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Quotations about History
When there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
None but the well-bred man know how to confess a fault, or acknowledge himself in an error.
He that riseth late must trot all day.
Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the stuff Life is made of.
Lost time is never found again.
Remember that time is money.
There never was a good war or a bad peace.
We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.
If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.
'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.
No matter how much the cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
Important principles may and must be inflexible.
My concern is not whether God is on our side; my great concern is to be on God's side.
You cannot help the poor be destroying the rich. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me.
"I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
(Speech made to House of Commons on May 13, 1940, three days after becoming Prime Minister.)
"Today we may say aloud before an awe-struck world: 'We are still masters of our fate. We are still captain of our souls.'"
(September 9, 1941)
"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour."
(Speech delivered to the House of Commons on June 18, 1940 following the collapse of France.)
Lady Astor: "Winston, if I were your wife I'd put poison in your coffee."
Winston: "Nancy, if I were your husband I'd drink it."
"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.''
(Speech to Churchill's old school, Harrow, October 9, 1941)
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
(Speech at the peak of the Battle of Britain on August 20, 1940.)
"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
(November 10, 1942.)
After being criticized for ending a sentence with a preposition and using a dangling participle in official documents, Churchill wrote in the margin: "This is the sort of pedantry up with which I will not put."
"This is a war of the unknown warriors; but let all strive without failing in faith or in duty, and the dark curse of Hitler will be lifted from our age."
(Broadcast on the BBC, July 14, 1940.)
"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
(Speech about Dunkirk given in House of Commons June 4, 1940.)
"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
"Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result."
"Politics are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times."
"Naturally I am biased in favor of boys learning English; I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honor, and Greek as a treat."
"I cannot forecast to you the actin of Russia. it is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."
"We would rather see London laid in ruins and ashes than that it should be tamely and abjectly enslaved."
"We are waiting for the long promised invasion. So are the fishes."
(Radio broadcast to the French people October 21, 1940)
"The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions."
"Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt…Give us the tools, and we will finish the job."
(Radio broadcast February 9, 1941)
"These are not dark days: these are great days - the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race."
(October 29, 1941)
"In Franklin Roosevelt there died the greatest American friend we have ever known - and the greatest champion of freedom who has ever brought help and comfort from the New World to the Old."
(April 17, 1945)
"Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others."
"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations."
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."
"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."
"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."
"To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day."
"The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself."
"The price of greatness is responsibility."
"It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."
"Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."
"If Hitler were to invade Hell, I would find occasion to make a favorable reference to the devil."
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. "
Henry Ford (1916)
The enduring achievement of historical study is a historical sense -- and intuitive understanding -- of how things do not work.
Sir Lewis Namier
Loses the past and is dead for the future.
George Gordon, Lord Byron
(from The Book of Political Lists from the editors of George Magazine, Random Ventures, Inc., 1998)
He is the most unfit man I know for such a place."
William Henry Harrison
Martin Van Buren
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
Franklin D. Roosevelt
on Woodrow Wilson
on Woodrow Wilson
"He is a silly doctrinaire at times and an utterly selfish and cold-blooded politician always."
The man who is the source of all the misfortunes of our country.
William Duane (journalist) on George Washington
That dark, designing, sordid, ambitious, vain, proud, arrogant and vindictive knave.
…and as to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship…and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an imposter, whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had?
Tom Paine on George Washington
He is distrustful, obstinate, excessively vain, and takes no counsel from anyone.
Thomas Jefferson on John Adams
The moral character of Jefferson was repulsive. Continually puling about liberty, equality and the degrading curse of slavery, he brought his own children to the hammer, and money of his debaucheries.
…a slur upon the moral government of the world.
John Quincy Adams on Thomas Jefferson
Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of distress, the soil soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes. Where is the heart that can contemplate such a scene without shivering with horror?
The New England Courant on the election of Thomas Jefferson, 1800
This man has no principles, public or private. As a politician, his sole spring of action is an inordinate ambition.
Alexander Hamilton on Aaron Burr
I never thought him an honest, frank-dealing man, but considered him as a crooked gun,…whose aim or shot you could never be sure of.
Thomas Jefferson on Aaron Burr
He is, like almost all the eminent men of this country, only half-educated. His morals, public and private, are loose.
John Quincy Adams on Henry Clay
He is certainly the basest, meanest scoundrel that ever disgraced the image of God, -- nothing too mean or low for him to condescend to.
Andrew Jackson on Henry Clay
…he is a bad man, an imposter, a creator of wicked schemes.
John C. Calhoun on Henry Clay
A rigid, fanatic, ambitious, selfishly partisan and sectional turncoat with too much genius and too little common sense, who will either die a traitor or a madman.
Henry Clay on John C. Calhoun
…the most meanly and foolishly treacherous man I ever heard of.
James Russell Lowell on Daniel Webster
The gigantic intellect, the envious temper, the ravenous ambition and the rotten heart of Daniel Webster.
John Quincy Adams
A victim of the use of water as a beverage.
Sam Houston on James K. Polk
Quite ignorant for his rank, and quite bigoted in his ignorance.
Gen. Winfield Scott on Zachary Taylor
His argument is as thin as the…soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death.
Abraham Lincoln on Stephen A. Douglas.
The President is nothing more than a well-meaning baboon…I went to the White House directly after tea where I found “the original Gorilla” about as intelligent as ever. What a specimen to be at the head of our affairs now!
General George McClellan on Abraham Lincoln
Major-General McClellan: I have just read your dispatch about sore-tongued and fatigued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?
Abraham Lincoln in a telegram to Gen. George B. McClellan
My dear McClellan:
If you don’t want to use the army I should like to borrow it for a while.
Filthy Story-Teller, Despot, Liar, Thief, Braggart, Buffoon, Usurper, Monster, Ignoramus Abe, Old Scoundrel, Perjurer, Robber, Swindler, Tyrant, Field-Butcher, Land Pirate.
Harper’s Weekly on Abraham Lincoln
Mr. Lincoln evidently knows nothing of…the higher elements of human nature…His soul seems made of leather, and incapable of any grand or noble emotion. Compared with the mass of men, he is a line of flat prose in a beautiful and spirited lyric. He lowers, he never elevates you…When he hits upon a policy, substantially good in itself, he contrives to belittle it, besmear it in some way to render it mean, contemptible and useless. Even wisdom from him seems but folly.
The New York Post
…We did not conceive it possible that even Mr. Lincoln would produce a paper so slipshod, so loose-joined, so puerile, not alone in literary construction, but in its ideas, its sentiments, its grasp. He has outdone himself. He has literally come out of the little end of his own horn. By the side of it, mediocrity is superb.
The Chicago Times about The Gettysburg Address
He is as ambitious as Lucifer, cold as a snake, and what he touches will not prosper.
Sam Houston on Jefferson Davis
He is a cold-blooded, narrow-minded, prejudiced, obstinate, timid, old psalm-singing Indianapolis politician.
Theodore Roosevelt on Benjamin Harrison
Why, if a man were to call my dog McKinley, and the brute failed to resent to the death the…insult, I’d drown it.
William Cowper Brann on William E. McKinley
My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding, and the baby at every christening.
Alice Roosevelt Longworth on Theodore Roosevelt
…a wretched, rattle-pated boy, posing in vapid vanity and mouthing resounding rottenness.
New York Tribune on William Jennings Bryan
Mr. Wilson bores me with his Fourteen Points; why, God Almighty has only ten.
Georges Clemenceau on Woodrow Wilson
His speeches leave the impression of an army of pompous phrases moving over the landscape in search of an idea. Sometimes these meandering words would actually capture a straggling thought and bear it triumphantly a prisoner in their midst until it died of servitude and overwork.
Senator William McAdoo on Warren Harding
He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.
H. L. Mencken on Warren Harding
…the only man woman, or child who wrote a simple declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors is dead.
e.e. cummings on Warren Harding
He looks as if he had been weaned on a pickle.
Alice Roosevelt Longworth on Calvin Coolidge
How can they tell?
Dorothy Parker on being informed that Calvin Coolidge was dead
Hoover isn’t a stuffed shirt. But at times he can give the most convincing impersonation of a stuffed shirt you ever saw.
If he became convinced tomorrow that coming out for cannibalism would get him the votes he sorely needs, he would begin fattening a missionary in the White House backyard come Wednesday.
H. L. Mencken on Franklin D. Roosevelt
MacArthur is the type of man who thinks that when he gets to heaven, God will step down from the great white throne and bow him into his vacated seat.
Harold Ickes on Gen. Douglas MacArthur
During an election campaign the air is full of speeches and vice versa.
If I were to go over my life again, I would be a shoemaker rather than an American statesman.
Anyone that wants the presidency so much that he’ll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.
Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.
G. K. Chesterton
Two cheers for democracy; one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough; there is no occasion to give three.
E. M. Forster
Since a politician never believes what he says, he is surprised when others believe him.
Charles de Gaulle
Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process.
John F. Kennedy
One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even when there’s no river.
The more I see of the representatives of the people, the more I admire my dogs.
Alphonse de Lamartine
Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
With Congress, every time they made a joke, it’s a law, and every time they make a law, it’s a joke.
The most successful politician is he who says what everybody else is thinking most often and in the loudest voice.
A politician should have three hats. One for throwing in the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected.
Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percents that get all the publicity. But then – we elected them.
Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself.