What Is History? Part 12

What Is History? Part 12 by • June 2, 2008 • Printer-friendly

Clyde N. WilsonRevolutions turn into institutions; revolts that renew the youth of old societies in their turn grow old; and the past, which was full of new things, of splits and innovations and insurrections, seems to us a single texture of tradition. . . . . Perhaps there is really no such thing as a Revolution recorded in history. What happened was always a Counter-Revolution. Men were always rebelling against the last rebels; or even repenting of the last rebellion. —Chesterton

It was in any case a time of wild disturbance, and, as is common in such times, those who were trying to put things right were most vigorously accused of putting things wrong. —Chesterton

Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour, and moral courage which it contained. —John Stuart Mill

They came for the Confederate flags but I had none, so I did nothing. Then they came for the Confederate statues, but I had never even seen one, so I did nothing. Next they came for the state songs, but I didn’t even know what my state song was, so I did nothing. Now they’ve come for me, and there are no Southerners left. . . . —Florence King, “As we look to the future of America’s ethnic-cleansing movement . . .”

The mediocre always hold the superior back even when they are on the same side. —Florence King

Tell the truth, but tell it slant. —Emily Dickinson

History, like science, is never a finalizing or definitive enterprise. It is a never-ending and self-revising one in light of novel vantages, methodologies, and data. —Edward R. Wallace IV

The business [of history] is to study events not accessible to our observation and to study these events inferentially, arguing to them from something else which is accessible to our observation, and which the historian calls “evidence” for the events in which he is interested. —R.G. Collingwood

We are accustomed to say that “the present is the product of the past” . . . but it is equally true to say that the past (our imagined picture of it) is the product of the present . . . The past is a kind of screen upon which we project our vision of the future; and it is indeed a moving picture, borrowing much of its form and color from our fears and aspirations. —Carl Becker

An erroneous and one-sided conception of the scientific method, based on a caricatured and outdated picture of the natural sciences, has kept many historians from appreciating the interactive and mutually conditioning role of theorizing and data-gathering in both history and natural science. —Edward R. Wallace IV

The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. —Enoch Powell

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. —H.L. Mencken

War is part of the intercourse of the human race. —Clausewitz

War is the province of uncertainty. —Clausewitz

It is always difficult to date the turn of the tide, which seems to be a welter of eddies; the very dates seeming to overlap and confuse the crisis. —Chesterton

They call this progress, but they don’t say where it is going. —Faulkner

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