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387 Inspiring Quotes by Thomas Carlyle

  • Last updated Jun 28 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Thomas Carlyle.

Wikipedia Summary for Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle (4 December 1795 – 5 February 1881) was a Scottish historian, satirical writer, essayist, translator, philosopher, mathematician, and teacher. In his book On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History (1841), he argued that the actions of the "Great Man" play a key role in history, claiming that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men". Other major works include The French Revolution: A History, 3 vols (1837) and The History of Friedrich II of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great, 6 vols (1858–65).

His 1837 history of The French Revolution was the inspiration for Charles Dickens' 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities, and remains popular today. Carlyle's 1836 Sartor Resartus is a notable philosophical novel.

A noted polemicist, Carlyle coined the term "the dismal science" for economics, in his essay "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question", which satirically advocated for the reintroduction of slavery to the West Indies to highlight his perceived hypocrisy of British abolitionists' indifference to domestic child-labour and slave-like working conditions in contemporary factories. He also wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia.

Carlyle had once lost his faith in Christianity while attending the University of Edinburgh, later adopting a form deism or "restatement" of Christianity, according to Charles Frederick Harrald "a Calvinist without the theology".

In mathematics, he is known for the Carlyle circle, a method used in quadratic equations and for developing ruler-and-compass constructions of regular polygons.

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Longer Version:

A man with a half volition goes backwards and forwards, and makes no way on the smoothest road; a man with a whole volition advances on the roughest, and will reach his purpose, if there be even a little worthiness in it. The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder - a waif, a nothing, a no man. Have a purpose in life and having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.


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Longer Version:

Skepticism, as I said, is not intellectual only; it is moral also; a chronic atrophy and disease of the whole soul. A man lives by believing something; not by debating and arguing about many things. A sad case for him when all that he can manage to believe is something he can button in his pocket, and with one or the other organ eat and digest! Lower than that he will not get.



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Longer Version:

Conviction never so excellent, is worthless until it coverts itself into conduct.


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