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Lord Acton Quotes


An English historian, Formally known as John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton.
(1834 - 1902)

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A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.
 

And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that.
 

Be not content with the best book; seek sidelights from the others; have no favourites.
 

By a series of violent shocks, the nations in succession have struggled to shake off the Past, to reverse the action of Time and the verdict of success, and to rescue the world from the reign of the dead.
 

By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.
 

Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
 

Far from being the product of a democratic revolution and of an opposition to English institutions, the constitution of the United States was the result of a powerful reaction against democracy, and in favor of the traditions of the mother country.
 

Good and evil lie close together. Seek no artistic unity in character.
 

History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.
 

History provides neither compensation for suffering nor penalties for wrong.
 

I'm not a driven businessman, but a driven artist. I never think about money. Beautiful things make money.
[Business]
 

If some great catastrophe is not announced every morning, we feel a certain void. Nothing in the paper today, we sigh.
 

If the past has been an obstacle and a burden, knowledge of the past is the safest and the surest emancipation.
 

Imagine a congress of eminent celebrities such as More, Bacon, Grotius, Pascal, Cromwell, Bossuet, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Napoleon, Pitt, etc. They would be an Encyclopedia of Errors.
 

Learn as much by writing as by reading.
 

Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.
 

Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought.
 

Liberty is the condition of duty, the guardian of conscience. It grows as conscience grows. The domains of both grow together. Liberty is safety from all hindrances, even sin. So that Liberty ends by being Free Will.
 

Liberty is the prevention of control by others.
 

Machiavelli's teaching would hardly have stood the test of Parliamentary government, for public discussion demands at least the profession of good faith.
 


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