Will and Ariel Durant

Will and Ariel

American Writers, Historians and Philosophers, awarded Pulitzer Prize and best known for "The Story of Civilization" Will Durant (1885-1981) and Ariel Durant, born Chaya Kaufman (1898-1981)

Author Quotes

History is an excellent teacher with few pupils.

The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding.

History offers some consolation by reminding us that sin has flourished in every age.

The relative equality of Americans before 1776 has been overwhelmed by a thousand forms of physical, mental, and economic differentiation, so that the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest is now greater than any time since Imperial plutocratic Rome.

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.

History reports that “the men who can manage men manage the men who manage only things, and the men who 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.

The South creates the civilizations, the North conquers them, ruins them, borrows from them, spreads them: this is one summary of history.

A Pasteur, a Morse, an Edison, a Ford, a Wright, a Marx, a Lenin, a Mao Tse Tung are the effects of numberless causes, the causes of endless effects.

I shall proceed as rapidly as time and circumstances will permit, hoping that a few of my contemporaries will care to grow old with me while learning.

The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds.

A proletarian dictatorship is never proletarian.

In my youth, I stressed freedom, and in my old age I stress order. I have made the great discovery that liberty is a product of order.

These volumes may help some of our children to understand and enjoy the infinite riches of their inheritance.

As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more mysterious. (or Albert Schweitzer)

In progressive societies the concentration may reach a point where the strength of number in the many poor rivals the strength of ability in the few rich; then the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty.

To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy.

Civilization begins where chaos and insecurity ends.

Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice.

When liberty destroys order, the hunger for order will destroy liberty.

Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty, and dies with chaos.

Most of us spend too much time on the last twenty-four hours and too little on the last six thousand years.

Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.

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

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

One of the lessons of history is that 'nothing' is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.

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Will and Ariel
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American Writers, Historians and Philosophers, awarded Pulitzer Prize and best known for "The Story of Civilization" Will Durant (1885-1981) and Ariel Durant, born Chaya Kaufman (1898-1981)