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A collection of thoughts and quotations by Henry Adams on history, politics, chaos, humanity, writing, integrity, government, unity, perception and friendship.

31 Inspiring Quotes By Henry Adams, The Celebrated American Historian

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Historian

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Boston, Massachusetts

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Henry Brooks Adams was an American historian, who lived from 1838 to 1918 and belonged to one of the most famous political dynasties in the country, The Adams'. John Quincy Adams and John Adams, his grandfather and great grandfather respectively, had both been the President of the United States. Adams attended Harvard University and graduated in 1958, before going on an extensive tour of Europe. He settled down in Washington DC and started working as a journalist, but two years later he was ap-pointed as a professor at ‘Harvard University’. His subject was Medieval History and he continued to teach at the famed university for seven years. He had also been made a member of the ‘American Academy of Arts and Sciences’. One of Adams’ most important works as a historian is the book ‘The History of the United States of America’ (1801 to 1817), which stretched across 9 volumes and is often considered a masterpiece by experts. He also wrote novels and the notable ones include ‘Democracy’ and ‘Esther’. Adams was a noted man of letters and shared his insight on various subject; we have excerpted some quotes by Henry Adams from his writings, books, novels, thoughts, work and life. Here is a collection of quotable quotes from the life and work of Henry Adams.

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.

- Henry Adams

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

- Henry Adams

Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

Friends are born, not made.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

A parent gives life, but as parent, gives no more. A murderer takes life, but his deed stops there. A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

Unity is vision; it must have been part of the process of learning to see.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

A new friend is always a miracle, but at thirty-three years old, such a bird of paradise rising in the sage-brush was an avatar. One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

A friend in power is a friend lost.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

The chief wonder of education is that it does not ruin everybody concerned in it, teachers and taught.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.

- Henry Adams

Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and end of political education.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

The Indian Summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone, but never hustled.

- Henry Adams

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. The imagination must be given not wings but weights.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

He never labored so hard to learn a language as he did to hold his tongue, and it affected him for life. The habit of reticence — of talking without meaning — is never effaced.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

Of all studies, the one he would rather have avoided was that of his own mind. He knew no tragedy so heartrending as introspection.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

The difference is slight, to the influence of an author, whether he is read by five hundred readers, or by five hundred thousand; if he can select the five hundred, he reaches the five hundred thousand.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

The tourist was the great conservative who hated novelty and adored dirt.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

The study of history is useful to the historian by teaching him his ignorance of women.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

These questions of taste, of feeling, of inheritance, need no settlement. Everyone carries his own inch-rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.

- Henry Adams

Good men do the most harm.

- Henry Adams

Philosophy . . .consists chiefly in suggesting unintelligible answers to insoluble problems.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

In practice, such trifles as contradictions in principle are easily set aside; the faculty of ignoring them makes the practical man.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

In Paris and London he had seen nothing to make a return to life worth while; in Washington he saw plenty of reasons for staying dead.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

The habit of expression leads to the search for something to express. Something remains as a residuum of the commonplace itself, if one strikes out every commonplace in the expression.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

Double standards are inspiration to men of letters, but they are apt to be fatal to politicians.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

General Grant seriously remarked to a particularly bright young woman that Venice would be a fine city if it were drained.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

Every mane should have a fair sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friend.

- Henry Adams

Everyone must bear his own universe, and most persons are moderately interested in learning how their neighbors have managed to carry theirs.

- The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams

Life is a narrow valley, and the roads run close together

- Henry Adams

Seward would inspire a cow with statesmanship if she understood our language.

- Henry Adams