147 History Quotes on the Importance of Past

History is the study of examining historical incidents and occurrences.

History is much more than a chronicle of events in the past.

It is a live, breathing force that influences both the present and the future.


Learning about history is critical to help us in making informed decisions and making this world a better place to live for ourselves and future generations.

We have handpicked some of the best history quotes in this post.

Top 10 History Quotes


History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. ~ Winston Churchill.


The main thing is to make history, not to write it. ~ Otto von Bismarck.


History takes time. History makes memory. ~ Gertrude Stein.


History is nothing but assisted and recorded memory. ~ George Santayana.


Each one writes history according to his convenience. ~ Jose Rizal.


One faces the future with one’s past. ~ Pearl S. Buck.


Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts. ~ Edward Murrow.


Human blunders usually do more to shape history than human wickedness. ~ A.J.P. Taylor.


History has been the history of warfare. ~ Godfrey Reggio.


The past changes a little every time we retell it. ~ Hilary Mantel.

Also Read: 65 Past Quotes to Inspire You to Move Ahead in Life and 65 Fly High Quotes to Blow Your Mind

Best History Quotes

People say history is boring, and that is true because people are boring. We haven’t changed since time began. We’re still the same. We’ve obviously made some changes. ~ Colin Hay.


The people who have really made history are the martyrs. ~ Aleister Crowley.

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.

A myth is far truer than a history, for a history only gives a story of the shadows, whereas a myth gives a story of the substances that cast the shadows. ~ Annie Besant.


There is properly no history; only biography. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both. ~ C. Wright Mills.

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.


Study the past if you would define the future. ~ Confucius.

History is a tool used by politicians to justify their intentions. ~ Ted Coppell.

No harm’s done to history by making it something someone would want to read. ~ David McCullough.

History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are. ~ David McCullough.


Human history in essence is the history of ideas. ~ H.G. Wells.

The history of mankind is the instant between two strides taken by a traveler. ~ Franz Kafka.

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

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

Famous History Quotes


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

If you don’t know history, it’s as if you were born yesterday. If you were born yesterday then any leader can tell you anything. ~ Howard Zinn.

Black history is American history. ~ Morgan Freeman.

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.


The beauty of the past belongs to the past. ~ Margaret Bourke-White.

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. ~ George Orwell.

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


History shows that there are no invincible armies. ~ Joseph Stalin.

The best prophet of the future is the past. ~ Lord Byron.

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.

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

Certain periods in history suddenly lift humanity to an observation point where a clear light falls upon a world previously dark. ~ Anne Sullivan.


Hindsight is the historian’s necessary vice. ~ Hilary Mantel.

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

What experience and history teach is this – that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles. ~ George Wilhelm Hegel.

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. ~ Plato.


We learn from history that we don’t learn from history! ~ Desmond Tutu.

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

Patriotism ruins history. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

History, a distillation of rumour. ~ Thomas Carlyle.

Like a historian, I interpret, select, discard, shape, simplify. Unlike a historian, I make up people’s thoughts. ~ Hilary Mantel.


History is a set of lies agreed upon. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte.

History is not the past but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view, to be useful to the modern traveller. ~ Henry Glassie.

No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history. ~ William Hazlitt.


Today is either the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. Today we are making history. ~ Eckhard Pfeiffer.

Powerful History Quotes

We are all tourists in history, and irony is what we win in wars. ~ Anatole Broyard.

The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice. ~ Mark Twain.


History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul. ~ Lord Acton.

Every renaissance comes to the world with a cry, the cry of the human spirit to be free. ~ Anne Sullivan.

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.


Anyone who believes you can’t change history has never tried to write his memoirs. ~ David Ben Gurion.

The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle. ~ Eric Hoffer.

Sometimes – history needs a push. ~ Vladimir Lenin.

Condemn me, it does not matter, history will absolve me. ~ Fidel Castro.


History is information. Memory is part of your identity. ~ David Miliband.

History is a people’s memory, and without a memory, man is demoted to the lower animals. ~ Malcolm X.

Profound History Quotes

History is who we are and why we are the way we are. ~ David McCullough.

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

Our history is not our destiny. ~ Alan Cohen.


Fear not for the future, weep not for the past. ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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

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

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.

History is a relay of revolutions. ~ Saul Alinsky.


The historian is a prophet looking backward. ~ Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel.

Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes. ~ Voltaire.

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


History is a vast early warning system. ~ Norman Cousins.

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Meaningful History Quotes

History provides no precise guidelines. ~ Douglas Hurd.

It’s not the sentiments of men which make history but their actions. ~ Norman Mailer.

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. ~ Karl Marx.

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it. ~ Oscar Wilde.

History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice. ~ Will Durant.


Memoirs are the backstairs of history. ~ George Meredith.

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

History reports that the men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all. ~ Will Durant.

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

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.


If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past. ~ Baruch Spinoza.

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.

History never looks like history when you are living through it. ~ John W. Gardner.

Thoughtful History Quotes

History laughs at both the victim and the aggressor. ~ Mahmoud Darwish.

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

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. ~ James Baldwin.


Isn’t history ultimately the result of our fear of boredom? ~ Emile Cioran.

The man who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes. ~ Adolf Hitler.

History gives answers only to those who know how to ask questions. ~ Hajo Holborn.

History is the study of all the world’s crime. ~ Voltaire.

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.


Every historian discloses a new horizon. ~ George Sand.

Skepticism is a virtue in history as well as in philosophy. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte.

History is the present. That’s why every generation writes it anew. But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth. ~ E.L. Doctorow.

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. ~ Edmund Burke.

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


We are not makers of history. We are made by history. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man. ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Thought-Provoking History Quotes

To a historian libraries are food, shelter, and even muse. ~ Barbara Tuchman.

History is the story of events, with praise or blame. ~ Cotton Mather.

Yeah, I read history. But it doesn’t make you nice. Hitler read history, too. ~ Joan Rivers.


History is a pack of lies we play on the dead. ~ Voltaire.

History develops, art stands still. ~ E.M. Forster.

History is philosophy teaching by examples. ~ Thucydides.


Historian: an unsuccessful novelist. ~ H.L. Mencken.

History is nothing if not an epic tale of missed opportunities. ~ Graydon Carter.

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

The so-called lessons of history are for the most part the rationalizations of the victors. History is written by the survivors. ~ Max Lerner.


If you want to understand today you have to search yesterday. ~ Pearl S. Buck.

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

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again. ~ Maya Angelou.

Wise History Quotes

To study history means submitting to chaos and nevertheless retaining faith in order and meaning. ~ Hermann Hesse.


Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. ~ Marge Piercy.

History is merely gossip. ~ Oscar Wilde.

A generation which ignores history has no past – and no future. ~ Robert A. Heinlein.

Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft. ~ Winston Churchill.

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


History is written by the victors. ~ Winston Churchill.

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

Blood alone moves the wheels of history. ~ Martin Luther.


You don’t hate history, you hate the way it was taught to you in high school. ~ Stephen Ambrose.

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.

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.

History is a symphony of echoes heard and unheard. It is a poem with events as verses. ~ Charles Angoff.


History is an argument without end. ~ Pieter Geyl.

What fascinates me are the turning points where history could have been different. ~ Hilary Mantel.

Ultimate History Quotes

Revolutions are the locomotives of history. ~ Karl Marx.


I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. ~ Bar Rafaeli.

Ideas shape the course of history. ~ John Maynard Keynes.

History is a resource. ~ Laura Linney.

Sometimes history takes things into its own hands. ~ Thurgood Marshall.

History is more or less bunk. ~ Henry Ford.


Study the historian before you begin to study the facts. ~ Edward Hallett Carr.

It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature. ~ Henry James.

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

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

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


Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. ~ Abraham Lincoln.

The history of the past is but one long struggle upward to equality. ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

History shows you don’t know what the future brings. ~ Rick Wagoner.

History is a race between education and catastrophe. ~ H.G. Wells.

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

So these were the 147 quotes about History.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other popular blog posts on the topics of Painting quotes and America quotes.

References and Sources:

  1. History Quotes – BrainyQuote
  2. Inspirational Quotes About History And The Future
  3. History Quotes
Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar