"Regarding History as the slaughter-bench at which the happiness of peoples, the wisdom of States, and the virtue of individuals have been victimized--the question involuntarily arises--to what principle, to what final aim these enormous sacrifices have been offered."
"I am provoked at the contempt which most historians show for humanity in general; one would think by them, that the whole human species consisted but of about a hundred and fifty people, called and dignified (commonly very undeservedly too) by the titles of Emperors, Kings, Popes, Generals, and Ministers."
"The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. History is a hill or high point of vantage, from which alone men see the town in which they live or the age in which they are living."
"Every generation rewrites the past. In easy times history is more or less of an ornamental art, but in times of danger we are driven to the written record by a pressing need to find answers to the riddles of today.... In times of change and danger when there is a quicksand of fear under men's reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present and get us past that idiot delusion of the exceptional Now that blocks good thinking."
"We as women know that there are no disembodied processes; that all history originates in human flesh; that all oppression is inflicted by the body of one against the body of another; that all social change is built on the bone and muscle, and out of the flesh and blood, of human creators."
"Politics at all times lead to bloody wars, and not only politics, but also religions as well as social and economic systems of all times are spattered with blood. Invariably the big ones devoured the little ones, and the little ones the tiny ones."
"Your pier-glass or extensive surface of polished steel ... will be minutely and multitudinously scratched in all directions; but place now against it a lighted candle as a centre of illumination, and lo! the scratches will seem to arrange themselves in a fine series of concentric circles round that little sun. It is demonstrable that the scratches are going everywhere impartially, and it is only your candle which produces the flattering illusion of a concentric arrangement, its light falling with an exclusive optical selection. These things are a parable. The scratches are events, and the candle is the egoism of any person now absent."