Course of History

948 – Andrew Jackson on The USA Constitution

“We have now lived almost fifty years under the Constitution framed by the sages and patriots of the Revolution. … We have had our seasons of peace and of war, with all the evils which precede or follow a state of hostility with powerful nations. We encountered these trials with our Constitution yet in its infancy, and under the disadvantages which a new and untried government must always feel when it is called upon to put forth its whole strength without the lights of experience to guide it or the weight of precedents to justify its measures. But we have passed triumphantly through all these difficulties. Our Constitution is no longer a doubtful experiment, and at the end of nearly half a century we find that it has preserved unimpaired the liberties of the people, secured the rights of property, and that our country has improved and is flourishing beyond any former example in the history of nations.”

-Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States of America [See Source Notes for context]

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914 – “We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them. They will be found ampler than has been supposed, and in widely different sources. Thus far, impress’d by New England writers and schoolmasters, we tacitly abandon ourselves to the notion that our United States has been fashion’d from the British Islands only, and essentially form a second England only — which is a very great mistake.”

-Walt Whitman

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825 – “History shows that no Administration from the time of Washington to the present has been free from … mistakes. I leave comparisons to history, claiming only that I have acted in every instance from a conscientious desire to do what was right, constitutional, within the law, and for the very best interests of the whole people. Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.”

–Ulysses S Grant, 18th President of the United States of America (more…)

751 – Quote From Abraham Lincoln’s Second Annual Message

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation.”

–Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

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727 – “Since the fall of the Roman Empire, there has rarely been more interesting times than these. Whenever history becomes unstable and destinies hang in the balance, then magicians and messiahs appear everywhere. Our own civilization has moved into an epoch of permanent crisis and upheaval, and we are beset with a plague of wizards. They serve an historic purpose, for whenever a society undergoes radical change, alternative spiritualities proliferate, and from among these a culture will select a new world view.”

–Peter J Carroll

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687 – James A Garfield on History

“The world’s history is a divine poem, of which the history of every nation is a canto, and every man a word. Its strains have been pealing along down the centuries, and though there have been mingled the discords of warring cannon and dying men, yet to the Christian philosopher and historian — the humble listener — there has been a Divine melody running through the song which speaks of hope and halcyon days to come.”

–James A Garfield, 20th President of the United States

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673 – “We face the future with our past and our present as guarantors of our promises; and we are content to stand or to fall by the record which we have made and are making.”

–Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States of America

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663 – Will Durant on Living History

“It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it.”

–Henry Steele Commager (more…)