Henry Louis "H. L." Mencken (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956), was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a scholar of American English. Mencken, known as the "Sage of Baltimore", is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century. Many of his books are still in print.
Mencken is known for writing The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States, and for his satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he named the "Monkey" trial. In addition to his literary accomplishments, Mencken was known for his controversial ideas. During the World Wars, he was sympathetic to the Germans, and was very distrustful of British "propaganda".
A frank admirer of Nietzsche, he was not a proponent of representative democracy, which he believed was a system in which inferior men dominated their superiors. Mencken wrote many articles about the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians, pseudo-experts, temperance and uplifters. He was particularly critical of anti-intellectualism, bigotry, populism, Christian fundamentalism, creationism, organized religion, the existence of God, and osteopathic/chiropractic medicine. He was a keen cheer-leader of scientific progress but very skeptical of economic theories.