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47 of 6,095 quotations related to History

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Archbishop Wulfstan
There is also a need that each should understand where he came from and what he is -- and what will become of him.

quoted in The Year 1000 by Robert Lacy and Danny Danziger, Little, Brown and Co.
Ashcroft, Sen. John
The National Standards for United States History do not mention Robert E. Lee, Paul Revere's midnight ride, and did not mention the Wright Brothers or Thomas Edison. Who made the grade with the revisionists, the educationalists, the liberals who wanted to rewrite history? Well, Mansa Musa, a 14th-century African king, and the Indian chief Speckled Snake had prominent display, but not these others.

Oct. 27, 1997 - quoted in the Washington Times
Barzun, Jacques
[A historical perspective offers] as its best reward the positive good of reviving the lost faculty of admiration.

quoted by colleague Fritz Stern in the Columbia University Record, Apr. 25, 1997
The student who reads history will unconsciously develop what is the highest value of history: judgment in worldly affairs. This is a permanent good, not because "history repeats" - we can never exactly match past and present situations - but because the "tendency of things" shows an amazing uniformity within any given civilization. As the great historian Burckhardt said of historical knowledge, it is not "to make us more clever the next time, but wiser for all time."

1991 - from Begin Here
I [want] people who [have] been seduced away from our heritage by all sorts of words like "modernism" and "postmodernism," and "the end of the European age," to come back to what has made us what we are, with the sense of not only continuity, but continuous change, and then to view the state to which those changes have brought us.

Oct. 13, 2000 - from an interview by Roger Gatham in the Austin Chronicle
Bonaparte, Napoleon
Skepticism is a virtue in history as well as in philosophy.

Burke, Edmund
[Revolutionaries] With them it is a sufficient motive to destroy an old scheme because it is old. As to the new one, they are in no sort of fear with regard to the duration of a new building run up in haste; because duration is no object to those who think little or nothing has been done before their time.

I set out with a perfect distrust of my own abilities, a total renunciation of every speculation of my own, and with a profound reverence for the wisdom of our ancestors, who have left us the inheritance of so happy a Constitution and so flourishing an empire, and, what is a thousand times more valuable, the treasury of the maxims and principles which formed the one and obtained the other.

Mar. 22, 1775 - from his speech "On Conciliation with the American Colonies"
The state includes the dead, the living, and the coming generations.

People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.

1790 - from Reflections on the Revolution in France



Carlyle, Thomas
All great peoples are conservative; slow to believe in novelties; patient of much error in actualities; deeply and forever certain of the greatness that is in law, in custom once solemnly established, and now long recognized as just and final.

1843 - from Past and Present
Chesterton, Gilbert K.
The comedy of man survives the tragedy of man.

Feb. 10, 1906 - from a column in the Illustrated London News
The past is not what it was.

1917 - from A Short History of England
Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.

1910 - from What's Wrong With the World
Cicero, Marcus Tullius
The first law for the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true.

Coolidge, Calvin
[The successes of democratic government] have been secured by a constant and enlightened effort marked by many sacrifices and extending over many generations. We can not continue these brilliant successes in the future, unless we continue to learn from the past. It is necessary to keep the former experiences of our country both at home and abroad continually before us, if we are to have any science of government. If we wish to erect new structures, we must have a definite knowledge of the old foundations. We must realize that human nature is about the most constant thing in the universe and that the essentials of human relationship do not change. We must frequently take our bearings from these fixed stars of our political firmament if we expect to hold a true course. If we examine carefully what we have done, we can determine the more accurately what we can do.

Mar. 4, 1925 - from his Inaugural Address
Diefenbaker, John George  
There can be no dedication to Canada's future without a knowledge of its past.

Oct. 9, 1964 - quoted in the Toronto Star newspaper
Some say to me: 'History? What does it mean? What are you concerned about the past for?' And my answer to that is a simple one - he who does not know the past can never understand the present, and he certainly can do nothing for the future.

Nov. 1, 1971
Durant, William
Nothing is clearer in history than the adoption by successful rebels of the methods they were accustomed to condemn in the forces they deposed.

1968 - from The Lessons of History
Finn, Chester E.
Six out of seven [American] eighth graders were not 'proficient' in U.S. history in 1994, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), while 39 percent were unaware of even the most basic aspects of their nation's past. Even more alarming, 57 percent of high school seniors registered 'below basic' in history. These ill-informed young people are now voters.

Sep. 1996 - from "Can the Schools Be Saved?", originally published by The Fordham Foundation



Fisher, Douglas  
I think remembrance of the fallen should be primarily for those who knew them or were of their generation. Meanwhile, for children and young people and the generations without personal experience of Canada at war, Remembrance Day should or could recall much more of what Canadians did collectively, and of course, politically, economically and culturally in the wars. ... [It is worth remembering] how much only 11 million Canadians did together in "the good war" and how they emerged from it so much stronger and more diversified in institutions, skills, products, schooling, culture and recreations, with an entwined readiness and confidence to be bolder in the world as a whole. ... And this, I argue, we should focus on remembering on Nov. 11: We did it. We did so much of it well. We kept together. And we can do it again. Not, one prays, in wars, but fortified by the legacy created for us in and following the war of 1939-45.

Nov. 9, 1997 - from "Just how, and what, should we remember?", published by Sun Media
Frye, H. Northrop  
History is the social memory of human experience...

1991 - from The Double Vision
Fulford, Robert  
I have seen the future and it doesn't work.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo
Civilization begins with the consciousness of memory; it begins when we decide we must maintain a spoken, drawn or written account of who we are, what we have done, and why we did it. Conversely, when we abandon this enterprise, or neglect it, or wilfully distort it for the political needs of the moment, we grow less civilized. A society loses its way when it loses secure connections with the past. That possibility is one of the dangers facing us during this historic period.

1993 - from "The Future of Memory: Cultural Institutions in Time of Radical Change", published in Queen's Quarterly, Vol. 100, No. 4
Granatstein, J.L.  
The values and traditions of Canadian life should be force-fed to [immigrants]; history should be explained in ways that demonstrate how and why we have regularly settled our disputes without force, how our political system has functioned, and why we have on many occasions gone to war or joined alliances, not for aggressive reasons, but to protect our democratic ideals. Those are the reasons immigrants come here, after all. But do we teach this past to our newcomers? Not a chance. ... Instead the history that is taught focuses on Canada's many sins: Canadian racism, Canadian sexism, Canadian abuses of human and civil rights - these are all studied at length in a well-intentioned, but misguided, attempt to educate children about the need for tolerance.

Aug. 28, 1999 - from "A politically correct history leads to a distorted past and a bleak future", published in the National Post newspaper
Our teaching of the past ... focuses on victimology ... Sometimes these tales [of historical abuse] are accurate, but only sometimes. Not everyone was or is a victim, despite the clamorous legal claims of the present.

Aug. 28, 1999 - from "A politically correct history leads to a distorted past and a bleak future", published in the National Post newspaper
Talk of separatism, and not only in Quebec, is in the air. The nation is fragile indeed, and one reason for this lamentable state of affairs might well be the lack of a history that binds Canadians together. It is not that we do not have such a history. It is simply that we have chosen not to remember it.

Feb. 01, 1998 - from Who Killed Canadian History
History is important ... because it is the way a nation, a people, and an individual learn who they are, where they came from, and how and why their world has turned out as it has. We do not simply exist in a contemporary world. We have a past, if only we would try to grapple with it. History teaches us a sense of change over time. History is memory, inspiration, and commonality - and a nation without memory is every bit as adrift as an amnesiac wandering the streets. History matters, and we forget this truth at our peril.

Feb. 01, 1998 - from Who Killed Canadian History
The Canadian experiment, for all our current preoccupations, has been one of success, not failure.

from Who Killed Canadian History
The key to understanding our civic institutions, British history, as been eliminated from the classroom because the British are seen as just another ethnic group deserving of no special attention.

from "History as Victimology" in Great Questions of Canada, Rudyard Griffiths, ed., Stoddard Publishing, Toronto



Hayek, Friedrich
We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.

1944 - from The Road to Serfdom
Kirk, Russell
Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. ... Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Lowell, James Russell
Where faith made whole with deed, Breathes its awakening breath into the lifeless creed, They saw [Truth] plumed and mailed, With sweet, stern face unveiled, And all-repaying eyes look proud on them in death.

1877 - from Commemoration Ode
Our American republic will endure only as long as the ideas of the men who founded it continue dominant.

Morton, William L.  
Canadian history ... is ... one history, not one French and one British, but the entire history of all Canada. There are not two histories, but one history, as there are not two Canadas, or any greater number, but one only. Nor are there two ways of life, (1) but one common response to land and history expressed in many strong variants of the one, it is true, but still one in central substance.

Jun. 11, 1960 - from an address to the Canadian Historical Association
Nader, Ralph
Canadians know little about their achievements in the past. They don't even teach them in their schools.

Dec. 9, 1992 - from an interview on CBC Television, quoted in Famous Lasting Words by John Robert Columbo
Newman, Peter C.  
Exploring and taming Canada's resources has been a heroic epic and it is only the poor quality of our history [teaching] that has failed to bring the truth home.

Jul. 6, 1992 - from Maclean's Magazine, quoted in Famous Lasting Words by John Robert Columbo
History's jury is always out.

Dec. 30, 2000 - from "2000: The year the music died", National Post
Sandburg, Carl
If [America] forgets where she came from, if the people lose sight of what brought them along, if she listens to the deniers and mockers, then will begin the rot and dissolution.

Scruton, Roger
[In their] life and death struggle for survival [under communist oppression] the Czechs were sustained by their consciousness of history and by their religious and cultural inheritance.

Jul. 21, 1998 - from a article in the London Times



Sowell, Thomas
What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?

We do not live in the past, but the past in us.

1998 - from Conquests and Cultures: An International History
Thatcher, Margaret
Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.

I believe politicians must see that religious education has a proper place in the school curriculum. The Christian religion - which, of course, embodies many of the great spiritual and moral truths of Judaism - is a fundamental part of our national heritage. For centuries it has been our very lifeblood. Indeed we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible. Also, it is quite impossible to understand our history or literature without grasping this fact. That is the strong practical case for ensuring that children at school are given adequate instruction in the part which the Judaic-Christian tradition has played in molding our laws, manners, and institution. How can you make sense of Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, or of the constitutional conflicts of the seventeenth century in both Scotland and England, without some such knowledge?

May 21, 1988 - from "Christianity and Wealth", a speech to the leaders of the Church of Scotland
Unknown
To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.

Chinese proverb
Wilde, Oscar
There is no essential incongruity between crime and culture. We cannot re-write the whole of history for the purpose of gratifying our moral sense of what should be.

1888 - from The Critic as Artist
Yost, Elwy  
Perhaps no truly objective history of anything is ever popular.

1979 - from Magic Moments from the Movies