Quotes of the Day

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was reading Daniel Walker Howe’s magisterial Pulitzer Prize-winning tome What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848.  Howe provided the June 5, 2015 quote of the day at The Way of Improvement Leads Home:

“To entertain guests meant to ply them with several kinds of alcohol until some fell down.”

The more I read What Hath God Wrought, the more I get the feeling that Howe had a lot of fun writing this book.  The book is filled with pithy lines that are making me laugh out loud.

I found three more yesterday morning:

The first quote of the day comes from p.335.  Howe is talking about Andrew Jackson’s choice of cabinet members after his election to presidency in 1828:

“The other cabinet secretaries were little-known figures who appealed to Jackson in large part because they all hated Henry Clay.”

The second quote of the day comes from page 339.  Howe is quoting James Parton‘s 1860 biography of Jackson.  The subject is the Peggy Eaton affair and the way that Martin Van Buren endeared himself to Eaton in order to please Jackson and thus advance his political career.

“On the eve of the Civil War, James Parton could write that ‘the political history of the United States, for the last thirty years, dates from the moment when the soft hand of Mr. Van Buren touched Mrs. Eaton’s knocker.'”

The third quote of the day also comes from page 339.  Here Howe quotes Henry Clay’s reaction when the scandalous Peggy Eaton finally left Washington.

Upon Margaret Eaton’s departure from Washington, Henry Clay quipped, ‘Age cannot wither nor time stale her infinite virginity.”

4 thoughts on “Quotes of the Day

  1. Huh, very interesting. That'll make a nice anecdote in any future Am. religious history courses I teach. (I'm betting “The Way of Improvement Leads Home” will make it onto the syllabus.) (-:

    Like

  2. Paul: Yes, it is a great read. I just finished the Jackson chapter. A few hundred page left… And good call on Sellers. I read that in grad school as well and thought the same thing about the foray into religious history. In fact, my early ideas about a “rural Enlightenment” were forged in the context of reading Sellers and his description of all rural people as “antinomian” and backward.

    Like

  3. Paul: Yes, it is a great read. I just finished the Jackson chapter. A few hundred page left… And good call on Sellers. I read that in grad school as well and thought the same thing about the foray into religious history. In fact, my early ideas about a “rural Enlightenment” were forged in the context of reading Sellers and his description of all rural people as “antinomian” and backward.

    Like

  4. Love Howe's book. Back in my antebellum seminar we read “What Hath God Wrought” one week and Sellers' “The Market Revolution” the next. Sellers didn't do himself any favors by his ill-fated foray into religious history (the arminian v. antinomian structure was just breathtakingly bad). But Howe won out head-to-head on not just analysis but also on the prose. Jessica remembers me chortling over the Eaton's knocker line.

    Like

Comments are closed.