Questions tagged [quotes]

This tag should be used for questions about someone's words and its context, reasons, origin, authenticity or purpose. It can also be used for the motives behind use of somebody's words by somebody else, e.g. "why did Smith quote Jones?"

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8
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3answers
3k views

Who first said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”?

I was trying to remember the origination of the phrase "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." I'm aware president John F. Kennedy famously said it, but I ...
27
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1answer
3k views

Who said: “Armies prepare to fight their last war, rather than their next war”?

There is a famous quote which I've seen phrased in several different ways. "Armies prepare to fight their last war, rather than their next war" "Generals prepare to fight their father'...
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5answers
7k views

What is the oldest authentic example of people complaining about modern times and the young?

There are quotes, attributed to a king of Mesopotamia, and to Socrates and Hesiod, about how lazy the youth are, and how things were better when they were kids. Unfortunately, the veracity of the ...
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0answers
184 views

What is the source of “the three most useless things in the world are the Great Wall, pyramids, and the Yamato”?

I watched 'Naval Legends: Yamato' yesterday, and it included a phrase that was attributed to the crew of the ship: "The world's three most useless things are the Chinese Great Wall, Egyptian ...
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5answers
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Did Louis XIV actually say “The State? I am the State.”? Could he have said it?

In "The French Revolution, A History" Chapter 1.1.II, Thomas Carlyle reports that Louis XIV once proclaimed: "L'État, c'est moi" - The State? I am the State (Carlyle's rendering into English) ...
13
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2answers
15k views

Did Diderot say “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”?

The following quote is often attributed to Diderot - co-founder of the Encyclopédie and one of the most notable figures during the Enlightenment: Men will never be free until the last king is ...
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2answers
140 views

Which historic figure does William Bolitho refer to with “The greatest adventurer that ever lived ended as a nervous, banal millionaire”? [closed]

Context: It was said in 12 Against the Gods which was published in 1929.
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3answers
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Where did Otto von Bismarck say “lying awake all night, hating”?

I am trying to identify a reference for a quote attributed to Otto von Bismarck. From tagesspiegel.de: "Politik braucht mehr Prosa und weniger Poesie": "Wie enorm der Druck der Widerstände auf ihm [...
20
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6answers
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What did Hitler mean with the following statement about Franco?

The following was quoted in Albert Speer's diary entry for 26 December 1950 recalling a conversation with Hitler in January 1943 (Albert Speer, Spandau: The Secret Diary (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, ...
8
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1answer
5k views

Who is Alexandra K. Trenfor? Is this quote accurate?

There is a well-known quote flying around the internet attributed to a person named Alexandra K. Trenfor: “The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see.” - ...
8
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3answers
513 views

What is the original German version of Bismarck's phrase about intentions and capabilities?

UPDATE: It turns out that even Russia's president Vladimir Putin himself quoted Bismarck as saying that phrase! (Source1, Source2). It thus seems unlikely to be a made-up quotation, because it is ...
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2answers
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Who said, “Watch your thoughts, they become your words”?

I saw the following quote: "Watch your thoughts, They become your words; Watch your words, They become your deeds; Watch your deeds, They become your habits; Watch your habits, They become your ...
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2answers
511 views

Chiang's allies were “a kidnapper, a hooligan and a bully” but which was which?

Chiang Kai-shek complained bitterly about his allies Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union (the latter admittedly not at war with Japan till the very end). But when he stated that China's ...
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3answers
85k views

What is the truth behind this speech by (Lord Macaulay)?

Was this speech was delivered by Macaulay in British parliament? Got many articles saying that this speech was not delivered by Macaulay. Is it true? What are the facts behind this speech? I have ...
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4answers
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Did Napoleon ever say «On s'engage et puis… on voit»?

Lenin in his "About our revolution" cites Napoleon as saying «On s'engage et puis… on voit». Loosely translated that is, "One jumps into the fray, then figures out what to do next", or "You commit ...
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1answer
276 views

Which early Imperial Roman writer said this about grains?

I definitively although vaguely recall a quote by a (first century AD?) Roman that asserts more or less that civilised Romans use wheat in baking, whereas Germans/Celts (I forget which) would use rye (...
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0answers
109 views

Is there a real quote to the effect of “The development of man resembles the development of society . . . ”?

There is a saying, I heard from my father a long time ago, that the development of man resembles the development of society: the infant resembles the Renaissance, the young person corresponds to the ...
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1answer
1k views

Who said “one can be a powerful king with a very small sceptre”?

Anne McElvoy, senior editor at the Economist, wrote the following in a recent column: As a mistress of Louis XIV waspishly remarked, one can be a powerful king with a very small sceptre. The quote ...
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What is the context for Napoleon's quote “[the Austrians] did not know the value of five minutes”?

Is this a real quote from Napoleon, and if so, what is the context? “The reason I beat the Austrians is, they did not know the value of five minutes.” Found on many 'quotes' sites like azquotes
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0answers
106 views

Who said “Anything a machine can do, a machine should do”?

Alternately, "anything that can be done by a machine, should be done by a machine". I have heard variants of these quotes attributed to Brigham Young, but I have not been able to find any reliable ...
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1answer
387 views

Source of quote attributed to Kanō Jigorō: “It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday.”

The following quote: It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday. is frequently attributed to the founder of Judo, Kanō Jigorō, but I can find no evidence ...
7
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1answer
446 views

Where did Wilson state that the US would have to force access to markets with violence?

US President Woodrow Wilson stated openly before the First World War: "Diplomacy and, if need be, violence must open the way to the (foreign) markets." His central argument was that US ...
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2answers
721 views

Is this a true quote of Engels about vague Russian leaders and their vague followers?

In the recent movie "The Young Karl Marx", Engels refers to Russian communist leaders being confused and finding confused followers. Is this a true quote and if yes, whom did he mean?
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1answer
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Did Amadeo Bordiga tell off Stalin this way?

I read somewhere that Amadeo Bordiga, Italian Communist, said something along these lines to Stalin's face: If the Soviet Union is the homeland of all proletarians and the revolution, then let it ...
6
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1answer
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What's the history of the source of the slogan “power to the people”?

I can't find any detailed information on this phrase from a reasonable amount of internet searching. The current version of the wikipedia article about this slogan is light on details and very ...
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2answers
4k views

Did Lenin precisely say “Trust is good, control is better”?

I've first heard of that quote in French ("La confiance n'exclut pas le contrôle"), so I was a bit surprised when I learnt that its translation in English was "Trust is good, control is better". ...
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2answers
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Who said “Nature that framed us of four elements … doth teach us all to have aspiring minds.”?

Who said “Nature, that framed us of four elements, Warring within our breasts for regiment, Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds.”? According to the Web, you'd think it was Machiavelli, but my ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the original French for Napoleon's quote “When your enemy is making a false move don't disturb him”?

Napoleon is well regarded as stating, prior to Soult's assault on the Pratzen Heights at Austerlitz, words to the effect of: When your opponent is making a false move, it is wise not to disturb him. ...
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2answers
125 views

I'm trying to find a primary source (or some historical authentication) for John Quincy Adams' Toledo War quote.

"Never in the course of my life have I known a controversy of which all the right was so clearly on one side and all the power so overwhelmingly on the other." John Quincy Adams is widely credited to ...
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0answers
652 views

Did Napoleon Bonaparte say “Power lies in the essence of power.”?

I used to love to read about Napoleon Bonaparte when I was younger, I read some books and watched documentaries about his life, etc. I recently started to dig out some old stuff and started ...
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2answers
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What is the source for this quote from the French Revolution?

I have read that, during the French Revolution, a Girondin once said about Marat: "give this man a glass of blood, he is thirsty!" Is there a source for this?
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3answers
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Did Julius Caesar say: “Africa, I have grabbed you”?

Someone once told me that when Julius Caesar stepped off the boat onto the North African shore, he tripped and landed flat on his face, to which he then said (in an amazing comeback to onlookers ...
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3answers
12k views

What did Richelieu mean by his “six lines” quote?

Cardinal Richelieu is frequently quoted as saying, If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him. What I've never seen ...
2
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1answer
139 views

Quote on chemistry - who is the author? [closed]

I have seen this quote often: Chemistry is like cooking - just don't lick the spoon Sometimes in the version of a parenthesis around the latter part to give it it's sub-humoristic meaning. Often ...
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1answer
662 views

What were the last words of Charles the First, and Oliver Cromwell's response after his execution?

I need to know what Charles the First's last words were and preferably what Oliver Cromwell said afterwards.
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1answer
214 views

What is the source of this Ambedkar quote on freedom of thought in Hinduism?

From here, the Indian social reformer B. R. Ambedkar is supposed to have said: In the Hindu religion, one can[not] have freedom of speech. A Hindu must surrender his freedom of speech. He must act ...
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2answers
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Which version of Napoleon's “Europe is a Molehill” quote is correct?

Regarding Napoleon's Molehill quote, the version I have always heard is: Europe is a molehill. It has never had any great empires, like those of the Orient, numbering six hundred million souls. I ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the source for this Goering quote on radar?

On page 194 of Jonathan Trigg's The Defeat of the Luftwaffe, he claims Hermann Goering said: I have frequently taken a look inside such sets. It does not look all that imposing, just some wires ...
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1answer
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Source of the Napoleon “God/Devil/immortal” quote

I heard in a history lecture (I don't know who the lecturer was) the following quote about Napoleon: Some say he's God (an angel?), some say he's the Devil, but everyone agrees he isn't mortal. ...
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1answer
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When and where did Louis Blanc say the famous “from each according to his abilities…”?

It seems that everyone agrees that Louis Blanc was the first to say "à chacun selon ses besoins, de chacun selon ses facultés", which is often translated as "from each according to his abilities, to ...
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1answer
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Source of quote attributed to Florence Nightingale: To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics

This is another classic quotation in the history of statistics, attributed to Florence Nightingale: To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of his purpose....
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1answer
878 views

Source of quote attributed to Cesar Chavez: “You are never strong enough that you don't need help.”

You are never strong enough that you don't need help. Does anybody know when, where, or in what context Cesar Chavez said this quote? Some Google searching implies that he said it, but none of the ...
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2answers
7k views

Source of quote attributed to W.E.B. Du Bois: “When you have mastered numbers…”

I'm working on a history of data visualization in which some works from the 1900 “Exhibit of American Negroes” at the Paris World Fair (the Exposition Universelle Internationale) are featured. A nice ...
2
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1answer
109 views

Churchill's words about war escaping - any reference in his biography or memoir?

In Russia some citation of Churchill's words is mentioned, that I can roughly translate to English as: The most wars in history were escaped due to just putting them off. Have you seen anything ...
3
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1answer
6k views

Which of these quotes are actually Einstein's (if any)?

Two very similar-sounding quotes have come to my ear, both supposedly said by Albert Einstein. The first quote is: “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” ― ...
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3answers
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Is this Brzezinski quote real?

Various Russian websites attribute to Brzezinski the following quote: The new world order under U.S. hegemony was created against Russia at the expense of Russia and on the ruins of Russia. I am ...
8
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3answers
681 views

What was the context of Queen Juliana's “I can't understand it” quote?

I came across a quotation in that piqued my interest. I can't understand it. I can't even understand the people who can understand it. — Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. I'd like to know ...
10
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1answer
3k views

Did Sir Isaac Newton ever claim that his mind in 1666 was “remarkably fit for invention”?

This is a passage from Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi's The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?. Most Newtonian scholars agree that he believed in a particle-like ...
2
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1answer
5k views

Abraham Lincoln Quote Background

I recently ran across a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln, "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother" I was wondering what the context of this quote is. Specifically was he speaking ...
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2answers
2k views

Where did Metternich say the Balkans began?

Statesman and politician of Austrian Empire, Klemens von Metternich made somewhere his famous remark that "Balkan already begins on some road south from Vienna". Does anybody knows where was that road,...