History quotes

By | 28.07.2022

Famous quotes about history

One of the deepest impulses in man is the impulse to record, to scratch a drawing on a tusk or keep a diary… The enduring value of the past is, one might say, the very basis of civilisation. John Jay Chapman

History is a vast early warning system. Norman Cousins

History is only the register of crimes and misfortunes. Voltaire

The good historian… must be fearless, uncorrupted, free, the friend of truth and of liberty. One who calls a fig a fig, and a skiff a skiff, neither giving nor withholding from any, from favour or from enmity, not influenced by pity, by shame, or by remorse. A just judge… a stranger to all, of no country, bound only by his own laws, acknowledging no sovereign, never considering what this or that man may say of him, but relating faithfully everything as it happened. Lucian

History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided. Konrad Adenauer

Black history is American history. Morgan Freeman

Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both. C. Wright Mills

A historian ought to be exact, sincere and impartial, free from passion, unbiased by interest, fear, resentment or affection. And faithful to the truth, which is the mother of history, the preserver of great actions, the enemy of oblivion, the witness of the past, the director of the future. B. R. Ambedkar

It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition. Henry James

People who make history know nothing about history. You can see that in the sort of history they make. G.K. Chesterton

Human history is not the product of the wise direction of human reason, but is shaped by the forces of emotion — our dreams, our pride, our greed, our fears, and our desire for revenge. Lin Yutang

History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools. Ambrose Bierce

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey

History is not the past but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view, to be useful to the modern traveller. Henry Glassie

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. James Baldwin

What is history but a fable agreed upon? Napoleon Bonaparte

The history of mankind is the instant between two strides taken by a traveler. Franz Kafka

If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. Michael Crichton

I don’t know much about history and I wouldn’t give a nickel for all the history in the world. It means nothing to me. History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today. Henry Ford

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. Robert Kennedy

History, a distillation of rumour. Thomas Carlyle

Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. Harry S. Truman

What experience and history teach is that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it. Georg Hegel

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.’ Lyndon B. Johnson

Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes. Voltaire

History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this. Karl Marx

History is the story of events, with praise or blame. Cotton Mather

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. Thomas Jefferson

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. Karl Marx

What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past. Victor Hugo

Alternate history fascinates me, as it fascinates all novelists, because ‘What if?’ is the big thing. Kate Atkinson

History is the study of all the world’s crime.Voltaire

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little. Franklin D. Roosevelt

History is written by the victors. Winston Churchill

History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice. Will Durant

The history of the past interests us only in so far as it illuminates the history of the present. Ernest Dimnet

History is who we are and why we are the way we are. David McCullough

History is instructive. What it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper… Anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much larger sort of flow of energy. And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place. Howard Zinn

History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools. Ambrose Bierce

History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul. Lord Acton

Today is either the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. Today we are making history. Eckhard Pfeiffer

Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts — between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader… History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks. Will Durant

History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity. Hermann Hesse

We are not makers of history. We are made by history. Martin Luther King, Jr.

History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. Alexis de Tocqueville

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats. B. C. Forbes

No other discipline has its portals so wide open to the general public as history. Johan Huizinga

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Confucius

Ideas shape the course of history. John Maynard Keynes

History is a race between education and catastrophe. H.G. Wells

If history and science have taught us anything, it is that passion and desire are not the same as truth. E. O. Wilson

History gives answers only to those who know how to ask questions. Hajo Holborn

Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. John Adams

There is a history in all men’s lives. William Shakespeare

A generation which ignores history has no past and no future. Robert Heinlein

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. Desmond Tutu

The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice. Mark Twain

Human history in essence is the history of ideas. H.G. Wells

Our history is not our destiny. Alan Cohen

If you want to understand today you have to search yesterday. Pearl S. Buck

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another. Nelson Mandela

It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man. Henry David Thoreau

The pull, the attraction of history, is in our human nature. What makes us tick? Why do we do what we do? How much is luck the deciding factor? David McCullough

The only history is a mere question of one’s struggle inside oneself. But that is the joy of it. One need neither discover Americas nor conquer nations, and yet one has as great a work as Columbus or Alexander, to do. D. H. Lawrence

History is a jangle of accidents, blunders, surprises and absurdities, and so is our knowledge of it, but if we are to report it at all we must impose some order upon it. Henry Steele Commager

Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World. Christopher Columbus

I go into my library and all history unrolls before me. Alexander Smith

A myth is far truer than a history, for a history only gives a story of the shadows, whereas a myth gives a story of the substances that cast the shadows. Annie Besant

Life moves fast. As much as you can, learn from your history, you have to move forward. Eddie Vedder

History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul. John Dalberg-Acton

History reports that the men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all. Will Durant

History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again. Kurt Vonnegut

The entire history of mankind is, in any case, nothing but a prolonged fight to the death for the conquest of universal prestige and absolute power. Albert Camus

Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon. July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind. Neil Armstrong

Only the vanquished remember history. Marshall McLuhan

Isn’t history ultimately the result of our fear of boredom? Emile Cioran

The past changes a little every time we retell it. Hilary Mantel

The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours. Alan Bennett

History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there. George Santayana

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. Mohandas Gandhi

History is nothing but assisted and recorded memory. George Santayana

What is the use trying to describe the flowing of a river at any one moment, and then at the next moment, and then at the next, and the next, and the next? You wear out. You say ‘There is a great river and it flows through this land, and we have named it History’. Ursula K. Le Guin

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. Aldous Huxley

Live out of your imagination, not your history. Stephen Covey

History provides no precise guidelines. Douglas Hurd

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. Maya Angelou

History has been the history of warfare. Godfrey Reggio

I’ve been completely fascinated with history because it tells everything about what’s going to happen next because it’s cyclical, everything repeats in general. Emillie Autumn

If you don’t know history, it’s as if you were born yesterday. If you were born yesterday then any leader can tell you anything. Howard Zinn

History develops, art stands still. E. M. Forster

Things have never been more like the way they are today in history. Dwight D. Eisenhower

History is a resource. Laura Linney

The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle. Eric Hoffer

Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft. Confucius

Historians are themselves the products of history. Paul Conkin and Roland Stromberg

So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system. Milton Friedman

History shows that there are no invincible armies. Joseph Stalin

The history of the world is the biography of the great man. And I said: The great man always acts like a thunder. He storms the skies, while others are waiting to be stormed. Thomas Carlyle

Study the historian before you begin to study the facts. Edward Hallett Carr

Get up tomorrow early in the morning, and earlier than you did today, and do the best that you can. Always stay near me, for tomorrow I will have much to do and more than I ever had, and tomorrow blood will leave my body above the breast. Joan of Arc

History is merely gossip. Oscar Wilde

The people who have really made history are the martyrs. Aleister Crowley

The historian must serve two masters: the past and the present. Fritz Stern

There are no extraordinary men… just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with. William Halsey

There is properly no history; only biography. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The historic ascent of humanity, taken as a whole, may be summarized as a succession of victories of consciousness over blind forces – in nature, in society, in man himself. Leon Trotsky

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them. Leo Tolstoy

I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments. Friedrich August von Hayek

Revolutions are the locomotives of history. Karl Marx

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. George Orwell

To study history means submitting yourself to chaos, but nevertheless retaining your faith in order and meaning. Herman Hesse

History never looks like history when you are living through it. John W. Gardner

History is more or less bunk. Henry Ford

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it. Oscar Wilde

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