History

To one who believes in the historical mission of Palestine, its archaeology possesses a value which raises it far above the level of the artifacts with which it must continually deal, into a region where history and theology share a common faith in the eternal realities of existence.
~ William Foxwell (W.F.) Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine (1954).

The de facto censorship which leaves so many Americans functionally illiterate about the history of US foreign affairs may be all the more effective because it is not official, heavy-handed or conspiratorial, but woven artlessly into the fabric of education and media. No conspiracy is needed.
~ William Blum, Killing Hope (1995). Introduction

Adventure is the vitaminizing element in histories, both individual and social.
~ William Bolitho, Twelve Against the Gods (1929). Introduction

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
~ William Edgar Borah

No one is free from the history he has inherited.
~ Willy Brandt

My place in history I have made up my mind will depend not on what the people may be able to do for me, but upon what I may be able to do for the people.
~ William Jennings Bryan, Speech in Chicago IL (September 1905).

The horrid tale of perjury and strife,
Murder and spoil, which men call history.
~ William Cullen Bryant, Earth

I think that Richard Nixon will go down in history as a true folk hero, who struck a vital blow to the whole diseased concept of the revered image and gave the American virtue of irreverence and skepticism back to the people.
~ William S. Burroughs, The Adding Machine (1985). A Word to the Wise Guy

I feare me greatly that no man is able to fetch out the truth, so deepely plunged within the winding revolutions of so many ages.
~ William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland (1610 translation).

The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman.
~ Willa Sibert Cather, O Pioneers! (1913). Part I. The Wild Land. Chapter V

Our history shows that the death penalty has been unjustly imposed, innocents have been killed by the state, effective rehabilitation has been impaired, judicial administration has suffered. It is the poor, the weak, the ignorant, the hated who are executed [and] racial discrimination occurs in the administration of capital punishment.
~ (William) Ramsey Clark (urging abolishment of the death penalty for federal crimes), Address to the Senate Judiciary Committee (1968).

Some drill and bore
The solid earth, and from the strata there
Extract a register, by which we learn
That He who made it and revealed its date
To Moses, was mistaken in its age.
~ William Cowper, The Task (1785). Book III. The Garden

One of the best things (slave traders) did for you was to drag your ancestors over here in chains.
~ William Coors, (1984).

Printing broke out in the province of Kansu in A.D. 868. The early Chinese simply could not let well enough alone.
~ Will (William Jacob) Cuppy, How to Become Extinct (1941).

The Bayeux Tapestry is accepted as an authority on many details of life and the fine points of history in the eleventh century. For instance, the horses in those days had green legs, blue bodies, yellow manes, and red heads, while the people were all double-jointed and quite different from what we generally think of as human beings.
~ Will (William Jacob) Cuppy, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody (1950).

[W]hile we read history we make history.
~ George William Curtis, Address before the Literary Societies of Wesleyen University, Middleton CN (5 August 1856). The Duty of the American Scholar to Politics and the Times

In tracing human story, we shall find
The cruel more successful than the kind.
~ Sir William Davenant, The Siege Of Rhodes (1656).

[O]ur forbears are deserving of tribute for one indisputable reason, if for no other: without them we should not be here. Let us recognize that we are not the ultimate triumph but rather we are beads on a string.
~ (William) Robertson Davies, in the New York Times (31 October 1990). Haunted by Halloween

Throughout history a living, active, creative and responsive soul is present at all times and places.
~ Wilhelm Dilthey, in Pattern & Meaning in History: Thoughts on History & Society (1961).

The right to revolt has sources deep in our history.
~ William Orville Douglas, An Almanac of Liberty (1954).

One is astonished in the study of history at the recurrence of the idea that evil must be forgotten, distorted, skimmed over. We must not remember that Daniel Webster got drunk but only that he was a splendid constitutional lawyer. We must forget that George Washington was a slave owner ... and simply remember the things we regard as creditable and inspiring. The difficulty, of course, with this philosophy is that history loses its value as an incentive and example; it paints perfect man and noble nations, but it does not tell the truth.
~ William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois

The day is past when historians glory in war. Rather, with all thoughtful men, they deplore the barbarism of mankind which has made war so large apart of human history.
~ William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois, The Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making of America (1924).

[T]he history of the world is the history, not of individuals, but of groups, not of nations, but of races, and he who ignores or seeks to override the race idea in human history ignores and overrides the central thought of all history.
~ William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois, from The American Negro Academy Occasional Papers, No.2. Washington, D.C. (1897). The Conservation of Races

[F]or very, very much history there is more importance in the ancient error than in the new-found truth.
~ William Archibald Dunning, in the American Historical Review, Vol. 19, No. 2. (January 1914). Truth in History

History is so indifferently rich that a case for almost any conclusion from it can be made by a selection of instances.
~ William James "Will" Durant (with Ariel Durant), The Lessons of History (1968).

History repeats itself, but only in outline and in the large.
~ William James "Will" Durant (with Ariel Durant), The Lessons of History (1968). XII. Growth and Decay

Ideas are to history as thought is to individual action; in either case the real cause of the result is not the idea, but some desire of which the individual need not be conscious at all. Indeed, the whole culture of an age bears the same relation to its economic life as thought does to the body. It is an interpretation and expression of underlying processes and powers.
~ William James "Will" Durant, The Mansions of Philosophy: A Survey Of Human Life And Destiny (1929).

Let us remember ... that India was the motherland of our race and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages; that she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through Buddha, of the ideals. embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is, in many ways, the mother of us all.
~ William James "Will" Durant, The Case for India (1930).

[M]ost history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice.
~ William James "Will" Durant, The Story of Civilization, Volume I (1935). Our Oriental Heritage

Most of us spend too much time on the last twenty-four hours and too little on the last six thousand years.
~ William James "Will" Durant

[T]he real history of man is not in prices and wages, nor in elections and battles, nor in the even tenor of the common man; it is in the lasting contributions made by geniuses to the sum of human civilization and culture.
~ William James "Will" Durant, in The Greatest Minds And Ideas Of All Time (2002). Chapter One. A Shameless Worship of Heroes

I will protest to the last: no photographs, no recorded documents. It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history, leaving it markless, no refuse save the printed books; I wish I had had enough sense to see ahead thirty years ago and, like some of the Elizabethans, not signed them.
~ William Faulkner, Letter to Malcolm Cowley (11 February 1949).

A museum is like a living organism -- it requires constant and tender care. It must grow, or it will perish.
~ William Henry Flower, from Essays on Museums and other Subjects connected with Natural History (1898). I. Museum Organization

In the long course of history, having people who understand your thoughts is much greater security than another submarine.
~ J. William Fulbright, in The New York Times (26 June 1986).

History never looks like history when you are living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable.
~ John William Gardner, No Easy Victories (1968).

Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.
~ Bill Gates

[H]istory is among the most potent and effective of all the instruments of human education. It introduces us to forms of thought and action which are infinitely diversified.
~ William Ewart Gladstone, Rectorial Address at the University of Edinburgh. Glasgow, Scotland (5 December 1879).

History is full of surprises, and the next century will be no exception.
~ Billy Graham

History informs us of past mistakes from which we can learn without repeating them. It also inspires us and gives confidence and hope bred of victories already won.
~ William H. Hastie, Speech given in Atlanta, GA (1971).

The coming of the motion picture was as important as that of the printing press.
~ William Randolph Hearst

The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom.
~ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (G.W.F.) Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History (1830).

We learn from history that we do not learn from history.
~ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (G.W.F.) Hegel

What experience and history teach is this -- that nations and government have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn 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.
~ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (G.W.F.) Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History (1830). Introduction

We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution.
~ Bill Hicks

[W]hatever is established is sacred with those who do not think.
~ William Dean Howells, Criticism and Fiction (1891). II

History is a bath of blood.
~ William James, in Memories and Studies (1911). XI. The Moral Equivalent of War (Speech Delivered at Stanford University; 1906)

Whatever an artist's personal feelings are, as soon as an artist fills a certain area on the canvas or circumscribes it, he becomes historical. He acts from or upon other artists.
~ Willem de Kooning, Lecture at the 'Subjects of the Artist' School, New York (18 February 1949). A Desperate View

Compare the history of the novel to that of rock "n" roll. Both started out a minority taste, became a mass taste, and then splintered into several subgenres. Both have been the typical cultural expressions of classes and epochs. Both started out aggressively fighting for their share of attention, novels attacking the drama, the tract, and the poem, rock attacking jazz and pop and rolling over classical music.
~ William T. (W.T.) Lhamon, Jr., Deliberate Speed: The Origins of a Cultural Style in the American 1950s (1990).

The history of the world is the record of a man in quest of his daily bread and butter.
~ Hendrik Willem van Loon, The Story of Mankind (1921).

If you think you have it tough, read history books.
~ Bill Maher

The essential matter of history is not what happened but what people thought or said about it.
~ Frederic William Maitland

There are a whole lot of historical factors that have played a part in our being where we are today, and I think that to even to begin to understand our contemporary issues and contemporary problems, you have to understand a little bit about that history.
~ Wilma Mankiller, Speech at Sweet Briar College (2 April 1993). Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation

[B]iography is not only valuable as an example to imitate, but as a beacon to warn.
~ William Fordyce Mavor, The British Nepos: Consisting Of Select Lives Of Illustrious Briton (1798). Preface

Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we take.
~ William Keepers Maxwell, Jr., So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980).

We can see the design of history's tapestry even though the entire cloth is not yet woven ...
~ William T. McConnell, The Gift of Time (1983).

Men some centuries from now will surely look back upon our time as a golden age of unparalleled technical, intellectual, institutional, and perhaps even of artistic creativity. ... We ... should count ourselves fortunate to live in one of the great ages of the world.
~ William Hardy McNeill, The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community (1963).

We have an enormous fixation on, what seems to me to be, the nave idea that truth resides in what somebody wrote sometime in the past. If it's not written down, it isn't true. And that's absurd. But it's the way historians are trained: you have to have a source, and if you don't have something you can cite from an original source, in the original language, then you're not a really good historian, you're are not scientific, you're not true.
~ William Hardy McNeill, The Historical Society. Historically Speaking, Volume IV, Number 2 (November 2002). An Interview with J.R. McNeill and William H. McNeill

The story of each stone leads back to a mountain.
~ William Stanley (W.S.) Merwin, from Houses and Travellers (1977).

A great value of antiquity lies in the fact that its writings are the only ones that modern men still read with exactness.
~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

History is nothing more than the belief in the senses, the belief in falsehood.
~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, The Twilight of the Idols (1888). Reason in Philosophy

History is simply the biography of the mind of man.
~ William Osler, from An Alabama Student: And Other Biographical Essays (1908). Harvey and His Discovery

Nothing seems to be done with any uniform or regular plan, work is begun and left unfinished; no regard is paid to future requirements of exploration, and no civilized or labor saving devices are used. It is sickening to see the rate at which everything is being destroyed and the little regard paid to preservation.
~ William Matthew Flinders Petrie (of the shoddy excavation work done by his predecessors)

Books are of the people, by the people, for the people. Literature is the immortal part of history; it is the best and most enduring part of personality.
~ William Lyon ("Billy") Phelps, Radio Address, New Haven, Conn. (6 April 1933). Owning Books

Literature is the immortal part of history.
~ William Lyon ("Billy") Phelps, in The Rotarian Magazine, Vol. 35, No. 2 (August 1929). Literature as a Necessity of Life

The history of literature is the history of the human mind. It is, as compared with other histories, the intellectual as distinguished from the material -- the informing spirit, as compared with the outward and visible.
~ William Hickling Prescott, Biographical and Critical Miscellanies (1845). Chateaubriand's English Literature

One short sentence closes the biography of every man, as if in mockery of the unsubstantial pretensions of human pride.
~ William Morley (W.M.) Punshon, Life Thoughts (1863). Death Universal

[W]hen one remembers the wanton and reckless destruction of almost everything that the ancient civilisation had constructed, the utter loss of so much that was useful and beautiful, so much in social life that had to be slowly recovered, and has as yet been by no means all recovered, in order to make life good and healthy and sound, it seems as if history were the game of a wanton child playing with its toys and wasting or throwing them away as it tired of them.
~ William M. Ramsay, The Cities of St. Paul: Their Influence on His Life and Thought (1907). Part I. Section I: Introduction

It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history. ... The establishment clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson's misleading metaphor for nearly forty years. ... There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation [between church and state]. ... The recent court decisions are in no way based on either the language or the intent of the framers.
~ William H. Rehnquist (dissenting opinion), Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1984).

History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.
~ Will Rogers, quoted in Criswell Freeman The Wisdom of the West (1997).

I doubt if there is a thing in the world as wrong or unreliable as History. History ain't what it is; it's what some writer wanted it to be. ... So far as facts are concerned, the better educated you are the less you know.
~ Will Rogers, in The Will Rogers Touch (1978).

[S]tatesmen really thought they were going to make history. Well, history makes itself, and the statesmen just drag along.
~ Will Rogers, in The Autobiography of Will Rogers (1949).

For four-fifths of our history, our planet was populated by pond scum.
~ J. William Schopf

The historian is a prophet looking backwards.
~ August Wilhelm von Schlegel

Men's evil manners live in brass, their virtues
We write in water.
~ William Shakespeare, King Henry VIII. Act IV, scene ii

There is a history in all men's lives.
~ William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part III. Act III, scene i

History must speak for itself. A historian is content if he has been able to shed more light.
~ William L. Shirer

At noon in the desert a panting lizard
waited for history, its elbows tense,
watching the curve of a particular road
as if something might happen.
~ William Stafford, At the Bomb Testing Site

All history is only one long story to this effect: men have struggled for power over their fellowmen in order that they might win the joys of earth at the expense of others, and might shift the burden of life from their own shoulders upon those of others.
~ William Graham Sumner, in The Forgotten Man and Other Essays (1918). The Forgotten Man (1883 article)

History is only a tiresome repetition of one story.
~ William Graham Sumner, What Social Classes Owe to Each Other (1883). Chapter II. That a Free Man Is a Sovereign, but that a Sovereign Cannot Take "Tips"

The whole track of history is marked with the ruin of empires, which having been founded in injustice, or perpetuated by wrong, were ultimately destroyed.
~ William Mackergo Taylor

Are not there little chapters in everybody's life, that seem to be nothing, and yet affect all the rest of the history?
~ William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero (1848). Chapter VI. Vauxhall

If history is the sentence of our imprisonment, then history, recoded, can become the password of our release.
~ William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture (1981).

Myth is the history of the soul; the memory of our greater Being; ritual and sacrament are the reminders.
~ William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture (1981).

[T]he world did not end in 1500, but from another point of view, it did. For 1500 spelled the end of the high Middle Ages, the beginning of the age of exploration, the end of Christendom, and the rise of the modern world system in the new world economy. 1500 was the beginning of the shift from a centripetal, sacred world view to a centrifugal, secular world view; it was the beginning of the shift from Christian to commercial civilization. It was indeed the end of a world.
~ William Irwin Thompson, from Darkness And Scattered Light: Four Talks On The Future (1978).

It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts.
~ William E. "Bill" Vaughan, in V.F.W. Magazine

History is not going to be kind to liberals. With their mindless programs, they've managed to do to Black Americans what slavery, Reconstruction, and rank racism found impossible: destroy their family and work ethic.
~ Walter E. Williams, from More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well (1999). Potpourri: Crazy Money (July 12, 1995)

History's great tradition is to help us understand ourselves and our world so that each of us, individually and in conjunction with our fellow men, can formulate relevant and reasoned alternatives and become meaningful actors in making history.
~ William Appleman Williams, The Contours of American History (1961). Preface: History as a Way of Learning

The historical experience is not one of staying in the present and looking back. Rather is it one of going back into the past and returning to the present with a wider and more intense consciousness of the restrictions of our former outlook. We return with a broader awareness of the alternatives open to us and armed with a sharper perceptiveness with which to make our choices. In this manner it is possible to loosen the clutch of the dead hand of the past and transform it into a living tool for the present and the future.
~ William Appleman Williams, The Contours of American History (1961). Preface: History as a Way of Learning

History must stay open, it is all humanity.
~ William Carlos Williams, from In the American Grain (1925). The Virtue of History

Leadership passes into empire; empire begets insolence; insolence brings ruin.
~ William Carlos Williams, Paterson (1946). Book 1

No opinion can be trusted; even the facts may be nothing but a printer's error ...
~ William Carlos Williams, from In the American Grain (1925). The Virtue of History

History is a great painter with the world for canvas, and life for a figure.
~ Robert Eldridge Aris (R.A.) Willmott, Pleasures, Objects, And Advantages Of Literature (1851). XXXIII. The Chosen Flowers of History -- Biography

There sometimes turn out to be valuable objects cast away in the dustbin of history.
~ Edmund Wilson, from The Shores of Light: A Literary Chronicle of the Twenties and Thirties (1952).

Evolution on the large scale unfolds, like much of human history, as a succession of dynasties.
~ Edward Osborne (E.O.) Wilson, The Diversity of Life (1992). Chapter Seven. Adaptive Radiation

There are periods of history when the visions of madmen and dope fiends are a better guide to reality than the common-sense interpretation of data available to the so-called normal mind. This is one such period, if you haven't noticed already.
~ Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminatus! Trilogy (1984).

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A Collection of Quotes Based on the Name William