History Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old history quotes, history sayings, and history proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it. Edmund Burke
History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. Napoleon Bonaparte
Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft. Winston Churchill
History never looks like history when you are living through it. John W. Gardner
History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul. Lord Acton
History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside. John F. Kennedy
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. Winston Churchill
History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. Alexis de Tocqueville
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. H. G. Wells
History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided. Konrad Adenauer
History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man. Percy Bysshe Shelley
History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren't there. George Santayana
You have to look at history as an evolution of society. Jean Chretien
History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind. Edward Gibbon
History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Mark Twain
If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday. Pearl Buck
History is a novel for which the people is the author. Alfred de Vigny
History: gossip well told. Elbert Hubbard
History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up. Voltaire
History is man's best guess as to what the past would look like if everything had happened in chronological order. Robert Brault
History does not unfold: it piles up. Robert M. Adams
History, as long as it continues to happen, is always another chance. R. Jackson Wilson
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are. David McCullough
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. Maya Angelou
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana
History isn't about dates and places and wars. It's about the people who fill the spaces between them. Jodi Picoult
Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. Karl Marx
A generation which ignores history has no past - and no future. Robert A. Heinlein
Sometimes history takes things into its own hands. Thurgood Marshall
History repeats itself, and that's one of the things that's wrong with history. Clarence Darrow
The history of the past is but one long struggle upward to equality. Elizabeth Cady Stanton
We are not makers of history. We are made by history. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A history in which every particular incident may be true may on the whole be false. Thomas B. Macaulay
Every true history must force us to remember that the past was once as real as the present and as uncertain as the future. George Macaulay Trevelyan
History is the discipline closest to life; and life is rarely free of contradictions. Karl J. Weintraub
History is like a bloodstain that keeps on showing on the wall no matter how many new owners take possession, no matter how many times we paint over it. Peter Carey
We cannot escape history. Abraham Lincoln
Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times. Gustave Flaubert
The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle. Eric Hoffer
History books that contain no lies are extremely dull. Anatole France
History is the interpretation of the significance that the past has for us. Johan Huizinga
History does not merely touch on language, but takes place in it. Theodor Adorno
If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten. Rudyard Kipling
Anybody can make history; only a great man can write it. Oscar Wilde
History is the record of an encounter between character and circumstances. Donald Creighton
History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this. Karl Marx
History is the only laboratory we have in which to test the consequences of thought. Etienne Gilson
Our history is not our destiny. Alan Cohen
If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past. Baruch Spinoza
That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. Aldous Huxley
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. Martin Luther King
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. George Orwell
History is a vast early warning system. Norman Cousins
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 D. Eisenhower
The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. Gilbert K. Chesterton
The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know. Harry S. Truman
You don't change the course of history by turning the faces of portraits to the wall. Jawaharlal Nehru
A nation that forgets its past can function no better than an individual with amnesia. David McCullough
Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead for the future. Euripides
History is indeed the witness of the times, the light of truth. Marcus Tullius Cicero
History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again. Kurt Vonnegut
History is the study of lies, anyway, because no witness ever recalls events with total accuracy, not even eyewitnesses. Pickard
To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity. Roy Basler
History never repeats itself. Man always does. History never repeats itself. Man always does.
We learn from history that we do not learn from history. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
History is the essence of innumerable biographies. Thomas Carlyle
That is the supreme value of history. The study of it is the best guarantee against repeating it. John Buchan
History is Philosophy teaching by example. Thucydides
The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. Mark Twain
History is the action and reaction of these two, nature and thought. Ralph Waldo Emerson
We study history in order to intervene in the course of history. Adolf von Harnack
For history is to the nation as memory is to the individual. Arthur M. Schlesinger
Since the dawn of history, mankind has honoured and respected brave and honest people. Nelson Mandela
It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature. Henry James
History is a pageant and not a philosophy. Augustine BIRRELL
History, that excitable and unreliable old lady. Guy De Maupassant
The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman. Willa Cather
History is no more than memories refined. Peter Charles Newman
In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind. Edmund Burke
History, like a vast river, propels logs, vegetation, rafts, and debris; it is full of live and dead things, some destined for resurrection; it mingles many waters and holds in solution invisible substances stolen from distant soils. Jacques Barzun
History has to be rewritten because history is the selection of those threads of causes or antecedents that we are interested in. Oliver Wendell Holmes
History is a symphony of echoes heard and unheard. It is a poem with events as verses. Charles Angoff
History must not be written with bias, and both sides must be given, even if there is only one side. John Betjeman
History only exists, in the final analysis, for God. Albert Camus
History is full of the dead weight of things which have escaped the control of the mind, yet drive man on with a blind force. F. M. Powicke