Quotes by Edmund Burke

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The Right Honourable Edmund Burke (January 12, 1729 July 9, 1797) was an Anglo-Irish statesman, author, orator and political philosopher, who served for many years in the British House of Commons as a member of the Whig party. ... more

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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Patience will achieve more than force.
Bad laws are the worst form of tyranny.
We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature.
People must be taken as they are, and we should never try make them or ourselves better by quarreling with them.
When ever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither is safe.
Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair.
All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing
Our patience will achieve more than our force.
To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.
Applaud us when we run, Console us when we fall, Cheer us when we recover.
It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact.
Under the pressure of the cares and sorrows of our mortal condition, men have at all times, and in all countries, called in some physical aid to their moral consolations -- wine, beer, opium, brandy, or tobacco.
No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other
A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.
I venture to say no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.
There is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.
Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none.
They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.
He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. This amicable conflict with difficulty helps us to an intimate acquaintance with our object, and compels us to consider it in all its relations. It will not suffer us to be superficial.
A populace never rebels from passion for attack, but from impatience of suffering.
Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference which is, at least, half infidelity.
Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government.
The yielding of the weak is the concession to fear.
What ever disunites man from God, also disunites man from man.
In doing good, we are generally cold, and languid, and sluggish; and of all things afraid of being too much in the right. But the works of malice and injustice are quite in another style. They are finished with a bold, masterly hand; touched as they are with the spirit of those vehement passions that call forth all our energies, whenever we oppress and persecute.
Manners are of more importance than laws. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in.
By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.
I have never yet seen any plan which has not been mended by the observations of those who were much inferior in understanding to the person who took the lead in the business.
A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman.
Restraint and discipline and examples of virtue and justice. These are the things that form the education of the world.
Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.
The people never give up their liberties, but under some delusion.
Liberty must be limited in order to be possessed.
The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.
There is but one law for all, namely that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity -- the law of nature and of nations.
Laws, like houses, lean on one another.
The great must submit to the dominion of prudence and of virtue, or none will long submit to the dominion of the great.
Passion for fame: A passion which is the instinct of all great souls.
When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.
The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.
Ambition can creep as well as soar.
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
If you can be well without health, you may be happy without virtue.
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.
The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth.
Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation.
Education is the cheap defence of nations.
Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.
Tyrants seldom want pretexts.
The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.
A nation is not conquered which is perpetually to be conquered.
Spain: A whale stranded upon the coast of Europe.
Good order is the foundation of all great things.
Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament.
If the people are happy, united, wealthy, and powerful, we presume the rest. We conclude that to be good from whence good is derived.
You can never plan the future by the past.
Circumstances give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.