“Whatever the American's are proud of - whatever they consider to be particularly good, useful, brilliant, or characteristic of themselves or their climate, they designate, half in jest, though scarcely half in earnest, as an ‘institution.’ Thus the memory of George Washington... is an institution; the Falls of Niagara are an institution; the Plymouth Rock, on which the Pilgrim Fathers first set foot, is an institution...; ‘Sweet potatoes’ are an institution, and Pumpkin (or Punkin) pie is an institution; ...squash is an institution; Bunker Hill is an institution; and the firemen of New York are a great institution.”


-- Life and Liberty in America by Charles Mackay, published 1850

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