Power Quotes or Quotes about Power

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power": Abraham Lincoln
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“After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd.
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“The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” Alexis de Tocqueville [Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel, le Comte de Tocqueville] (1805-1859), French historian
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“All men having power ought to be mistrusted.” James Madison
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“Arbitrary power has seldom been introduced in any country at once. It must be introduced by slow degrees, and as it were step by step.” Lord Chesterfield
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“It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.” Eric Hoffer
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“Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.” T.H. Huxley
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“If those in charge of our society—politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television—can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.” Howard Zinn, historian and author
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“The most esteemed journalists are precisely the most servile. For it is by making themselves useful to the powerful that they gain access to the ‘best’ sources.” Walter Karp
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“In order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning and cruelty.” Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi (1828-1910), Russian writer
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“In the general course of human nature, a power over man’s substance amounts to a power over his will.” Alexander Hamilton
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“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” Samuel Adams
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“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” Thomas Sowell
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“It’s important to realize that whenever you give power to politicians or bureaucrats, it will be used for what they want, not for what you want.” Harry Browne
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“It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power.” John Adams, 1788
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“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Thomas Jefferson, 1799
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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln
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“No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” Thomas Jefferson: American 3rd US President (1801-09).
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“Nothing in the world is more haughty than a man of moderate capacity when once raised to power.” Baron Wessenberg
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“Occupants of public offices love power and are prone to abuse it.” George Washington, Farewell Address
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“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” Harry S Truman
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“We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was ‘illegal.’” Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Why We Can’t Wait, 1963
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“People crushed by law have no hope but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous.” Edmund Burke
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“Power always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous.” William Proxmire
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“Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all his laws.” John Adams
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“If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.” Frank Herbert
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“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
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“The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections. Later on, this process of corruption spread to the law courts. And then to the army, and finally the Republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.” Plutarch, Historian of the Roman Republic
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“If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that may be said to possess him.” Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), philosopher, essayist, British Lord Chancellor
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“The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.” John Adams
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“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Alice Walker
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“The problem with American power is not that it is American. The problem is simply the power. It would be dangerous even for an archangel to wield so much power.” Timothy Garton Ash, Oxford historian, New York Times, April 9, 2002
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“Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.” Eric Hoffer
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“Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good for their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation.” - Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice Source: We, The Judges, 1956
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“Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.” Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998), historian and author, Source: Freedom and Order, 1966
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“We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom.” Stephen Vincent Benet
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“What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment ... inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose.” Thomas Jefferson
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“It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.” Eric Hoffer
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“You see what power is—holding someone else’s fear in your hand and showing it to them!” Amy Tan
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“Money becomes evil not when it is used to buy goods but when it is used to buy power… economic inequalities become evil when they are translated into political inequalities.” Samuel Huntington, political scientist

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"At the end of the game, both the king and the pawn go into the same box"--Italian saying
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"When two great forces collide, the victory will go to the one that knows how to yield"--Taoist saying

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"Who overcomes by force hath overcome but half his foe." Milton
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If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves." -- Howard Zinn, historian and author


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