Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

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97 Great Quotes (with Shareable Pictures) About History

Welcome to our collection of quotes about history. We hope you enjoy pondering them! If you do, please share widely.

panoramic photography of mountains

The pull, the attraction of history, is in our human nature. What makes us tick? Why do we do what we do? How much is luck the deciding factor?

--David McCullough

round Timex analog clock at 2:33

Whatever we do or fail to do will influence the course of history.

--Arthur Henderson

pink and blue painted wall

The public history of modern art is the story of conventional people not knowing what they are dealing with.

--Golda Meir

two mugs of brown liquids

History is a relay of revolutions.

--Saul Alinsky

silver round analog wall clock

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.

--George Bernard Shaw

purple petaled flower

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.

--George Bernard Shaw

blue and white water waves

I believe that we must maintain pride in the knowledge that the actions we take, based on our own decisions and choices as individuals, link directly to the magnificent challenge of transforming human history.

--Daisaku Ikeda

person in black shoes standing on gray concrete floor

History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.

--Ambrose Bierce

gray concrete painted wall

The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.

--Aldous Huxley

cluster of stars in the sky

Optimists are usually wrong. But all the great change in history, positive change, was done by optimists.

--Thomas Friedman

person holding pocket watch

I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.

--James Baldwin

person holding gray and beige roman numeral alarm clock

History is a race between education and catastrophe.

--H. G. Wells

man in black jacket and black pants standing on brown rock formation during daytime

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.

--B.C. Forbes

macro photography of green bird on tree branch

History is merely gossip.

--Oscar Wilde

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We must admit that history is enjoyable to a large extent because it enables us to pass judgement on the past.

--Douglas Hurd

aerial's photo of metropolitan during night time\

The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.

--E.L. Doctorow

yellow flower

History develops, art stands still.

--E. M. Forster

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

People who make history know nothing about history. You can see that in the sort of history they make.

--G. K. Chesterton

black bird on brown tree branch during daytime

Patriotism ruins history.

--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

woman in white and black stripe long sleeve shirt standing beside brown concrete building during daytime

History never looks like history when you are living through it.

--John W. Gardner

ice berg

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

--Martin Luther King Jr.

American Eagles during daytime

History is more or less bunk.

--Henry Ford


History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.

--Alexis de Tocqueville

green leaf in close up photography

Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.

--H. L. Mencken

mountain with tree during daytime

We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today.

--Henry Ford

yellow painted wall

History has been the history of warfare.

--Godfrey Reggio

landscape photography of mountains with cloudy skies during golden hour

Skepticism is a virtue in history as well as in philosophy.

--Napoleon Bonaparte

white ceramic mug with coffee on brown wooden table

We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.

--George Bernard Shaw

city lights from hill

History is formed by the people, those who have power and those without power. Each one of us makes history.

--Anselm Kiefer

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point at Utah

All our experience with history should teach us, when we look back, how badly human wisdom is betrayed when it relies on itself.

--Martin Luther

mountains covered with fog

If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.

--Grace Murray Hopper

woman carrying toddler on seashore

Every historian discloses a new horizon.

--George Sand

pink lotus flower on clear body of water

We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.

--Sonia Johnson

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

--Marcus Garvey

sunflower field during daytime

On human stupidity: It is one of the most powerful forces that shape history.

--Yuval Noah Harari


Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.


pink and white computer keyboard beside yellow framed sunglasses

Our history is not our destiny.

--Alan Cohen

purple and white petaled flower

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.

--Will Durant

closed white painted door with exit signage

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past.

--Edward Gibbon


What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.

--Victor Hugo

black and gray floral textile

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

--Mahatma Gandhi

people raises hands

I go into my library and all history unrolls before me.

--Alexander Smith

flock of birds flying under blue sky during daytime

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.

--Oscar Wilde

two children holding hands while walking in the middle of the fields

History is who we are and why we are the way we are.

--David McCullough

man and woman holding hand while walking on bridge

History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.

--Kurt Vonnegut

brown and white butterfly on purple petaled flower

To communicate the truths of history is an act of hope for the future.

--Daisaku Ikeda

black dog photography

Revolutions are the locomotives of history.

--Karl Marx

Arizona landscape

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.

--James Baldwin

bird in the sky

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.


sunset grasslands

If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.

--Rudyard Kipling

person wearing round black analog watch at 9:46

Study the past if you would define the future.


Longer Version:

Study the past if you would define the future. I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there. Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.

man in gray sweater carrying woman in black jacket

Fear not for the future, weep not for the past.

--Percy Bysshe Shelley

mountains with trees under white star at night

The history of liberty is a history of resistance.

--Woodrow Wilson

bird at pier

History passes the final judgment.

--Sidney Poitier

red flowers with water droplets

The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.

--Karl Marx

feet in sand

I came, I saw, I conquered.

--Julius Caesar

red tulip in bloom during daytime

The history of all previous societies has been the history of class struggles.

--Karl Marx

Longer Version:

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

white and blue floral textile

More people are reading poetry now than at any time in the history of the human race.

--Andrew Motion

lion on green grass during golden hour

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

--Maya Angelou

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

I love studying Ancient History and seeing how empires rise and fall, sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

--Martin Scorsese

white wooden hut during daytime

History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.

--Thomas Jefferson

photo of underwater

History can bring luck: this is what we can call optimism.

--Stephane Hessel

brown tree on surrounded by brown grass during golden hour

I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.

--Gautama Buddha

yellow rose flower

Unlike any other time in our history, we have to know that staying in school and getting an education is the most important thing you can do.

--Alexis Herman

two women walking on bridge during daytime

History books that contain no lies are extremely dull.

--Anatole France

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

One little person, giving all of her time to peace, makes news. Many people, giving some of their time, can make history.

--Peace Pilgrim

photo of pine tree

History should be written as philosophy.


leafless tree on snow covered ground

Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories.

--Zadie Smith

selective focus photo of brown guitar on white pillow

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.

--George Santayana


The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.

--Winston Churchill

sunflower field during daytime

False history gets made all day, any day, the truth of the new is never on the news.

--Adrienne Rich

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.

--Elon Musk

stack of six brown hardbound books

Thank you for checking out our selection of quotes on history! Please consider sharing and also connect with us on social media. Wishing you a wonderful, fortunate day that makes history!