History is written by the winners  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"History is written by the winners" is a dictum on the nature of historiography attributed to Winston Churchill, but of unknown origin. The word 'winners' is also substituted by 'victors' or 'conquerors'.

The history that is being made every day may, like the sound of the waterfall where there is no ear, or the flower that blushes unseen in the desert, never be known. The victors usually have a way of destroying, modifying or distorting the record. For history is written by the victors, or at their order, to enlarge upon their greatness and to cover up their defects. No one was left to write the history of the tribes that Caesar in his conquest of Gaul so ruthlessly eliminated to the last individual. To reconstruct the life of the vanquished, one must go with the archaeologist to the ruined cities and dig in the debris and filth heaps of the past.--Getting US into War, by Porter Sargent

It is a variant on might makes right.

Since every person labels what he/she thinks is good for himself/herself as "right," only those who are able to defeat their enemies are the ones who can push their idea of what is right into fruition.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "History is written by the winners" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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