Quotes by Lord Acton


To be able to look back upon one's past life with satisfaction is to live twice.
– Lord Acton
A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.
– Lord Acton
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. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
– Lord Acton
Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
– Lord Acton
I'm not a driven businessman, but a driven artist. I never think about money. Beautiful things make money.
– Lord Acton
If some great catastrophe is not announced every morning, we feel a certain void. Nothing in the paper today, we sigh.
– Lord Acton
Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it.
– Lord Acton
Machiavelli's teaching would hardly have stood the test of Parliamentary government, for public discussion demands at least the profession of good faith.
– Lord Acton
Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral laws are written on the table of eternity.
– Lord Acton
Property is not the sacred right. When a rich man becomes poor it is a misfortune, it is not a moral evil. When a poor man becomes destitute, it is a moral evil, teeming with consequences and injurious to society and morality.
– Lord Acton
The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.
– Lord Acton
The long term versus the short term argument is one used by losers.
– Lord Acton
The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the party that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
– Lord Acton
There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion.
– Lord Acton
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.
– Lord Acton
Learn as much by writing as by reading.
– Lord Acton
Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.
– Lord Acton
The man who prefers his country before any other duty duty shows the same spirit as the man who surrenders every right to the state. They both deny that right is superior to authority.
– Lord Acton
There is not a soul who does not have to beg alms of another, either a smile, a handshake, or a fond eye.
– Lord Acton
The science of politics is the one science that is deposited by the streams of history, like the grains of gold in the sand of a river and the knowledge of the past, the record of truths revealed by experience, is eminently practical, as an instrument of action and a power that goes to making the future.
– Lord Acton