Marriage ... is still the imperfect institution it must remain while women continue to be ill-educated, passive, and subservient.— Harriet Martineau
The most tremendous Harriet Martineau quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
I certainly had no idea how little faith Christians have in their own faith till I saw how ill their courage and temper can stand any attack on it.
You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today;
for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.
My own feeling of concern arises from seeing how much moral injury and suffering is created by the superstitions of the Christian mythology.
It is hard to tell which is worse; the wide diffusion of things that are not true, or the suppression of things that are true.
Self-denial is taught much better by inspiring the love of our neighbor, than by the prohibition of innocent comforts and pleasures. Spirituality is much better taught by making spiritual things the objects of supreme desire, than by commanding an ostentatious avoidance of the enjoyments of life.
My business in life has been to think and learn, and to speak out with absolute freedom what I have thought and learned. The freedom is itself a positive and never-failing enjoyment to me, after the bondage of my early life.
The sum and substance of female education in America, as in England, is training women to consider marriage as the sole object in life, and to pretend that they do not think so.
The progression of emancipation of any class usually, if not always, takes place through the efforts of individuals of that class.
All people interested in their work are liable to overrate their vocation.
There may be makers of dolls' eyes who wonder how society would go on without them.
I have no sympathy for those who, under any pressure of circumstances, sacrifice their heart's-love for legal prostitution.
What office is there which involves more responsibility, which requires more qualifications, and which ought, therefore, to be more honorable, than that of teaching?
Readers are plentiful: thinkers are rare.
Keep innocency, and take heed unto the thing that is right, for that shall bring a man peace at the last.
This noble word [women], spirit-stirring as it passes over English ears, is in America banished, and 'ladies' and 'females' substituted: the one to English taste mawkish and vulgar; the other indistinctive and gross.
Moral excellence has no regard to classes and professions.
Scarcely anything that I observed in the United States caused me so much sorrow as the contemptuous estimate of the people entertained by those who were bowing the knee to be permitted to serve them.
It is my deliberate opinion that the one essential requisite of human welfare in all ways is scientific knowledge of human nature.
Religion is a temper, not a pursuit. It is the moral atmosphere in which human beings are to live and move. Men do not live to breathe: they breathe to live.
During the present interval between the feudal age and the coming time, when life and its occupations will be freely thrown open to women as to men, the condition of the female working classes is such that if its sufferings were but made known, emotions of horror and shame would tremble through the whole of society.
While feeling far less injured by toil than my friends took for granted I must be, I yet was always aware of the strong probability that my life would end as the lives of hard literary workers usually end, - in paralysis, with months or years of imbecility.
Fidelity to conscience is inconsistent with retiring modesty.
If it be so, let the modesty succumb. It can be only a false modesty which can be thus endangered.
I think that few people are aware how early it is right to respect the modesty of an infant.
Men who pass most comfortably through this world are those who possess good digestions and hard hearts.
There have been few things in my life which have had a more genial effect on my mind than the possession of a piece of land.
Day-thoughts feed nightly dreams; And sorrow tracketh wrong, As echo follows song.
If there is any country on earth where the course of true love may be expected to run smooth, it is America.
I romanced internally about early death till it was too late to die early.
[On being deaf:] We can never get beyond the necessity of keeping in full view the worst and the best that can be made of our lot. The worst is, either to sink under the trial, or to be made callous by it. The best is, to be as wise as is possible under a great disability, and as happy as is possible under a great privation.
. . . is it to be understood that the principles of the Declaration of Independence bear no relation to half of the human race?
If a test of civilization be sought, none can be so sure as the condition of that half of society over which the other half has power.
Any one must see at a glance that if men and women marry those whom they do not love, they must love those whom they do not marry.
Religion is a temper, not a pursuit.
The Penny Post will do more for the circulation of ideas, for the fostering of domestic affections, for the humanizing of the mass generally, than any other single measure that our national wit can devise.
Of tobacco and its consequences, I will say nothing but that the practice is at too bad a pass to leave hope that anything that could be said in books would work a cure. If the floors of boarding-houses, and the decks of steam-boats, and the carpets of the Capitol, do not sicken the Americans into a reform; if the warnings of physicians are of no avail, what remains to be said? I dismiss the nauseous subject.
it matters infinitely less what we do than what we are.
The imagination, once awakened, must and will work, and ought to work
I wrote because I could not help it. There was something that I wanted to say, and I said it: that was all. The fame and the money and the usefulness might or might not follow. It was not by my endeavor if they did.
The habit of dwelling on the past, has a narrowing as well as a debilitating influence. Behind us, there is a small, - an almost insignificant measure of time; before us, there is an eternity. It is the natural tendency of the mind to magnify the one, and to diminish the other.
[I] wish that the land-tax went a little more according to situation than it does. 'Tis really ridiculous, how one has to pay five times as much as another, without any reason that ever I heard tell.
[On being deaf:] We must struggle for whatever may be had, without encroaching on the comfort of others.
I hope and believe my co-religionists understand and admit that I disclaim their theology in toto, and that by no twisting of language or darkening of its meanings can I be made to have any thing whatever in common with them about religious matters... they must take my word for it that there is nothing in common between their theology and my philosophy.
The clergy complain of the enormous spread of bold books, from the infidel tract to the latest handling of the miracle question.
Leisure, some degree of it, is necessary to the health of every man's spirit.
I am sure that no traveler seeing things through author spectacles can see them as they are.
We are not responsible for our feelings, as we are for our principles and actions. ... Our care, then, should be to look to our principles, and to avoid all anxiety about our emotions. Their nature can never be wrong where our course of action is right, and for their degree we are not responsible.
I saw no poor men, except a few intemperate ones.
I saw some very poor women; but God and man know that the time has not come for women to make their injuries even heard of.
I would not exchange my freedom from old superstition, if I were to be burned at the stake next month, for all the peace and quiet of orthodoxy, if I must take the orthodoxy with peace and quiet.
When once experience taught me that I could work when I chose, and within a quarter of an hour of my determining to do so, I was relieved, in a great measure, from those embarrassments and depressions which I see afflicting many an author who waits for a mood instead of summoning it, and is the sport, instead of the master, of his own impressions and ideas.