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History quotes and quotations

Happy is the nation without a history.
Cesare di Bonesana Beccaria

History belongs to the winner.
Anon.

History is a pageant, not a philosophy.
Augustine Birrell

I have read somewhere or other, in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, I think, that history is philosophy teaching by examples.
Henry St. John Bolingbroke

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

What want these outlaws conquerors should have But History's purchased page to call them great?
Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

The dignity of history.
Henry St. John Bolingbroke

All history is a Bible--a thing stated in words by me more than once.
Thomas Carlyle

Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.
George Bernard Shaw

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

History, as it lies at the root of all science, is also the first distinct product of man's spiritual nature; his earliest expression of what can be called Thought.
Thomas Carlyle

And history with all her volumes vast, Hath but one page.
Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

What more would you have? He has invented history.
Madame Marie Anne du Deffand

History, a distillation of rumor.
Thomas Carlyle

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 that is worth a tinker's dam is the history we made today.
Henry Ford

The contact with manners then is education; and this Thucydides appears to assert when he says history is philosophy learned from examples.
Dionysius of Heraclea

Histories are as perfect as the Historian is wise, and is gifted with an eye and a soul.
Thomas Carlyle

Assassinations has never changed the history of the world.
Benjamin Disraeli

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

A man is the whole encyclopedia of facts. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

History is the essence of innumerable Biographies.
Thomas Carlyle

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

History is more or less bunk.
Henry Ford

The reign of Antoninus is marked by the rare advantage of furnishing very few materials for history, which is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, and misfortunes of mankind.
Edward Gibbon

And read their history in a nation's eyes.
Thomas Gray

All history . . . is an inarticulate Bible.
Thomas Carlyle

It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.
Homer ("Smyrns of Chios")

Wit is the lowest form of humor.
Alexander Pope

For four-fifths of our history, our planet was populated by pond scum.
J. W. Schopf

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

The long historian of my country's woes.
Homer ("Smyrns of Chios")

History repeats itself; historians repeat each other.
Philip Guedalla

History is nothing but a pack of tricks that we play on the dead.
Voltaire

The history of mankind is little else than a narrative of designs which have failed and hopes that have been disappointed.
Samuel Johnson

Happy the People whose Annals are blank in History-Books.
Thomas Carlyle

The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.
Voltaire

History is the short trudge from Adam to atom.
Leonard Louis Levinson

History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.
Napoleon Bonaparte

In a certain sense all men are historians.
Thomas Carlyle

Just as philosophy is the study of other people's misconceptions, so history is the study of other people's mistakes.
Phillip Guedalla

We learn nothing from history except that we learn nothing from history.
Anon.

Give the historians something to write about.
Propertius

History repeats itself; historians repeat each other.
Phillip Guedala

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

All history, of course, is the history of wars.
Penelope Lively

Some people make headlines while others make history.
Philip Elmer

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
Sir Winston Churchill

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

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

History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten.
George Santayana

Had Cleopatra's nose been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been different.
Blaise Pascal

History is something that never happened, written by a man who wasn't there.
Anon.

The fate of a nation has often depended on the food or bad digestion of a prime minister.
Voltaire

I have written too much history to have faith in it; and if anyone thinks I'm wrong, I am inclined to agree with him.
Henry Adams

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

Anecdotes are the gleaming toys of history. The history of mankind is little else than a narrative of designs which have failed and hopes that have been disappointed.
Samuel Johnson

History: A distillation of rumor.
Thomas Carlyle

History would be wonderful thing - if it were only true.
Leo Tolstoy

The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
Anon.

Qualities absolutely necessary for a historian: (1) Imagination. (2) Prejudice. (3) The power of writing your own biography at the same time.
Mary Coleridge

History's like a story in a way: it depends on who's telling it.
Dorothy Salisbury Davis