Quotes by Lord Acton

John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, known as Lord Acton, was an English Catholic historian, politician, and writer  (*1834 – †1902)

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.

Here some other attributed to him:

  • Socialism means slavery.
  • There is not a soul who does not have to beg alms of another, either a smile, a handshake, or a fond eye.
  • The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
  • Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being.
  • Be not content with the best book; seek sidelights from the others; have no favorites.
  • History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.
  • The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.
  • The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern: every class is unfit to govern.
  • Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought.
  • There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men.
  • There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness

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