Quotations and Speechwriting Materials Regarding Innovation



  • Historian David McCullough: “We Americans have a gift for improvisation. We improvise in jazz; we improvise in many of our architectural breakthroughs. Improvisation is one of our traits, as a people, because it was essential, it was necessary, because again and again we were attempting what hadn’t been done before.” The American Spirit 108-09 (2017).
  • President Abraham Lincoln in a talk to veterans after a battle, “‘It is in order that each one of you may have, through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field, and a fair change for your industry, enterprise, and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life with all its desirable human aspirations – it is for this that the struggle should be maintained. . . .’ For all of our darker impulses, for all of our shortcomings, and for all of the dreams denied and deferred, the experiment begun so long ago, carried out so imperfectly, is worth the fight.” Jon Meacham, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels (2018).
  • Historian Jon Meacham: “For notably among nations, the United States has long been shaped by the promise, if not always by the reality, of forward motion, of rising greatness, and of the expansion of knowledge, of wealth, and of happiness.” The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels (2018).

Survey results

  • Nearly all U.S. respondents consider Americans to be innovative[1] – interestingly, an American trait also noted by most Japanese survey respondents.[2][1] Chris Jackson & Anson Justi, Americans Report Positive Attitudes and Optimism on Technology, Ipsos Public Affairs (March 1, 2019)(“Ninety-two percent of Americans believe that innovation is a big part of American culture and history with three-quarters (77%) believing the United States is one of the world’s leaders in innovation.”)[2] Bruce Stokes, How Americans and Japanese See Each Other, Pew Research Center (April 9, 2015)(67% of Japanese respondents viewed Americans as inventive).

An American Spirit — the Report

For the full report, click here.