American proverbs, quotes, and sayings
Surrender of Lord Cornwallis
I have picked a number of quotes by and about Americans, some American proverbs and thrown in a few observations of my own. I hope you find them enjoyable and interesting.
1) “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
--James Baldwin, notes of a Native son
a) This is a sentiment that I have run across often. It seems a civic duty to be aware of our countries virtues and faults to keep it free and on track.
2) “Folks like the truth that hits their neighbor.”
a) Seems almost a contradiction of the previous quote, but it is human nature.
3) “These American systems of ours, call it American ism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.”
--Al Capone (1899-1947)
a) Cynical as it seems Al Capone thought of himself as a businessman.
4) “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people.”
--Henry Louis Menken (1880-1956)
a) Well, talk about cynicism. Mencken was noted for it. In a political season, it is hard to argue with his observation.
5) “Only in American banks can you find the pens chained to the counter and doors wide open.” -- Branden Kerr
a) America is full of seeming contradictions. I think it is because we are made up of many bit of different cultures and preserve bits and pieces of them. The end result does not always seem to make sense.
6) “The right to freedom being the “gift of God” it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.” --Samuel Adams
a.)Freedom is a “gift of god” and, I think, we turn our back on god by not using our freedom responsibly.
7) “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” –John Fitzgerald Kennedy
a) How idealistic we were in those days. These words from a past president call up the fact that we are all in this society together and we must all contribute to its success or we will lose it. If we are not patriotic and caring about our country it can be taken away from us. We are the ones that can save us from tyrants.
8) “Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent hard-working, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then-we elected them.” –Lily Tomlin
a) I’m afraid this is more truth than poetry.
9)” What we call the market is really a democratic process involving millions, and in some markets billions, of people making personal decisions that express their preferences. When you hear someone say that he doesn’t trust the market, and wants to replace it with government edicts, he’s really calling for a switch from a democratic process to a totalitarian one.” — Walter Williams
a.) This is the reason also that the economy gets in such a mess when the government tries to control it.
10) “A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but wont cross the street to vote in a national election. –Bill Vaughan
a) Is this the reason it is such a burden to ask people to actually show they are entitled and qualified to vote?
I hope that you found these quotes to be worthwhile and useful. Quotes are interesting because the ones worth repeating are ones that carry an element of truth gained from the observation and experience of the person who made the observation.
© 2012 Don A. Hoglund
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