„We know a history so that we can learn from it. We learn our history because we understand the sacrifices that were made before, so that when we make sacrifices we understand we're doing it on behalf of future generations. There’s a proverb that says, “We have not inherited this land from our forebears, we have borrowed it from our children.” In other words, we study the past so it can guide us into the future, and inspire us to do better.“

2015, Remarks to the Kenyan People (July 2015)

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
Barack Obama photo
Barack Obama1157
44th President of the United States of America 1961

Related quotes

„Leaders are stewards. They understand the proverb, "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."“

—  Kent Thiry Business; CEO of DaVita 1956

University of Colorado Leeds School of Business Commencement Address (2013)

Hillary Clinton photo
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel photo
George Sarton photo
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam photo
Oprah Winfrey photo
Teal Swan photo
Eleanor Roosevelt photo

„We face the future fortified with the lessons we have learned from the past. It is today that we must create the world of the future.“

—  Eleanor Roosevelt American politician, diplomat, and activist, and First Lady of the United States 1884 - 1962

Source: Tomorrow Is Now (1963), p. xv
Context: We face the future fortified with the lessons we have learned from the past. It is today that we must create the world of the future. Spinoza, I think, pointed out that we ourselves can make experience valuable when, by imagination and reason, we turn it into foresight.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman photo

„As we have already learned how to sacrifice our own lives, now no one can stop us!“

—  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Bengali revolutionary, founder ("father") of Bangladesh 1920 - 1975

Quote, This time the struggle is for our freedom (1971)

Desmond Tutu photo

„We learn from history that we don't learn from history!“

—  Desmond Tutu South African churchman, politician, archbishop, Nobel Prize winner 1931

Often attributed to Desmond Tutu, actual source is G. W. F Hegel: 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. Lectures on the Philosophy of History (1832)
Misattributed

Barack Obama photo

„We always have the opportunity to choose our better history. We can always understand that most important decision -- the decision we make when we find our common humanity in one another. That’s always available to us, that choice.“

—  Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961

2013, Cape Town University Address (June 2013)
Context: We always have the opportunity to choose our better history. We can always understand that most important decision -- the decision we make when we find our common humanity in one another. That’s always available to us, that choice. [... ] it can be heard in the confident voices of young people like you. It is that spirit, that innate longing for justice and equality, for freedom and solidarity -- that’s the spirit that can light the way forward. It's in you.

Barack Obama photo

„For generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. We have done so because we know that our own future is safer, our own future is brighter, if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity.“

—  Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961

2011, Address on interventions in Libya (March 2011)
Context: For generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. We have done so because we know that our own future is safer, our own future is brighter, if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity. 
Tonight, let us give thanks for the Americans who are serving through these trying times, and the coalition that is carrying our effort forward. And let us look to the future with confidence and hope not only for our own country, but for all those yearning for freedom around the world.

Francis Escudero photo
Theodore Roosevelt photo

„We face the future with our past and our present as guarantors of our promises; and we are content to stand or to fall by the record which we have made and are making.“

—  Theodore Roosevelt American politician, 26th president of the United States 1858 - 1919

Address at Oyster Bay, New York (27 July 1904) http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/images/research/txtspeeches/104.txt, in response to the committee appointed to notify him of his nomination for the Presidency.
1900s

Amin Maalouf photo
Paul Keating photo

„When we estrange ourselves from history we do not enlarge, we diminish ourselves, even as individuals. We subtract from our lives one meaning which they do in fact possess, whether we recognize it or not. We cannot help living in history. We can only fail to be aware of it.“

—  Robert L. Heilbroner American historian and economist 1919 - 2005

Source: The Future As History (1960), Chapter IV, Part 9, The Grand Dynamic of History, p. 209
Context: In an age which no longer waits patiently through this life for the rewards of the next, it is a crushing spiritual blow to lose one's sense of participation in mankind's journey, and to see only a huge milling-around, a collective living-out of lives with no larger purpose than the days which each accumulates. When we estrange ourselves from history we do not enlarge, we diminish ourselves, even as individuals. We subtract from our lives one meaning which they do in fact possess, whether we recognize it or not. We cannot help living in history. We can only fail to be aware of it. If we are to meet, endure, and transcend the trials and defeats of the future — for trials and defeats there are certain to be — it can only be from a point of view which, seeing the future as part of the sweep of history, enables us to establish our place in that immense procession in which is incorporated whatever hope humankind may have.

Chi­ma­man­da Ngo­zi Adi­chie photo
Ayn Rand photo
Andy Goldsworthy photo

Related topics