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59 votes

What is the source of quote attributed to W.E.B. Du Bois: "When you have mastered numbers..."

The quote is by Harold Geneen from his 1984 book Managing. I first found evidence of this from Wikiquote: When you have mastered the numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any ...
called2voyage's user avatar
56 votes
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What is the source of quote attributed to W.E.B. Du Bois: "When you have mastered numbers..."

Good editor. I wouldn't have thought to challenge that, but its true that numbers weren't exactly Du Bois' thing. Not saying he wasn't good with them, just that isn't what he's famous for, or spent ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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50 votes
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Did any leader say "We may have lost the battle, but not the war"?

Charles de Gaulle, shortly before French surrender (The Appeal of 18 June - 18/06/1940): "France has lost the battle but she has not lost the war." (Source: The Lincoln Institute). Delivered from the ...
zurk's user avatar
  • 546
46 votes
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Did Benjamin Franklin say "Holland is not a nation but a shop"? Why?

From The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin (published 1888), clipped from a letter to Charles Dumas, dated 6 Aug, 1781: Some writer, I forget who, says that Holland is no longer a nation but a ...
justCal's user avatar
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40 votes
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Did Lord Acton ever say "freedom faces four major challenges"?

That appears to be adapted from a passage in "The History of Freedom in Antiquity", which was both an essay and a lecture Lord Acton once gave. Liberty, next to religion, has been the ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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39 votes
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Did Martin Luther ever say "The prosperity of a country depends ... "?

Yes, he did write that. Easily verifiable when going ad fontes, as real historians should always do. That is: the language presented in the quote is thoroughly modernised, and thus mangled into ...
Llewellyn Chalmers's user avatar
37 votes
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Where does Lincoln say the South wants us to believe as they believe?

The speech was in 1860 when Lincoln was seeking the Republican nomination for president. He was addressing the problem of the slave states, whose rebellion was already foreseen. These natural, and ...
Ne Mo's user avatar
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35 votes
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Who said: "Armies prepare to fight their last war, rather than their next war"?

I think this adage is very old and has been rephrased countless times (though with slight modifications), but the modern English adaption might be from the 20th century: King Wuling, "A talent ...
gktscrk's user avatar
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34 votes
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Who said "If I want the opinion of the middle classes, I'll ask Her Majesty"?

This has been quoted a few times, in slight variation, like here, with attribution indeed to Disraeli: — Harry Blamires: "The Victorian Age of Literature", Longman literature guides, ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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33 votes

What is the context for Napoleon's quote "[the Austrians] did not know the value of five minutes"?

In his book Pushing to the Front (1894), Orison Swett Marden wrote: Napoleon laid great stress upon that ‘supreme moment,’ that ‘nick of time’ which occurs in every battle, to take advantage of ...
José Carlos Santos's user avatar
31 votes
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Did Sir Isaac Newton ever claim that his mind in 1666 was "remarkably fit for invention"?

I believe the authors are paraphrasing a fairly well-known extract from a draft of a letter from Newton to Pierre Des Maizeaux, written in 1718. The extract in full reads as follows: In the ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.6k
28 votes

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

600 - 300 BC The counts of the indictment are luxury, bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect to elders, and a love for chatter in place of exercise. … Children began to be the tyrants, not ...
iacob's user avatar
  • 1,004
27 votes
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Source of quote attributed to Florence Nightingale: To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations has the following citation for that quote: (apologies for the limited quality of the scan. I'm using my hand-held scanner.) As their source, they cite The Life, ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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25 votes

What is the source for this quote from the French Revolution?

L’Histoire en citation mentions this quote: Donnez un verre de sang à ce cannibale : il a soif ! which I would translate as: Give a glass of blood to this cannibal: he is thirsty! It is attributed ...
Evargalo's user avatar
  • 5,873
24 votes

Who said, "Freedom to do what?"

It's Lenin who's reported to have said this. I found this quote from a Ph.D. thesis - "At first, the Socialists were[...] in favour of affiliation to the Comintern. Before committing themselves ...
Ne Mo's user avatar
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23 votes
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Did Julius Caesar say: "Africa, I have grabbed you"?

It apparently happened during Caesar's campaign against Scipio and Juba in 47BC, part of the wider Roman Civil War that was fought from 49–45BC. The story was recorded by Suetonius (Life of Julius ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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20 votes

What did Hitler mean with the following statement about Franco?

I am not sure what Hitler did know about the political details of Spain and I certainly cannot be sure of what he was thinking, so I will just laid out some data and thoughts: While Franco's side is ...
SJuan76's user avatar
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18 votes

Who said, "Freedom to do what?"

To develop Carlos Martin's comment, you can find the phrase on page 73 of Mi Viaje a la Rusia sovietista by Fernando de los Ríos: El periodo de transición de dictadura - continuó diciendo Lenin - ...
Henry's user avatar
  • 2,580
17 votes

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

Like most internet “quotes”, this is actually fake. But Diderot said something quite similar in his poem: “Les Éleuthéromanes” : J'en atteste les temps; j'en appelle à tout âge; Jamais au ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 9,792
17 votes

Source of the Napoleon "God/Devil/immortal" quote

Napoleon is widely described as either a demigod or a demon / devil, though, as Danila Smirnov mentioned, not immortal. Might you be misremembering this, or perhaps something like it: Napoleon . . ....
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.5k
17 votes

Who said this quote about assimilation?

It may this line from E. Franklin Frazier, 1962: The Negro, according to Adams, could only be partially assimilated or, in our language, integrated but not assimilated. To which his definition of ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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16 votes
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Where did Otto von Bismarck say "lying awake all night, hating"?

1) 1897 The earliest reference I could find is Christoph von Tiedemann on p. 42 of Persönliche Erinnerungen an den Fürsten Bismarck (S. Hirze, 1898, link) based on a 1897 talk: "ich habe nicht ...
Indiana Jenna's user avatar
16 votes

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

The Yale Book of Quotations (edited by Fred R. Shapiro) mentions several quotations related to that one. The most likely inspiration for Kennedy's line seems to be the following passage from Khalil ...
bof's user avatar
  • 467
15 votes

What did Richelieu mean by his "six lines" quote?

The idea originated with the memorialist Françoise Bertaut de Motteville who only entered the French court after Richelieu had died, so she was reporting rumors she heard from people who knew ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
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15 votes
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Who is the historical figure in McCarthy's speech, "When a great democracy is destroyed..."?

Probably Abraham Lincoln. While the specific "quote" is almost certainly manufactured, the core idea could easily have been taken from Lincoln's Lyceum Address. In that speech, Lincoln warned that ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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15 votes
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Which version of Napoleon's "Europe is a Molehill" quote is correct?

Your last quote from Bourrienne seems to be the most correct version. Essentially, the context is that Napoleon held a very high opinion of the East and wanted to organize expeditions at least as far ...
Giter's user avatar
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15 votes
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Who is Alexandra K. Trenfor? Is this quote accurate?

It's apparently a mystery. Cursory googling using the date tools suggests that the quote attributed to her began to appear out of nowhere in Facebook's early days, and it has been a mystery ever since....
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
14 votes

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

You have great predecessors in your question You are not the first to notice the habit of Humans to complain about better times from the past being gone. Horace, in Ars Poetica, already called one of ...
Evargalo's user avatar
  • 5,873
14 votes
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Is there a term for the principle of preferring earlier statements over later statements made by historical eye witnesses?

I don't believe there is a canonical name for that one principle, all by itself. Rather this is one of the common principles of Source Criticism, which are intended to be used together (highlighting ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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