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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25
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2answers
6k views

Who said “If I want the opinion of the middle classes, I'll ask Her Majesty”?

The notion that the British royal family are not necessarily at the apex of British society in terms of good breeding, sophistication or taste, is an old one. I'm sure that I once read a piece that ...
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167 views

Where does this quote come from?

Emperor Menelik II's wikipedia page quotes him as saying "There was never a time when united that the Ethiopians lost to an enemy in history". I am unable to find anywhere on the internet ...
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179 views

What was meant by “Palestine is not Rhodesia”?

While reading about the Israel/Palestine conflict, I found this 1927 statement by Chaim Weizmann (emphasis mine): Palestine must be built up without violating the legitimate interests of the Arabs ...
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1answer
282 views

Do we know if Patton ever said “l'audace l'audace toujours l'audace”?

Do we know if George S. Patton said that even though George C. Scott quoted Frederick the Great in the movie? If Patton did, what does the quote actually mean in the situation? Related question
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88 views

Was there something in Lord Palmerston's career that made him associated with temporary appointments becoming permanent?

While researching the quote "nothing more permanent than something temporary", I stumbled upon this quote from the "Royal United Service Institution Journal" from 1888: I fear ...
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2answers
212 views

What did Douglas MacArthur mean by “In war, there is no substitute for victory?” [closed]

What does this quote mean? I didn't think it made much sense, since diplomacy exists and no country is unbeatable.
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1answer
197 views

What is the meaning of George S Patton's quote “Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more?” [closed]

George S Patton said that "Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more." What doe this mean?
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1answer
242 views

Who said “against the soul, lies; against the body, violence” and where?

First of all apologies if there is one community site more appropriate for this. I have been reading today on a lot of Spanish right wing sites a quote attributed to Lenin: "Contra las almas la ...
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5answers
9k 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 ...
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5answers
15k 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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2answers
353 views

Did Hitler actually say “Millionen stehen hinter mir.”?

There is a fairly famous poster made by John Heartfield in 1932 depicting Adolf Hitler with the quote "Millionen stehen hinter mir.", which is a pun that might be roughly translated as "...
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1answer
814 views

Who originally said, “The most segregated hour . . .”

There is a video on YouTube where MLK says '... at 11 o'clock in Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated hours, in Christian America.' in 1960 but in the ...
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1answer
4k 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 ...
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3answers
7k views

What is the 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 ...
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1answer
9k 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.” - ...
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1answer
7k views

Did Benjamin Franklin say “Holland is not a nation but a shop”? Why?

Several letter-writers to (serious) Dutch newspapers have quoted Benjamin Franklin as having said: "Holland is not a nation but a shop". Why did Franklin say this (if he did)? Google finds ...
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1answer
9k views

Who is the historical figure in McCarthy's speech, “When a great democracy is destroyed…”?

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 rather ...
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0answers
88 views

Is there a story about Benjamin Franklin inviting a business competitor into his home to show how meager he is willing to live in order to win?

All my life I have had this distinct memory of writing a paper on Benjamin Franklin back in grade school, and a story where he had brought some business competitor of his into his home and showed him ...
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1answer
318 views

What is the oldest quote or poem in known history?

What is the oldest quote, poem, words of wisdom ever written in known history? I'm guessing it's Kemetian or Babylonian. I've read some on the internet that I know from memory but cannot verify them, ...
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1answer
72 views

What is the source of this quote from Luke Howard?

In a book on the history of data visualization, we say: As late as 1844, Luke Howard [1772– 1864], sometimes called the “father of meteorology”, apologized for his methodology and referred to it as an ...
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5answers
18k 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 ...
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202 views

What U.S. President said “It's fiction, stupid!”?

In the epilogue to his final book in the “Space Odyssey” saga: 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997), Arthur C. Clarke writes: And if any readers of the earlier books feel disoriented by such transmutations,...
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1answer
1k views

Is there a term for the principle of preferring earlier statements over later statements made by historical eye witnesses?

Back when I was majoring in History in college, one professor explained to the class that when a person made multiple statements about a time or event they lived through or were involved with, and ...
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0answers
137 views

What is the oldest example of complaints against wealth being due to closeness to the ruler?

Consider the sentence “The king is the one at whose side wealth walks”. It is taken from the Babylonian Theodicy, a poem which was written somewhere between 1500 B.C. and 1100 B.C. and which is ...
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3answers
10k 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 ...
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1answer
6k 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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362 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) ...
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2answers
24k 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
150 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
4k 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 [...
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6answers
6k 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, ...
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3answers
942 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
3k 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 ...
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2answers
530 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
86k 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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1answer
451 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
110 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
2k 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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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
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107 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
854 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 ...
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1answer
467 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
732 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 ...
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2answers
6k 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". ...
2
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1answer
1k views

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
3k 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
147 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
714 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 ...