Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Tyranny

"Unlimited power corrupts the possessor; and this I know, that, where law ends, there tyranny begins." - William Pitt, Lord Chatham or Lord William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, aka The Elder Pitt and The Great Commander

"The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists them." - John Hay, fully John Milton Hay

"The greatest of all injustice is that which goes under the name of law; and of all sorts of tyranny, the forcing the letter of the law against the equity is the most insupportable." - Roger L'Estrange, fully Sir Roger L'Estrange

"Freedom is placed in jeopardy more by those who will not exercise it than by those who will not permit it. Indifference opens more gates to the enemy than does tyranny." - Edwin McNeill Poteat

""Free thought" means thinking freely... To be worthy of the name [freethinker] he must be free of two things: the force of tradition and the tyranny of his own passions. No one is completely free from either, and in the measure of a man's emancipation he deserves to be called a free thinker." -

"The desire to serve others is the highest impulse of the human heart and the rewards of such service are beyond measure. If you wish to taste this, then just do it. Just take one step... You will see that the tyranny of self-concern, worry, and trivial pursuits can be released from your life with that single step. It doesn't really matter what you do, it only matters that you do it." - Ganga Stone

"Doubt is the accomplice of tyranny." -

"What people will say - in these words there lies the tyranny of the world, the whole destruction of our natural disposition, the oblique vision of our minds. These four words bear sway everywhere." - Berthold Auerbach

"Think’st thou there is no tyranny but that of blood and chains? The despotism of vice, the weakness and the wickedness of luxury, the negligence, the apathy, the evils of sensual sloth - produce then thousand tyrants, whose delegated cruelty surpasses the worst acts of one energetic master, however harsh and hard in his own bearing." -

"Those who are versed in the history of their country, in the history of the human race, must know that rigorous state prosecutions have always preceded the era of convulsion; and this era, I fear, will be accelerated by the folly and madness of our rulers. If the people are discontented, the proper mode of quieting their discontent is, not by instituting rigorous and sanguinary prosecutions, but by redressing their wrongs and conciliating their affections. Courts of justice, indeed, may be called in to the aid of ministerial vengeance; but if once the purity of their proceedings is suspected, they will cease to be objects of reverence to the nation; they will degenerate into empty and expensive pageantry, and become the partial instruments of vexatious oppression. Whatever may become of me, my principles will last forever. Individuals may perish; but truth is eternal. The rude blasts of tyranny may blow from every quarter; but freedom is that hardy plant which will survive the tempest and strike an everlasting root into the most unfavorable soil." - Joseph Gerrald

"The bravest and best men of all times have perished in the struggles against tyranny and despotism, and free government has never secured even a feeble existence save at a most fearful cost. The experiment of republican government in our own country is similar to that of all others. Here, however, liberty has won her grandest triumphs. Here freedom is enthroned securely and is the unchallenged boon of every inhabitant. But we contemplate the cost of victory with mournful and pitying hearts." - Harrison Eugene Havens

"All good government must begin at home. It is useless to make good laws for bad people; what is wanted is this, to subdue the tyranny of the human heart." - Hugh Reginald Haweis

"All government, all exercise of power, no matter in what form, which is not based in love and directed by knowledge, is a tyranny." - Anna Jameson

"There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us safe under every form of government." -

"I would recommend a free commerce both of matter and mind. I would let men enter their own churches with the same freedom as their own houses; and I would do it without a homily or graciousness or favor, for tyranny itself is to me a word less odious than toleration." - Walter Savage Landor

"Democracy, which began by liberating man politically, has developed a dangerous tendency to enslave him through the tyranny of majorities and the deadly power of their opinion." - Ludwig Lewisohn

"Wherever law ends, tyranny begins." - John Locke

"There is no more cruel tyranny than that which is exercised under cover of the law, and with the colors of justice." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"Custom is the tyranny of the lower human faculties over the higher." -

"These are the times that try men's souls. The Summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its things; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial article as freedom should not be highly rated." - Thomas Paine

"Tyranny is always better organized than freedom." -

"There is no tyranny so despotic as that of public opinion among a free people." - Donn Piatt

"Where law ends, tyranny begins." -

"The face of tyranny is always mild at first." - Jean Racine, baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine

"Christianity preaches only servitude and dependence. Its spirit is so favorable to tyranny that it always profits by such a regime. True Christians are made to be slaves, and they know it and do not much mind: this short life counts for too little in their eyes." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"To give pain is the tyranny - to make happy the true empire of beauty." - Richard Steele, fully Sir Richard Steele

"We cannot be happy until we can love ourselves without egotism and our friends without tyranny." -

"Any government is in itself an evil insofar as it carries within it the tendency to deteriorate into tyranny." - Albert Einstein

"The willing sacrifice of the innocents is the most powerful retort to insolent tyranny that has yet to be conceived by God or man." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"Prayer in action; it requires complete mobilization of heart, mind, and soul… For the soul, home is where the prayer is... Prayer calls for self-reflection, for contrition and repentance, examining and readjusting deeds and motivations, for recanting the ugly compulsions we follow, the tyranny of acquisitiveness, hatred, envy, resentment." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The tyranny of conformity tends to deprive man of his inner identity, of his ability to stand still in the midst of flux, to remain a person in the midst of a crowd." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Thomas Jefferson

"There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice." - Charles De Montesquieu, formally Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"Tyranny is always better organized than freedom." -

"Let's face it. Let's talk sense to the American people. Let's tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions, like resistance when you're attacked, but along, patient, costly struggle which alone can assure triumph over the great enemies of man - war, poverty and tyranny - and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each." - Adlai Ewing Stevenson

"Let's face it. Let's talk sense to the American people. Let's tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions, like resistance when you're attacked, but along, patient, costly struggle which alone can assure triumph over the great enemies of man - war, poverty and tyranny - and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each." -

"Let's face it. Let's talk sense to the American people. Let's tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions, like resistance when you're attacked, but along, patient, costly struggle which alone can assure triumph over the great enemies of man - war, poverty and tyranny - and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each." -

"The end of democracy is freedom; of oligarchy, wealth; of aristocracy, the maintenance of education and national institutions; of tyranny, the protection of the tyrant." - Aristotle NULL

"The human mind turned downwards takes cognizance of the world reported to it by the senses; turned upwards it receives intuitional knowledge and directions from pure intelligence, which is its source and essence... The mind finds itself not merely cognizing and arranging the world reported by the senses but striving to rule it and in fact ruled by it. This is a cruel paradox, for by desiring one thing and fearing another the pseudo-self or ego subordinates itself to the senses and the world they report. Thus it comes to be torn between conflicting passions and subject to the tyranny of events." - Arthur W Osborn

"Whatever is found what is called a paternal government was found a State education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience [is] to commence tyranny in the nursery." - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

"The value of philosophy is to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. He who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the cooperation or consent of his deliberate reason. As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the contrary, we find that even the most everyday things lead to problems to which only very incomplete answers can be given. Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thought and free them from the tyranny of custom." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"Custom should be followed only because it is custom, and not because it is reasonable or just. But people follow it for this sole reason, that they think it just. Otherwise they would follow it no longer, although it were the custom; for they will only submit to reason or justice. Custom without this would pass for tyranny; but the sovereignty of reason and justice is no more tyrannical than that of desire. They are principles natural to man." - Blaise Pascal

"The multitude which is not brought to act as unity, is confusion. That unity which has not its origin in the multitude is tyranny." - Blaise Pascal

"Plurality which is not reduced to unity is confusion. Unity which does not depend on plurality is tyranny." - Blaise Pascal

"The pressure that has been brought to bear upon the native people, since the cessation of armed conflict, in the attempt to force conformity of custom and habit has caused a reaction more destructive than war, and the injury has not only affected the Indian, but has extended to the white population as well. Tyranny, stupidity, and lack of vision have brought about the situation now alluded to as the “Indian Problem.”" -

"It is the nature of tyranny and rapacity never to learn moderation from the ill-success of first oppressions; on the contrary, all oppressors, all men thinking highly of the methods dictated by their nature, attribute the frustration of their desires to the want of sufficient rigor." - Edmund Burke

"Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny." - Edmund Burke

"The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward women, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her." - Elizabeth Cady Stanton