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55 Inspiring Quotes by Lord Acton

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Lord Acton. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Lord Acton

John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, 13th Marquess of Groppoli, (10 January 1834 – 19 June 1902), better known as Lord Acton, was an English Catholic historian, politician, and writer. He was the only son of Sir Ferdinand Dalberg-Acton, 7th Baronet, and a grandson of the Neapolitan admiral and prime minister Sir John Acton, 6th Baronet. Between 1837 and 1869 he was known as Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Baronet.

He is perhaps best known for the remark, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men...", which he made in a letter to an Anglican bishop.

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Longer Version:

Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end...liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition...The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. ~ Every class is unfit to govern ... Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.


--Lord Acton
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Longer Version:

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.


--Lord Acton
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Longer Version:

There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men. Imagine a congress of eminent celebrities, such as More, Bacon, Grotius, Pascal, Cromwell, Bossuet, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Napoleon, Pitt, etc. The result would be an Encyclopedia of Error.


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Longer Version:

It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist. But from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason.


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