Joseph J. Ellis Quotes

Enjoy the top 74 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Joseph J. Ellis.

Joseph J. Ellis Quotes

Unquestionably, New York enjoyed enormous strategic significance. As Adams had already apprised Washington, it was the nexus of the Northern and Southern colonies  ...  the key to the whole Continent, as it is a Passage to Canada, to the Great Lakes, and to all the Indian Nations.
— Joseph J. Ellis —

Because he could not afford to fail, he could not afford to trust.

— Joseph J. Ellis

[quoting someone else] the American constitution is a document designed by geniuses to be eventually interpreted by idiots

— Joseph J. Ellis

God was not in the details for Jefferson; he was in the sky and stars.

— Joseph J. Ellis

Antislavery idealists might prefer to live in some better world, which like all such places was too good to be true. The American nation in 1790, however, was a real world, laden with legacies like slavery, and therefore too true to be good.

— Joseph J. Ellis

It took him (Washington) more than a year to gain control over his own aggressive instincts.

— Joseph J. Ellis

I am not a Federalist," he declared in 1789, "because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever. ... If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.

— Joseph J. Ellis

Even in the best of lives, mistakes are made.

— Joseph J. Ellis

I believe I am an honorable man.

— Joseph J. Ellis

It is as if Clinton had called one of the most respected character witnesses in all of U.S. history to testify that the primal urge has a most distinguished presidential pedigree.

— Joseph J. Ellis

They were trying to orchestrate a revolution, which almost by definition generated a sense of collective trauma that defied any semblance of coherence and control. If we wish to rediscover the psychological context of the major players in Philadelphia, we need to abandon our hindsight omniscience and capture their mentality as they negotiated the unknown.

— Joseph J. Ellis

The second is the military narrative of the battles on Long Island and Manhattan, where the British army and navy delivered a series of devastating defeats to an American army of amateurs, but missed whatever chance existed to end it all. The focal point of this story is the Continental Army, and the major actors are George Washington, Nathanael Greene, and the British brothers Richard and William Howe.

— Joseph J. Ellis

(John) Adams acknowledged that he had made himself obnoxious to many of his colleagues, who regarded him as a one-man bonfire of the vanities. This never troubled Adams, who in his more contrarian moods claimed that his unpopularity provided clinching evidence that his position was principled, because it was obvious that he was not courting popular opinion. His alienation, therefore, was a measure of his integrity.

— Joseph J. Ellis

His (Washington's) apparent paralysis was the result of balancing two imperatives: his reputation against the survival of the Continental Army.

— Joseph J. Ellis

The term American, like the term democrat, began as an epithet, the former referring to an inferior, provincial creature, the latter to one who panders to the crude and mindless whims of the masses.

— Joseph J. Ellis

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