20 Great Quotes about History

20 Great Quotes about History


From the funny to the profound, here are 20 people with famous quotes about history.

“I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention.” ~ Jane Austen (1775-1817), English novelist

“An account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.” ~ Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), American writer

“History repeats itself; historians repeat one another” ~ Robert Brooke (1887-1915), English poet

Mark Twain

“It is not worthwhile to try to keep history from repeating itself, for man’s character will always make the preventing of the repetitions impossible.” ~ Mark Twain (1835-1910), American author

“People who make history know nothing about history. You can see that in the sort of history they make.” ~ G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), English novelist

“History gets thicker as it approaches recent times.” ~ A.J.P. Taylor (1906-1990), British historian

Swindon: “What will history say?” Burgoyne: “History, sir, will tell lies as usual.” ~ George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish writer in his play The Devil’ Disciple.

“The duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.” ~ Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish writer

“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 (1918-1963), American President

“History is, in its essentials, the science of change. It knows and it teaches that it is impossible to find two events that are ever exactly alike, because the conditions from which they spring are never identical.” ~ Marc Bloch (1886-1944), French historian

“History is more or less bunk.” ~ Henry Ford (1863-1947), American car manufacturer

Winston Churchill

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” ~ Winston Churchill (1875-1965), British politician

“History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” ~ David C. McCullough (1933 – ), American historian

“This above all makes history useful and desirable; it unfolds before our eyes a glorious record of exemplary actions.” ~ Livy (64 BC – 17 AD), Roman historian

“Again I entered my smithy to work and forge something from the noble material of time past.” ~ Jean Froissart (c.1337-c.1405) – French historian

“He who puts out his hand to stop the wheel of history will have his fingers crushed.” ~ Lech Walesa (1943- ), Polish politician and leader

“History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.” ~ Edward Gibbon (1737-94), English historian

Etienne Gilson

“History is the only laboratory we have in which to test the consequences of thought.” ~ Etienne Gilson (1884-1978), French historian of medieval philosophy

“The search for the truth for truth’s sake is the mark of the historian.” ~ B. H. Liddell Hart (1895-1970), English soldier and historian

“Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.” ~ Cicero (106-43 BC), Roman politician

More about quotes:

Famous Last Words from the Middle Ages

20 Great Medieval Quotes

Quiz: A Medieval Who Said That?

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