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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36
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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 ...
34
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3answers
133k views

Did Rothschild say this famous quote? If yes, what did he mean by it?

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild This prominent international banker is commonly quoted this. First, did he actually say it? ...
26
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3answers
7k views

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
25
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5answers
4k 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 ...
23
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4answers
33k views

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) ...
20
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3answers
10k 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 ...
20
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6answers
5k views

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, ...
19
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3answers
84k 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 ...
19
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4answers
41k views

Did any leader say “We may have lost the battle, but not the war”?

I'm wondering if any leader from any era said the phrase "We may have lost the battle, but not the war" that can be backed up with reputable sources. The meaning of the phrase (by my interpretation) ...
19
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3answers
3k views

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 ...
18
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3answers
4k views

Pre-war comments on Hitler: Just figures of speech, he doesn't really mean it, just a way to whip up supporters?

I've got to this interview with a historian about the pre-war mood between the American reporters and one with that especially impressed me was the quote that some sources used as a this year's US ...
18
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1answer
1k views

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....
18
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2answers
3k views

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 ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Did Jefferson really say this quote about patriotism?

Who said this quote? Patriotism is not a short frenzied burst of emotion, but the long and steady dedication of a lifetime. I've seen some sources claiming it was Thomas Jefferson and others ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Is “Friends, Romans, …” a historical speech?

While searching for a canonical translation to my language of the phrase Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears I was surprised to find reference to it only in the Shakespeare play. As the ...
14
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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 ...
14
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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 ...
13
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3answers
3k views

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 [...
12
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2answers
8k views

Did Gandhi ever make a comment about Islam?

Gandhi famously said about Christians: I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. I realise that in his time the Indian subcontinent was being ...
12
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1answer
41k views

Did JFK really say “Hitler is one of the greatest men…one of the most significant figures that ever lived”? [closed]

¿Did JFK really say: Hitler is one of the greatest men, the old trust him, the young idolize him. It is the worship of a national hero who has served his country.…Within a few years, Adolf Hitler ...
11
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4answers
14k views

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 ...
11
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1answer
4k views

“No sane man will dance.”? When / where / about-what did Cicero say this?

I hate quotes out of context, even great lines like "No sane man will dance." -- which was allegedly uttered by Cicero. But every time the quote is used, context is omitted. Was Cicero really ...
11
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2answers
647 views

What did Ben Franklin mean when he said “The sun of liberty is set; you must light up the candle of industry & economy”?

The sun of liberty is set; you must light up the candle of industry and economy. I've seen this quote in various places, cited simply as "a correspondence". Looking for more context, I only find: ...
11
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1answer
614 views

What is the source of this quote about Demosthenes by Philip II of Macedon?

I've read that Philip II of Macedon said that if he had listened to Demosthenes, he would have declared war on himself. Ref. (it's an old book, and in Spanish): Historia de la literatura griega, 2, ...
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 ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Did any historically known figure produce such a quote?

I ran into a quote (or a paraphrase) in a book that I couldn't ever attribute: A state that is not able to feed itself and is dependent on food imports cannot be considered a formidable foe. While ...
10
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1answer
5k views

Did Goebbels really say “Truth is the enemy of the state”? If so, when?

One of the most famous so-called quotation attributed to Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels is: If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The ...
9
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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,...
9
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2answers
3k views

Did Theodore Roosevelt ever say the “things that will destroy America” quote?

The fullest form of the quote I have been able to find online is from thinkexist.com and goes as follows: Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood—...
9
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2answers
9k 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 ...
9
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2answers
438 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 ...
9
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
8
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2answers
18k views

What was the context of this famous Genghis Khan quote?

It is often quoted that Genghis Khan said: The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, ...
8
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2answers
899 views

Did Franco really ask “Why? Are they going somewhere?”

The story goes that Franco on his deathbed in 1975 hears the noise of a crowd outside and asks what it is. And is told: "The people of Spain have come to say goodbye" Franco replies: "Why? Are ...
7
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3answers
631 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
439 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 ...
6
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2answers
3k views

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?
6
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1answer
6k views

McCarthy's speech: Where is “When a great democracy is destroyed…” from?

During the Wheeling speech in 1950, McCarthy said : As one of our outstanding historical figures once said, “When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be from enemies from without, but ...
6
votes
1answer
470 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
413 views

How do I prove that Mahatma Gandhi said the following?

We may know by means of a simple Google search that Gandhi said the following: “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover ...
6
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2answers
256 views

When and why did Erasmus ask whether the Pope would govern the east better than the Turk?

Owen Chadwick says in The Reformation: The European powers were more frightened of each other than of the Turk. A certain scepticism began to appear; Erasmus asked cynically whether if a crusade ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Did De Gaulle really say “I am France” (Je suis la France)?

My great grandpa always told me WWII stories and he always told me De Gaulle said that, however, I can't find any reliable source for it. I have a book stating that supposedly he wrote that in a ...
6
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
5
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1answer
3k views

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. ...
5
votes
2answers
336 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 ...
5
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
253 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 ...
4
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
6k views

Did Einstein really say this quote about time?

This quote is commonly attributed to Albert Einstein: The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once. However, there are many cases of quotes misattributed to Einstein. ...
4
votes
1answer
251 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 (...