John Jay Chapman

John Jay Chapman (18621933) was an American writer and essayist, born in New York City.


  • When a man talks with absolute sincerity and freedom he goes on a voyage of discovery. The whole company has shares in the enterprise.
    • Society, Causes and Consequences (1898)
  • Every generation is a secret society and has incommunicable enthusiasms, tastes and interests which are a mystery both to its predecessors and to posterity.

Practical Agitation (1900)Edit

  • It is just as impossible to help reform by conciliating prejudice as it is by buying votes. Prejudice is the enemy. Whoever is not for you is against you.
    • Chapter 1
  • Everybody in America is soft, and hates conflict. The cure for this, both in politics and social life, is the same—hardihood. Give them raw truth.
    • Chapter 1
  • The short lesson that comes out of long experience in political agitation is something like this: all the motive power in all of these movements is the instinct of religious feeling. All the obstruction comes from attempting to rely on anything else. Conciliation is the enemy.
    • Chapter 1
  • People who love soft methods and hate iniquity forget this,—that reform consists in taking a bone from a dog. Philosophy will not do it.
    • Chapter 7
  • Our goodness comes solely from thinking on goodness; our wickedness from thinking on wickedness. We too are the victims of our own contemplation.
    • Chapter 7
  • Good government is the outcome of private virtue.
    • Chapter 2
  • A political organization is a transferable commodity. You could not find a better way of killing virtue than by packing it into one of these contraptions which some gang of thieves is sure to find useful.
    • Chapter 1

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