It is ironic that the United States should have been founded by intellectuals, for throughout most of our political history, the intellectual has been for the most part either an outsider, a servant or a scapegoat.
What was the American Revolution? The people who joined to carry it out had different views of what they had done.
The little things, I can obey. But the big things – how we think, what we value – those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone – or any society – determine those for you.
In 1595, by order of the Privy Council, the English armed services abandoned the longbow and fought with muskets for the next two centuries and more. Nobody is sure why.
People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages.
In America, we may acknowledge Washington and Lincoln as great men, and probably Franklin and Jefferson and maybe Franklin Delano Roosevelt and possibly even several more, but we would probably disagree about precisely what it was that made them great, what it was that enabled them to give a lasting direction to the course of events.
A university’s essential character is that of being a center of free inquiry and criticism – a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else.
The urge to dominion is God-given and is basic to the nature of man. An aspect of this dominion is property.
This is how you start to get respect: by offering something that you have.
Cotton Mather’s publications in his own lifetime amounted to more than 400 titles, and his magnum opus, on which he labored most of his life, remains unpublished: a commentary on every verse of every book of the Bible. Anyone who leaves that kind of record behind issues an irresistible invitation to historians.