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Great Quotes About History

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Mr. Szasz is a professor of history at the University of New Mexico.

Historical sense and poetic sense should not, in the end, be contradictory, for if poetry is the little myth we make, history is the big myth we live, and in our living, constantly remake.
Robert Penn Warren

History does not repeat itself. The historians repeat one another.
Max Beerbohm

To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity.
Roy P. Basler

[A] ny fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it.
Oscar Wilde

Do not applaud me. It is not I who speaks to you, but history which speaks through my mouth.
Fustel de Coulanges

History must be written of, by and for the survivors.
Anonymous

History consists of a series of accumulated imaginative inventions.
Voltaire

The history of states and nations has provided some income for historiographers and book dealers, but I know no other purpose it may have served.
Borne

Clio, the muse of history, is as thoroughly infected with lies as a street whore with syphilis.
Schopenhauer

History, history! We fools, what do we know or care.
William Carlos Williams

History is now strictly organized, powerfully disciplined, but it possesses only a modest educational value and even less conscious social purpose.
J. H. Plumb

[History] may be called, more generally still, the Message, verbal or written, which all Mankind delivers to everyman.
Thomas Carlyle

History is a science, no more and no less.
J. B. Bury

The past is always a rebuke to the present.
Robert Penn Warren

A country without a memory is a country of madmen.
George Santayana

History is interim reports issued periodically.
Anonymous

Imagination plays too important a role in the writing of history, and what is imagination but the projection of the author's personality.
Pieter Geyl

History is philosophy teaching by example and also by warning. Lord Bolingbroke

History teaches everything including the future.
Lamartine

If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.
Aristotle

With the historian it is an article of faith that knowledge of the past is a key to understanding the present.
Kenneth Stampp

History is something that happens to other people.
Anonymous

Any time gone by was better.
Jorge Manrique

There is no history of mankind, there is only an indefinite number of histories of all kinds of aspects of human life.
Karl Popper

The deepest, the only theme of human history, compared to which all others are of subordinate importance, is the conflict of skepticism with faith.
Goethe

History is not melodrama, even if it usually reads like that.
Robert Penn Warren

Who does not know that the first law of historical writing is the truth.
Cicero

History has become more important than ever because of the to unprecedented ability of the historical sciences to take in man's life on earth as a whole.
Alfred Kazin
The certainty of history seems to be in direct inverse ratio to what we know about it.
Anonymous

God alone knows the future, but only an historian can alter the .past.
Ambrose Bierce

History is ultimately more important than its singers.
Michael Harrington

Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.
Machiavelli

Writing intellectual history is like trying to nail jelly to the wall.
William Hesseltine
History is the memory of things said and done.
Carl L. Becker
History is life; he who has not lived, or has lived only enough to write a doctoral dissertation, is too inexperienced with life to write good history.
Louis Gottschalk

History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.
Robert Penn Warren

There will always be a connection between the way men Late the past and the way in which they contemplate the present.
Buckle
History is the enactment of ritual on a permanent and universal stage; and its perpetual commemoration.
Norman O. Brown
The historian must not try to know what is truth, if he values his honesty; for if he cares for his truths, he is certain to falsify his facts.
Henry Adams
History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten.
George Santayana
What else can history teach us? Only the vanity of believing we can impose our theories on history. Any philosophy which asserts that human experience repeats itself is ineffectual.
Jacques Ellul
History is not the accumulation of events of every kind which happened in the past. It is the science of human societies.
Fustel de Coulanges
History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.
Voltaire
History has to be rewritten because history is the selection of those threads of causes or antecedents that we are interested in.
O. W. Holmes, Jr.
The researches of many eminent antiquarians have already thrown much darkness on the subject; and it is possible, if they continue their labors, that we shall soon know nothing at all.
Artemus Ward

Nothing capable of being memorized is history.
R. G. Collingwood

A society in stable equilibrium is-by definition-one that ha~ no history and wants no historians.
Henry Adams

It should be known that history is a discipline that has a great number of approaches.
Ibn Khalduin of Tunis

When a historian enters into metaphysics he has gone to a far country from whose bourne he will never return a historian.
Shailer Mathews

A man rising in the world is not concerned with history; he is too busy making it. But a citizen with a fixed place in the community wants to acquire a glorious past just as he acquires antique furniture. By that past he is reassured of his present importance; in it he finds strength to face the dangers that lie in front of him.
Malcolm Cowley

We investigate the past not to deduce practical political lessons, but to find out what really happened.
T. F. Tout

That generations of historians have resorted to what might be called "proof by haphazard quotation" does not make the procedure valid or reliable; it only makes it traditional.
Lee Benson

The past does not influence me; I influence it.
Willem De Kooning

Very deep, very deep is the well of the past. Should we not call it bottomless?
Thomas Mann

Nothing falsifies history more than logic.
Guizot

History is a great deal closer to poetry than is generally realised: in truth, I think, it is in essence the same.
A. L. Rowse

I said there was but one solitary thing about the past worth remembering, and that was the fact that it is past-can't be restored.
Mark Twain

History is a myth that men agree to believe.
Napoleon

To converse with historians is to keep good company; many of them were excellent men, and those who were not, have taken care to appear such in their writings.
Lord Bolingbroke

History is the distillation of rumour.
Thomas Carlyle

It is the essence of the poor that they do not appear in history.
Anonymous
As history stands, it is a sort of Chinese play, without end andl without lesson. With these impressions I wrote the last line of my History, asking for a round century before going further.
Henry Adams

This I regard as history's highest function, to let no worthy action be uncommemorated, and to hold out the reprobation of posterity as a terror to evil words and deeds.
Tacitus

I don't believe the truth will ever be known, and I have a great contempt for history.
Gen. George Meade

History is the essence of innumerable biographies.
Thomas Carlyle

If the past has been an obstacle and a burden, knowledge of the past is the safest and the surest emancipation.
Lord Acton

History is the invention of historians.
Attributed to Napoleon

"History" is a Greek word which means, literally, just "investigation."
Arnold Toynbee

History will die if not irritated. The only service I can do to my profession is to serve as a flea.
Henry Adams

Myth, memory, history-these are three alternative ways to capture and account for an elusive past, each with its own persuasive claim.
Warren I. Susman

Inertia is the first law of history, as it is of physics.
Morris R. Cohen

The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.
Mark Twain

[History is] little else than a long succession of useless cruelties.
Voltaire

Man in a word has no nature; what he has. ..is history.
Jose Ortega y Gasset

In mass societies, myth takes the place of history.
William Bosenbrook

History is a great dust heap.
Thomas Carlyle

[History is] little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.
Edward Gibbon

History is not a science; it is a method.
Charles Seignobos

All modern wars start in the history classroom.
Anonymous

History is the self-consciousness of humanity.
Droyson

It is very hard to remember that events now long in the past were once in the future.
Maitland
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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