Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Degeneracy

"Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"There was plainly wanting a divine revelation to recover mankind out of their universal corruption and degeneracy." - Samuel Clarke

"The sure foundations of the State are laid in knowledge, not in ignorance; and every sneer at education, at culture, at book learning, which is the recorded wisdom of the experience of mankind, is the demagogue’s sneer at intelligent liberty, inviting national degeneracy and ruin." - George William Curtis

"In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories." - Thomas Jefferson

"It becomes expedient for promoting the public happiness that those persons, whom nature has endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens; and that they should be called to that charge without regard to wealth, birth or other accidental condition or circumstance." - Thomas Jefferson

"It is the old practice of despots to use a part of the people to keep the rest in order; and those who have once got an ascendency and possessed themselves of all the resources of the nation, their revenues and offices, have immense means for retaining their advantages." - Thomas Jefferson

"Some are whigs, liberals, democrats, call them what you please. Others are tories, serviles, aristocrats, andc. The latter fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher classes of society; the former consider the people as the safest depository of power in the last resort; they cherish them therefore, and wish to leave in them all the powers to the exercise of which they are competent." - Thomas Jefferson

"The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory." - Thomas Jefferson

"There is at present in the world a cold reserve that keeps man at a distance from man. There is an art in the practice of which individuals communicate forever, without anyone telling his neighbor what estimate he forms of his attainments and character, how they ought to be employed, and how to be improved. There is a sort of domestic tactics, the object of which is to elude curiosity, and keep up the tenor of conversation, without the disclosure either of our feelings or opinions. The friend of justice will have no object more deeply at heart than the annihilation of this duplicity. The man whose heart overflows with kindness for his species will habituate himself to consider, in each successive occasion of social intercourse, how that occasion may be most beneficently improved. Among the topics to which he will be anxious to awaken attention, politics will occupy a principal share." - William Godwin

"The straight sunny tombstones looked sociable, fresh wreaths were laid on the breasts of the graves. You could almost see the dead sitting up holding their flowers, like invalids on a visiting-day, waiting to hear the music. Only the very new dead, under raw earth with no tombstones, lay flat in despair…" - Elizabeth Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen