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Carroll Quigley
Born November 9, 1910(1910-11-09)
Boston, Massachussettes
Died January 3, 1977 (aged 66)
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Professor
Known for Author of Tragedy and Hope

Carroll Quigley (November 9, 1910 – January 3, 1977) was a noted historian, polymath, and theorist of the evolution of civilizations.



Quigley was born in Boston, and attended Harvard University, where he studied history and earned B.A, M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. He taught at Princeton University, and then at Harvard, and then at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University from 1941 to 1976.[1]

From 1941 until 1969, he taught a two-semester course at Georgetown on the development of civilizations. According to the obituary in the Washington Star, many alumni of Georgetown's School of Foreign Service asserted that this was "the most influential course in their undergraduate careers".[2]

In addition to his academic work, Quigley served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy, the Smithsonian Institution, and the House Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration in the 1950s.[3] Quigley served as a book reviewer for the Washington Star and was a contributor and editorial board member of Current History.[4] His work emphasized "inclusive diversity" as a value of Western Civilization long before diversity became commonplace, and he denounced Platonic doctrines as an especially pernicious deviation from this ideal, preferring the pluralism of Thomas Aquinas. Quigley said of himself that he was a conservative defending the liberal tradition of the West. He was an early and fierce critic of the Vietnam War, and he was against the activities of the military-industrial complex which he saw as the future downfall of the country.

Quigley retired from Georgetown in June, 1976, and died the following year.[5]

Influence on Bill Clinton

In his freshman year in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, future U.S. President Bill Clinton took Quigley's course, receiving a 'B' as his final grade in both semesters.[6]

Clinton named Quigley as an important influence on his aspirations and political philosophy in 1991, when launching his presidential campaign in a speech at Georgetown.[7] He also mentioned Quigley again during his acceptance speech to the 1992 Democratic National Convention, as follows:

As a teenager, I heard John Kennedy’s summons to citizenship. And then, as a student at Georgetown, I heard that call clarified by a professor named Carroll Quigley, who said to us that America was the greatest Nation in history because our people had always believed in two things–that tomorrow can be better than today and that every one of us has a personal moral responsibility to make it so.[8]

Quigley and secret societies

One distinctive feature of Quigley’s historical writings was his assertion that secret societies have played a significant role in recent world history. Although this topic was not the primary focus of most of Quigley’s works, his writing on this topic has made Quigley famous among many who believe in conspiracy theories.[9] Quigley’s views are particularly notable because the majority of reputable academic historians profess skepticism about conspiracy theories.[10]


Quigley’s claims about the Milner Group

In his book The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, written in 1949 but published posthumously in 1981, Quigley purports to trace the history of a secret society founded in 1891 by Cecil Rhodes and Alfred Milner. The society consisted of an inner circle (“The Society of the Elect”) and an outer circle (“The Association of Helpers”).[11] The society as a whole does not have a fixed name:

This society has been known at various times as Milner's Kindergarten, as the Round Table Group, as the Rhodes crowd, as The Times crowd, as the All Souls group, and as the Cliveden set. ... I have chosen to call it the Milner group. Those persons who have used the other terms, or heard them used, have not generally been aware that all these various terms referred to the same Group. It is not easy for an outsider to write the history of a secret group of this kind, but, since no insider is going to do it, an outsider must attempt it. It should be done, for this Group is, as I shall show, one of the most important historical facts of the twentieth century.[12]

Quigley assigns this group primary or exclusive credit for several historical events: the Jameson Raid, the Second Boer War, the founding of the Union of South Africa, the replacement of the British Empire with the Commonwealth of Nations, and a number of Britain’s foreign policy decisions in the twentieth century.[13]

In 1966, Quigley published a one-volume history of the twentieth century entitled Tragedy and Hope. At several points in this book, the history of the Milner group is discussed. Moreover, Quigley states that he has recently been in direct contact with this organization, whose nature he contrasts to certain right-wing conspiracy theories:

This radical Right fairy tale, which is now an accepted folk myth in many groups in America, pictured the recent history of the United States, in regard to domestic reform and in foreign affairs, as a well-organized plot by extreme Left-wing elements.... This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the Radical right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other group, and frequently does so. I know of the operation of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960’s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies... but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.[14]

According to Quigley, the leaders of this group were Cecil Rhodes and Alfred Milner from 1891 until Rhodes’ death in 1902, Milner alone until his own death in 1925, Lionel Curtis from 1925 to 1955, Robert H. (Baron) Brand from 1955 to 1963, and Adam D. Marris from 1963 until the time Quigley wrote his book. This organization also functioned through certain loosely affiliated “front groups”, including the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Institute of Pacific Relations, and the Council on Foreign Relations. After 1963 the organization’s activities were “greatly reduced.”[15]

In addition, other secret societies are briefly discussed in Tragedy and Hope, including a consortium of the leaders of the central banks of several countries, who formed the Bank for International Settlements with the intent to “create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole.”[16]

Citations of Quigley by conspiracy theorists

Soon after its publication, Tragedy and Hope caught the attention of authors interested in conspiracies. They proceeded to publicize Quigley's claims, disseminating them to a much larger audience than his original readership.[17]

This began in 1970, when W. Cleon Skousen published The Naked Capitalist: A Review and Commentary on Dr. Carroll Quigley’s Book “Tragedy and Hope”. The first third of this book consists of extensive excerpts from Tragedy and Hope, interspersed with commentary by Skousen. Skousen quotes Quigley’s description of the activities of several groups: the Milner Group, a cartel of international bankers, the Communist Party, the Institute of Pacific Relations, and the Council on Foreign Relations. According to Skousen’s interpretation of Quigley’s book, each of these is a facet of one large conspiracy.[18]

In 1971, Gary Allen, a spokesman for the John Birch Society, published None Dare Call It Conspiracy, which became a bestseller. Allen cited Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope as an authoritative source on conspiracies throughout his book. Like Skousen, Allen understood the various conspiracies in Quigley’s book to be branches of one large conspiracy, and also connected them to the Bilderbergers and to Richard Nixon.[19] The John Birch Society continues to cite Quigley as a primary source for their view of history.[20]

Quigley is also cited by several other authors who assert the existence of powerful conspiracies. Jim Marrs, whose work was used as a source by Oliver Stone in his film JFK, cites Quigley in his book Rule By Secrecy, which describes a conspiracy linking the Milner Group, Skull and Bones, the Trilateral Commission, the Bavarian Illuminati, the Knights Templar, and aliens who posed as the Sumerian gods thousands of years ago.[21] Pat Robertson’s book The New World Order cites Quigley as an authority on a powerful conspiracy.[22] Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly has asserted that Bill Clinton’s political success was due to his pursuit of the “world government” agenda he learned from Quigley.[23] G. Edward Griffin relies heavily on Quigley for information about the role Milner's secret society plays in the Federal Reserve in his book The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve. [24]

Quigley was later dismissive of authors who used his writings to support theories of a world domination conspiracy. Of W. Cleon Skousen's The Naked Capatalist he stated:

"Skousen's book is full of misrepresentations and factual errors. He claims that I have written of a conspiracy of the super-rich who are pro-Communist and wish to take over the world and that I'm a member of this group. But I never called it a conspiracy and don't regard it as such. I'm not an 'insider' of these rich persons, although Skousen thinks so. I happen to know some of them and liked them, although I disagreed with some of the things they did before 1940."[25]

On Gary Allen's None Dare Call It Conspiracy he said:

"They thought Dr. Carroll Quigley proved everything. For example, they constantly misquote me to this effect: that Lord Milner (the dominant trustee of the Cecil Rhodes Trust and a heavy in the Round Table Group) helped finance the Bolsheviks. I have been through the greater part of Milner's private papers and have found no evidence to support that. Further, None Dare Call It Conspiracy insists that international bankers were a single bloc, were all powerful and remain so today. I, on the contrary, stated in my book that they were much divided, often fought among themselves, had great influence but not control of political life and were sharply reduced in power about 1931-1940, when they became less influential than monopolized industry.”[26]


Books written by Quigley

  • The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis. First edition, 1961, New York: Macmillan, 281 pp.
    • Translated into Spanish as La Evolucion de las Civilizaciones. Mexico City: Hermes, 1963.
    • Translated into Portuguese as A Evolucao das Civilazacoes. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Fundo de Cultura, 1963.
    • Second edition, 1979, Indianapolis: LibertyPress / Liberty Fund, 444 pages, ISBN 0913966568 (hardcover), ISBN 0913966576 (paperback). Full text.
  • Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. 1966, New York: Macmillan, 1348 pages. Reprinted by Rancho Palos Verdes: GSG & Associates, 1975, ISBN 0913022144 and ISBN 094500110X.
    • The World Since 1939: A History. (A reprint of the second half of Tragedy and Hope.) 1968, New York: Collier Books, 676 pp.
  • The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden. 1981, New York: Books in Focus, 354 pages, ISBN 0916728501 (hardcover and paperback). Reprinted by Rancho Palos Verdes: GSG & Associates, date unknown, ISBN 0945001010 (paperback).
  • Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History. 1983, Washingon DC: University Press of America, 1064 pages, ISBN 081912947X.

Articles about Quigley

  • Scott McLemee. "The Quigley Cult." George Magazine (Dec. 1996), vol. 1, no. 10, pp. 94-98.


  1. ^ "Obituary". The Washington Star: p. B-4. Jan. 6, 1977.  
  2. ^ "Obituary". The Washington Star: p. B-4. Jan. 6, 1977.  
  3. ^ "Obituary". The Washington Star: p. B-4. Jan. 6, 1977.  
  4. ^ Scott McLemee (Dec. 1996). "The Quigley Cult". George Magazine 1 (10): 94.  
  5. ^ "Obituary". The Washington Star: p. B-4. Jan. 6, 1977.  
  6. ^ Scott McLemee (Dec. 1996). "The Quigley Cult". George Magazine 1 (10): 94, 96.  
  7. ^ Scott McLemee (Dec. 1996). "The Quigley Cult". George Magazine 1 (10): 96.  
  8. ^ Bill Clinton, "Acceptance Speech", Democratic National Convention, New York, NY, July 16, 1992. Full text.
  9. ^ Scott McLemee (Dec. 1996). "The Quigley Cult". George Magazine 1 (10): 96, 98.  
  10. ^ Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab (1970). The Politics of Unreason. Harper & Row.  ; Ted Goertzel (1994). "Belief in Conspiracy Theories". Political Psychology 15: 733–744. Retrieved 2009-02-26.  
  11. ^ Carroll Quigley (1981). The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden. New York: Books in Focus. pp. ix, 3. ISBN 0916728501.  
  12. ^ Carroll Quigley (1981). The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden. New York: Books in Focus. p. ix. ISBN 0916728501.  
  13. ^ Carroll Quigley (1981). The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden. New York: Books in Focus. p. 5. ISBN 0916728501.  
  14. ^ Carroll Quigley (1966). Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. New York: Macmillan. pp. 949–950.  
  15. ^ Carroll Quigley (1966). Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. New York: Macmillan. pp. 132, 950–952.  
  16. ^ Carroll Quigley (1966). Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. New York: Macmillan. pp. 323–324.  
  17. ^ Scott McLemee (Dec. 1996). "The Quigley Cult". George Magazine 1 (10): 96, 98.  
  18. ^ W. Cleon Skousen (1970). The Naked Capitalist: A Review and Commentary on Dr. Carroll Quigley’s Book “Tragedy and Hope”. Salt Lake City, UT: privately published. pp. 1–6, 38–44 (communists), 6–24 (bankers), 26–38 (Rhodes and Milner), 45–48 (IPR), 50–57 (CFR).  
  19. ^ Gary Allen with Larry Abraham (1971). None Dare Call It Conspiracy. Rossmoor, CA: Concord Press.   Quigley is cited on pp. 12-13, 39, 42, 57, 59, 79-82, 85; his photo is on p. 52.
  20. ^ For example, a quotation from Quigley is displayed on the back cover of John F. McManus (2004). The Insiders: Architects of the New World Order. Appleton, WI: John Birch Society.  
  21. ^ Jim Marrs (2000). Rule By Secrecy: The Hidden History that Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids. New York: HarperCollins.   Quigley is cited on pp. 7, 84, 86-89, 109.
  22. ^ Scott McLemee (Dec. 1996). "The Quigley Cult". George Magazine 1 (10): 98.  
  23. ^ Scott McLemee (Dec. 1996). "The Quigley Cult". George Magazine 1 (10): 98.  
  24. ^ G. Edward Griffin (1994). The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve. California: American Media. ISBN 978-0-912986-39-5.  
  25. ^ >Christenson, Wes. "Quigley . . . making Birchers bark". Georgetown Today.  
  26. ^ >Maxa, Rudy. "The Professor Who Knew Too Much". The Washington Post Sunday Magazine.  

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Carroll Quigley (9 November 19103 January 1977) was a noted American historian, polymath, and theorist of the evolution of civilizations, best known for his book Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (1966)



Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (1966)

  • The West believes that man and the universe are both complex and that the apparently discordant parts of each can be put into a reasonably workable arrangement with a little good will, patience, and experimentation.
    • p. 1227
  • The problem of meaning today is the problem of how the diverse and superficially self-contradictory experiences of men can be put into a consistent picture that will provide contemporary man with a convincing basis from which to live and to act.
    • p. 1278

Oscar Iden Lecture Series, Lecture 3: "The State of Individuals" (1976)

  • ...a state is not the same thing as a society, although the Greeks and Romans thought it was. A state is an organization of power on a territorial basis.
  • The link between a society, whether it be made up of communities or individuals, and a state is this: Power rests on the ability to satisfy human needs.
  • ...the levels of culture, the aspects of society: military, political, economic, social, emotional, religious, and intellectual. Those are your basic human needs. ...they are arranged in evolutionary sequence.
  • Men have social needs. They have a need for other people; they have a need to love and be loved.
  • The basis of social relationships is reciprocity: if you cooperate with others, others will cooperate with you.
  • Our society has so cluttered our lives with artifacts [man-made things]... and organizational structures that [our] moment to moment relationships with nature are almost impossible.
  • ...human beings have religious needs. They have a need for a feeling of certitude in their minds about things they cannot control and they do not fully understand, and with humility, they admit they do not understand...
  • When you destroy people's religious expression, they will establish secularized religions like Marxism.
  • ...empires and civilizations do not collapse because of deficiencies on the military or the political levels.
  • Persons, personalities if you wish, can only be made in communities.
  • A community is made up of intimate relationships among diversified types of individuals--a kinship group, a local group, a neighborhood, a village, a large family.
  • Without communities, no infant will be sufficiently socialized... and that occurs in the first four or five years of life. ...The first two years are important. ...of vital importance. He has to be loved, above all he has to be talked to.
  • A state of individuals, such as we now have reached in Western Civilization, will not create persons, and the atomized individuals who make it up will be motivated by desires that do not necessarily reflect needs. Instead of needing other people they need a shot of heroin; instead of some kind of religious conviction, they have to be with the winning team.
  • ...we no longer have intellectually satisfying arrangements in our educational system, in our arts, humanities or anything else; instead we have slogans and ideologies. An ideology is a religious or emotional expression; it is not an intellectual expression.
  • ...when a society is reaching its end, in the last couple of centuries you have... a misplacement of satisfactions. You find your emotional satisfaction in making a lot of money... or in proving to the poor, half-naked people in Southeast Asia that you can kill them in large numbers.
  • the last thousand years. If we go back before [AD] 976... the main core of people's life and experience... was in the religious, emotional and social levels. They had religious beliefs, they had social and emotional relationships with people they saw every day. ...controls and rewards were internalized. ...This is why they could get along without a state in 976: all the significant controls were internalized.
  • ...Western Civilization began to expand in 976. ...The economic expansion was achieved chiefly by specialization and exchange... commercialization.
  • everything is commercialized--politics, religion, education, ideology, belief, the armed services. ...Everything has its price.
  • [Increasing] politicization means the [economic] expansion is slowing up and you are no longer attempting to achieve increased output per capita, or increased wealth, or increased satisfactions... but you are doing so by mobilizing power. We have seen this going on for almost a century. ...increased militarization.
  • ...increasing remoteness of desires from needs. ...increasing confusion between means and ends. The ends are human needs... Instead they want the means they have been brainwashed to accept... Never was any society in human history as rich and as powerful as Western Civilization and the United States, and it is not a happy society.
  • ...controls on behavior shift from the intermediate levels of human experience (social, emotional and religious) to the lower (military and political) or to the upper (ideological). They become the externalized controls of a mature society: weapons, bureaucracies, material rewards, or ideology.
  • In its final stages the civilization becomes a dualism of almost totalitarian imperial power and an amorphous mass culture of atomized individuals.
  • ...1776 is a very significant year. and this is not just because the American Revolution began. Watt's patent of the steam engine... Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations... the failure of the French to reorganize their political system occurred in 1776, and so forth. ...The destruction of communities, the destruction of religion and the frustration of emotions were greatly intensified by the Industrial Revolution: railroads, factories, growth of cities, technological revolution in the countryside and in the growing of food and so forth.
  • ...the nineteenth century Age of Expansion... brought on an acceleration of the main focus of the activities of society... from the areas of internal controls to the areas of external controls. ...the increasing role of propaganda... helped create an impression of stability.
  • ...I offended some of you by saying you had been brainwashed. This is not an insult; it's a simple statement of fact. When any infant is born and socialized in a society, even if he is to become a very mature individual, he has been brainwashed. ...given a structure for categorizing his experience and a system of values applied to the structure of categories.
  • our society... this has now become a propagandist system in which emphasis is put on the future... the ideology against which the young people of the 1950's and 1960's rebelled. Future preference: plan; study hard; save.
  • Another aspect of the nineteenth century propaganda system is the increasing emphasis upon material desires.
  • ...we were brainwashed into believing... that the only important thing was individualism. They called it freedom. There is no such thing as freedom. There is something called liberty; it's quite different. [Guido de] Ruggiero's History of European Liberalism... Freedom is freedom from restraints. We're always under restraints.
  • The difference between a stable society and an unstable one is that the restraints in an unstable one are external. In a stable society government ultimately becomes unnecessary; the restraints on people's actions are internal, they're self-disciplined...
  • ...they have brainwashed us into believing in the last 150 years... that quantitative change is superior to qualitative attributes. If we can turn out more... it doesn't matter if they're half as good. ...We're quantifying everything, and that is why we're trying to put everything on computers. Governments will no longer have to make decisions; computers will do it.
  • ...they give us vicarious satisfactions for many of our frustrations. ...People need exercise; they do not need to watch other people exercise... Another vicarious satisfaction is sexy magazines; this is vicarious sex. To anyone rushing to buy one, I'd like to say, "The real thing is better."
  • The brainwashing which has been going on for 150 years has also resulted in the replacement of intellectual activities and religion by ideologies and science. ...I have nothing against Marx, except that his theories do not explain what happened.
  • The very idea that there is some kind of conflict between science and religion is completely mistaken. Science is a method for investigating experience... Religion is the fundamental, necessary internalization of our system of more permanent values.
  • Another thing that they have tried to get us to believe in the last 150 years... is that the nation as the repository of sovereignty can be both a state and a community. ...Why did the English, the French, the Castilians, the Hohenzollerns, and others become the repository of sovereignty as nations... They did so because... weapons made it possible to compel obedience over areas which were approximately the size of these national groups... nationalism is an episode in history, and it fit a certain power structure and a certain configuration in human life in our civilization. Now... They all want autonomy. ...The nation or the state, as we now have it as the structure of power, cannot be a community.
  • We have now done what the Romans did when they started to commit suicide. We have shifted from an army of citizens to an army of mercenaries...
  • The appearance of stability from 1840 to about 1900 was superficial, temporary and destructive in the long run... because communities and societies must rest upon cooperation and not upon competition. Anyone who says that society can be run on the basis of everyone's trying to maximize his own greed is talking total nonsense. And to teach it in schools, and to go on television and call it the American way of life still doesn't make it true. Competition and envy cannot become the basis of any society or any community.
  • The economic and technological achievements of industrialization in this period were fundamentally mistaken. ...based upon plundering the natural capital of the globe that was created over millions of years: the plundering of the soils and their fertility; the plundering of human communities whether they were our own or someone else's.
  • The fundamental, all-pervasive cause of world instability is the destruction of communities by the commercialization of all human relationships and the resulting neuroses and psychoses. The technological acceleration of transportation, communication and weapons systems is now creating power areas wider than existing political structures.
  • ...another cause of today’s instability is that we now have a society in America, Europe and much of the world which is totally dominated by the two elements of sovereignty that are not included in the state structure: control of credit and banking, and the corporation. These are free of political controls and social responsibility and have largely monopolized power in Western Civilization and in American society. They are ruthlessly going forward to eliminate land, labor, entrepreneurial-managerial skills, and everything else the economists once told us were the chief elements of production. The only element of production they are concerned with is the one they can control: capital.
  • The final result will be that the American people will ultimately prefer communities. They will cop out or opt out of the system. Today everything is a bureaucratic structure, and brainwashed people who are not personalities are trained to fit into this bureaucratic structure and say it is a great life--although I would assume that many on their death beds must feel otherwise. The process of copping out will take a long time, but notice: we are already copping out of military service on a wholesale basis; we are already copping out of voting on a large scale basis. ...People are also copping out by refusing to pay any attention to newspapers or to what’s going on in the world, and by increasing emphasis on the growth of localism, what is happening in their own neighborhoods.
  • When Rome fell, the Christian answer was, "Create our own communities."

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