Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Reform

"In the conduct of life, habits count for more than maxims; because habit is a living maxim, becomes flesh and instinct. To reform one's maxims is nothing: it is but to change the title of the book. To learn new habits is everything, for it is to reach the substance of life. Life is but a tissue of habits." -

"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation... can never effect a reform." -

"Remorse begets reform." - William Cowper

"Personal magnetism is a mixture of rugged Honesty, pulsating Energy, and self-organized Intelligence. I believe, absolutely, that truth is the strongest and most powerful weapon a man can use, whether he is fighting for a reform or fighting for a sale." - Arthur Dunn

"Reform must come from within, not from without. You cannot legislate for virtue." - James Gibbons

"Every man is a reformer until reform tramps on his toes." - E. W. Howe, fully Edgar Watson Howe

"You have not converted a man, because you have silenced him... The small reform may become the enemy of the great one... The most frightful idea that has ever corroded human nature-the idea of eternal punishment." -

"The world is made better by ever man improving his own conduct; and no reform is accomplished wholesale." - William Allen White

"Mostly, reform in religion is rational. But if the religion be already too rational, reform must be emotional." - Israel Abrahams

"In the conduct of life, habits count for more than maxims; because habit is a living maxim, becomes flesh and instinct. To reform one's maxims is nothing: it is but to change the title of the book. To learn new habits is." -

"I can think of few important movements for reform in which success was won by any; method other than that of an energetic minority presenting the indifferent majority with a fait accompli, which was then accepted." - Vera Mary Brittain

"A reform is a correction of abuses; a revolution is a transfer of power." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Truth is the strongest and most powerful weapon a man can use, whether he is fighting for a reform or fighting for a sale." - Arthur Dunn

"Merely to seek greater ease and comfort... through the destruction of the eternal code set up for all ages by the God of Eternity, is not and never can be Reform. Judaism seeks to lift us to its height, how dare we attempt to drag it down to our level?" - Samson Raphael Hirsch

"Education is not to teach men facts, theories or laws, not to reform or amuse them or make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellect, teach them to think straight, if possible, but to think nevertheless." - Robert Hutchins, fully Robert Maynard Hutchins

"When reform becomes impossible, revolution becomes imperative." - Kelly Miller

"The small reform may become the enemy of the great one." -

"Every violent reform deserves censure, for it quite fails to remedy evil while men remain what they are, and also because wisdom needs no violence." -

"There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it's rather hard to tell which of us ought to reform the rest of us." - Alain-Fournier, Pseudonym of Henri Alban-Fournier NULL

"Every reform carries the seed of its own abuse." - William Cohen, fully William Sebastian Cohen

"Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess which will itself need reforming." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"The outward freedom that we shall attain will only be in exact proportion to the inward freedom to which we may have grown at a given moment. And if this is a correct view of freedom, our chief energy must be concentrated on achieving reform from within." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"The core problem facing our schools is a moral one. All the other problems derive from it. Even academic reform depends on putting character first." - William Kilpatrick, fully William Heard Kilpatrick

"Reform and renewal come into institutional structures from the margins of power, policy and status." -

"That government is or ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of mal-administration, and that whenever any government shall be found inadequate, or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the weal." - George Mason

"Such negative terms as “Protestant” and “Reformation” are unhappy designations for a movement that in essence was not protest but affirmation, not reform but conservation, not reaction, but propulsion. Its best name is “evangelical.”" - Abdel Ross Mentz

"Self-reform is the answer to world-reform." - Sebastian Miklas

"It is a dangerous thing to reform anyone." -

"Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh, born Anne Spencer Morrow

"It is in the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it. The beginning of reform is not so much to equalize property as to train the noble sort of natures not to desire more, and to prevent the lower from getting more." - Aristotle NULL

"The desire to understand the world and the desire to reform it are the two great engines of progress, without which human society would stand still or retrogress." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"True repentance consists in the heart being broken for sin and broken from sin. Some often repent, yet never reform; they resemble a man traveling in a dangerous path, who frequently starts and stops, but never turns back." - Bonnell Thornton

"Attempts at reform, when they fail, strengthen despotism; as he that struggles tightens those cords he does not succeed in breaking." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Reform is a good replete with paradox; it is a cathartic which our political quacks, like our medical, recommend themselves; it is admired by all who cannot effect it, and abused by all who can; it is thought pregnant with danger, for all time that is present, but would have been extremely profitable for that which is past, and will be highly salutary for that which is to come." - Charles Caleb Colton

"To have faults and not reform them - that may indeed be called having faults." - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"To error and not reform, this may indeed be called error." - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"To innovate is not to reform." - Edmund Burke

"A nation without the means of reform is without the means of survival." - Edmund Burke

"Reform must come from within, not from without. You cannot legislate for virtue." - Edward Gibbon

"All who achieve real distinction in life begin as revolutionists. the most distinguished persons become more revolutionary as they grow older, though they are commonly supposed to become more conservative owing to their loss of faith in conventional methods of reform." - George Bernard Shaw

"Why is [government] not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out faults… Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?" - Henry David Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau

"True repentance also involves reform." - Hosea Ballou

"Reflection is the beginning of reform." -

"Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform." -

"Conservatism stands on man's confessed limitations; reform on his indisputable infinitude; conservatism on circumstance; liberalism on power; one goes to make an adroit member of the social frame; the other to postpone all things to the man himself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every reform is only a mask under cover of which a more terrible reform, which dares not yet name itself, advances." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If the mind is happy, not only the body but the whole world will be happy. So one must find out how to become happy oneself. Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self is like trying to cover the whole world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes." -

"Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to excess which will itself need reforming." -

"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences." - Susan B. Anthony, fully Susan Brownell Anthony

"Reform yourself. That way there will be one less rascal in the world." - Thomas Carlyle