twitter and other social networks, somehow linking her to the grisly murder of a young woman recently killed by an ethnic Korean from China.
  • As a party list candidate, Lee has never made any campaign pledges. But somebody posted false rumors on the Internet that Lee had promised major benefits for foreign migrant workers and brides using taxpayers' money. Lee married a Korean and legally acquired Korean citizenship in 1998. After being widowed in 2010, she formed a group supporting foreign wives of Korean men and also worked at Seoul City Hall helping such women. She even played a small role in the movie 'Punch' about multicultural families in Korea and appealed to Koreans to pay more attention to people like her. It is perfectly fair to question her ability to serve as a lawmaker. But the criticism against her on the Internet reflects nothing but xenophobia. Lee will serve as a lawmaker representing the 200,000 foreign wives of Korean men who live here. They are all Korean citizens. It does not befit one of the world's 10 largest exporters to get excited about the achievements of an American who comes from Korea but on the other hand to react with hostility to an immigrant who achieves something here. Such double standards are unacceptable.
  • Sixty years ago, at dawn on June 25, the Korean War broke out when Communist North Korea invaded the Republic of Korea. In response, 16 member countries of the United Nations, including the United States, joined with the Republic of Korea to defend freedom. Over the next three years of fighting, about 37,000 Americans lost their lives. They fought for the freedom of Koreans they did not even know, and thanks to their sacrifices, the peace and democracy of the republic were protected... On the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, I remain grateful to America for having participated in the war. At that time, the Republic of Korea was one of the most impoverished countries, with an annual per capita income of less than $40. In 2009, my country became a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee, the first aid recipient to become a donor and in only one generation.
  • In Australia, if you drive a red or yellow Bentley convertible down the street, everyone thinks 'What a wanker!' In America, you drive a red Bentley down the street, everyone thinks 'Nice car, mate! Well done!' There is just a different approach to success and to striving for success in America and that's the bit that I miss. Not that I have a yellow Bentley, nor do I want one. But, I do like that acceptance of people striving in America. That's the one thing I miss.

M[edit]

  • I've got nothing against any individual American, except that there aren't any. They're always Irish-American, African-American–there's never an American-American you can blame!

N[edit]

  • I am certain that I speak on behalf of my entire nation when I say, today we are all Americans. In grief, as in defiance.

P[edit]

  • I found that many Americans did not even know that a country named Iran existed, let alone what it was like. Even among the diplomatic corps and among well-educated people, there was a vagueness about who the Iranians were or what the culture was, a tendency to confuse Iran with Iraq or to mistakenly assume that Iran is an Arab country simply because it is an Islamic nation. This fuzziness about the world outside is unique to America; among the intelligensia of European countries, for example, there is generally a higher level of awareness and information regarding cultures other than their own.
    • Ashraf Pahlavi, as quoted in Faces in a Mirror (1980), Prentice Hall, page 100.
  • I am continually amused by the Communist argument that the United States tries to prevent the less-developed countries from industrializing in order to keep them subservient to herself. In our extended dealings with the American aid authorities, we have never found this to be the case; on the contrary, they have helped us with a wide variety of industrial projects, including those that compete directly with American industries. The Americans have enough sense to prefer strong and prosperous friends, and they realize that their most lucrative international trade is with other highly industrialized countries, not with weak and backward ones.
  • Americans smile all the time. I remember when I walked in the street, if my eyes met others' eyes; most of them gave me a friendly smile. At first, it felt really strange and awkward because I was not good at smiling at strangers. However, as time passed, I realized a smile could make me happy all day. I tried to give happy smiles to people as much as I could... I prefer the U.S. to South Korea. The most critical reason is that living in the U.S. makes me feel equal to others... I would like to go to graduate school in the U.S. Not only because I like America's diverse culture, but also because studying abroad helps me.
  • There's a great deal of criticism about the United States, but there is one thing that nobody criticizes the United States. Nobody thinks the United States went to strike against Iraq in order to gain land or water or oil, nobody thinks America has any ambitions about real estate. As it happened in the 20th century, the American boys went to fight in two world wars, many of them lost their lives. The United States won the wars, won the land, but you gave back every piece of it. America didn't keep anything out of her victories for herself. You gave back Japan, an improved Japan, you gave Germany, an improved Germany, you've heard the Marshall Plan. And today, I do not believe there is any serious person on earth who thinks the United States, whether you agree or don't agree with this strike, has any egoistic or material purposes in the war against Iraq. The reason is, for this strike, that you cannot let the world run wild. And people who are coming from different corners of our life, attack and kill women and children and innocent people, just out of the blue. And I think the whole world is lucky that there is a United States that has the will and the power to handle the new danger that has arrived on the 21st century.
  • The U.S. is a very democratic state. There's no doubt about that; and it originally developed as a democratic state. When the first settlers set their foot on the continent, life forced them to forge a relationship and maintain a dialogue with each other to survive. That's why America was conceived as a fundamental democracy.

R[edit]

  • There is a big difference between being anti-American and being critical of the United States. Once again, critiques are appropriate and necessary, provided that they rest on facts and address real abuses, real errors and real excesses, without deliberately losing sight of America's wise decisions, beneficent interventions and salutary policies. But critiques of this kind, balanced, fair and well-founded are hard to find, except in America herself: in the daily press in weekly news magazines, on television and radio, and in highbrow monthly journals, which are more widely read than their equivalents in Europe... Strangely, it is always America that is described as degenerate and 'fascist', while it is solely in Europe that actual dictatorships and totalitarian regimes spring up... The success and originality of American integration stem precisely from the fact that immigrants' descendants can perpetuate their ancestral cultures while thinking of themselves as Americans in the fullest sense, sharing basic ideals across racial and ethnic barriers.

S[edit]

  • In the five centuries since Columbus discovered the New World, savagery has been part of American life. There has been the violence of conquest and resistance, the violence of racial difference, the violence of civil war, the violence of bandits and gangsters, the violence of lynch law, all set against the violence of the wilderness and the city.

T[edit]

  • Americans and Europeans alike sometimes forget how unique is the United States of America. No other nation has been created so swiftly and successfully. No other nation has been built upon an idea; the idea of liberty. No other nation has so successfully combined people of different races and nations within a single culture. Both the founding fathers of the United States and successive waves of immigrants to your country were determined to create a new identity. Whether in flight from persecution or from poverty, the huddled masses have, with few exceptions, welcomed American values, the American way of life and American opportunities. And America herself has bound them to her with powerful bonds of patriotism and pride. The European nations are not and can never be like this. They are the product of history and not of philosophy. You can construct a nation on an idea; but you cannot reconstruct a nation on the basis of one.
  • Americans of all ages, all stations of life, and all types of disposition are forever forming associations... In democratic countries knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others... The people reign in the American political world as the Deity does in the universe. They are the cause and the aim of all things; everything comes from them, and everything is absorbed in them... In the United States the sovereign authority is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common; but there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America; and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.
  • There is only one possible route of action, Greenhouse gases have to be radically reduced and it has to happen worldwide. Until now, the U.S. has kept its eyes shut to this emergency. [Americans] make up a mere 4 percent of the population, but are responsible for close to a quarter of emissions.
  • I respect this country. I love this country. This country which gives chance to everybody else to be treated as a human being and to just to be human being. To feel yourself human being.

V[edit]

W[edit]

  • The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, and, in time, a Virgil at Mexico, and a Newton at Peru.
    • Horace Walpole, English art historian, writer, antiquarian and politician in a letter to Sir Horace Mann (24 November 1774).
  • The United States has long been seen as the 'land of opportunity', the home of the American Dream. With the largest national economy in the world, well-developed infrastructure and high educational and social mobility, it is not hard to see its appeal.
  • Looking out a dirty old window, down below the cars in the city go rushing by. I sit here alone and I wonder why... We're the kids in America! We're the kids in America! Everybody lives for the music, go round!
  • The Americans have always been more open to my ideas. In fact, I could earn a living in America just by lecturing. One of my brightest audiences, incidentally, were the prisoners in a Philadelphia gaol — brighter than my students at university.
    • Colin Wilson, interview with Paul Newman, as quoted in Abraxas Unbound, #7.

X[edit]

Y[edit]

  • Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it is not enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians, among whom armchair arguments about war are being glibly bandied about in the name of state politics, have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.
  • In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success.
    • Isoroku Yamamoto, statement to Japanese cabinet minister Shigeharu Matsumoto and Japanese prime minister Fumimaro Konoe, as quoted in Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan (1985) by Ronald Spector.

Z[edit]

  • We have 500,000 reservists in America who would rise in arms against your government if you dare to make a move against Germany.
    • Zimmermann to Ambassador Gerard. James W. Gerard: "I told him that we had five hundred thousand and one lamp posts in America, and that was where the German reservists would find themselves if they tried any uprising." Ambassador Gerard's answer. James W. Gerard, My Four Years in Germany, p. 237.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), pp. 21–23.
  • E pluribus unum.
    • From many, one.
    • Motto of the United States of America. First appeared on title page of Gentleman's Miscellany, Jan., 1692. Pierre Antoine (Peter Anthony Motteaux) was editor. Dr. Simetiere affixed it to the American National Seal at time of the Revolution. See Howard P. Arnold Historical Side Lights. Compare: "Ex pluribus unum facere"; translation: From many to make one; St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IV. 8. 13.
  • Yet, still, from either beach,
    The voice of blood shall reach,
    More audible than speech,
    "We are one!"
  • Asylum of the oppressed of every nation.
    • Phrase used in the Democratic platform of 1856, referring to the U.S.
  • O, Columbia, the gem of the ocean,
    The home of the brave and the free,
    The shrine of each patriot's devotion,
    A world offers homage to thee.
    • An adaptation of Shaw's Britannia.
  • America! half brother of the world!
    With something good and bad of every land.
  • A people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood.
    • Edmund Burke, speech on Conciliation with America, Works, Volume II.
  • 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; yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world.
    • Edmund Burke, speech on Conciliation with America, Works, Volume II.
  • I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old.
  • The North! the South! the West! the East!
    No one the most and none the least,
    But each with its own heart and mind,
    Each of its own distinctive kind,
    Yet each a part and none the whole,
    But all together form one soul;
    That soul Our Country at its best,
    No North, no South, no East, no West,
    No yours, no mine, but always Ours,
    Merged in one Power our lesser powers,
    For no one's favor, great or small,
    But all for Each and each for All.
  • Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise,
    The queen of the world and the child of the skies!
    Thy genius commands thee; with rapture behold,
    While ages on ages thy splendors unfold.
  • Bring me men to match my mountains,
    Bring me men to match my plains,
    Men with empires in their purpose,
    And new eras in their brains.
  • The breaking waves dashed high
    On a stern and rock-bound coast;
    And the woods, against a stormy sky,
    Their giant branches tost.
  • Hail, Columbia! happy land!
    Hail, ye heroes! heavenborn band!
    Who fought and bled in Freedom's cause.
  • America is a tune. It must be sung together.
  • Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
    Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
    Humanity with all its fears,
    With all the hopes of future years,
    Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
  • Down to the Plymouth Rock, that had been to their feet as a doorstep
    Into a world unknown,—the corner-stone of a nation!
  • Earth's biggest Country's gut her soul
    An' risen up Earth's Greatest Nation.
  • When asked what State he hails from,
    Our sole reply shall be,
    He comes from Appomattox And its famous apple tree.
  • Neither do I acknowledge the right of Plymouth to the whole rock. No, the rock underlies all America: it only crops out here.
    • Wendell Phillips, speech at the dinner of the Pilgrim Society at Plymouth (Dec. 21, 1855).
  • Give it only the fulcrum of Plymouth Rock, an idea will upheave the continent.
  • We have room but for one Language here and that is the English Language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans of American nationality and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house.
  • My country, 'tis of thee,
    Sweet land of liberty,—
    Of thee I sing:
    Land where my fathers died,
    Land of the Pilgrim's pride,
    From every mountain side
    Let freedom ring.
  • In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue?
    • Sydney Smith, Works, Volume II. America (Edinburgh Review, 1820).
  • Gigantic daughter of the West
    We drink to thee across the flood….
    For art not thou of English blood?
    • Alfred Tennyson, Hands all Round (in the Oxford Tennyson; Appeared in the Examiner, 1862; The London Times, 1880).
  • So it's home again, and home again, America for me!
    My heart is turning home again, and I long to be
    In the land of youth and freedom beyond the ocean bars,
    Where the air is full of sunshine, and the flag is full of stars.
  • The youth of America is their oldest tradition. It has been going on now for three hundred years.
  • Some Americans need hyphens in their names, because only part of them has come over; but when the whole man has come over, heart and thought and all, the hyphen drops of its own weight out of his name.
    • Woodrow Wilson, address, Unveiling of the Statue to the Memory of Commodore John Barry, Washington (May 16, 1914).
  • Just what is it that America stands for? If she stands for one thing more than another, it is for the sovereignty of self-governing people, and her example, her assistance, her encouragement, has thrilled two continents in this western world with all those fine impulses which have built up human liberty on both sides of the water. She stands, therefore, as an example of independence, as an example of free institutions, and as an example of disinterested international action in the main tenets of justice.
  • We want the spirit of America to be efficient; we want American character to be efficient; we want American character to display itself in what I may, perhaps, be allowed to call spiritual efficiency—clear, disinterested thinking and fearless action along the right lines of thought. America is not anything if it consists of each of us. It is something only if it consists of all of us; and it can consist of all of us only as our spirits are banded together in a common enterprise. That common enterprise is the enterprise of liberty and justice and right. And, therefore, I, for my part, have a great enthusiasm for rendering America spiritually efficient; and that conception lies at the basis of what seems very far removed from it, namely, the plans that have been proposed for the military efficiency of this nation.
  • Home from the lonely cities, time's wreck, and the naked woe,
    Home through the clean great waters where freemen's pennants blow,
    Home to the land men dream of, where all the nations go.
  • We must consult Brother Jonathan.
    • George Washington's familiar reference to his secretary and Aide-de-camp, Col. Jonathan Trumbull; the phrase, Brother Jonathan, later came to mean the American people, collectively.

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