History Quotes

It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment. Until then, America thought she was witnessing nothing more serious than the worst aviation disaster in history; now she had a sense of the fantastic vehemence ranged against her.

Martin Amis

Both security and development ultimately depend on respect for human rights and the rule of law. Although increasingly interdependent, our world continues to be divided not only by economic differences, but also by religion and culture. That is not in itself a problem. Throughout history, human life has been enriched by diversity, and different communities have learnt from each other. But, if our different communities are to live together in peace we must stress also what unites us: our common humanity, and our shared belief that human dignity and rights should be protected by law.

Kofi Atta Annan

More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.

Kofi Atta Annan

You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Maya Angelou

I would not hesitate to say that nine out of ten of the critics of the peace movement get the argument turned upside down. "You cannot change human nature" has become a sort of incantation with those critics. Perhaps you cannot "change human nature" I don't indeed know what the phrase means. But you can certainly change human behavior, which is what matters, as the whole panorama of history shows.

Sir Norman Angell

For every struggle that Joe survived, For every dispute he endured, to rise, Joe will go down in history as a model for champions to come. While Frazier was a man of few words, Ali was a world of mouth, but he found his place in history. Now his heart can express him well. Joe Frazier was a silent warrior, whom Ali silently admired. One could not rise without the other.

Muhammad Ali

Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.

John David Ashcroft

At the beginning of the twentieth century, every single leading Muslim intellectual was in love with the west, and wanted their countries to look just like Britain and France. Some of them even said that the Europeans were better Muslims than they themselves, because their modern society had enabled them to create a fairer and more just distribution of wealth, than was possible in their pre-modern climates, and that accorded more perfectly with the vision of the Quran. Then there was the experience of colonialism under Britain and France, experiences like Suez, the Iranian revolution, Israel, and some people, not all by any means have allowed this ... these series of disasters to corrode into hatred. Islam is a religion of success. Unlike Christianity, which has as its main image, in the west at least, a man dying in a devastating, disgraceful, helpless death. crucified, and that turned into victory. Mohammed was not an apparent failure. He was a dazzling success, politically as well as spiritually, and Islam went from strength to strength to strength. But against the West, it's been able to make no headway, and this is as disturbing for Muslims as the discoveries of Darwin have been to some Christians. The Quran says that if you live according to the Quranic ideal, implementing justice in your society, then your society will prosper, because this is the way human beings are supposed to live. But whatever they do, they cannot seem to get Muslim history back on track, and this has led some, and only a minority, it must be said, to desperate conclusions.

Karen Armstrong

In a national capital Mirabeau and his set Attacked mystery ; the packed galleries roared And history marched to the drums of a clear idea, The aim of the Rational City, quick to admire, Quick to tire.

Wystan Hugh Auden

The stars are dead. The animals will not look. We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and History to the defeated May say Alas but cannot help nor pardon.

Wystan Hugh Auden

And the poor in their fireless lodgings, dropping the sheets Of the evening paper: "Our day is our loss, O show us History the operator, the Organiser, Time the refreshing river." And the nations combine each cry, invoking the life That shapes the individual belly and orders The private nocturnal terror: "Did you not found the city state of the sponge, "Raise the vast military empires of the shark And the tiger, establish the robin's plucky canton? Intervene. Descend as a dove or A furious papa or a mild engineer, but descend."

Wystan Hugh Auden

Acts of injustice done Between the setting and the rising sun In history lie like bones, each one.

Wystan Hugh Auden

The fact is there are no stories I can tell my friends that will make them feel better. History cannot be erased, although we can soothe ourselves by speculating about it.

Margaret Eleanor Atwood

He was not condemned to death, freedom awaited him. What was the temptation, the one that worked? Perhaps he wanted to live with a woman whose life he had saved, who had seen down into the earth but had nevertheless followed him back up to life. It was his only chance to be a hero, to one person at least, for if he became the hangman the others would despise him. He was in prison for wounding another man, on one finger of the right hand, with a sword. This too is history.

Margaret Eleanor Atwood

She has been condemned to death by hanging. A man may escape this death by becoming the hangman, a woman by marrying the hangman. But at the present time there is no hangman; thus there is no escape. There is only a death, indefinitely postponed. This is not fantasy, it is history.

Margaret Eleanor Atwood

And the crazy part of it was even if you were clever, even if you spent your adolescence reading John Donne and Shaw, even if you studied history or zoology or physics and hoped to spend your life pursuing some difficult and challenging career, you still had a mind full of all the soupy longings that every high-school girl was awash in... underneath it, all you longed to be was annihilated by love, to be swept off your feet, to be filled up by a giant prick spouting sperm, soapsuds, silk and satins and, of course, money.

Erica Jong

Those who have handled sciences have been either men of experiment or men of dogmas. The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes a middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own. Not unlike this is the true business of philosophy; for it neither relies solely or chiefly on the powers of the mind, nor does it take the matter which it gathers from natural history and mechanical experiments and lay it up in the memory whole, as it finds it, but lays it up in the understanding altered and digested. Therefore from a closer and purer league between these two faculties, the experimental and the rational (such as has never yet been made), much may be hoped.

Francis Bacon

The use of this feigned history hath been to give some shadow of satisfaction to the mind of man in those points wherein the nature of things doth deny it, the world being in proportion inferior to the soul; by reason whereof there is, agreeable to the spirit of man, a more ample greatness, a more exact goodness, and a more absolute variety, than can be found in the nature of things. Therefore, because the acts or events of true history have not that magnitude which satisfieth the mind of man, poesy feigneth acts and events greater and more heroical: because true history propoundeth the successes and issues of actions not so agreeable to the merits of virtue and vice, therefore poesy feigns them more just in retribution, and more according to revealed providence: because true history representeth actions and events more ordinary, and less interchanged, therefore poesy endueth them with more rareness, and more unexpected and alternative variations: so as it appeareth that poesy serveth and conferreth to magnanimity, morality, and to delectation. And therefore it was ever thought to have some participation of divineness, because it doth raise and erect the mind, by submitting the shows of things to the desires of the mind; whereas reason doth buckle and bow the mind into the nature of things.

Francis Bacon

In 5,000 years of recorded human history... neither in the east or in the west... has any society ever defined marriage as anything other than between men and women. Not one in 5000 years of recorded human history. That's an astounding fact and it isn't until the last 12 years or so that we have seen for the first time in recorded human history marriage defined as anything other than between men and between women.

Michele Bachmann

The traditional disputes of philosophers are, for the most part, as unwarranted as they are unfruitful. The surest way to end them is to establish beyond question what should be the purpose and method of a philosophical enquiry. And this is by no means so difficult a task as the history of philosophy would lead one to suppose. For if there are any questions which science leaves it to philosophy to answer, a straightforward process of elimination must lead to their discovery.

Sir Alfred Jules Ayer

Sweetheart, I'm the biggest ripped-off cartoonist in the history of the world, and that's all I'm going to say.

Ralph Bakshi

You talk a great deal about building a better world for your children, but when you are young you can no more envision a world inherited by your children than you can conceive of dying. The society you mold, you mold for yourself. It was this way with my generation. We were unhappy with what we inherited and we tried to reshape it in ways that would make it more tolerable to us. You were not uppermost in our thoughts. Now, in middle age, some of us are trying to rewrite history. Some of us tell you, "We labored and dared and sacrificed all for you yet we hear no thanks." You will not be unduly moved, I hope, by these laments. They are sentimental cries from persons so attached to the society they have rebuilt that they cannot bear the thought of seeing it overhauled by new proprietors.

Russell Baker

Americans treat history like a cookbook. Whenever they are uncertain what to do next, they turn to history and look up the proper recipe, invariably designated "the lesson of history."

Russell Baker

My view is that you don't just talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies, as well. And the diplomacy involves talking to your enemies. You don't reward your enemies necessarily, by talking to them if you're tough and you know what you're doing. You don't appease them. Talking to an enemy is not, in my view, appeasement. I made 15 trips to Syria in 1990-1991 at a time when Syria was on the list of countries who are state sponsors of terrorism. And the 16th trip, guess what? Lo and behold, Syria changed 25 years of policy and agreed for the first time in history to come sit at the table with Israel, which is what Israel wanted at the time. And, thereby, implicitly recognized Israel's right to exist. Now, all I'm saying is that would never have happened if we hadn't been sufficiently dedicated that we were going to keep at it.

James Addison Baker, III
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