A rational army would run away.
An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war.
To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.
It is always the adventurers who do great things, not the sovereigns of great empires.
It is rare to find learned men who are clean, do not stink and have a sense of humour.
Trade is the best cure for prejudice.
The less luxury there is in a republic, the more it is perfect.
That anyone who possesses power has a tendency to abuse it is an eternal truth. They tend to go as far as the barriers will allow.
For a country, everything will be lost when the jobs of an economist and a banker become highly respected professions.
If you run after wit, you will succeed in catching folly.
Friendship is a contract in which we render small services in expectation of big ones.
Sometimes a man who deserves to be looked upon because he is a fool is despised only because he is a lawyer.
Democracy has two excesses to avoid: the spirit of inequality, which leads to an aristocracy, or to the government of a single individual; and the spirit of extreme equality, which conducts it to despotism, as the despotism of a single individual finishes by conquest.
As virtue is necessary in a republic, and honor in a monarchy, fear is what is required in a despotism. As for virtue, it is not at all necessary, and honor would be dangerous there.
Better it is to say that the government most comfortable to nature is that which best agrees with the humor and disposition of the people in whose favor it is established.
Every man who has power is impelled to abuse it.
Countries are not cultivated in proportion to their fertility, but to their liberty.
The pagan religion, which prohibited only some of the grosser crimes, and which stopped the hand but meddled not with the heart, might have crimes that were inexplicable.
The power of divorce can be given only to those who feel the inconveniences of marriage, and who are sensible of the moment when it is for their interest to make them cease.
The law of nations is naturally founded on this principle, that different nations ought in time of peace to do one another all the good they can, and in time of war as little injury as possible, without prejudicing their real interests.
An injustice to one is a threat made to all.
The love of study is in us the only lasting passion. All the others quit us in proportion as this miserable machine which holds them approaches its ruins.
I should like to abolish funerals; the time to mourn a person is at his birth, not his death.
Politics are a smooth file, which cuts gradually, and attains its end by slow progression.
In the state of nature... all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the law.
Experience constantly proves that every man who has power is impelled to abuse it; he goes on till he is pulled up by some limits. Who would say it! virtue even has need of limits.
Virtue is necessary to a republic.
It is clear that in a monarchy, where he who commands the exceution of the laws generally thinks himself above them, there is lessneed of virtue than in a popular government, where the person entrusted with the execution of the laws is sensible of his being subject to their direction.
Each citizen contributes to the revenues of the State a portion of his property in order that his tenure of the rest may be secure.
Political liberty in a citizen is that tranquillity of spirit which comes from the opinion each one has of his security, and in order for him to have this liberty the government must be such that one citizen cannot fear another citizen.
Liberty itself has appeared intolerable to those nations who have not been accustomed to enjoy it.
Liberty... is there only when there is no abuse of power.
The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.
At our coming into the world we contract an immense debt to our country, which we can never discharge.
What cowardice it is to be dismayed by the happiness of others and devastated by there good fortune.
The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilisation of any country.
Europe is a state with several provinces.
A fondness for reading changes the inevitable dull hours of our life into exquisite hours of delight.
As men are affected in all ages by the same passions, the occasions which bring about great changes are different, but the causes are always the same.
The crime against nature will never make any great progress in society unless people are prompted to it by some particular custom.
I never listen to calumnies, because if they are untrue I run the risk of being deceived, and if they be true, of hating persons not worth thinking about.
To succeed in the world we must look foolish but be wise.
Fain would I glide down a gentle river, but I am carried away by a torrent.
It is difficult for the united states to be all of equal power and extent.
A good writer does not write as people write, but as he writes.
The incomparable stupidity of life teaches us to love our parents; divine philosophy teaches us to forgive them.
Love of reading enables a man to exchange the weary hours, which come to every one, for hours of delight.
Knowledge humanizes mankind, and reason inclines to mildness; but prejudices eradicate every tender disposition.
There is a very good saying that if triangles invented a god, they would make him three-sided.
I suffer from the disease of writing books and being ashamed of them when they are finished.
Ever since the invention of gunpowder.. I continually tremble lest men should, in the end, uncover some secret which would provide a short way of abolishing mankind, of annihilating peoples and nations in their entirety.
The harshest tyranny is that which acts under the protection of legality and the banner of justice.
To lend money without interest, is certainly an action laudable and extremely good; but it is obvious, that it is only a counsel of religion, and not a civil law.
Republics come to an end by luxurious habits; monarchies by poverty.
A really intelligent man feels what other men only know.
Christianity stamped its character on jurisprudence; for empire has ever a connection with the priesthood.
Nature is just to all mankind, and repays them for their industry. She renders them industrious by annexing rewards in proportion to their labor.
I like peasants-they are not sophisticated enough to reason speciously.
I shall be obliged to wander to the right and to the left, that I may investigate and discover the truth.
Mediocrity is a hand-rail.
I acknowledge that history is full of religious wars: but we must distinguish; it is not the multiplicity of religions which has produced these wars; it was the intolerating spirit which animated that one which thought she had the power of governing.
What unhappy beings men are! They constantly waver between false hopes and silly fears, and instead of relying on reason they create monsters to frighten themselves with, and phantoms which lead them astray.
Honor sets all the parts of the body politic in motion, and by its very action connects them; thus each individual advances the public good, while he only thinks of promoting his own interest.
I shall ever repeat it, that mankind are governed not by extremes, but by principals of moderation.
This punishment of death is the remedy, as it were, of a sick society.
Those who have few affairs to attend to are great speakers. The less men think, the more they talk.
Solemnity is the shield of idiots.
The false notion of miracles comes of our vanity, which makes us believe we are important enough for the Supreme Being to upset nature on our behalf.
The coffee is prepared in such a way that it makes those who drink it witty: at least there is not a single soul who, on quitting the house, does not believe himself four times wittier that when he entered it.
Republics are brought to their ends by luxury; monarchies by poverty.
If I knew something that would serve my country but would harm mankind, I would never reveal it; for I am a citizen of humanity first and by necessity, and a citizen of France second, and only by accident.
Love of the republic in a democracy, is a love of the democracy; love of the democracy is that of equality. Love of the democracy is likewise that of frugality.
The corruption of every government begins nearly always with that of principles.
The compass opened, if I may so express myself, the universe.
Liberty is the right to do what the law permits.
Laws undertake to punish only overt acts.
I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should seem a fool, but be wise.
There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.
Talent is a gift which God has given us secretly, and which we reveal without perceiving it.
Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.
The severity of the laws prevents their execution.
The spirit of moderation should also be the spirit of the lawgiver.
Success in the majority of circumstances depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.
To love to read is to exchange hours of ennui for hours of delight.
I have never known any distress that an hour's reading did not relieve.
A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.
The reason the Romans built their great paved highways was because they had such inconvenient footwear.
If the triangles made a god, they would give him three sides.
What orators lack in depth they make up for in length.
There should be weeping at a man's birth, not at his death.
Luxury ruins republics; poverty, monarchies.
If triangles had a god, they would give him three sides.
There is no one, says another, whom fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she does not find him ready to receive her, she walks in at the door, and flies out at the window.
The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.
In most things success depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.
The less men think, the more they talk.
False happiness renders men stern and proud, and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible, and that happiness is always shared.
It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption.
No kingdom has shed more blood than the kingdom of Christ.
Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half.
There is no nation so powerful, as the one that obeys its laws not from principals of fear or reason, but from passion.
Author: A fool who, not content with having bored those who have lived with him, insists on tormenting generations to come.
If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.
We must have constantly present in our minds the difference between independence and liberty. Liberty is a right of doing whatever the laws permit, and if a citizen could do what they forbid he would no longer be possessed of liberty.
The sublimity of administration consists in knowing the proper degree of power that should be exerted on different occasions.
In the infancy of societies, the chiefs of state shape its institutions; later the institutions shape the chiefs of state.
Peace is a natural effect of trade.
Men should be bewailed at their birth, and not at their death.
Each particular society begins to feel its strength, whence arises a state of war between different nations.
There are three species of government: republican, monarchical, and despotic.
An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.
In republican governments, men are all equal; equal they are also in despotic governments: in the former, because they are everything; in the latter, because they are nothing.
History is full of religious wars; but, we must take care to observe, it was not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, it was the intolerating spirit which animated that one which thought she had the power of governing.
Power ought to serve as a check to power.