Quotation.Cloud - A repository of notable quotations from across time and space

   

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Quotations about power

John AdamsThere is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

 - John Adams

Carl SaganEducation on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights, about what happens when you don't have them, and about how to exercise and protect them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen - or indeed a citizen of any nation, the more so to the degree that such rights remain unprotected. If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us.

 - Carl Sagan

Thomas JeffersonThe legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

 - Thomas Jefferson

Johann Wolfgang von GoetheWhatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

 - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Abraham LincolnNearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

 - Abraham Lincoln

platoThe measure of a man is what he does with power.

 - Plato

Leo TolstoyIn order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning, and cruelty.

 - Leo Tolstoy

Ayn RandThere's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws.

 - Ayn Rand

Marcus AureliusIs it not better to use what is in thy power like a free man than to desire in a slavish and abject way what is not in thy power?

 - Marcus Aurelius

J.K. RowlingWe do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.

 - J.K. Rowling

P.J. O'RourkeNo drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the sources of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power.

 - P.J. O'Rourke

James MadisonThe essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.

 - James Madison

James MadisonThe truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.

 - James Madison

James MadisonWhat influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries.

 - James Madison

Lao TzuKnowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.

 - Laozi / Lao-Tzu

Edward AbbeyCounterpart to the knee-jerk liberal is the new knee-pad conservative, always groveling before the rich and powerful.

 - Edward Abbey

Abigail AdamsI am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature; and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping, and, like the grave, cries, “Give, give!”

 - Abigail Adams

Abigail AdamsI long to hear that you have declared an independency. And by the way, in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could.

 - Abigail Adams

Thomas PaineAll national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not Believe.

 - Thomas Paine

Authority intoxicates,
And makes mere sots of magistrates;
The fumes of it invade the brain,
And make men giddy, proud, and vain;
By this the fool commands the wise,
The noble with the base complies,
The sot assumes the rule of wit,
And cowards make the base submit.


 - Samuel Butler (1612)

Plutarch  It is an observation no less just than common that there is no stronger test of a man's real character than power and authority, exciting, as they do, every passion, and discovering every latent vice.

 - Plutarch

John AdamsThe jaws of power are always opened to devour and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.

 - John Adams

Lord ActonPower tends to Corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men. . .There is no worse heresy than that the office santifies the holder of it.

 - Lord Acton

Benazir BhuttoEvery dictator uses religion as a prop to keep himself in power.

 - Benazir Bhutto

Benazir BhuttoI find that whenever I am in power, or my father was in power, somehow good things happen. The economy picks up, we have good rains, water comes, people have crops. I think the reason this happens is that we want to give love and we receive love.

 - Benazir Bhutto

Chinua AchebeThe most awful thing about power is not that it corrupts absolutely but that it makes people so utterly boring, so predictable.

 - Chinua Achebe

Carl JungWhere love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.

 - Carl Jung

David HumeAll power, even the most despotic, rests ultimately on opinion.

 - David Hume

David HumeNothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.

 - David Hume

Henry Wadsworth LongfellowMany readers judge of the power of a book by the shock it gives their feelings - as some savage tribes determine the power of muskets by their recoil; that being considered best which fairly prostrates the purchaser.

 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thomas PaineThe supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one-half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves.

 - Thomas Paine

John AdamsThe fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratic council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor.

 - John Adams

Jame MattisAmerica has two fundamental powers. One is the power of intimidation. I was part of it and America will defend herself and our idea, this experiment that we call America. And that's all it is, is an experiment in democracy. But the other power I think that perhaps we have used less in recent years, last 20 years maybe, is the power of inspiration. And I think that the power of inspiration of America at times has got to be employed just as strongly.

 - Jame Mattis

Edmund BurkeThose who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though for but one year, can never willingly abandon it.

 - Edmund Burke

Thomas SowellThose who want to take our money and gain power over us have discovered the magic formula: Get us envious or angry at others and we will surrender, in installments, not only our money but our freedom. The most successful dictators of the 20th century -- Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao -- all used this formula and now class warfare politicians here are doing the same.

 - Thomas Sowell

George OrwellPower is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

 - George Orwell