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My favourite quote about history


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#1 Andy Walpole

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 04:01 PM

I set up a Twitter account for my History Nexus project, which can be found here:

http://twitter.com/historynexus

I've been finding quotes about history and placing them on the site.

Just found my favourite so far:

History is a people's memory, and without memory man is demoted to the lower animals - Malcolm X

I've placed it in the footnote of History Nexus

#2 Andy Walpole

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 04:03 PM

I like this one too:

Take from the alters of the past the fire, not the ashes - Jean Jaurès

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 07:18 AM

Here are some of my favourites:

“Disobedience in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and rebellion.” Oscar Wilde

“In history one is absolutely sickened, not by the original crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishment that the good have inflicted.” Oscar Wilde

"We get our ethics from our history and judge our history by our ethics." Ernst Troeltsch

“The task of the historian is to understand the peoples of the past better than they understand themselves.” Herbert Butterfield

“History has to be rewritten in every generation, because although the past does not change the present does; each generation asks new questions of the past, and finds new areas of sympathy as it re-lives different aspects of the experiences of its predecessors.” Christopher Hill

“There are few activities more cooperative than the writing of history. The author puts his name brashly on the title-page and the reviewers rightly attack him for his errors and misinterpretations; but none knows better than he how much his whole enterprise depends on the preceding labours of others.” Christopher Hill

“An unjust war doesn't matter very much until it happens. The fact that it happens, especially when so many people are against it, does not suddenly justify it. Every day of slaughter strengthens the case against it, and the urgency of the need to protest against it.” Paul Foot

“The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing at all.” Oscar Wilde

“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck by the difference between what things are and what they might have been.” William Hazlitt.

“History is but a pack of tricks we play on the dead.” (Voltaire).

“History is as much an art as a science.” (Ernest Renan).

Men make their own history, but they do not know that they are making it.” (Karl Marx).

“There will always be a connection between the way in which men contemplate the past and the way in which they contemplate the present.” (Thomas Buckle).

“A society sure of its values had needed history only to celebrate the glories of the past, but a society of changing values and consequent confusions also needed history as a utilitarian guide.” (Thomas Cochran).

“Man generally is entangled in insoluble problems; history is consequently a tragedy in which we are all involved, whose keynote is anxiety and frustration, not progress and fulfilment (Arthur Schlesinger Jr).

“The aim of the historian, like that of the artist, is to enlarge our picture of the world, to give us a new way of looking at things.” (James Joll).

“History free of all values cannot be written. Indeed, it is a concept almost impossible to understand, for men will scarcely take the trouble to inquire laboriously into something which they set no value upon (W. H. B. Court)

“What better preparation for a history which seeks to bring societies to life and to understand that life than to have really lived, commanded men, suffered with them and shared their joys.” (Lucien Febvre)

“The justification of all historical study must ultimately be that it enhances our self-consciousness, enables us to see ourselves in perspective, and helps us towards that greater freedom which comes from self-knowledge.” (Keith Thomas).

“It is a mark of civilised man that he seeks to understand his traditions, and to criticise them, not to swallow them whole.” (M. I. Finley).

“The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present.” (G. K. Chesterton)

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” Cicero

Until the lion has a historian of his own, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. (African Proverb)

“The history of the world is the history of the privileged few. “ Henry Miller

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe” (H. G. Wells)

“More history is made by secret handshakes than by battles, bills and proclamations.” (John Barth).

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me. (Fidel Castro, 1953)

“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” Voltaire

"The motive force of history is truth and not lies." (Leon Trotsky)

"Those who do not move, do not notice their chains." Rosa Luxemburg

#4 Guest_John Gillespie_*

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:04 AM

Here are some of my favourites:

“Disobedience in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and rebellion.” Oscar Wilde

“In history one is absolutely sickened, not by the original crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishment that the good have inflicted.” Oscar Wilde

"We get our ethics from our history and judge our history by our ethics." Ernst Troeltsch

“The task of the historian is to understand the peoples of the past better than they understand themselves.” Herbert Butterfield

“History has to be rewritten in every generation, because although the past does not change the present does; each generation asks new questions of the past, and finds new areas of sympathy as it re-lives different aspects of the experiences of its predecessors.” Christopher Hill

“There are few activities more cooperative than the writing of history. The author puts his name brashly on the title-page and the reviewers rightly attack him for his errors and misinterpretations; but none knows better than he how much his whole enterprise depends on the preceding labours of others.” Christopher Hill

“An unjust war doesn't matter very much until it happens. The fact that it happens, especially when so many people are against it, does not suddenly justify it. Every day of slaughter strengthens the case against it, and the urgency of the need to protest against it.” Paul Foot

“The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing at all.” Oscar Wilde

“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck by the difference between what things are and what they might have been.” William Hazlitt.

“History is but a pack of tricks we play on the dead.” (Voltaire).

“History is as much an art as a science.” (Ernest Renan).

Men make their own history, but they do not know that they are making it.” (Karl Marx).

“There will always be a connection between the way in which men contemplate the past and the way in which they contemplate the present.” (Thomas Buckle).

“A society sure of its values had needed history only to celebrate the glories of the past, but a society of changing values and consequent confusions also needed history as a utilitarian guide.” (Thomas Cochran).

“Man generally is entangled in insoluble problems; history is consequently a tragedy in which we are all involved, whose keynote is anxiety and frustration, not progress and fulfilment (Arthur Schlesinger Jr).

“The aim of the historian, like that of the artist, is to enlarge our picture of the world, to give us a new way of looking at things.” (James Joll).

“History free of all values cannot be written. Indeed, it is a concept almost impossible to understand, for men will scarcely take the trouble to inquire laboriously into something which they set no value upon (W. H. B. Court)

“What better preparation for a history which seeks to bring societies to life and to understand that life than to have really lived, commanded men, suffered with them and shared their joys.” (Lucien Febvre)

“The justification of all historical study must ultimately be that it enhances our self-consciousness, enables us to see ourselves in perspective, and helps us towards that greater freedom which comes from self-knowledge.” (Keith Thomas).

“It is a mark of civilised man that he seeks to understand his traditions, and to criticise them, not to swallow them whole.” (M. I. Finley).

“The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present.” (G. K. Chesterton)

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” Cicero

Until the lion has a historian of his own, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. (African Proverb)

“The history of the world is the history of the privileged few. “ Henry Miller

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe” (H. G. Wells)

“More history is made by secret handshakes than by battles, bills and proclamations.” (John Barth).

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me. (Fidel Castro, 1953)

“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” Voltaire

"The motive force of history is truth and not lies." (Leon Trotsky)

"Those who do not move, do not notice their chains." Rosa Luxemburg


We saw these in '04. Hope we see truth in labeling in '08.

#5 Guest_John Gillespie_*

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:04 AM

Here are some of my favourites:

“Disobedience in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and rebellion.” Oscar Wilde

“In history one is absolutely sickened, not by the original crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishment that the good have inflicted.” Oscar Wilde

"We get our ethics from our history and judge our history by our ethics." Ernst Troeltsch

“The task of the historian is to understand the peoples of the past better than they understand themselves.” Herbert Butterfield

“History has to be rewritten in every generation, because although the past does not change the present does; each generation asks new questions of the past, and finds new areas of sympathy as it re-lives different aspects of the experiences of its predecessors.” Christopher Hill

“There are few activities more cooperative than the writing of history. The author puts his name brashly on the title-page and the reviewers rightly attack him for his errors and misinterpretations; but none knows better than he how much his whole enterprise depends on the preceding labours of others.” Christopher Hill

“An unjust war doesn't matter very much until it happens. The fact that it happens, especially when so many people are against it, does not suddenly justify it. Every day of slaughter strengthens the case against it, and the urgency of the need to protest against it.” Paul Foot

“The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing at all.” Oscar Wilde

“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck by the difference between what things are and what they might have been.” William Hazlitt.

“History is but a pack of tricks we play on the dead.” (Voltaire).

“History is as much an art as a science.” (Ernest Renan).

Men make their own history, but they do not know that they are making it.” (Karl Marx).

“There will always be a connection between the way in which men contemplate the past and the way in which they contemplate the present.” (Thomas Buckle).

“A society sure of its values had needed history only to celebrate the glories of the past, but a society of changing values and consequent confusions also needed history as a utilitarian guide.” (Thomas Cochran).

“Man generally is entangled in insoluble problems; history is consequently a tragedy in which we are all involved, whose keynote is anxiety and frustration, not progress and fulfilment (Arthur Schlesinger Jr).

“The aim of the historian, like that of the artist, is to enlarge our picture of the world, to give us a new way of looking at things.” (James Joll).

“History free of all values cannot be written. Indeed, it is a concept almost impossible to understand, for men will scarcely take the trouble to inquire laboriously into something which they set no value upon (W. H. B. Court)

“What better preparation for a history which seeks to bring societies to life and to understand that life than to have really lived, commanded men, suffered with them and shared their joys.” (Lucien Febvre)

“The justification of all historical study must ultimately be that it enhances our self-consciousness, enables us to see ourselves in perspective, and helps us towards that greater freedom which comes from self-knowledge.” (Keith Thomas).

“It is a mark of civilised man that he seeks to understand his traditions, and to criticise them, not to swallow them whole.” (M. I. Finley).

“The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present.” (G. K. Chesterton)

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” Cicero

Until the lion has a historian of his own, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. (African Proverb)

“The history of the world is the history of the privileged few. “ Henry Miller

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe” (H. G. Wells)

“More history is made by secret handshakes than by battles, bills and proclamations.” (John Barth).

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me. (Fidel Castro, 1953)

“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” Voltaire

"The motive force of history is truth and not lies." (Leon Trotsky)

"Those who do not move, do not notice their chains." Rosa Luxemburg


We saw these in '04. Hope we see truth in labeling in '08.




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