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History Quotes - Resources for Teachers & Students

history posters | social studies posters

Stephen Ambrose ~
• “History is everything that has ever happened.”
• “I'm no politician. I'm an historian who has learned through a lifetime of studying that nothing in the world beats universal education.”

Maya Angelou ~
• “The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are.”

Jacob Burckhardt ~
• “History is still in large measure poetry to me.”
• “History is on every occasion the record of that which one age finds worthy of note in another.”

Joseph Campbell ~
• “Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed. The living images become only remote facts of a distant time or sky. Furthermore, it is never difficult to demonstrate that as science and history mythology is absurd. When a civilization begins to reinterpret its mythology in this way, the life goes out of it, temples become museums, and the link between the two perspectives becomes dissolved.”

Mircea Eliade ~
• “In short, myths reveal that the World, man, and life have a supernatural origin and history, and that this history is significant, precious, and exemplary.”

Anatole France ~
• “History is not a science, it is an art, and a man succeeds in it only by imagination.”

Nikki Giovanni ~
• “It's not a ladder we're climbing, it's literature we're producing. . . . We cannot possibly leave it to history as a discipline nor to sociology nor science nor economics to tell the story of our people.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin ~
• “The past is not simply the past, but a prism through which the subject filters his own changing self-image.”

Alfred Whitney Griswold ~
• “In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom.”

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel ~
• “The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom.”
• “History, is a conscious, self-meditating process — Spirit emptied out into Time.”
• “What experience and history teach is this — that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.”

Friedensreich Hundertwasser ~
• “Nuclear energy, too, this final aberration in the history of mankind, was only possible because the focus is only on the seemingly rational. Moral-aesthetic values are missing, and the link between man and creation, which is represented by art. Without art, without the creative, there is nothing.

Aldous Huxley ~
• “The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.”

Martin L. King, Jr. ~
• “If we protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, the historians will say. ‘There lived a great people - a black people - who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.’ That is our challenge and our overwhelming responsibility.” - Montgomery, AL, 1955

Alphonse de Lamartine ~
• “Providence conceals itself in the details of human affairs, but becomes unveiled in the generalities of history.”

Lucian of Samosata ~
• “The good historian, then, must be thus described: he must be fearless, uncorrupted, free, the friend of truth and of liberty; one who, to use the words of the comic poet, 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, so far benevolent to all as never to give more than is due to any in his work; 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.”

Karl Marx ~
• “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”

Thomas Merton ~
• “If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.”

Theodore Mommsen ~
• “The writer of history is perhaps closer to the artist than the scholar.”
• “History has a Nemesis for every sin.”
• “History is neither written nor made without love or hate.”

Plutarch ~
• “It is not histories I am writing, but lives; and in the most glorious deeds there is not always an indication of virtue or vice, indeed a small thing like a phrase or a jest often makes a greater revelation of a character than battles where thousands die.”

Alexander Pope ~
• “Education forms the common mind. Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt ~
• “History proves that dictatorships do not grow out of strong and successful governments, but out of weak and helpless ones. If by democratic methods people get a government strong enough to protect them from fear and starvation, their democracy succeeds; but if they do not, they grow impatient. Therefore, the only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over its government.” 1938

George Santayana ~
• “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Thucydides ~
• “History is Philosophy teaching by examples.”

Arnold J. Toynbee ~
• “History is a vision of God's creation on the move.”

Harry S Truman ~
• “The only new thing in the world is the history you don't know.”

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich ~
• “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”
• “Some history-making is intentional; much of it is accidental. People make history when they scale a mountain, ignite a bomb, or refuse to move to the back of the bus. But they also make history by keeping diaries, writing letters, or embroidering initials on linen sheets. History is a conversation and sometimes a shouting match between present and past, though often the voices we most want to hear are barely audible. People make history by passing on gossip, saving old records, and by naming rivers, mountains, and children. Some people leave only their bones, though bones too make a history when someone notices.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ~
• “History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.”

H. G. Wells ~
• “If we suppose a sufficient righteousness and intelligence in men to produce presently, from the tremendous lessons of history, an effective will for a world peace – that is to say, an effective will for a world law under a world government – for in no other fashion is a secure world peace conceivable – in what manner may we expect things to move towards this end? . . . It is an educational task, and its very essence is to bring to the minds of all men everywhere, as a necessary basis for world cooperation, a new telling and interpretation, a common interpretation, of history.”

Walt Whitman ~
• “Judging from the main portions of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy.”

Carter Godwin Woodson ~
• “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”

Virginia Woolf ~
• “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”

Charlotte Mary Yonge ~
• “When the venture has been made of dealing with historical events and characters, it always seems fair towards the reader to avow what liberties have been taken, and how much of the sketch is founded on history.”

Heinrich Zimmer ~
• “With the compelling convincingness of dreams, which are vague yet exact, the ghost voice draws us (to ourselves and all of our component selves), lifts them casually out of the well of the past – the well wherein nothing is lost, the deep well of forgetfulness, and remembrance – and tosses them mockingly on the glassy table surface of our consciousness. There we are forced to consider them. There we are forced to regard, analyze, and re-understand.” ~ The King and the Corpse

Emile Zola ~
• “If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way.”

Malcolm X ~
• “A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself.”
“Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research.”

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