Quotes about history

A collection of quotes on the topic of history.

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Angela Carter photo
Wole Soyinka photo
Alice A. Bailey photo
Jim Carrey photo

„I think we're past the time in history where you have to come out and say, "you know I'm just happy all the time! I'm a joker, I'm a crazy man!"“

—  Jim Carrey Canadian-American actor, comedian, and producer 1962

you know kind of thing. I think people understand I can turn that switch on but I'm also a sensitive, normal human being with feelings and I know how to express those too.
Fun with Dick & Jane: An Interview with Jim Carrey http://www.blackfilm.com/20051216/features/jimcarrey.shtml by Wilson Morales in Features, BlackFilm.com (December 2005)

Kobe Bryant photo
Maurice Merleau-Ponty photo
Alice Morse Earle photo
Paul Valéry photo
Lionel Messi photo

„Diego is Diego and for me he is the greatest player of all time. Even after a million years I am not even going to be close to Maradona. I have no intention of comparing myself with Maradona - I want to make my own history for something I have achieved.“

—  Lionel Messi Argentine association football player 1987

Response to the Maradona comparisons, 2010 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/players/lionel-messi/7527633/Barcelonas-Lionel-Messi-says-he-will-never-be-as-good-as-Diego-Maradona.html

Michael Parenti photo

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Fernando Alonso photo
Jânio Quadros photo

„Lincoln was one of history's greatest men, but Americans are not like him. He was a lonely exception.“

—  Jânio Quadros Brazilian politician 1917 - 1992

"One Man's Cup of Coffee," Time Magazine profile (June 30, 1961)

Martin Cruz Smith photo
Ronald Fisher photo
W.E.B. Du Bois photo

„The most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history is the transportation of ten million human beings out of the dark beauty of their mother continent into the new-found Eldorado of the West.“

—  W.E.B. Du Bois, book Black Reconstruction

Source: Black Reconstruction in America (1935), p. 727
Context: The most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history is the transportation of ten million human beings out of the dark beauty of their mother continent into the new-found Eldorado of the West. They descended into Hell; and in the third century they arose from the dead, in the finest effort to achieve democracy for the working millions which this world had ever seen. It was a tragedy that beggared the Greek; it was an upheaval of humanity like the Reformation and the French Revolution. Yet we are blind and led by the blind. We discern in it no part of our labor movement; no part of our industrial triumph; no part of our religious experience. Before the dumb eyes of ten generations of ten million children, it is made mockery of and spit upon; a degradation of the eternal mother; a sneer at human effort; with aspiration and art deliberately and elaborately distorted. And why? Because in a day when the human mind aspired to a science of human action, a history and psychology of the mighty effort of the mightiest century, we fell under the leadership of those who would compromise with truth in the past in order to make peace in the present and guide policy in the future.

Antonio Gramsci photo

„Man is above all else mind, consciousness -- that is, he is a product of history, not of nature.“

—  Antonio Gramsci Italian writer, politician, theorist, sociologist and linguist 1891 - 1937

Gerd von Rundstedt photo

„Nothing would have been changed for the German people, but my name would have gone down in history as that of the greatest traitor.“

—  Gerd von Rundstedt German Field Marshal during World War II 1875 - 1953

Quoted in "Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal - Page 87 - Nuremberg, Germany - 1947

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel photo

„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.“

—  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, book Lectures on the Philosophy of History

Introduction, as translated by H. B. Nisbet (1975)
Variant translation: What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.
Pragmatical (didactic) reflections, though in their nature decidedly abstract, are truly and indefeasibly of the Present, and quicken the annals of the dead Past with the life of to-day. Whether, indeed, such reflections are truly interesting and enlivening, depends on the writer's own spirit. Moral reflections must here be specially noticed, the moral teaching expected from history; which latter has not unfrequently been treated with a direct view to the former. It may be allowed that examples of virtue elevate the soul, and are applicable in the moral instruction of children for impressing excellence upon their minds. But the destinies of peoples and states, their interests, relations, and the complicated tissue of their affairs, present quite another field. Rulers, Statesmen, Nations, are wont to be emphatically commended to the teaching which experience offers in history. But what experience and history teach is this, that peoples and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. Each period is involved in such peculiar circumstances, exhibits a condition of things so strictly idiosyncratic, that its conduct must be regulated by considerations connected with itself, and itself alone. Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help. It is useless to revert to similar circumstances in the Past. The pallid shades of memory struggle in vain with the life and freedom of the Present.
Lectures on the History of History Vol 1 p. 6 John Sibree translation (1857), 1914
Lectures on the Philosophy of History (1832), Volume 1

António Damásio photo

„When you have an emotion you are recruiting a variety of mechanisms that came in the long history of evolution, long before emotions arose, and those mechanisms all had to do with how an organism manages its life.“

—  António Damásio neuroscientist and professor at the University of Southern California 1944

Antonio Damasio, Brain and mind from medicine to society 2/2, Open University of Catalonia, 2005 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agxMmhHn5G4

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“