"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

"Here are no aristocratical families, no courts, no kings, no bishops, no ecclesiastical dominion, no invisible power giving to a few a very visible one; no great manufacturers employing thousands, no great refinements of luxury. The rich and the poor are not so far removed from each other as they are in Europe. Some few towns excepted, we are all tillers of the earth...united by the silken bands of mild government, all respecting the laws, without dreading their power, because they are equitable. We are all animated with the spirit of an industry which is unfettered and unrestrained, because each person works for himself... We have no princes, for whom we toil, starve, and bleed; we are the most perfect society now existing in the world."

[equality, work ethic, American exceptionalism: J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer (1782)]

Posted by David Beckman on 07.28.2011

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"Thus it pleased God to vanquish their enemies, and give them deliverance; and by His special providence so to dispose that not any one of them were either hurt, or hit, though their arrows came close by them, and on every side them, and sundry of their coats, which hung up in the barricado, were shot through and through. Afterwards they gave God solemn thanks and praise for their deliverance..."

[Puritan settlers, American exceptionalism: William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (1620)]

Posted by David Beckman on 07.28.2011

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"For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world."

[Puritan settlers, America as a model: John Winthrop, "A Model of Christian Charity" (1630)]

Posted by David Beckman on 07.28.2011

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