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?"

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
0answers
176 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,...
14
votes
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 ...
2
votes
0answers
134 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
212 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 ...
27
votes
1answer
4k 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'...
-1
votes
2answers
141 views
9
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
289 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 (...
2
votes
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 ...
13
votes
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 [...
8
votes
3answers
596 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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
26
votes
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
7
votes
1answer
448 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 ...
8
votes
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.” - ...
2
votes
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". ...
2
votes
2answers
2k 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. ...
0
votes
2answers
130 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 ...
6
votes
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?
2
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
741 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.
2
votes
1answer
230 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
724 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?
18
votes
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
468 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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
5
votes
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. ...
18
votes
1answer
2k 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....
1
vote
1answer
967 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 ...
36
votes
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
votes
1answer
110 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
697 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
votes
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 ...
19
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
234 views

What did Thomas Jefferson say about “what I say now is only valid now; I can change my thoughts?”

I've been looking for a Jefferson quote I found some time ago. I've not been able to find it. Jefferson was apparently explaining that he could change his mind: What I say now is only valid now; ...
1
vote
2answers
373 views

Where Are The Jane Fonda's Of Yesteryear? [closed]

Not long ago, New Orleans removed a well-known statue of Robert E. Lee that stood high on a pedestal in the middle of Lee Circle. That’s one of many recent examples of communities removing monuments ...
2
votes
2answers
419 views

What was so “hot” about hot cakes?

The phrase "sell like hot cakes" is a simile for how quick something is selling. That said, the meaning of "hot cake" is apparently a synonym of pancakes, or before pancakes, corn griddle cake and ...
2
votes
1answer
879 views

Louis XIV of France, “L'État, c'est moi”, and the royal 'we' [closed]

(Maybe should be in the French Language community instead.) Louis XIV famously allegedly said "L'État, c'est moi". But wouldn't he (at least hypothetically) have used the royal 'we', i.e., "L'État, c'...
0
votes
1answer
189 views

Cannot find source of quote

I have a quote in my commonplace book attributed to Aristotle but I cannot find the source. Googling the quote verbatim or substrings of it has not turned up neither the quote itself nor any variation ...
20
votes
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
votes
4answers
50k 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) ...
3
votes
1answer
7k 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.” ― ...
6
votes
1answer
669 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Need song or quote from Christmas Truce of 1914

I need an emblematic, inspiring, not-too-long quote or image from the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914. It should be historically accurate, but (in an appropriate context) it should be fairly easy ...
17
votes
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 ...
3
votes
0answers
664 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
702 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: ...
2
votes
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 ...