Cause and consequence: Quote bank

The following quotes are particularly useful for covering 3.5. However, some of them would be appropriate to use at Level 1 and 2 in order to generate debate and deeper analysis.

While some of the quotes have specific questions attached to them, all of these quotes could be followed by a generic question along the lines of: With reference to the causes and consequences of a historical event you have studied this year, analyse the extent to which you agree or disagree with [quote/author of the quote].

As always, group discussion and debate are great ways for students to begin engaging with these ideas.

For the 3.5 essay, examiners expect that a student maintains a high engagement with the quote throughout their essay for Excellence (‘addresses and sustains the quote insightfully’).

By using a TEXAS paragraph writing structure, students can utilise the A when considering, Ask myselfhave I referenced the quote; how could I use the quote to develop my argument? This will ensure a high level of engagement with the quote throughout their essay.

Quote bank

‘The challenge is in identifying the cause. The effect identifies itself.’ (Kendall F. Person)

‘The causes of events are ever more interesting than the events themselves.’ (Cicero)

‘Let us first understand the facts, and then we may seek for their causes.’ (Aristotle)

‘Consequences are often more important than causes.’ (Richard J. Evans)

‘Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini / My strength is not that of an individual but as a collective.’ (Māori whakatauki/proverb)

‘It is often said that historians are much more concerned with the origins and causes than they are with consequences, effects or ‘aftermath’.’ (Glenn Burgess and Matthew Festenstein)

‘A reality is never better understood than through its causes.’ (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz)

‘Fortunate is the man who is able to discover the causes of things.’ (Virgil, Georgics, late 1st century BCE)

‘The ripple effect of small things is extraordinary’ (Matt Bevin, US politician)

‘[It] is the little causes, long continued, which are considered as bringing about the greatest changes.’ (James Hutton, Theory of the Earth, with Proofs and Illustrations, Vol. 2 (1795), 205)

‘History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics.’ (B. R. Ambedkar)

‘The main thing history can teach us is that human actions have consequences and that certain choices, once made, cannot be undone.’ (Gerder Lerner)

‘Can a narrative be held together by something other than cause and effect?’  (Tor Egil Førland)

Questions

‘By nature, causes of defining events in history overlap while consequences usually stand out as more obvious’ (DeAngelo Vickers)

With reference to the causes and consequences of a historical event you have studied this year, analyse the extent to which you agree or disagree with DeAngelo Vickers.

‘The cause is hidden; the effect is visible to all’ (Ovid)

Analyse the causes and effects of a historical event. To what extent are the causes more hidden than the effects?

‘The causes of events are ever more interesting that the events themselves’ (Cicero)

Analyse the causes and effects of a historical event. To what extent do historians focus more on the causes and consequences than the event itself?

‘Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect’ (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Analyse the causes and effects of an historical event. To what extent are the causes of the event easily identifiable rather than a series of random events?

'The complexities of cause and effect defy analysis' (Douglas Adams)

Analyse the causes and effects of an historical event. To what extent can we clearly define the causes and effects of an historical event?

‘By becoming interested in the cause, we are less likely to dislike the effect’ (Dale Carnegie)

Analyse the causes and effects of an historical event you have studied, and the extent to which you agree or disagree with the quote.

How to cite this page

'Cause and consequence quotes', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/classroom/historical-concepts/cause-consequence-quotes, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 26-Jun-2020

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