Quotations about   Americans

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



Nothing is more embarrassing in the ordinary intercourse of life than this irritable patriotism of the Americans. A stranger may be well inclined to praise many of the institutions of their country, but he begs permission to blame some of the peculiarities which he observes — a permission which is however inexorably refused.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer, diplomat, politician
Democracy in America, Vol. 1, “Public Spirit in the United States” (1835) [tr. Reeve (1839)]
    (Source)
Added on 21-Nov-18 | Last updated 21-Nov-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Tocqueville, Alexis de

The Martini is to middle- and upper-class American society what peyote is to the Yaqui Indians: a sacred rite that affirms tribal identity, encourages fanciful thought and —
let’s be honest here — delivers a whoppingly nice high.

Barnaby Conrad III (b. 1952) American author, artist, editor
“Martini Madness,” Cigar Aficionado (Spring 1996)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Oct-17 | Last updated 16-Oct-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Conrad, Barnaby III

Now when an American has an idea, he directly seeks a second American to share it. If there be three, they elect a president and two secretaries. Given four, they name a keeper of records, and the office is ready for work; five, they convene a general meeting, and the club is fully constituted.

[Or, quand un Américain a une idée, il cherche un second Américain qui la partage. Sont-ils trois, ils élisent un président et deux secrétaires. Quatre, ils nomment un archiviste, et le bureau fonctionne. Cinq, ils se convoquent en assemblée générale, et le club est constitué.]

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
From the Earth to the Moon, ch. 1 “The Gun Club” (1865)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Mar-16 | Last updated 11-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Verne, Jules

They are escaped convicts. His Majesty is fortunate to be rid of such rabble. Their true God is power.

Other Authors and Sources
Oliver Sharpin, The American Rebels (1804)
Added on 25-Mar-15 | Last updated 25-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by ~Other

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.

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) Argentine writer
“Autobiographical Notes,” The New Yorker (19 Sep 1970)
Added on 11-Mar-15 | Last updated 11-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Borges, Jorge Luis

Other nations have been called thin-skinned, but the citizens of the Union have, apparently, no skins at all; they wince if a breeze blows over them, unless it be tempered with adulation.

Frances Trollope (1779-1863) English novelist and writer
Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832)
Added on 25-Jun-14 | Last updated 25-Jun-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Trollope, Frances

To read the front pages, you might conclude that Americans are mostly out for themselves, venal, grasping, and mean-spirited. The front pages have room only for defense contractors who cheat and politicians with their hands in the till. But you can’t travel the back roads very long without discovering a multitude of gentle people doing good for others with no expectation of gain or recognition. The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.

Charles Kuralt (1934-1997) American journalist
On the Road with Charles Kuralt (1985)
Added on 21-May-14 | Last updated 21-May-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kuralt, Charles

The Americans are poor haters in international affairs because of their innate feeling of superiority over all foreigners. An American’s hatred for a fellow American (for Hoover or Roosevelt) is far more virulent than any antipathy he can work up against foreigners. […] Should Americans begin to hate foreigners wholeheartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The True Believer Part 3, sec. 73 (1951)
Added on 28-May-10 | Last updated 30-Apr-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Hoffer, Eric

People do these things to other people. Not just in Nazi concentration camps and in Abu Ghraib when it was run by Saddam Hussein. Americans, too, do them when they have permission. When they are told or made to feel that those over whom they have absolute power deserve to be mistreated, humiliated, tormented. They do them when they are led to believe that the people they are torturing belong to an inferior, despicable race or religion. For the meaning of these pictures is not just that these acts were performed, but that their perpetrators had no sense that there was anything wrong in what the pictures show.

Susan Sontag (1933-2004) American essayist, novelist, activist
“Regarding the Torture of Others,” New York Times (23 May 2004)

On the photos of Iraqi prisoners tortured by Americans in Abu Ghraib.
Added on 14-Jan-09 | Last updated 31-May-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sontag, Susan

We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.

Ogburn - reorganization - wist_info quote

Charlton Ogburn, Jr. (1911-1998) American journalist, author
“Merrill’s Marauders: The truth about an incredible adventure,” Harper’s Magazine (Jan 1957)

In his 1959 book, The Marauders, Ogburn rephrased this as: "As a result, I suppose, of high-level changes of mind about how we were to be used, we went through several reorganizations. Perhaps because Americans as a nation have a gift for organizing, we tend to meet any new situation by reorganization, and a wonderful method it is for creating the illusion of progress at a mere cost of confusion, inefficiency and demoralization."

Sometimes incorrectly cited to Gaius Petronius Arbiter. For more on this quotation, see here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ogburn, Charlton Jr