"History is malleable. A new cache of diaries can shed new light, and archeological evidence can challenge our popular assumptions."
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."Ken Burns on Confucius
"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."Ken Burns on Abraham Lincoln
"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."Ken Burns on Mahatma Gandhi
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little."Ken Burns on Franklin D. Roosevelt
"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."Ken Burns on Thomas Jefferson
"I think we too often make choices based on the safety of cynicism, and what we're lead to is a life not fully lived. Cynicism is fear, and it's worse than fear - it's active disengagement."
"I have made a film about jazz that tries to look through jazz to see what it tells us about who we are as a people. I think that jazz is a spectacularly accurate model of democracy and a kind of look into our redemptive future possibilities."
"You can learn as much about the history from reading about the present as you can vice versa, that is learning about the present through history, which is what I do for a living."
"I began to feel that the drama of the truth that is in the moment and in the past is richer and more interesting than the drama of Hollywood movies. So I began looking at documentary films."
"I record all of my music with authentic instruments in a studio before we start editing, doing many, many versions. The music shapes the film as we edit so it has an organic relationship to the content."