Two Is Many; Three Are Hardly Possible."
The fame of Henry Adams (1838-1913), arguably greater than any of his forbears who include a signer of the U.S. Constitution and two Presidents, rests firmly on The Education of Henry Adams, read in many in a college course. His observations are still powerful..
✶ Politics has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.
✶ The blackmailer is the normal product of politics.
✶ Politicians try to guide public opinion but are little guided by it.
✶ Modern politics is a struggle, not of men but of forces.
✶ Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and end of political education.
✶ Practical politics 1) consists in ignoring facts, 2) is a flagrantly corrupt political bargain
in which a man too good to take part is not too good to take profit.
✶ A friend in power is a friend lost.
✶ You can’t use tact with a Congressman. A Congressman is a hog. You must take a
stick and hit him on the snout.
✶ No man, however strong, can serve ten years as a U.S. Senator, and remain fit for
✶ What can one learn from a man who says that Venice would be a fine city if it were
✶ Great leaders cannot be ridiculed; they are more grotesque than ridicule can make
✶The progress of Evolution from President George Washington to President Ulysses
S. Grant is alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.
✶ One friend in a lifetime is much; two is many; three are hardly possible.
✶ The practical value of the Universe has never been stated in dollars.
✶ In all great emergencies, everyone is more or less wrong.
✶ Young men have a passion for regarding their elders as senile.
✶ Chaos breeds life; order breeds habit.
✶ Passion and poetry are eccentricities.
✶ Any road that arrives is good.
✶ Suggest to a Texan that there’s a sun above, he’s as outraged as a deep-sea fish that
carries a lamp on its nose.
✶ A bucking bronco, a kicking mule teach the same lesson; get out of the way.
✶ Great men in great moments express great truths, provided they are not taken too
✶ Only on the edge of a grave can a man conclude anything.
✶ The pretense of readiness for death is a stage role.