"I believe that history has shape, order, and meaning; that exceptional men, as much as economic forces, produce change; and that passé abstractions like beauty, nobility, and greatness have a shifting but continuing validity."
"What is history? Its beginning is that of the centuries of systematic work devoted to the solution of the enigma of death, so that death itself may eventually be overcome. That is why people write symphonies, and why they discover mathematical infinity and electromagnetic waves."
"In the middle of the next century, when the literary establishment will reflect the multicultural makeup of this country and not be dominated by assimiliationists with similar tastes, from similar backgrounds, and of similar pretensions, Langston Hughes will be to the twentieth century what Walt Whitman was to the nineteenth."
"A revolution is not the overturning of a cart, a reshuffling in the cards of state. It is a process, a swelling, a new growth in the race. If it is real, not simply a trauma, it is another ring in the tree of history, layer upon layer of invisible tissue composing the evidence of a circle."
"What characterizes and defines our intellectual situation is precisely the wealth of contents that can no longer be mastered, the swollen facticity of knowledge (including moral facts), the spilling out of experience over the surfaces of nature, the impossibility of achieving an overview, the chaos of things that cannot be denied. We will perish from this, or overcome it by becoming a spiritually stronger type of human being."
"The tremendous outflow of intellectuals that formed such a prominent part of the general exodus from Soviet Russia in the first years of the Bolshevist Revolution seems today like the wanderings of some mythical tribe whose bird-signs and moon-signs I now retrieve from the desert dust."
"History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this.... It is not "history" which uses men as a means of achieving--as if it were an individual person--its own ends. History is nothing but the activity of men in pursuit of their ends."
"[With the Union saved] its form of government is saved to the world; its beloved history, and cherished memories, are vindicated; and its happy future fully assured, and rendered inconceivably grand."