Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:



For I am without prejudice. It is my hope that both the Christians and the Jews will be damned; and to that end I am working all my influence. Help me pray...
If I have any leaning it is toward the Jew, not the Christian. (There is one thing I'd like to say, but I dasn't: Christianity has deluged the world with blood and tears--Judaism has caused neither for religion's sake.) I've had hard luck with them.
- Letter to Henry Rogers, 26 July 1898

The Jew is a money getter; and in getting his money he is a very serious obstruction to less capable neighbors who are on the same quest.
- "Concerning the Jews"

Clemens in Vienna
Mark Twain in Vienna, 1897

What has become of the Golden Rule?
It exists, it continues to sparkle, and is well taken care of. It is Exhibit A in the Church's assets, and we pull it out every Sunday and give it an airing...It is strictly religious furniture, like an acolyte, or a contribution-plate, or any of those things. It is never intruded into business; and Jewish persecution is not a religious passion, it is a business passion.
- "Concerning the Jews"

Even if the Jews have not all been geniuses, their general average of intelligence and intellectuality is far above our general average--and that is one of our reasons for wishing to drive them out of the higher forms of business and the professions. It is the swollen envy of pigmy minds--meanness, injustice. In the case of the Negro it is of course very different. The majority of us do not like his features, or his color, and we forget to notice that his heart is often a damned sight better than ours.
- quoted by Clara Clemens, My Husband Gabrilowitsch

It's a marvelous race--by long odds the most marvelous that the world has produced, I suppose.
- Letter to Joseph Twichell, 23 October 1897

The Jews have the best average brain of any people in the world. The Jews are the only race who work wholly with their brains and never with their hands... They are peculiarly and conspicuously the world's intellectual aristocracy.
- Mark Twain's Notebook

I started him on the heavens, for he had been to a good many of them and liked ours the best, on account of there not being any Sunday there. They kept Saturday, and it was very pleasant: plenty of rest for the tired, and plenty of innocent good times for the others. But no Sunday, he said; the Sunday-Sabbath was a commercial invention and quite local, having been devised by Constantine to equalize prosperities in this world between the Jews and the Christians. The government statistics of that period showed that a Jew could make as much money in five days as a Christian could in six; and so Constantine saw that at this rate the Jews would by and by have all the wealth and the Christians all the poverty. There was nothing fair nor right about this, a righteous government should have equal laws for all, and take just as much care of the incompetent as of the competent -- more, if anything. So he added the Sunday-Sabbath, and it worked just right, because it equalized the prosperities. After that, the Jew had to lie idle 104 days in the year, the Christian only 52, and this enabled the Christian to catch up. But my brother said there was now talk among Constantine and other early Christians up there, of some more equalizing; because, in looking forward a few centuries they could notice that along in the twentieth century somewhere it was going to be necessary to furnish the Jews another Sabbath to keep, so as to save what might be left of Christian property at that time. Schwarz said he had been down into the first quarter of the twentieth century lately, and it looked so to him.
- No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger

I have no prejudices against Jews. I have nothing that resembles a prejudice against Jews. To me, Jews are just merely human beings, and to my mind the difference between one human being and another is not a matter of the slightest consequence. As between a crocodile and an alligator there is no real choice, to my mind, therefore why should there be a choice between Jew and Christian -- or between anybody and anybody else? To be a human being of any kind is a hard enough lot, and unpleasant and disreputable in the best of circumstances. Therefore why should a man think more of himself, being a Christian, than he thinks of his neighbor who has escaped that privilege?
- Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2 (2013), p. 69. Dictated 31 May 1906.

Mark Twain's Jews book
Recommended book:

banner logo

Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search