Top 170 Inspirational History Quotes

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The following are the top inspirational history quotes. Our collection covers different quotes such as black history, funny history, funny health, family history, women’s history etc – you’ve come to the right place.

So if you are looking for inspirational or motivational history quotes, be sure, we got you covered. These quotes cover different topics, and as such, you can copy and send these history quotes to friends and family in other to inspire or address a situation.

Quotes are powerful resource tools in areas of personal growth, life issues, business, leadership and meditation. From these history quotes, you can derive inspiration, motivation and even hope from time to time. Furthermore, you can spice up your speeches, reports, presentations, blogs, or use them as thoughtful words to your friends and loved ones.

It is our sincere hope that you find the right history quotes you have been looking for and also to make here your final bus stop for quotes.



Inspirational History Quotes

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

— Confucius

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.

— Abraham Lincoln

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

— Mahatma Gandhi

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

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

— Thomas Jefferson

The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.

— Mark Twain

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

— Winston Churchill

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

— Winston Churchill

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

— Desmond Tutu

To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan you should wear it inside, where it functions best.

— Margaret Thatcher

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

If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.

— John F. Kennedy

We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it.

— John F. Kennedy

Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.

— Margaret Thatcher

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.

— George Washington

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

— George Santayana

France, and the whole of Europe have a great culture and an amazing history. Most important thing though is that people there know how to live! In America they’ve forgotten all about it. I’m afraid that the American culture is a disaster.

— Johnny Depp

This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

— Neil Armstrong

The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.

— William James

I came, I saw, I conquered.

— Julius Caesar

A world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.

— Margaret Thatcher

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

— Edmund Burke

When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.

— George Washington Carver

We are not the author of these history quotes but do we try as much as possible to add the author’s name to the quotes. Author’s of these quotes are poet, famous author’s, scientist, actors, philosophers, famous persons and ordinary people etc… These collection has been able to broaden the scope to include religious, social, leadership and historical comments and events alike.

Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.

— George S. Patton

History is more or less bunk.

— Henry Ford

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.

— Aldous Huxley

The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.

— M. Scott Peck

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

— Ambrose Bierce

Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.

— John Quincy Adams

History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.

— Napoleon Bonaparte

Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.

— H. L. Mencken

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.’

— Lyndon B. Johnson

Legend: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.

— H. L. Mencken

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

— Alexis de Tocqueville

What is history but a fable agreed upon?

— Napoleon Bonaparte

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.

— Napoleon Bonaparte

The Marine Corps is the Navy’s police force and as long as I am President that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin’s.

— Harry S. Truman

Hubert Humphrey talks so fast that listening to him is like trying to read Playboy magazine with your wife turning the pages.

— Barry Goldwater

The chief condition on which, life, health and vigor depend on, is action. It is by action that an organism develops its faculties, increases its energy, and attains the fulfillment of its destiny.

— Colin Powell

Beware of endeavoring to become a great man in a hurry. One such attempt in ten thousand may succeed. These are fearful odds.

— Benjamin Disraeli

Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but to stand there and take it.

— Lyndon B. Johnson

We used to root for the Indians against the cavalry, because we didn’t think it was fair in the history books that when the cavalry won it was a great victory, and when the Indians won it was a massacre.

— Dick Gregory

The most terrible job in warfare is to be a second lieutenant leading a platoon when you are on the battlefield.

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

— Edward R. Murrow

90 percent of my time is spent on 10 percent of the world.

— Colin Powell

I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.

— Calvin Coolidge

God cannot alter the past, though historians can.

— Samuel Butler

Why should we honour those that die upon the field of battle? A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself.

— William Butler Yeats

They died hard, those savage men – like wounded wolves at bay. They were filthy, and they were lousy, and they stunk. And I loved them.

— Douglas MacArthur

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

— James A. Baldwin

History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.

— George Santayana

The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it.

— Epicurus

In the long term we can hope that religion will change the nature of man and reduce conflict. But history is not encouraging in this respect. The bloodiest wars in history have been religious wars.

— Richard M. Nixon

Pearl Harbor caused our Nation to wholeheartedly commit to winning World War II, changing the course of our Nation’s history and the world’s future.

— Joe Baca

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

— John W. Gardner

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

— H. G. Wells

It was a Greek tragedy. Nixon was fulfilling his own nature. Once it started it could not end otherwise.

— Henry A. Kissinger

The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war.

— George W. Bush

It is necessary for me to establish a winner image. Therefore, I have to beat somebody.

— Richard M. Nixon

I can see clearly now… that I was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate.

— Richard M. Nixon

People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.

— Dan Quayle

Could I have but a line a century hence crediting a contribution to the advance of peace, I would yield every honor which has been accorded by war.

— Douglas MacArthur

History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley

What is sad for women of my generation is that they weren’t supposed to work if they had families. What were they going to do when the children are grown – watch the raindrops coming down the window pane?

— Jackie Kennedy

Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World.

— Christopher Columbus

Be as a tower firmly set Shakes not its top for any blast that blows.

— Dante Alighieri

It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution. It is governed by its own more or less mysterious laws.

— Vladimir Lenin

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.

— Woodrow Wilson

History is a vast early warning system.

— Norman Cousins

You must pursue this investigation of Watergate even if it leads to the president. I’m innocent. You’ve got to believe I’m innocent. If you don’t, take my job.

— Richard M. Nixon

The Russians feared Ike. They didn’t fear me.

— Lyndon B. Johnson

Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.

— Frank Herbert

Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.

— Arnold J. Toynbee

It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.

— Henry James

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.

— Edward R. Murrow

Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.

— Louis D. Brandeis

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.

— Henry Adams

A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.

— Grover Cleveland

It is the soothing thing about history that it does repeat itself.

— Gertrude Stein

We, therefore, here in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy, and we, like them, will not rest until this evil is driven from our world.

— Tony Blair

History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided.

— Konrad Adenauer

World War II was the last government program that really worked.

— George Will

History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.

— Edward Gibbon

Statutes authorizing unreasonable searches were the core concern of the framers of the 4th Amendment.

— Sandra Day O’Connor

Russians can give you arms but only the United States can give you a solution.

— Anwar Sadat

There are no extraordinary men… just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.

— William Halsey

Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.

— Louis D. Brandeis

It’s a very good historical book about history.

— Dan Quayle

Despise the enemy strategically, but take him seriously tactically.

— Mao Zedong

Be assured those will be thy worst enemies, not to whom thou hast done evil, but who have done evil to thee. And those will be thy best friends, not to whom thou hast done good, but who have done good to thee.

— Tacitus

When the rich think about the poor, they have poor ideas.

— Evita Peron

I have tried to lift France out of the mud. But she will return to her errors and vomitings. I cannot prevent the French from being French.

— Charles de Gaulle

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Honor is not the exclusive property of any political party.

— Herbert Hoover

No greater nor more affectionate honor can be conferred on an American than to have a public school named after him.

— Herbert Hoover

Failure is impossible.

— Susan B. Anthony

I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else – I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.

— Queen Elizabeth II

I’m the only person of distinction who has ever had a depression named for him.

— Herbert Hoover

Although… the Chief Magistrate must almost of necessity be chosen by a party and stand pledged to its principles and measures, yet in his official action he should not be the President of a party only, but of the whole people of the United States.

— James K. Polk

If we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday at a time of presidential inaugurals, this is thanks to Ronald Reagan who created the holiday, and not to the Democratic Congress of the Carter years, which rejected it.

— David Horowitz

The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down.

— A. Whitney Brown

Friendship is a word, the very sight of which in print makes the heart warm.

— Augustine Birrell

The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.

— Jessamyn West

I wouldn’t attach too much importance to these student riots. I remember when I was a student at the Sorbonne in Paris, I used to go out and riot occasionally.

— John Foster Dulles

The more bombers, the less room for doves of peace.

— Nikita Khrushchev

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have.

— Marge Piercy

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

— Ted Koppel

The future has a way of arriving unannounced.

— George Will

Time is my greatest enemy.

— Evita Peron

History is a vision of God’s creation on the move.

— Arnold J. Toynbee

September 11th was a moment when America had the sympathy of the world.

— Tom Ford

All truly historical peoples have an idea they must realize, and when they have sufficiently exploited it at home, they export it, in a certain way, by war they make it tour the world.

— Victor Cousin

The fleet sailed to its war base in the North Sea, headed not so much for some rendezvous with glory as for rendezvous with discretion.

— Barbara Tuchman

Keeping books on social aid is capitalistic nonsense. I just use the money for the poor. I can’t stop to count it.

— Evita Peron

Stonehenge was built possibly by the Minoans. It presents one of man’s first attempts to order his view of the outside world.

— Stephen Gardiner


Many of these inspirational history quotes are the result of a collection from various sources; such as newspapers, magazines, bible, other speakers, write-ups, seminars, articles and websites and every effort has been made to give credit where it is due for the material contained herein.

Most of these history quotes’ meanings are straight forward and easy to understand probably due to their simplicity or nature of their authors, but other quotes sound like parables or proverbs which might be difficult to understand their meanings. When you come across difficult quotes, Please read the quote more than once or repeatedly until you get the meaning.

For some quotes, you must think deeply and apply wisdom before you can get their meanings. I believe you will learn and apply the lessons contained in some of these quotes to your daily life because some of these quotes have already influenced many peoples’ decisions and actions.


One who comes to the Court must come to adore, not to protest. That’s the new gloss on the 1st Amendment.

— William O. Douglas

Open markets offer the only realistic hope of pulling billions of people in developing countries out of abject poverty, while sustaining prosperity in the industrialized world.

— Kofi Annan

The object of my relationship with Vietnam has been to heal the wounds that exist, particularly among our veterans, and to move forward with a positive relationship,… Apparently some in the Vietnamese government don’t want to do that and that’s their decision.

— Ho Chi Minh

I haven’t, in the 23 years that I have been in the uniformed services of the United States of America, ever violated an order – not one.

— Oliver North

Tell the FBI that the kidnappers should pick out a judge that Nixon wants back.

— William O. Douglas

Whether in chains or in laurels, liberty knows nothing but victories.

— Wendell Phillips

You have to look at history as an evolution of society.

— Jean Chretien

Dad, I’m in some trouble. There’s been an accident and you’re going to hear all sorts of things about me from now on. Terrible things.

— Edward Kennedy

Peace, plenty, and contentment reign throughout our borders, and our beloved country presents a sublime moral spectacle to the world.

— James K. Polk

Libraries are not made, they grow.

— Augustine Birrell

They can shout down the head of the physics department at Cal Tech.

— James Stockdale

The judicial system is the most expensive machine ever invented for finding out what happened and what to do about it.

— Irving R. Kaufman

Something as curious as the monarchy won’t survive unless you take account of people’s attitudes. After all, if people don’t want it, they won’t have it.

— Prince Charles

Generally speaking, historically in this country, the care of a child has been thought of as female business.

— Eddie Bernice Johnson

Terrorism takes us back to ages we thought were long gone if we allow it a free hand to corrupt democratic societies and destroy the basic rules of international life.

— Jacques Chirac

The construction of Europe is an art. It is the art of the possible.

— Jacques Chirac

They were afraid, never having learned what I taught myself: Defeat the fear of death and welcome the death of fear.

— G. Gordon Liddy

In my view, far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly.

— Hugo Black

We learned the value of research in World War II.

— Amar Bose

The past is malleable and flexible, changing as our recollection interprets and re-explains what has happened.

— Peter Berger

To people who remember JFK’s assassination, JFK Jr. will probably always be that boy saluting his father’s coffin.

— Michael Beschloss

The real 1960s began on the afternoon of November 22, 1963. It came to seem that Kennedy’s murder opened some malign trap door in American culture, and the wild bats flapped out.

— Lance Morrow

We peruse one ideal, that of bringing people together in peace, irrespective of race, religion and political convictions, for the benefit of mankind.

— Juan Antonio Samaranch

The 1st Amendment protects the right to speak, not the right to spend.

— Byron White

France is delighted at this new opportunity to show the world that when one has the will one can succeed in joining peoples who have been brought close by history.

— Francois Mitterrand

That great dust-heap called ‘history’.

— Augustine Birrell

An Edwardian lady in full dress was a wonder to behold, and her preparations for viewing were awesome.

— William Manchester

To the extent that the judicial profession becomes the daily routine of deciding cases on the most secure precedents and the narrowest grounds available, the judicial mind atrophies and its perspective shrinks.

— Irving R. Kaufman

The Supreme Court’s only armor is the cloak of public trust its sole ammunition, the collective hopes of our society.

— Irving R. Kaufman

You can’t set a hen in one morning and have chicken salad for lunch.

— George M. Humphrey

Remember, God provides the best camouflage several hours out of every 24.

— David M. Shoup

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.

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

— Thomas Jefferson

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

— Marcus Garvey

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

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder.

— John F. Kennedy

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.

— Ayn Rand

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

— Maya Angelou

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.

— C. S. Lewis

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.

— Mahatma Gandhi

The Chinese government wants me to say that for many centuries Tibet has been part of China. Even if I make that statement, many people would just laugh. And my statement will not change past history. History is history.

— Dalai Lama

History is written by the victors.

— Winston Churchill

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

— Thomas Jefferson

For my part, I consider that it will be found much better by all parties to leave the past to history, especially as I propose to write that history myself.

— Winston Churchill

I think really, China, Chinese, I think they really have a long history of civilization, rich culture.

— Dalai Lama

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

— Thomas Jefferson

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think, recognize that the domination of education or of government by any one particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included.

— Karl Marx

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

— George Washington

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.

— John F. Kennedy

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

— George Bernard Shaw

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

— Karl Marx

Long before history began we men have got together apart from the women and done things. We had time.

— C. S. Lewis

Violent men have not been known in history to die to a man. They die up to a point.

— Mahatma Gandhi

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.

— Robert Fulghum

History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.

— Ronald Reagan

We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last.

— John F. Kennedy

You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.

— Michelle Obama

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

— Aristotle

Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are rather of the nature of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.

— Aristotle

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present.

— Joan Rivers

In the course of history, men come to see that iron necessity is neither iron nor necessary.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

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 Kennedy

History is a set of lies agreed upon.

— Napoleon Bonaparte

It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.

— Henry David Thoreau

I often say of George Washington that he was one of the few in the whole history of the world who was not carried away by power.

— Robert Frost

Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.

— Harry S. Truman

To correct a natural indifference I was placed half-way between misery and the sun. Misery kept me from believing that all was well under the sun, and the sun taught me that history wasn’t everything.

— Albert Camus

Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.

— Theodore Roosevelt

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