John Jay Chapman (March 2, 1862 - November 4, 1933) was an American poet, dramatist, and critic who attacked the get-rich-quick morality of the post-Civil War "Gilded Age" in political action and in his writings. Ancestors on both sides of his family had distinguished themselves in antislavery and other causes, and he sought to continue that tradition among the upper middle classes, whose integrity he felt had been eroded by the upsurge of big business. (Click here for full Encyclopædia Britannica article)
A magazine or a newspaper is a shop. Each is an experiment and represents a new focus, a new ratio between commerce and intellect.
A political organization is a transferable commodity. You could not find a better way of killing virtue than by packing it into one of these contraptions which some gang of thieves is sure to find useful.
A thing is not the truth till it is so strongly believed in, that the believer is convinced that its existence does not depend upon him.
A true university can never rest upon the will of one man. A true university always rests upon the wills of many divergent-minded old men, who refuse to be disturbed, but who growl in their kennels.
A vision of truth which does not call upon us to get out of our armchair- why, this is the desideratum of mankind.
All progress is experimental.
Benevolence alone will not make a teacher, nor will learning alone do it. The gift of teaching is a peculiar talent, and implies a need and a craving in the teacher himself.
Everybody in America is soft, and hates conflict. The cure for this, both in politics and social life, is the same- hardihood. Give them raw truth.
Good government is the outcome of private virtue.
I want to find someone on the earth so intelligent that he welcomes opinions which he condemns.
It is just as impossible to help reform by conciliating prejudice as it is by buying votes. Prejudice is the enemy. Whoever is not for you is against you.
Nothing is more injurious to the character and to the intellect than the suppression of a generous emotion.
Our goodness comes solely from thinking on goodness; our wickedness from thinking on wickedness. We too are the victims of our own contemplation.
People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold.
People who love soft methods and hate iniquity forget this; that reform consists in taking a bone from a dog. Philosophy will not do it.
Politics is organized hatred, that is unity.
The reason for the slow progress of the world seems to lie in a single fact. Every man is born under the yoke, and grows up beneath the oppressions of his age.
The short lesson that comes out of long experience in political agitation is something like this: all the motive power in all of these movements is the instinct of religious feeling. All the obstruction comes from attempting to rely on anything else. Conciliation is the enemy.
The world of politics is always twenty years behind the world of thought.
There are lots of people who can't think seriously without injuring their brains.
Too much agreement kills the chat.
When a man talks with absolute sincerity and freedom he goes on a voyage of discovery. The whole company has shares in the enterprise.
Wherever you see a man who gives someone else's corruption, someone else's prejudice as a reason for not taking action himself, you see a cog in The Machine that governs us.
(March 2 is also the birthday of Tom Wolfe.)