The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
more John Adams quotes
The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations ... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.
more John Adams quotes
The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.
more Samuel Adams quotes
[A] deep-rooted culture of incompetence and corruption has made it virtually impossible for government to function fairly and efficiently. And because most government employees are shielded by layers of protection, they couldn't care less. Never before in the history of this nation has there been a greater divide between a self-serving federal leviathan and millions of Americans... 'Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,' Ronald Reagan reminded us during his inaugural address in 1981. Nothing's changed since then, with one exception: It's gotten far worse.
more Arnold Ahlert quotes
Chief among the spoils of victory is the privilege of writing the history.
more Mark Alexander quotes
History is replete with examples of empires mounting impressive military campaigns on the cusp of their impending economic collapse.
more Eric Alterman quotes
Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.
more Harry J. Anslinger quotes
The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie -- a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days -- but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.
more Hannah Arendt quotes
No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.
more Hannah Arendt quotes
The main characteristic of any event is that it has not been foreseen. We don’t know the future but everybody acts into the future. Nobody knows what he is doing because the future is being done, action is being done by a “we” and not an “I.” Only if I were the only one acting could I foretell the consequences of what I’m doing. What actually happens is entirely contingent, and contingency is indeed one of the biggest factors in all history. Nobody knows what is going to happen because so much depends on an enormous number of variables, on simple hazard. On the other hand if you look at history retrospectively, then, even though it was contingent, you can tell a story that makes sense…. Jewish history, for example, in fact had its ups and downs, its, enmities and its friendships, as every history of all people has. The notion that there is one unilinear history is of course false. But if you look at it after the experience of Auschwitz it looks as though all of history -- or at least history since the Middle Ages -- had no other aim than Auschwitz…. This, is the real problem of every philosophy of history how is it possible that in retrospect it always looks as though it couldn’t have happened otherwise?
more Hannah Arendt quotes
Political history is far too criminal and pathological to be a fit subject of study for the young. Children should acquire their heroes and villains from fiction.
more W. H. Auden quotes
Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men.
more St. Augustine quotes
I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.
more Caesar Augustus quotes
Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider.
more Francis Bacon quotes
So when any of the four pillars of government, are mainly shaken, or weakened (which are religion, justice, counsel, and treasure), men had need to pray for fair weather.
more Francis Bacon quotes
Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Actually, it is not strange that during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the human race was regarded as inert matter, ready to receive everything -- form, face, energy, movement, life -- from a great prince or a great legislator or a great genius. These centuries were nourished on the study of antiquity. And antiquity presents everywhere -- in Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome -- the spectacle of a few men molding mankind according to their whims, thanks to the prestige of force and of fraud. But this does not prove that this situation is desirable. It proves only that since men and society are capable of improvement, it is naturally to be expected that error, ignorance, despotism, slavery, and superstition should be greatest towards the origins of history. The writers quoted above were not in error when they found ancient institutions to be such, but they were in error when they offered them for the admiration and imitation of future generations. Uncritical and childish conformists, they took for granted the grandeur, dignity, morality, and happiness of the artificial societies of the ancient world. They did not understand that knowledge appears and grows with the passage of time; and that in proportion to this growth of knowledge, might takes the side of right, and society regains possession of itself.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
For the first time in history, the rational and the good are fully armed in the battle against evil. Here we finally find the answer to our paradox; now we can understand the nature of the social power held by evil. Ultimately, the evil, the irrational, truly has no power. The evil men’s control of morality is transient; it lives on borrowed time made possible only by the errors of the good. In time, as more honest men grasp the truth, evil’s stranglehold will be easily broken.
more Andrew Bernstein quotes
History is an account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
more Ambrose Bierce quotes
A good writer of history is a guy who is suspicious. Suspicion marks the real difference between the man who wants to write honest history and the one who’d rather write a good story.
more Jim Bishop quotes
History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.
more Napoleon Bonaparte quotes
The concept of military necessity is seductively broad, and has a dangerous plasticity. Because they invariably have the visage of overriding importance, there is always a temptation to invoke security "necessities" to justify an encroachment upon civil liberties. For that reason, the military-security argument must be approached with a healthy skepticism.
more Justice William J. Brennan quotes
Historians and economists are very good at creating and perpetuating myths that justify increasing the power placed in the hands of government.
more Reuven Brenner quotes
Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball.
more Warren Buffett quotes
...it's a good idea to review past mistakes before committing new ones.
more Warren Buffett quotes
People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.
more Edmund Burke quotes
Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.
more George W. Bush quotes
Presumably man's spirit should be elevated if he can better review his shady past and analyze more completely and objectively his present problems.
more Vannevar Bush quotes
A false conclusion once arrived at and widely accepted is not easily dislodged and the less it is understood the more tenaciously it is held.
more Georg Cantor quotes
Only the history of free peoples is worth our attention; the history of men under a despotism is merely a collection of anecdotes.
more Nicolas-Sebasstien Chamfort quotes
Now the 21st century approaches and with it the inevitability of change. We must wonder if the American people will find renewal and rejuvenation within themselves, will discover again their capacity for innovation and adaptation. If not, alas, the nation's future will be shaped by sightless forces of history over which Americans will have no control.
more John Chancellor quotes
It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
The last few decades have been marked by a special cultivation of the romance of the future. We seem to have made up our minds to misunderstand what has happened; and we turn, with a sort of relief, to stating what will happen-which is apparently much easier...The modern mind is forced towards the future by a certain sense of fatigue, not unmixed with terror, with which it regards the past.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
For good or evil, a line has been passed in our political history; and something that we have known all our lives is dead. I will take only one example of it: our politicians can no longer be caricatured.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
Nothing is so remote from us as the thing which is not old enough to be history and not new enough to be news.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
We all have a little weakness, which is very natural but rather misleading, for supposing that this epoch must be the end of the world because it will be the end of us. How future generations will get on without us is indeed, when we come to think of it, quite a puzzle. But I suppose they will get on somehow, and may possibly venture to revise our judgments as we have revised earlier judgments.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
A nation that forgets its past is doomed to repeat it.
more Sir Winston Churchill quotes
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
more Sir Winston Churchill quotes
This truth may be unfashionable, unpalatable, no doubt unpopular, but, if it is the truth, the story of mankind shows that war was universal and unceasing for millions of years before armaments were invented or armies organized. Indeed, the lucid intervals of peace and order only occurred in human history after armaments in the hands of strong governments have come into being, and civilization in every age has been nursed only in cradles guarded by superior weapons and superior discipline.
more Winston Churchill quotes
The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.
more Winston Churchill quotes
To be ignorant of what happened before you were born... is to live the life of a child for ever.
more Marcus Tullius Cicero quotes
A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?
more Marcus Tullius Cicero quotes
For the problem of decision-making in our complicated world is not how to get the problem simple enough so that we can all understand it; the problem is how to get our thinking about the problem as complex as humanly possible--and thus approach (we can never match) the complexity of the real world around us.
more Harlan Cleveland quotes
We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans...
more Bill Clinton quotes
Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess, that itself will need reforming.
more Samuel Taylor Coleridge quotes
As for the rage to believe that we have found the secret of liberty in general permissiveness from the cradle on, this seems to me a disastrous sentimentality, which, whatever liberties it sets loose, loosens also the cement that alone can bind society into a stable compound -- a code of obeyed taboos. I can only recall the saying of a wise Frenchman that `liberty is the luxury of self-discipline.' Historically, those peoples that did not discipline themselves had discipline thrust on them from the outside. That is why the normal cycle in the life and death of great nations has been first a powerful tyranny broken by revolt, the enjoyment of liberty, the abuse of liberty -- and back to tyranny again. As I see it, in this country -- a land of the most persistent idealism and the blandest cynicism -- the race is on between its decadence and its vitality.
more Alistair Cooke quotes
Liberty is the luxury of self-discipline, that those nations historically who have failed to discipline themselves have had discipline imposed by others.
more Alistair Cooke quotes
A wholesome regard for the memory of the great men of long ago is the best assurance to a people of a continuation of great men to come, who shall be able to instruct, to lead, and to inspire. A people who worship at the shrine of true greatness will themselves be truly great.
more Calvin Coolidge quotes
Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe. All this is suggested by the systematic procession of events and the harmony of the whole Universe, if only we face the facts, as they say, `with both eyes open'.
more Copernicus quotes
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