Help me remember a historical quote about the USA?

I can’t remember who said it or the exact words, but it went something like “America is a 21st century superpower that still thinks of itself as a 17th century frontier land” – the context being that the USA is one of the less modern developed countries in terms of its culture and social attitudes.

Hopefully I’m not butchering that quote TOO badly…

Rings a bell, I think it was some french dude in the 19th century.

Jeez, nobody tried to track it down for you even with my clue? Ok, go go google-fu.

Here’s another clue:
Thus, in 1901, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, a British writer, said in a letter from the United states to his friend, the novelist E.M. Forster: “The thing that rubbed into me in this country are 1) that the future of the world lies with America, and 2) that radically and essentially America is a barbarous country. The life of the spirit…is, not accidentally or temporarily, but inevitably and eternally killed in this country.”

Bump and link:

You’re serious, huh? You think people back in the 19th century were saying quotable stuff about America being a 21st century superpower? :dubious:

It sort of sounds like someone opinionating on a forum. A bit of exaggeration for effect.

Maybe Alexis de Tocqueville in his Democracy in America?

No, de Tocqueville wouldn’t have said America is a 21st century superpower. It has to be a fairly recent quote.

I did try to find it but I couldn’t.

I was presenting the Tocqueville quote as fitting this part of the OP

Obviously not a literal fit for the possibly misremembered “America is a 21st century superpower.”

Closest I know of is:

“America is the first country to have gone from barbarism to decadence without the usual intervening period of civilization.” - Oscar Wilde

Aren’t we in GQ? Why are you answering a question with a game?

The link goes to Hating America: A History, by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin.

It is not from a mainstream publication, but this quote from 2003, referring to the US in a commentary on Thanksgiving, seems to fit the bill:

***“Humanity cannot tolerate a 21st Century superpower, much of whose population perceives the world through the eyes of 17th Century land and flesh bandits. Yet that is the trick that fate has played on the globe.”

Although the quote is reprinted on various Websites, it seems to originate in the cover story of “The Black Commentator”, Nov 27, 2003, and is attributed to Glen Ford, who at the time was co-publisher of The Black Commentator.

Haha what a jerk. :smiley:

Yeah that’s who I was thinking of.

Moderator Warning

Superhal, I’m sure you’re aware that insults aren’t allowed outside of Pit. This is an official warning. Don’t do this again.

And while we’re at it, don’t post nonsensical answers in GQ. Your first post clearly didn’t have anything to do with the question in the OP, and trying to defend it subsequently didn’t help.

General Questions Moderator

I was saying people in the 19th century were jerks. Sorry if my grammar misled you. My first post was trying to help someone who didn’t get any responses. The quote is well-known, I was surprised nobody here knew it at the top of their heads.

Frankly, I don’t believe that your remark was in reference to people in the 19th century rather than njtt. As for “trying to help someone who didn’t get any responses,” your first post came only eight minutes after the question was posted, and was in violation of the GQ Rules:

Claiming that “some French dude in the 19th century” said something about the US being a superpower in the 21st Century is clearly nonsensical, and you didn’t even have good information about that. njtt was correct in pointing this out. In the future, don’t respond to questions in GQ unless you actually have some relevant information. And I would also advise you to quit digging yourself a deeper hole. Any further discussion of this matter should be taken to ATMB.

General Questions Moderator

So “well-known” that you apparently don’t “know it at the top of your head.”

Did I satisfy your curiosity with the Tocqueville or whatever posts?

See above. Apparently it was at the top of my head, not the tip of my tongue. So STFU, report my posts, and get the same negative ruling as everybody else.

Thank you for the apology, and refer to what I emailed you about being a mod.

I quote this here not to humiliate you, but only to say, “the SDBM is about truth, not ego.”

Man, I should get paid for that. :smiley:


Superhal This is another official warning for continuing this discussion when you were told to take it to ATMB. Also for telling Dewey Finn to STFU.

samclem, moderator