Arnold J. Toynbee

(Arnold Joseph Toynbee)

Arnold J. Toynbee
Arnold J. Toynbee
  • Born: April 14, 1889
  • Died: October 22, 1975
  • Nationality: British
  • Profession: Historian

83

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66

Citations

309

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0

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Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
… moral ideas are not fixed. The attitude of public opinion towards slavery was completely changed in twenty or thirty years. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
… the nature of the breakdowns of civilizations can be summed up in three points: a failure of creative power in the minority, an answering withdrawal of mimesis on the part of the majority, and a consequent loss of social unity in the society as a whole. States. Nations & Nationhood
… the passion for wealth is certainly in some senses new. It grew up very rapidly at the beginning of the present century [19th]; it was not so strong in the last century [18th], when men were much more content to lead a quiet easy life of leisure. The change has really influenced the relations between men; but in the future it is quite possible that the scramble for wealth may grow less intense, and a change in the opposite direction take place. Human Nature ;Capitalism
… the struggle of men to outvie one another in production is beneficial to the community; their struggle over the division of the joint produce is not. The stronger side will dictate its own terms; and as a matter of fact, in the early days of competition, the capitalists used all their power to oppress the laborers, and drove down wages to starvation point. This kind of competition has to be checked; there is no historical instance of its having lasted long without being modified either by combination or legislation, or both. In England both remedies are in operation, the former through Trades Unions, the latter through factory legislation. Labor Unions, Labor Relations & Strikes
A large portion of pauperism and misery is really attributable to bad government and injustice. Poverty
After all, a learned man is often not much better off than a man who knows a great many commonplace people. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Another relic of Medievalism was the regulation of wages by Justices of the Peace …. The Justices often ordained a rise in wages, and the workmen themselves were strongly in favour of this method of fixing them. The employers on their part also often approved of it. Regulation & Deregulation
Civilizations die from suicide, not murder States. Nations & Nationhood
Competition has brought about two great opposing opinions; one that Government should do nothing, the other that it should do everything. The first arises from the contemplation of the immense wealth heaped up under a system of unimpeded individual action, and of the extraordinary folly and selfishness of the customs and legislation that controlled such action in the past. The second arises from the sufferings which unimpeded individualism has brought upon the working classes, who cry out that Government is bound to protect them from misery and starvation Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Competition, or the unimpeded pressure of individual on individual, has been from the beginning a great force in societies ; but of old it was hindered and controlled by custom ; in the future, like the other great physical forces of society, it will be controlled by morality. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Capitalism
Economists, firstly, regard only one part of man's nature, and treat him simply as a money-making animal; secondly, they disregard the influence of custom, and only take account of competition. Human Nature
For instance, twelve men are struggling for employment in a trade where there is only room for eight ; four are driven out of that trade, but they are not trampled out of existence. A good deal of competition merely decides what kind of work a man is to do though of course when a man can only do one kind of work, it may easily become a struggle for bare life. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Freedom—the power to do what we like—a little thing it seems, but it has been bought with a great price. Freedom & Liberty
From the very beginning of history, all human civilization was essentially designed to interfere with … brute struggle. We intend to modify the violence of the fight, and to prevent the weak being trampled under foot. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Here, as everywhere, Protection involves this great disadvantage, that, once given, it is difficult to withdraw …. the system, once established, led to perpetual wrangling on the part of rival industries Foreign Trade
Historically speaking, Socialism has already shown itself in England in the extension of State interference. It has produced the Factory Laws, and it is now beginning to advance further and interfere directly in the division of produce between the workmen and their employers. Regulation & Deregulation
History is a vision of God's creation on the move. History ;Religion & God
I wish to speak of one more remedy, which Malthus himself repudiated namely, that of artificial checks on the number of children. It has been said that such questions should only be discussed "under the decent veil of a dead language." Reticence on them is necessary to wholesomeness of mind ; but we ought nevertheless to face the problem, for it is a vital one. These preventive checks on births excite our strong moral repugnance. Men may call such repugnance prejudice, but it is perfectly logical, because it is a protest against the gratification of a strong instinct while the duties attaching to it are avoided. Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning
In no great religious movement has philanthropy been very strong, or rather sentiment or pity---The consciousness of sin has been too strong. Religion & God
Industrial Revolution Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Capitalism
It [industrial capitalism] came to be believed in as a gospel, ... from which it was regarded as little short of immoral to depart. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
It is a great law of social development that the movement from slavery to freedom is also a movement from security to insecurity of maintenance. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it. Life ;Management & Managing Government
It is well that the beaten ways of the world get trodden into mud : we are thus forced to seek new paths and pick out new lines of life. History
It would be well if, in studying the past, we could always bear in mind the problems of the present History
Party historians go to the past for party purposes; they seek to read into the past the controversies of the present. Political Parties & Machines
Political power is now widely diffused; and whatever may be the evils of democracy, this good has come of it, that it has forced men to open their eyes to the misery of the masses, and to inquire more zealously as to the possibility of a better distribution of wealth. Democracies & Republics
Religion organized in the Church has in times past pursued two lines of action—First, it has secluded itself from the world, gone out of the world, that is, of the State; and, secondly, it has striven to reenter the world as a conqueror, to dominate the world Religion & God
Since Mill, in 1848, wrote his chapter on the future of the working classes, the question of the distribution of wealth has be-come of still greater importance. We cannot look round on the political phenomena of to-day without seeing that this question is at the root of them. We see the perplexity in which men stand, and the divisions springing up in our great political parties, because of the uncertainty of politicians how to grapple with it. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
So-called racial characteristics are not really racial at all but are due to the historical experiences of the communities in question. Minorities & Women
The basis of religion is independent of science. Theology, not religion, is the antithesis to science Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The English laborer today is far more easy to move than he was 100 years ago. In a stirring new country like America there is much more mobility of labour than in England. Transportation
The essence of the Industrial Revolution was the substitution of competition for the medieval regulations which had previously controlled the production and distribution of wealth. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam, and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue. Discrimination & Prejudice
The fact is, that the more we examine the actual course of affairs, the more we are amazed at the unnecessary suffering that has been inflicted upon the people. No generalities about natural law or inevitable development can blind us to the fact, that the progress in which we believe has been won at the expense of much injustice and wrong, which was not inevitable. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The facts of our present industrial system are of so, complicated a nature that they have not only defied the attention of economists for the last fifty years, but they have deceived practical men who have given to them not only the time economists have given, but their whole lives. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The free, self-determining, self-developing soul may not walk its own path, however innocently, but must fit into the scheme and pattern … Freedom & Liberty
The historical method has revolutionized Political Economy, not by showing its laws to be false, but by proving that they are relative for the most part to a particular stage of civilization. This destroys their character as eternal laws, and strips them of much of their force and all their sanctity. In this way the historical method has rescued us from intellectual superstitions. History
The historical method is often deemed conservative, because it traces the gradual and stately growth of our venerable institutions; but it may exercise a precisely opposite influence by showing the gross injustice which was blindly perpetrated during this growth. History
The historical method is often deemed conservative, because it traces the gradual and stately growth of our venerable institutions; but it may exercise a precisely opposite influence by showing the gross injustice which was blindly perpetrated during this growth. The historical method is supposed to prove that economic changes have been the inevitable outcome of natural laws. It just as often proves them to have been brought about by the self-seeking action of dominant classes. History
The human race's prospects of survival were considerably better when we were defenseless against tigers than they are today when we have become defenseless against ourselves. Defense & National Security
The individual in physical science is nothing; in human science everything. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Social Sciences
The legislation of the age about " vagabonds" is written in blood. The only remedy suggested was to punish the vagrant by cruel tortures—by whipping and branding. Even death was resorted to after a second or third offence; and though these penalties proved very ineffectual, the system was not abandoned till the law of 43 Elizabeth recognized that punishment had failed as a remedy Poverty
The malignity and inhumanity of the Greek military authorities are undisguised. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The manufacturing population still lived to a very great extent in the country. The artisan often had his small piece of land, which supplied him with wholesome food and healthy recreation. His wages and employment too were more regular. He was not subject to the uncertainties and knew nothing of the fearful sufferings which his descendants were to endure from commercial fluctuations Business, Commerce & Finance
The more we examine the actual course of affairs, the more we are amazed at the unnecessary suffering that has been inflicted upon the people. No generalities about natural law or inevitable development can blind us to the fact, that the progress in which we believe has been won at the expense of much injustice and wrong, which was not inevitable. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
The movement from slavery to freedom is also a movement from security to insecurity of maintenance. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The proper limits of Government interference are relative to the nature of each particular state and the stage of its civilization. Regulation & Deregulation
The secret of progress, the perpetual satisfying of wants followed by the springing up of new wants, is the secret of individual unrest and disappointment. Development & Growth
The stability of medieval society depended on the fixity of all of its parts, as that of modern society is on their mobility. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The struggle for religion will be a struggle beside which the struggle for freedom will seem a little thing Religion & God
There is no such thing as gratitude in international politics. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
There is no such thing as gratitude in international politics. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
To a reluctant admission of the necessity for State action, we join a burning belief in duty. Citizenship & Patriotism
To make a politic speech is like being carried up a flight of steps by the pressure of a crowd. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
To the capitalists we appeal to use their wealth, as many of their order already do, as a great national trust, and not for selfish purposes alone. Development & Growth ;Capitalism
To the workman we appeal by the memory and traditions of his own sufferings and wrongs to be vigilant to avoid the great guilt of inflicting upon his fellow-citizens the injustice from which he has himself escaped. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
We ascend the hill-tops of philosophy, not to gaze up at the ever-visible heavens, but to embrace in one grand view the human world beneath us. Human Nature
We have not abandoned our old belief in liberty, justice, and Self-help, but we say that under certain conditions the people cannot help themselves, and that then they should be helped by the State representing directly the whole people. Welfare
We must expect for a long time yet to see capitalists still striving to obtain the highest possible profits. But observe, that the passion for wealth is certainly in some senses new. It grew up very rapidly at the beginning of the present century; it was not so strong in the last century, when men were much more content to lead a quiet easy life of leisure. The change has really influenced the relations between men; but in the future it is quite possible that the scramble for wealth may grow less intense, and a change in the opposite direction take place. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Capitalism
We must remember that the real problem is not how to produce some improvement in the condition of the working man— for that has to a certain extent been attained already— but how to secure his complete material independence. Work, Workers & The Labor Force ;Elderly, Aging. Old Age, Social Security & Pensions
We shall have to share out the fruits of technology among the whole of mankind. The notion that the direct and immediate producers of the fruits of technology have a proprietary right to these fruits will have to be forgotten. After all, who is the producer? Man is a social animal, and the immediate producer has been helped to produce by the whole structure of society, beginning with his own education. Copyrights, Patents & Intellectual Property
What, then, can we in England do for Religion ? All that in us lies to secure a form of Christianity in harmony with progress, liberty, and knowledge. How can this be obtained? By making the Church of England a church of intellectual freedom and a church of the people. What men cry, can this church of an Episcopal sect, this last obstinate remnant of a dead social system, this institution of feudalism and fierce obstruction, this church of dominant classes, dark with memories of persecution and intolerance; can such a church as this become a church of freedom and a church of the people. Yes, it can. It is for the people to decide Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
When huge factories were established there could no longer be a close tie between the master and his men; the workman hated his employer, and the employer looked on his workmen simply as hands. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
while the modern historical school of economists appear to be only exploring the monuments of the past, they are really shaking the foundations of many of our institutions in the present. History
While the modern historical school of economists appear to be only exploring the monuments of the past, they are really shaking the foundations of many of our institutions in the present. History
A city that outdistances man's walking powers is a trap for man.
A life which does not go into action is a failure. Life ;Failure
America is a large friendly dog in a small room. Every time it wags its tail it knocks over a chair. Time
Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, with takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.
As human beings, we are endowed with freedom of choice, and we cannot shuffle off our responsibility upon the shoulders of God or nature. We must shoulder it ourselves. It is our responsibility. Nature ;Religion & God ;Freedom & Liberty
Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor. History
Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.
History not used is nothing, for all intellectual life is action, like practical life, and if you don't use the stuff well, it might as well be dead. Life ;History
I can not think of any circumstances in which advertising would not be an evil.
I do not believe that civilizations have to die because civilization is not an organism. It is a product of wills.
Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now. History
Sooner or later, man has always had to decide whether he worships his own power or the power of God. Power ;Religion & God
The equation of religion with belief is rather recent. Religion & God
The human race's prospects of survival were considerably better when we were defenceless against tigers than they are today when we have become defenceless against ourselves. Society
The immense cities lie basking on the beaches of the continent like whales that have taken to the land.
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations