77 History Quotes To Remind Us Why The Past Matters

They say that history repeats itself, and that it’s important that we learn about the past. There are vital lessons that can impact the future, so with these quotes about history, I hope you can be reminded of our ancestry and equip yourself for success in the future.

Best Quotes on History and Its Repetition

1. If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.

Baruch Spinoza

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

Oscar Wilde

3. Revolutions are the locomotives of history.

Karl Marx

4. Life moves fast. As much as you can, learn from your history, you have to move forward.

Eddie Vedder

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

James Baldwin

6. I’ve been completely fascinated with history because it tells everything about what’s going to happen next because it’s cyclical, everything repeats in general

Emilie Autumn

7. Work hard, have fun and make history.

Jeff Bezos

8. To study history means submitting to chaos and nevertheless retaining faith in order and meaning.

Hermann Hesse

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

Douglas Hurd

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

Percy Bysshe Shelley

11. Live out of your imagination, not your history.

Stephen Covey

12. We’ll be remembered more for what we destroy than what we create.

Chuck Palahniuk

13. The history of the world is the biography of the great man. And I said: The great man always act like a thunder. He storms the skies, while others are waiting to be stormed.

Thomas Carlyle

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

Alexis de Tocqueville

15. The past changes a little every time we retell it.

Hilary Mantel

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

Alexander Smith

17. History is a vast early warning system.

Norman Cousins

18. We learn from history that we don’t learn from history!

Desmond Tutu

19. To understand a science, it is necessary to know its history.

Auguste Comte

20. Human history in essence is the history of ideas.

H. G. Wells

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

Martin Scorsese

22. 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

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

Zadie Smith

24. History speaks to artists. It changes the artist’s thinking and is constantly reshaping it into different and unexpected images.

Anselm Kiefer

25. History is Philosophy teaching by examples.


26. 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

27. 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

28. Human history is not the product of the wise direction of human reason, but is shaped by the forces of emotion — our dreams, our pride, our greed, our fears, and our desire for revenge.

Lin Yutang

29. I love history. I love art. I like to mix it all together, but in the end it somehow has to all make sense.

Anna Sui

30. History is a set of lies agreed upon.

Napoleon Bonaparte

31. There are so many times and places in history in our world that I just don’t know anything about, and when I learn about them they’re always fascinating.

Andrew Stanton

32. History should be written as philosophy.


33. A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life.

Norman Cousins

34. Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.

C. Wright Mills

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

Thomas Jefferson

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

Rudyard Kipling

37. History passes the final judgment.

Sidney Poitier

38. Things have never been more like the way they are today in history.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

39. History is nothing but assisted and recorded memory.

George Santayana

40. And having wisdom with each studious year, in meditation dwelt, with learning wrought, and shaped his weapon with an edge severe, sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer.

Lord Byron

41. History provides no precise guidelines.

Douglas Hurd

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

Golda Meir

43. History is nothing if not an epic tale of missed opportunities.

Graydon Carter

44. If you don’t know history, it is as if you were born yesterday.

Howard Zinn

45. History laughs at both the victim and the aggressor.

Mahmoud Darwish

46. To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture.

Oscar Wilde

47. Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

48. Ideas shape the course of history.

John Maynard Keynes

49. 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

50. Our history is not our destiny.

Alan Cohen

51. History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.

Ronald Reagan

52. Today is either the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. Today we are making history.

Eckhard Pfeiffer

53. The greatest honor history can bestow is that of peacemaker.

Richard M. Nixon

54. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.

Woodrow Wilson

55. Human history is highly nonlinear and unpredictable.

Michael Shermer

56. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.

Robert F. Kennedy

57. If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.

Michael Crichton

58. My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

Thomas Jefferson

59. You cannot amputate your history from your destiny, because that is redemption.

Beth Moore

60A page of history is worth a pound of logic.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

61. Human blunders usually do more to shape history than human wickedness.

A. J. P. Taylor

62. History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten.

George Santayana

63. What I am is a thinking, feeling human being compelled by history.

Avery Brooks

64. Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.


65. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt

66. The people who have really made history are the martyrs.

Aleister Crowley

67. The first duty of an historian is to be on guard against his own sympathies.

James Anthony Froude

68. Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?

Carl Jung

69. History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice.

Will Durant

70. If history and science have taught us anything, it is that passion and desire are not the same as truth.

E. O. Wilson

71. History is a race between education and catastrophe.

H.G. Wells

72. It is not history which uses men as a means of achieving – as if it were an individual person – its own ends. History is nothing but the activity of men in pursuit of their ends.

Karl Marx

73. The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Nelson Mandela

74. The history of the past interests us only in so far as it illuminates the history of the present.

Ernest Dimnet

75. The pyramids, attached with age, have forgotten the names of their founders.

Buckminster Fuller

76. I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past.

Thomas Jefferson

77. We are not makers of history. We are made by history

Martin Luther King Jr

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