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Gizmotude Quotation Archives



History's lessons are no more enlightening than the wisdom of those who interpret them. ~~ David Schoenbrun

History repeats itself and History never repeats itself are about equally true…We never know enough about the infinitely complex circumstances of any past event to prophesy the future by analogy. ~~ G. M. Trevelyn

History is the record of an encounter between character and circumstances. ~~ Donald Creighton

I believe that history has shape, order, and meaning; that exceptional men, as much as economic forces, produce change; and that passe abstractions like beauty, nobility, and greatness have a shifting but continuing validity. ~~ Camille Paglia

We are all citizens of history. ~~ Clifton Fadiman

The history of man is a graveyard of great cultures that came to catastrophic ends because of their incapacity for planned, rational, voluntary reaction to challenge. ~~ Erich Fromm (see Said Who)

The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards. ~~ Walter Bagehot

History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives. ~~ Abba Eban

History … is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind. ~~ Edward Gibbon

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. ~~ Woody Allen

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach. ~~ Aldous Huxley

There is no history of mankind, there are only many histories of all kinds of aspects of human life. And one of these is the history of political power. This is elevated into the history of the world. ~~ Sir Karl Popper

History is littered with the wars which everybody knew would never happen. ~~ Enoch Powell

Swindon: What will history say?

Burgoyne: History, sir, will tell lies as usual. ~~ George Bernard Shaw

Our ignorance of history makes us libel to our own times. People have always been like this. ~~ Gustave Flaubert

History is full of surprises. ~~ Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

Presidents quickly realize that while a single act might destroy the world they live in, no one single decision can make life suddenly better or can turn history around for good. ~~ Lyndon B. Johnson

Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response. Expelled from individual consciousness by the rush of change, history finds its revenge by stamping the collective unconsciousness with habits, values, expectations, dreams. The dialectic between past and future will continue to form our lives. ~~ Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

We learn from history that we do not learn from history. ~~ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

This was a great year for preventive worrying. Seldom in recent history have so many people worried about so many things that didn't happen in the end. ~~ James Reston

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

For the very first time the young are seeing history being made before it is censored by their elders. ~~ Margaret Mead

Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends. ~~ Alexander Pope

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

From Caesar to Cromwell, and from Cromwell to Napolean … history presents the same solemn warning -- beware of elevating to the highest civil trust the commander of our victorious armies. ~~ James Buchanan

During the Depression, or back when we were fighting Hitler, people didn't have time to sue a company if the coffee was too hot. There were urgent, pressing problems. If you think you have it tough, read history books. ~~ Bill Maher

History is written by the winners. The books say the Indians were bad guys and the whites just needed a little land. It's like, Excuse me, let me take your car. I'm discovering it. I'm putting my flag on your windshield. ~~ Mario Van Peebles

Study men, not historians. ~~ Harry S. Truman

Once you're in the stream of history you can't get out. ~~ Richard Milhous Nixon

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. ~~ Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

History is the unfolding of miscalculation. ~~ Barbara Tuchman

History teaches us that when a barbarian race confronts a sleeping culture, the barbarian always wins. ~~ Arnold Toynbee

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it. ~~ Woodrow Wilson

When you read history it is quite astonishing to discover that there never was a day when men thought times were really good. Every generation in history has been haunted by the feeling of crisis. ~~ Harold Walker

History is the discovering of the constant and universal principles of human nature. ~~ David Hume

Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by some competent historian. ~~ Lee Simonson

In the last 3,421 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war. ~~ Ariel and Will Durant

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

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts. ~~ Edward R. Murrow

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

God cannot alter the past, but historians can. ~~ Samuel Butler

If one looks with a cold eye at the mess man has made of history, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he has been afflicted by some built-in mental disorder which drives him towards self-destruction. ~~ Arthur Koestler

If we do not learn from history, we shall be compelled to relive it. True. But if we do not change the future, we shall be compelled to endure it. And that could be worse. ~~ Alvin Toffler

It is not observed in history that families improve with time. ~~ George William Curtis

Judging from the main portion of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy. ~~ Walt Whitman

Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. ~~ A. Whitney Griswold

The essential matter of history is not what happened but what people thought or said about it. ~~ Frederic William Maitland

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

History abhors determinism but cannot tolerate chance. ~~ Bernard De Voto

What is desperately needed … is the skepticism and the sense of history that a liberal arts education provides. ~~ Felix G. Rohatyn

There are periods in history when change is necessary, and other periods when it is better to keep everything for the time as it is. The art of life is to be in the rhythm of your age. ~~ Oswald Mosley

Crimes of which a people is ashamed constitute its real history. The same is true of man. ~~ Jean Genet

Natural selection, as it has operated in human history, favors not only the clever but the murderous. ~~ Barbara Ehrenreich

May it not be that, just as we have faith in Him, God has to have faith in us and, considering the history of the human race so far, may it not be that faith is even more difficult for Him than it is for us? ~~ W. H. Auden

A country losing touch with its own history is like an old man losing his glasses, a distressing sight, at once vulnerable, unsure, and easily disoriented. ~~ George Walden

You can't learn history in reverse. It's confusing enough. ~~ The Sword in the Stone (film, 1963)

History is philosophy teaching by examples. ~~ Henry St. John Bolingbroke

History is a pact between the dead, the living, and the yet unborn. ~~ Edmund Burke

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

History balances the frustration of how far we have to go with the satisfaction of how far we have come. It teaches us tolerance for the human shortcomings and imperfections which are not uniquely of our generation, but of all time. ~~ Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. ~~ Eugene V. Debs

History makes us some amends for the shortness of life. ~~ Philip Skelton

The memories of men are too frail a thread to hang history from. ~~ John Still

Not to know the events which happened before one was born, that is to remain always a boy. ~~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

The study of history is the beginning of political wisdom. ~~ Jean Bodin

All historians, even the most scientific, have bias, if in no other sense than the determination not to have any. ~~ Carl Becker

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. ~~ H. G. Wells

History is a living horse laughing at a wooden horse.

History is a wind blowing where it listeth.

History is no sure thing to bet on.

History is a box of tricks with a lost key.

History is a labyrinth of doors with sliding panels, a book of ciphers

with the code in a cave of the Saragossa sea.

History says, if it pleases, Excuse me, I beg your pardon,

it will never happen again if I can help it. ~~ Carl Sandburg

Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. ~~ Dwight David Eisenhower

Historical reminder: Always put Horace before Descartes. ~~ Donald O. Rickter

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. ~~ Barbara W. Tuchman

History is a better guide than good intentions. ~~ Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

It was the same with those old birds in Greece and Rome as it is now. The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know. ~~ Harry S. Truman

Most history is a record of triumphs, disasters, and follies of top people. The black hole in it is the way of life of mute, inglorious men and women who made no nuisance of themselves in the world. ~~ Philip Howard

History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology. ~~ W. H. Auden

For a while I thought history was something bitter old men wrote. But Jack loved history so ... for Jack history was full of heroes. ~~ Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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. ~~ E. L. Doctorow

History never looks like history when you are living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable. ~~ John W. Gardner

The great tragedies of history occur not when right confronts wrong but when two rights confront each other. ~~ Henry A. Kissinger

The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman. ~~ Willa Cather

Strike from mankind the principle of faith and men would have no more history than a flock of sheep. ~~ Mark Beltaire

Let us resolve to be masters, not the victims, of our history, controlling our own destiny without giving way to blind suspicions and emotions. ~~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men. ~~ Thomas Carlyle

Our American past always speaks to us with two voices: the voice of the past, and the voice of the present. We are always asking two quite different questions. Historians reading the words of John Winthrop usually ask, What did they mean to him? Citizens ask, What do they mean to us? Historians are trained to seek the original meaning; all of us want to know the present meaning. ~~ Daniel J. Boorstin

We can think of history as a kind of layer cake in which a number of different layers run side by side through time, each with a dynamic of its own, and yet each from time to time profoundly penetrating and interacting with others. ~~ Kenneth E. Boulding

History repeats itself; historians repeat each other. ~~ Philip Guedalla

History is always best written generations after the event, when clouded fact and memory have all fused into what can be accepted as truth, whether it be so or not. ~~ Theodore H. White

History is the ship carrying living memories to the future. ~~ Stephen Spender

The history of the world is the record of man in quest of his daily bread and butter. ~~ Hendrik Willem van Loon

History is a nightmare from which we are trying to awaken. ~~ James Joyce

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always. ~~ Gandhi (film, 1982)

History, as an entirety, could only exist in the eyes of an observer outside it and outside the world. History only exists, in the final analysis, for God. ~~ Albert Camus

Perhaps nothing has changed in the course of history as much as historians. ~~ Franklin P. Jones

History is a vast early warning system. ~~ Norman Cousins

We may pretend that we're basically moral people who make mistakes, but the whole of history proves otherwise. ~~ Terry Hands

The historian is a prophet in reverse. ~~ Friedrich von Schlegel