What Is America?



America is therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that lie before us, the burden of the World’s History shall reveal itself. ~Georg W. Hegel (1770 - 1831)


I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth. ~John Adams (1735 - 1826)


Other lands have their vitality in a few, a class, but we have it in the bulk of our people. ~Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)


The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people. ~Walt Whitman


I see America, not in the setting sun of a black night of despair ahead of us, I see America in the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God. I see great days ahead, great days possible to men and women of will and vision. ~Carl Sandburg (1878 - 1967)


This monster of a land, this mightiest of nations, this spawn of the future, turns out to be the macrocosm of microcosm me. ~John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1962)


In a real sense America is essentially a dream--a dream yet unfulfilled. It is the dream of a land where men of all races, colors and creeds will live together as brothers. The substance of the dream is expressed in these sublime words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This is the dream. It is a profound, eloquent and unequivocal expression of the dignity and worth of all human personality. ~Martin Luther King Jr., “The Negro and the American Dream” (9/25/1960)


There’s the country of America, which you have to defend, but there’s also the idea of America. America is more than just a country, it's an idea. An idea that’s supposed to be contagious. ~Bono (Oprah Winfrey Show, 2002)


America is a tune. It must be sung together. ~Gerald Stanley Lee, Crowds: A Moving-Picture of Democracy (1923)