The Lessons of History
The Lessons of History

The Lessons of History

Table of Contents


Our knowledge of any past event is always incomplete, probably inaccurate, beclouded by ambivalent evidence and biased historians, and perhaps distorted by our own patriotic or religious partisanship. (Location 39)

Tags: history

Note: history is never fully accurate

“Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice.” (Location 40)

Tags: history

Note: .history

History and the Earth

Generations of men establish a growing mastery over the earth, but they are destined to become fossils in its soil. (Location 84)

Tags: favorite, mortality

Note: .mortality

Trade routes will follow less and less the rivers and seas; men and goods will be flown more and more directly to their goal. Countries like England and France will lose the commercial advantage of abundant coast lines conveniently indented; countries like Russia, China, and Brazil, which were hampered by the excess of their land mass over their coasts, will cancel part of that handicap by taking to the air. (Location 99)

Tags: brazil, china, russia, sea

Note: .sea .russia .china .brazil countris can be hindered by lack of coast

III. Biology and History

the first biological lesson of history is that life is competition. (Location 117)

Until our states become members of a large and effectively protective group they will continue to act like individuals and families in the hunting stage. (Location 125)

Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. (Location 136)

Tags: equality, freedom

Note: .freedom .equality this is like sapiens, you cant have freedom and equality

Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917. (Location 137)

Tags: liberty, equality

Note: You can't have freedom and equality

only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way. (Location 140)

Tags: equality

Note: .equality only those below the average want equality

If the human brood is too numerous for the food supply, Nature has three agents for restoring the balance: famine, pestilence, and war. (Location 152)

Note: Famine, disease and war have traditionally kept populations low

IV. Race and History

There are some two billion colored people on the earth, and some nine hundred million whites. (Location 188)

Tags: race

Note: .race there are more than twice as many coloured people as there are white people

Character and History

VI. Morals and History

Presumably the death rate in men—so often risking their lives in the hunt—was higher than in women; some men had to take several women, and every man was expected to help women to frequent pregnancy. Pugnacity, brutality, greed, and sexual readiness were advantages in the struggle for existence. Probably every vice was once a virtue—i.e., a quality making for the survival of the individual, the family, or the group. Man’s sins may be the relics of his rise rather than the stigmata of his fall. (Location 369)

Tags: vices, morals

Note: .morals .vices our morals may change depending on the time. Eg. Morals for hunter gatherers would differ to those in the industrial revolution.

History does not tell us just when men passed from hunting to agriculture—perhaps in the Neolithic Age, and through the discovery that grain could be sown to add to the spontaneous growth of wild wheat. We may reasonably assume that the new regime demanded new virtues, and changed some old virtues into vices. (Location 373)

Tags: morals

Note: virtues may change to vices at different stages of mankind

We must remind ourselves again that history as usually written (peccavimus) is quite different from history as usually lived: the historian records the exceptional because it is interesting—because it is exceptional. (Location 415)

Tags: history

Note: .history we hear about the exceptional parts of history

VII. Religion and History

Even the skeptical historian develops a humble respect for religion, since he sees it functioning, and seemingly indispensable, in every land and age. To the unhappy, the suffering, the bereaved, the old, it has brought supernatural comforts valued by millions of souls as more precious than any natural aid. It has helped parents and teachers to discipline the young. It has conferred meaning and dignity upon the lowliest existence, and through its sacraments has made for stability by transforming human covenants into solemn relationships with God. (Location 436)

Tags: religion

Note: .religion religion brings comfort to many - the ill,old,bereaved,poor

“As long as there is poverty there will be gods.” (Location 552)

Tags: quotes, religion

Note: .religion .quotes religion gives hope to the poor

VIII. Economics and History

“the men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all.”

So the bankers, watching the trends in agriculture, industry, and trade, inviting and directing the flow of capital, putting our money doubly and trebly to work, controlling loans and interest and enterprise, running great risks to make great gains, rise to the top of the economic pyramid. (Location 583)

Tags: money, bankers

Note: Those who manage money manage all.

Perhaps it is one secret of their power that, having studied the fluctuations of prices, they know that history is inflationary, and that money is the last thing a wise man will hoard. (Location 587)

Tags: money

Note: .money dont hoard money

Normally and generally men are judged by their ability to produce—except in war, when they are ranked according to their ability to destroy. (Location 591)

We conclude that the concentration of wealth is natural and inevitable, and is periodically alleviated by violent or peaceable partial redistribution. In this view all economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism, a vast systole and diastole of concentrating wealth and compulsive recirculation. (Location 630)

Tags: wealth

Note: .wealth tbroughout history wealth has accumuated in the hands of a few

IX. Socialism and History

Government and History

Since men love freedom, and the freedom of individuals in society requires some regulation of conduct, the first condition of freedom is its limitation; make it absolute and it dies in chaos. So the prime task of government is to establish order; organized central force is the sole alternative to incalculable and disruptive force in private hands. (Location 764)

Tags: freedom

Note: .freedom regulation and limitations are needed to ensure freedom doesnt discend into chaos

Monarchy seems to be the most natural kind of government, since it applies to the group the authority of the father in a family or of the chieftain in a warrior band. (Location 771)

Tags: monarchy

Note: .monarchy monarchy is a natural ruling order

XI. History and War

It is clear (continues the general) that the United States must assume today the task that Great Britain performed so well in the nineteenth century—the protection of Western civilization from external danger. (Location 964)

Tags: america

Note: .america america protects many countries