Henry Adams Quotes

Most popular Henry Adams Quotes

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.

chaos order habit life

Friends are born, not made.
— Henry Adams


A friend in power is a friend lost.


They know enough who know how to learn.


All experience is an arch to build upon.
— Henry Adams
All experience is an arch, to build upon.


Words are slippery and thought is viscous.


Man has mounted science; and is now run away.
— Henry Adams


They too serve a certain purpose who only stand and cheer.
— Henry Adams
No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean.
— Henry Adams
Young men have a passion for regarding their elders as senile.

youth & age

Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces.


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


One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.
— Henry Adams
One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are hardly possible.
— Henry Adams


Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and the end of political education.
— Henry Adams
We combat obstacles in order to get repose, and, when got, the repose is unsupportable.


What one knows is, in youth, is of little moment; he knows enough who knows how to learn.
— Henry Adams
Analogies are figures intended to serve as fatal weapons if they succeed, and as innocent toys if they fail.


Some day science may have the existence of man in its power, and the human race may commit suicide by blowing up the world.
— Henry Adams

prescient science

American society is a sort of flat, fresh-water pond which absorbs silently, without reaction, anything which is thrown into it.
— Henry Adams


The effect of power and publicity on all men is the aggravation of self, a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim's sympathies.


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.

middle age

Power is poison.  Its effect on Presidents had always been tragic, chiefly as an almost insane excitement at first, and a worse reaction afterwards.

power president

One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.  Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.


The President may indeed in one respect resemble the commander of an army in peace, but in another and more essential sense he resembles the commander of a ship at sea.  He must have a helm to grasp, a course to steer, a port to seek.


You say that love is nonsense....I tell you it is no such thing. For weeks and months it is a steady physical pain, an ache about the heart, never leaving one, by night or by day; a long strain on one's nerves like toothache or rheumatism, not intolerable at any one instant, but exhausting by its steady drain on the strength.