Americas

North America and South America taken together as a single continent or landmass

The Americas, also known as America or the New World, are the combined Western Hemisphere continental landmasses of North America and South America along with their associated islands. Brazil and the United States are the two most populous countries in the Americas.

The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, and, in time, a Virgil at Mexico, and a Newton at Peru. At last, some curious traveller from Lima will visit England and give a description of the ruins of St Paul’s, like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra. ~ Horace Walpole

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Quotes

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We should welcome to our ample continent all the nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples, and as fast as they learn our language and comprehend the duties of citizenship, we should incorporate them in. ~ Frederick Douglass
 
America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire. ~ Thomas Paine
 
America has been the New World in all tongues, to all peoples, not because this continent was a new-found land, but because all those who came here believed they could create upon this continent a new life — a life that should be new in freedom. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
 
We of the two Americas must be left to work out our own salvation along our own lines; and if we are wise we will make it understood as a cardinal feature of our joint foreign policy that, on the one hand, we will not submit to territorial aggrandizement on this continent by any Old Power. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Globalization made the large open spaces of the Americas, its “open frontiers,” valuable. Often these frontiers were only mythically open, since they were inhabited by indigenous peoples who were brutally dispossessed. All the same, the scramble for this newly valuable resource was one of the defining processes of the Americas in the second half of the nineteenth century. The sudden opening of this valuable frontier led not to parallel processes in the United States and Latin America, but to a further divergence, shaped by the existing institutional differences, especially those concerning who had access to the land. In the United States a long series of legislative acts, ranging from the Land Ordinance of 1785 to the Homestead Act of 1862, gave broad access to frontier lands. Though indigenous peoples had been sidelined, this created an egalitarian and economically dynamic frontier. In most Latin American countries, however, the political institutions there created a very different outcome. Frontier lands were allocated to the politically powerful and those with wealth and contacts, making such people even more powerful.
    • Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Poverty, and Prosperity (2012), p. 49
  • We should welcome to our ample continent all the nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples, and as fast as they learn our language and comprehend the duties of citizenship, we should incorporate them into the American body politic. The outspread wings of the American eagle are broad enough to shelter all who are likely to come. As a matter of selfish policy, leaving right and humanity out of the question, we cannot wisely pursue any other course. Other governments mainly depend for security upon the sword; ours depends mainly upon the friendship of the people. In all matters, in time of peace, in time of war, and at all times, it makes its appeal to the people, and to all classes of the people. Its strength lies in their friendship and cheerful support in every time of need, and that policy is a mad one which would reduce the number of its friends by excluding those who would come, or by alienating those who are already here.
  • It was an idea that made the crucial difference between British and Iberian America – an idea about the way people should govern themselves. Some people make the mistake of calling that idea ‘democracy’ and imagining that any country can adopt it merely by holding elections. In reality, democracy was the capstone of an edifice that had as its foundation the rule of law – to be precise, the sanctity of individual freedom and the security of private property rights, ensured by representative, constitutional government.
  • I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of dreams. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people. In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants... Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our 'neighbors' and everything around us.
  • The South Americans were not willing to “sing the Lord's song” in the ear of their cruel invaders. They were never questioned with kindness, nor by gentle degrees encouraged to call forth a frank and communicative spirit. All that we know of their history, was extorted under the influence of terror, and listened to with the supercilious scorn which the brutal consciousness of superior strength, and the sanguinary spirit of bigotry and persecution are so well qualified to inspire. In no long time, so completely were these poor people subdued by the hardhearted avarice of their masters, that they felt no pleasure in recollecting what Mexico had been, and the tales perhaps of revolving ages of glory that their infancy had heard. From an industrious and ingenious people, among whom astronomy had deposited her secrets, and the profoundest mysteries of policy and government were familiar, they sunk into a state of imbecility and helpless despondence, upon which the wild and active savage in the woods might look down with a well founded sense of superiority.
    • William Godwin William Godwin, Of Population. An Enquiry concerning the Power of Increase in the Numbers of Mankind [1820] Of Population.
  • The victory of the Cuban Revolution will be a tangible demonstration before all the Americas that peoples are capable of rising up, that they can rise up by themselves right under the very fangs of the monster.
  • The American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European power.
  • America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.
  • America has been the New World in all tongues, to all peoples, not because this continent was a new-found land, but because all those who came here believed they could create upon this continent a new life — a life that should be new in freedom.
  • At home we have preached, and will continue to preach, the gospel of the good neighbor. I hope from the bottom of my heart that as the years go on, in every continent and in every clime, Nation will follow Nation in proving by deed as well as by word their adherence to the ideal of the Americas—I am a good neighbor.
  • There is much loose talk of our immunity from immediate and direct invasion from across the seas. Obviously, as long as the British Navy retains its power, no such danger exists. Even if there were no British Navy, it is not probable that any enemy would be stupid enough to attack us by landing troops in the United States from across thousands of miles of ocean, until it had acquired strategic bases from which to operate. But we learn much from the lessons of the past years in Europe-particularly the lesson of Norway, whose essential seaports were captured by treachery and surprise built up over a series of years. The first phase of the invasion of this Hemisphere would not be the landing of regular troops. The necessary strategic points would be occupied by secret agents and their dupes- and great numbers of them are already here, and in Latin America. As long as the aggressor nations maintain the offensive, they-not we--will choose the time and the place and the method of their attack. That is why the future of all the American Republics is today in serious danger.
  • We meet to-day, representing the people of this continent, from the Dominion of Canada in the north, to Chile and the Argentine in the south; representing people who have traveled far and fast in the last century, because in them has been practically shown that is the spirit of adventure which is maker of commonwealths; people who are learning and striving to put into practice the vital truth that freedom is the necessary first step, but only the first step, in successful free government... We of the two Americas must be left to work out our own salvation along our own lines; and if we are wise we will make it understood as a cardinal feature of our joint foreign policy that, on the one hand, we will not submit to territorial aggrandizement on this continent by any Old Power, and on the other hand, among ourselves each nation must scrupulously regard the rights and interests of others, so that, instead of any one of us committing the criminal folly of trying to rise at the expense of our neighbors, we shall strive upward in honest and manly brotherhood, shoulder to shoulder.
  • In the five centuries since Columbus discovered the New World, savagery has been part of American life. There has been the violence of conquest and resistance, the violence of racial difference, the violence of civil war, the violence of bandits and gangsters, the violence of lynch law, all set against the violence of the wilderness and the city.
  • The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, and, in time, a Virgil at Mexico, and a Newton at Peru. At last, some curious traveller from Lima will visit England and give a description of the ruins of St Paul's, like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra.
    • Horace Walpole, English art historian, writer, antiquarian and politician in a letter to Sir Horace Mann (24 November 1774)
  • The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights and previleges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.
    • George Washington, letter to the members of the Volunteer Association and other Inhabitants of the Kingdom of Ireland who have lately arrived in the City of New York (December 2, 1783), John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (1938), vol. 27, p. 254.
  • American wheat, sold in Europe at lower prices than the domestic product, brought on a crisis in European peasant agriculture, sending a migrant stream of ruined peasants to seek new sources of livelihood in the burgeoning Americas. Ironically many of them made the journey westward on the same ships that carried to Europe the wheat that proved their undoing.
    • Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History, Chapter 11, p. 319

See also

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  •   Encyclopedic article on Americas on Wikipedia