Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I

French Emperor, Military and Political Leader of France

"A journalist is a grumbler, a censurer, a giver of advice, a regent of sovereigns, a tutor of nations. Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets."

"A well-composed song strikes and softens the mind, and produces a greater effect than a moral work, which convinces our reason, but does not warm our feelings, nor affect the slightest alteration in our habits."

"A leader is a dealer in hope."

"All the scholastic scaffolding falls, as a ruined edifice, before one single word - faith."

"All religions have been made by men."

"Diplomacy is the police in grand costume."

"Fashion condemns us to many follies: the greatest is to make oneself its slave."

"Do you know what amazes me more than anything else - the impotence of force to organize anything? There are only two powers in the world - the spirit and the sword; and in the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit."

"For my part, it is not the mystery of the incarnation which I discover in religion, but the mystery of social order, which associates with heaven that idea of equality which prevents the rich from destroying the poor."

"History is but a fable [a set of lies] agreed upon."

"In revolutions there are only two sorts of men, those who cause them and those who profit by them."

"Knowledge and history are the enemies of religion."

"Revolutions are like the most noxious dung-heaps, which bring into life the noblest vegetables."

"Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them."

"Love is the occupation of the idle man, the amusement of a busy one, and the shipwreck of a sovereign."

"He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat."

"Forms are for mediocrity, and it is fortunate that mediocrity can act only according to routine."

"It is the cause, and not the death, that makes the martyr."

"Men are led by trifles."

"Men are never attached to you by favors."

"Necessity has no law."

"Public instruction should be the first object of government."

"Ten persons who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent."

"The more religious a country is, the more crimes are committed in it."

"The future destiny of a child is always the work of the mother."

"The greatest orator in the world is success."

"The art of governing consists in not letting men grow old in their jobs."

"The human race is governed by its imagination."

"The heart may be broken, and the soul remain unshaken."

"The greatest ornament of an illustrious life is modesty and humility, which go a great way in the character even of the most exalted princes."

"There are only two forces that unite men - fear and interest."

"The worse the man, the better the soldier."

"Treaties [are] observed as long as they are in harmony with interests."

"War is the business of barbarians."

"True wisdom, in general, consists in energetic determination."

"What is history but a fable agreed upon?"

"Truth alone wounds."

"We must laugh at man to avoid crying for him."

"When flowers degenerate man cannot live."

"Why and how are words so important they cannot be too often used."

"When I was happy I thought I knew man, but it was fated that I should know them only in misfortune."

"Who saves his country violates no law."

"Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence."

"The best way to keep one's word is not to give it."

"Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress."

"A man will fight harder for his interests than his rights."

"Circumstances - what are circumstances? I make circumstances."

"Collective crimes incriminate no one."

"Anatomy is destiny."

"Barère still believes that the masses must be stirred. On the contrary, they must be guided without their noticing it."