Monday, January 30, 2012

History of the United States of America during the Administrations of James Madison by Henry Adams

  • "In truth, the manufactories of New England were created by the embargo, which obliged the whole nation to consume their products or to go without." - 16
  • "Macon's Bill No. 2 [April 7, 1810] marked the last stage toward the admitted failure of commercial restrictions as a substitute for war." - 137
  • "'This scene on the Continent,' he continued to Jefferson, 'and the effect of English monopoly on the value of our produce are breaking the charm attached to what is called free-trade, foolishly by some and wickedly by others.' He [Madison] reverted to his life-long theory of commercial regulations." - 205
  • "England and the United States, like two vultures, hovered over the expiring empire, snatching at the morsels they most coveted, while the unfortunate Spaniards, to whom the rich prey belonged, flung themselves, without leadership or resources, on the ranks of Napoleon's armies. England pursued her game over the whole of Spanish America, if not by government authority, more effectively by private intrigue; while the United States for the moment confined their activity to a single object [West Florida], not wholly without excuse." - 213
  • "No acid ever worked more mechanically on a vegetable fibre than the white man acted on the Indian. As the line of American settlements approached, the nearest Indian tribes withered away." - 343
  • "Men would do little but talk politics, and very few professed themselves satisfied with the condition into which their affairs had been brought. The press cried for war or for peace, according to its fancy; but although each of the old parties could readily prove the other's course to be absurd, unpatriotic, and ruinous, the war men, who were in truth a new party, powerless to restore order by legitimate methods, shut their ears to the outcry, and waited until actual war should enforce a discipline never to be imposed in peace." - 439
  • "In every respect as the Federalists looked back on the past twelve years their prophecies had come true. The Republican party, they argued, had proved itself incompetent, and had admitted the failure of its principles; it had been forced to abandon them in practice, to replace the government where the Federalists had put it, and to adopt all the Federalists' methods; and even then the party failed...The government was ruined in credit and character; bankrupt, broken, and powerless, it continued to exist merely because of habit...Society held itself together merely because it knew not what else to do." - 666
  • "All great nations had fought, and at one time or another every great nation in Europe had been victorious over every other; but no people, in the course of a thousand years of rivalry on the ocean, had invented or had known how to sail a Yankee schooner." - 841
  • John Quincy Adams "had been allowed to seem to kindle the greatest war of modern times, and had been invited to make use of Russia against England; but the Czar's reasons for granting such favor were mysterious even to Adams, for while Napoleon occasionally avowed motives, Alexander never did. Russian diplomacy moved wholly in the dark." - 857
  • "I am not anxious to accelerate the approach of the period when the great mass of American labor shall not find employment in the field; when the young men of the country shall be obliged to shut their eyes upon external Nature, ---upon the heavens and the earth, -- and immerse themselves in close and unwholesome workshops" - Daniel Webster, 879
  • "With the repeal of the embargo [on April 14, 1814] ended the early period of United States history, when diplomatists played a part at Washington equal in importance to that of the Legislature or the Executive. The statecraft of Jefferson and Madison was never renewed. Thenceforward the government ceased to balance between great foreign Powers, and depended on its own resources." - 892
  • "The Treasure was bankrupt. The formal stoppage of payments in interest on the debt was announced, November 9 [, 1814], by an official letter from the secretary [Dallas], notifying holders of government securities in Boston that the Treasury could not meet its obligations, and that 'the government was unable to avert or to control this course of events.' After that date the Treasury made no further pretense of solvency." - 1079
  • "Of all the machinery created by the Constitution, the House alone directly reflected and represented the people; and if the people disliked it, they disliked themselves." - 1272
  • "The continent lay before them, like an uncovered ore-bed. They could see, and they could even calculated with reasonable accuracy, the wealth it could be made to yield. With almost the certainty of a mathematical formula, knowing the rate of increase of population and of wealth, they could read in advance their economical history for at least a hundred years." - 1300
  • "A people which had in 1787 been indifferent or hostile to roads, banks, funded debt, and nationality, had become in 1815 habituated to ideas and machinery of the sort on a great scale." - 1314
  • "Should history ever become a true science, it must expect to establish its laws, not from the complicated story of rival European nationalities, but from the economical evolution of a great democracy." - 1333
  • "In a democratic ocean science could see something ultimate. Man could go no further. The atom might move, but the general equilibrium could not change." - 1335

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