Mark Twain Quotes 1–30 of 328 Quotes

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), more famous by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer.

Below are 30 of 328 sourced Mark Twain quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“I haven't a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "Answers to Correspondents", The Californian, 17 June 1865. Anthologized in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches (1867)

“I'll risk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog in Calaveras county.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"; first published as "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog" in the New York Saturday Press, 18 November 1865; revised by the author and reprinted the following month in The Californian; first anthologized in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches (1867), ed. John Paul

“I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" (1865)

“He was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie.”

— Mark Twain

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More on this quote: "Brief Biographical Sketch of George Washington", The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches (1867), ed. John Paul
• Cited by: William E. Phipps, Mark Twain's Religion, Mercer University Press, 2003, p. 18
Richard Locke, Critical Children: The Use of Childhood in Ten Great Novels, Columbia University Press, p. 12

“I have seen Chinamen abused and maltreated in all the mean, cowardly ways possible to the invention of a degraded nature, but I never saw a policeman interfere in the matter and I never saw a Chinaman righted in a court of justice for wrongs thus done him.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "The Treaty With China", article in The New York Tribune, 1868-08-04. Quoted in Mark Twain's Letters, volume ii, p. 239

“Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "The Facts Concerning the Recent Resignation", described by the author as written about 1867, first published in Mark Twain's Sketches, New and Old (1875)

“Tomorrow night I appear for the first time before a Boston audience — 4000 critics.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: Letter to Pamela Clemens Moffet, 9 November 1869, in Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain's Letters: Arranged with Comment (1917), Vol. 1, p. 168

“He is now fast rising from affluence to poverty.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's Farm" (1869), anthologized in Mark Twain's Sketches (1872)

“Barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "A Mysterious Visit", Buffalo Express, 19 March 1870. Anthologized in Mark Twain's Sketches, New and Old‎ (1875)

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“Is not this insanity plea becoming rather common? Is it not so common that the reader confidently expects to see it offered in every criminal case that comes before the courts? [...] Really, what we want now, is not laws against crime, but a law against insanity.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "A New Crime" (1870)

“It [the press] has scoffed at religion till it has made scoffing popular. It has defended official criminals, on party pretexts, until it has created a United States Senate whose members are incapable of determining what crime against law and the dignity of their own body is—they are so morally blind—and it has made light of dishonesty till we have as a result a Congress which contracts to work for a certain sum and then deliberately steals additional wages out of the public pocket and is pained and surprised that anybody should worry about a little thing like that.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "License of the Press", an address before the Monday Evening Club, Hartford (1873)

“Benjamin Franklin did a great many notable things for his country, and made her young name to be honored in many lands as the mother of such a son. It is not the idea of this memoir to ignore that or cover it up. No; the simple idea of it is to snub those pretentious maxims of his, which he worked up with a great show of originality out of truisms that had become wearisome platitudes as early as the dispersion from Babel.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "The Late Benjamin Franklin", The Galaxy, Vol. 10, No. 1, July 1870http://books.google.com/books?id=2TIZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA139. Anthologized in Mark Twain's Sketches, New and Old‎ (1875)

“This poor little one-horse town.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "The Undertaker's Chat", first published as "A Reminiscence of the Back Settlements" in The Galaxy, Vol. 10, No. 5, November 1870http://books.google.com/books?id=2TIZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA731. Anthologized in Mark Twain's Sketches, New and Old‎ (1875)

““It has become a sarcastic proverb that a thing must be true if you saw it in a newspaper. That is the opinion intelligent people have of that lying vehicle in a nutshell. But the trouble is that the stupid people–who constitute the grand overwhelming majority of this and all other nations–do believe and are moulded and convinced by what they get out of a newspaper, and there is where the harm lies.”... “That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.””

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: – Mark Twain “License of the Press” speech, 1873

“A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: Letter to Annie Moffett Webster (1 September 1876)

“The funniest things are the forbidden.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "Notebook 18 (February–September 1879)" in Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, Vol. 2 (1975), ed. Frederick Anderson, , p. 304

“We haven't all had the good fortune to be ladies; we haven't all been generals, or poets, or statesmen; but when the toast works down to the babies, we stand on common ground.”

— Mark Twain

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More on this quote: Answering a toast, "To the Babies," at a banquet in honor of General U.S. Grant (November 14, 1879).
The Writings of Mark Twain, Vol. 20 (1899), ed. Charles Dudley Warner, p. 397

“Among the three or four million cradles now rocking in the land are some which this nation would preserve for ages as sacred things, if we could know which ones they are.”

— Mark Twain

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Quote source: "To the Babies" (14 November 1879)

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“Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any.”

— Mark Twain

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#21

Quote source: "Advice to Youth", speech to The Saturday Morning Club, Boston, 15 April 1882. Mark Twain Speaking (1976), ed. Paul Fatout, p. 169

“When the doctrine of allegiance to party can utterly up-end a man's moral constitution and make a temporary fool of him besides, what excuse are you going to offer for preaching it, teaching it, extending it, perpetuating it? Shall you say, the best good of the country demands allegiance to party? Shall you also say it demands that a man kick his truth and his conscience into the gutter, and become a mouthing lunatic, besides?”

— Mark Twain

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#22

Quote source: "Consistency", paper read at the Hartford Monday Evening Club on 5 December 1887. The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, p. 582 (First published in the 1923 edition of Mark Twain's Speeches, ed. Albert Bigelow Paine, pp. 120-130, where it is incorrectly dated "following the Blaine-Cleveland campaign, 1884." (See Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals (1979), ed. Frederick Anderson, Vol. 3, p. 41, footnote 92) Many reprints repeat Paine's dating.)

“Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world — and never will.”

— Mark Twain

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#23

Quote source: "Consistency" (5 December 1887). This quote is engraved on Twain's bust in the National Hall of Fame

“He [George Washington Cable] has taught me to abhor and detest the Sabbath day and hunt up new and troublesome ways to dishonor it.”

— Mark Twain

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#24

Quote source: Letter to William Dean Howells, 27 February 1885, in Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain's letters: Arranged with Comment (1917), Vol. 2, p. 450

“An experienced, industrious, ambitious, and often quite picturesque liar.”

— Mark Twain

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#25

Quote source: "The Private History of a Campaign That Failed", The Century, Vol. 31, No. 2, December 1885http://books.google.com/books?id=-1UiAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA193. Anthologized in The American Claimant, and Other Stories and Sketches (1898)

“It does look as if Massachusetts were in a fair way to embarrass me with kindnesses this year. In the first place, a Massachusetts judge has just decided in open court that a Boston publisher may sell, not only his own property in a free and unfettered way, but also may as freely sell property which does not belong to him but to me; property which he has not bought and which I have not sold. Under this ruling I am now advertising that judge's homestead for sale, and, if I make as good a sum out of it as I expect, I shall go on and sell out the rest of his property.”

— Mark Twain

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#26

Quote source: Letter of acceptance of membership to Concord Free Trade Club (March 28, 1885): Mark Twain, his life and work: a biographical sketch (1892), William Montgomery Clemens, Clemens Pub. Co.

“As I slowly grow wise I briskly grow cautious.”

— Mark Twain

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#27

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 4 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#27

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#27

Quote source: "English as She Is Taught", The Century, Vol. 33, No. 6, April 1887http://books.google.com/books?id=EzGgAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA932. A slightly abridged version was reprinted as Introduction to Caroline B. Le Row, English as She Is Taught: Genuine Answers to Some Examination Questions Asked in Our Public Schools (1901)

“A circle is a round straight line with a hole in the middle.”

— Mark Twain

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 4 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#28

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#28

Quote source: Quoting a schoolchild in "English as She Is Taught"

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure.”

— Mark Twain

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 4 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#29

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” Last modified August 4, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html#29

More on this quote: Mark Twain's Notebook, 1887
• Letter to Cordelia Welsh Foote (Cincinnati), 2 December 1887. Letter reprinted in Benjamin De Casseres's When Huck Finn Went Highbrow (1934)

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Twain, Mark. “Mark Twain Quotes: 1–30 of 328 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 4 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Mark-Twain-quotes.html

MLA Citation: Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

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