What is History?
Below are some snippets from thinkers, writers, political leaders, and others who have reflected on the question of "What is history?" As you read the list below, consider which ones come closest to your own ideas about the purpose and practice of history. You might also consider particular historical events (and their retelling) that might fit the quotes below.
Attempting an answer
"The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living."
“Appeals to the past are among the commonest of strategies in interpretations of the present.”
“The past is a foreign country.”
“The past does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”
“History is . . . an argument without end.”
—A.M. Schlesinger, Jr.
“History is not a science; it is a method.”
“We learn from history that we never learn anything from history.”
—G. W. F. Hegel
“All modern wars start in the history classroom.”
“Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded.”
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
“The farther back you look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
“The victor will always be the judge, and the vanquished the accused.”
“ ‘History’ is a Greek word which means, literally, just ‘investigation’.”
“History must be written of, by and for the survivors.”
“History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.”
"History is a weapon."