Famous History Quotes
There is properly no history; only biography.
By Ralph Waldo Emerson on Biography
Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.
By Benjamin Disraeli on Biography
Anyone who believes you can't change history has never tried to write his memoirs.
By David Ben Gurion on Biography
History is something I blog. It is impossible to ever capture any moment and get another person to truly understand it any more than I do. But I hope to at least get them to notice historical moments.
By Miland Brown on Blogging History
History . . . is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.
By Edward Gibbon on Crimes
HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
By Ambrose Bierce on Definition of History
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
By George Santayana on Doom
In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.
By Alex Haley on Family
One faces the future with one's past.
By Pearl S. Buck on Future
Fear not for the future, weep not for the past.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley on Future
Only a good-for-nothing is not interested in his past.
By Sigmund Freud on Good-for-Nothings
What experience and history teach is this-that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.
By G. W. F. Hegel on Governments
The function off the historian is neither to love the past nor to emancipate himself from the past, but to master and understand it as the key to the understanding of the present.
By E. H. Carr on Historians
An historian should yield himself to his subject, become immersed in the place and period of his choice, standing apart from it now and then for a fresh view.
By Samuel Eliot Morison on Historians
That historians should give their own country a break, I grant you; but not so as to state things contrary to fact. For there are plenty of mistakes made by writers out of ignorance, and which any man finds it difficult to avoid. But if we knowingly write what is false, whether for the sake of our country or our friends or just to be pleasant, what difference is there between us and hack writers? Readers should be very attentive to and critical of historians, and they in turn should be constantly on their guard.
By Polybius on Historians
The historian does simply not come in to replenish the gaps of memory. He constantly challenges even those memories that have survived intact.
By Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi on Historians
A historian who would convey the truth must lie. Often he must enlarge the truth by diameters, otherwise his reader would not be able to see it.
By Mark Twain on Historians
From time to time historians need to be shocked.
By Peter Burke on Historians
To each eye, perhaps, the outlines of a great civilization present a different picture. In the wide ocean upon which we venture, the possible ways and directions are many; and the same studies which have served for my work might easily, in other hands, not only receive a wholly different treatment and application, but lead to essentially different conclusions.
By Jacob Burckhardt on Historical Analysis
If you do not like the past, change it.
By William L. Burton on Historical Revisionism
The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see; and in that record you can find yourself and your country both examples and warnings; fine things to take as models, base things rotten through and through, to avoid.
By Livy on Historical Study
Everything must be recaptured and relocated in the general framework of history, so that despite the difficulties, the fundamental paradoxes and contradictions, we may respect the unity of history which is also the unity of life.
By Fernand Braudel on History
History does nothing, possesses no enormous wealth, fights no battles. It is rather man, the real, living man, who does everything, possesses, fights. It is not History, as if she were a person apart, who uses men as a means to work out her purposes, but history itself is nothing but the activity of men pursuing their purposes.
By Karl Marx on History
History is for human self-knowledge. Knowing yourself means knowing, first, what it is to be a person; secondly, knowing what it is to be the kind of person you are; and thirdly, knowing what it is to be the person you are and nobody else is. Knowing yourself means knowing what you can do; and since nobody knows what they can do until they try, the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.
By R. G. Collingwood on History
History is more or less bunk.
By Henry Ford on History as Bunk
History is the present. That's why every generation writes it anew. But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth.
By E. L. Doctorow on History as Myth
Since history has no properly scientific value, its only purpose is educative. And if historians neglect to educate the public, if they fail to interest it intelligently in the past, then all their historical learning is valueless except in so far as it educates themselves.
By G. M. Trevelyan on History Education
You have reckoned that history ought to judge the past and to instruct the contemporary world as to the future. The present attempt does not yield to that high office. It will merely tell how it really was.
By Leopold von Ranke on Judgement
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.
By David C. McCullough on Navigation
"History," Stephen said, "is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."
By James Joyce on Nightmare
Every past is worth condemning.
By Friedrich Nietzsche on Past
Each age tries to form its own conception of the past. Each age writes the history of the past anew with reference to the conditions uppermost in its own time.
By Frederick Jackson Turner on Past
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past.
By Edward Gibbon on Past
The past is useless. That explains why it is past.
By Wright Morris on Past Events
Patriotism ruins history.
By Goethe on Patriotism
Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.
By Thich Nhat Hanh on Present
History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.
By Kurt Vonnegut on Surprise
History is the only laboratory we have in which to test the consequences of thought.
By Etienne Gilson on Thought
History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illuminates reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.
By Cicero on Time
Time in its irresistible and ceaseless flow carries along on its flood all created things and drowns them in the depths of obscurity. . . . But the tale of history forms a very strong bulwark against the stream of time, and checks in some measure its irresistible flow, so that, of all things done in it, as many as history has taken over it secures and binds together, and does not allow them to slip away into the abyss of oblivion.
By Anna Comnena on Time
Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research, however patient and scrupulous, into special facts. Such facts may be detailed with the most minute exactness, and yet the narrative, taken as a whole, may be unmeaning or untrue. The narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time. He must study events in their bearings near and remote; in the character, habits, and manners of those who took part in them. He must himself be, as it were, a sharer or a spectator of the action he describes.
By Francis Parkman on Truth
False history gets made all day, any day, the truth of the new is never on the news
By Adrienne Rich on Truth
The future is here, now, and the past is full of actual deeds, real history. Utopias hardly have the meat on their bones to sustain a people in grave times.
By Patricia Hampl on Utopias
Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background, the countless minor scenes and interiors of the secession war; and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books.
By Walt Whitman on War
Well behaved women rarely make history.
By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich on Women
The history of all times, and of today especially, teaches that ... women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves.
By Louise Otto on Women
The history of woman is the history of the continued and universal oppression of one sex by the other. The emancipation of woman is her restoration to equal rights and privileges with man.
By Tennesse Claflin on Women
Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.
By Oscar Wilde on Writing