Samuel Eliot Morison

1887 - 1976

A Quote by Samuel Eliot Morison on achievement, america, architecture, balance, bravery, brevity, colors, dance, gold, harmony, music, nature, poets, purpose, songs, and world

These clipper ships of the early 1850's were built of wood in shipyards from Rockland in Maine to Baltimore. These architects, like poets who transmute nature's message into song, obeyed what wind and wave had taught them, to create the noblest of all sailing vessels, and the most beautiful creations of man in America. With no extraneous ornament except a figurehead, a bit of carving and a few lines of gold leaf, their one purpose of speed over the great ocean routes was achieved by perfect balance of spars and sails to the curving lines of the smooth black hull; and this harmony of mass, form and color was practiced to the music of dancing waves and of brave winds whistling in the rigging. These were our Gothic cathedrals, our Parthenon; but monuments carved from snow. For a few brief years they flashed their splendor around the world, then disappeared with the finality of the wild pigeon.

Samuel Eliot Morison (1887 - 1976)

Source: The Oxford History of the American People, 1965, ch. 36

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Samuel Eliot Morison on beauty, challenge, future, independence, inspiration, men, oppression, revolution, words, world, and worth

If the American Revolution had produced nothing but the Declaration of Independence, it would have been worth while. . . . The beauty and cogency of the preamble, reaching back to remotest antiquity and forward so an indefinite future, have lifted the hearts of millions of men and will continue to do. . . . These words are more revolutionary than anything written by Robespierre, Marx, or Lenin, more explosive than the atom, a continual challenge to ourselves as well as an inspiration to the oppressed of all the world.

Samuel Eliot Morison (1887 - 1976)

Source: The Oxford History of the American People, 1965, ch. 14

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Samuel Eliot Morison on literature and writing

A few hints as to literary craftsmanship may be useful to budding historians. First and foremost, get writing!

Samuel Eliot Morison (1887 - 1976)

Source: History as a Literary Art. Old South Leaflets, 1946

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Samuel Eliot Morison on america, discovery, exploring, history, hope, and world

America was discovered accidentally by a great seaman who was looking for something else; when discovered it was not wanted; and most of the exploration for the next fifty years was done in the hope of getting through or around it. America was named after a man who discovered no part of the New World. History is like that, very chancy.

Samuel Eliot Morison (1887 - 1976)

Source: The Oxford History of the American People, 1965, ch. 2

Contributed by: Zaady

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