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Quotations From 1ST BARON ACTON, JOHN EMERICH EDWARD DALBERG

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  • 1.
    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad man.
    John Emerich Edward Dalberg, 1st Baron Acton (1834-1902), British historian. Letter, April 3, 1887, to Bishop Mandell Creighton. The Life and Letters of Mandell Creighton, vol. 1, ch. 13, ed. Louise Creighton (1904). William Pitt the Elder had made a similar observation, in a speech to the House of Lords, Jan. 9, 1770: "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it." In the present century, the economist J.W. Galbraith wrote, "In the United States, though power corrupts, the expectation of power paralyzes." ("The United States," published in New York Nov. 15, 1971, repr. In A View from the Stands, 1986).

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  • 2.
    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.
    John Emerich Edward Dalberg, 1st Baron Acton (1834-1902), British historian. Letter, January 23, 1861. Lord Acton and His Circle, letter 74, ed. Abbot Gasquet (1906).
  • 3.
    Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
    John Emerich Edward Dalberg, 1st Baron Acton (1834-1902), British historian. letter, Jan. 23, 1861. Lord Acton and his Circle, letter 74, ed. Abbot Gasquet (1906).

    Read more quotations about / on: justice
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