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