"Individualism, the love of enterprise, and the pride in personal freedom, have been deemed by Americans not only as their choicest, but their peculiar and exclusive possessions."
James Bryce
The American Commonwealth, 1888
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Reader comments about this quote:
It's ethnocentricity at its best. Keep those blinders on!
 -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
    What does he mean "exclusive?" Aren't other peoples of other nations allowed to possess these same qualities of life? After all, isn't that why Bush took America into war - to provide Iraqis with these same qualities (except he called it democracy)?
     -- john-douglas, nassau     
    Individualism and the love of enterprise will always be staple characteristics of Americans but the pride in personal freedom is quickly becoming stale in this post 911 America.
     -- ks, NY.     
    Yes -ks, we are giving up personal freedom for Obamacare
     -- Cal, lewisville, TX     
    This may have held some truth in 1888, not now. Today's ordinary American has allowed his sense of individualism and his personal take on reality to be provided by TV, mostly, replacing the sensory-available here and now with a mere talking head description of it. Worse, media has him/her elegantly trained to believe there's no need to experience legitimate suffering anymore. Instead, there's a pharmaceutical product or super-sized belly blaster easily available (for a price) for use as a surrogate. Bryce's quote is full of high symbolism - and empty of real meaning in the real U.S.
     -- Mann, Kalamazoo     
    Almost my entire adult life I've worked for myself but, I wouldn't use "love of enterprise" to describe any motivation or the why. The term "Pride' there doesn't quite fit either. Is freedom a possession that can be exclusive ? I don't know that I would claim anything as my choicest possession. My God, family country, and freedom, peculiar to me, are held most (can't think of an adequate word) in my heart - none of which are possessed by me. The quote may fit some early industrialists - ummm, maybe, dunno?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    We've come a long way, baby... In 1888, most of the people of the world lived under monarchy, dictatorship, or combinations of socialism/communism/fascism. I have never heard of another country with the exception of Switzerland with a republican form of government. Of course, today, we see that America is but a shadow of its original glory. It is not an accident -- it is war, war upon the free people of America, where the land was to be owned and held by the People themselves in their own sovereign capacity. But without strong character and real "individualism, the love of enterprise, and the pride in personal freedom," the People of America fell victim to the lust for power, for 'credit', for 'security', and allowed their country to be stolen by powerful and wealthy families who now literally hold the entire world in their debt. Bankrupted and powerless the American people have become. Travel the world, and you will find that the stereotypical American is fat, ignorant, arrogant, always living above his means, in debt, and parrots whatever the TV tells him. Unless the current youth wake up to this fact, the oppression will be complete.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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