History quote of the day: Winston Churchill

Today’s history quote is from one of my favorite people who made history in the 20th century. I love the imagery of this quote.

“History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.” Winston Churchill

winston churchill history quote

History quote of the day: Dreams of the future

I noticed this quote from Thomas Jefferson many years ago, but never posted it because I blog about history, not the future.

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

But I just looked up the letter where this quote appears in the Monticello database, and really like its source: a letter to John Adams in 1816.

“Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both. We are destined to be a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism. Old Europe will have to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along by our side, under the monkish trammels of priests and kings, as she can. What a Colossus shall we be when the Southern continent comes up to our mark! What a stand will it secure as a ralliance for the reason & freedom of the globe! I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. So good night. I will dream on, always fancying that Mrs Adams and yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliquities of ages and countries.” – Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, Monticello, 1 August 1816[1]

Adams replied, “May we be ‘a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism’! ‘What a colossus shall we be’! But will it not be of brass, iron and clay? Your taste is judicious in liking better the dreams of the future than the history of the past. Upon this principle I prophesy that you and I shall soon meet and be better friends than ever.”[2]

What an exciting time it must have been in the early years of our nation. The world was stretched out before us. Anything was possible.


History quote of the day: Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt is one of the most interesting presidents and he left behind a huge treasure trove of quotes. This is one of my favorites because it’s so true. I wish today’s leaders would spend more time understanding the past in order to make better decisions that will impact our future.

“I believe that the more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt


teddy roosevelt history quote of the day

History quote of the day: John Adams

Today’s history quote of the day is from John Adams and sums up his devotion to the American Revolution.

“I must study politics and war that my sons  may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.”  ~John AdamsSurrender of Lord Cornwallis

This painting by John Trumbull depicts the forces of British Major General Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis (1738-1805) (who was not himself present at the surrender), surrendering to French and American forces after the Siege of Yorktown (September 28 – October 19, 1781) during the American Revolutionary War. The United States government commissioned Trumbull to paint patriotic paintings, including this piece, for them in 1817, paying for the piece in 1820. From Wikipedia Commons. This painting is in the public domain.