65 Insightful Edmund Burke Quotes That You Must Share
Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Edmund Burke was an eminent Irish statesman, philosopher, orator, author and political theorist. He served as the Member of Parliament in the House of Commons with the Whig Party between 1766 and 1794. His thoughts, views, writings, books and opinions covered varied subjects that included manners in society and significance of religion if moral life. He also strongly opposed the British treatment of the American colonies which also included taxation policies. He also encouraged Catholic emancipation and supported the rights of the colonists. He strongly opposed the French Revolution. We have compiled some notable quotable quotations by Edmund Burke which are till date quoted extensively. Read through the quotes and thoughts by Edmund Burke on power, abuse, dangerous, education, tyranny, service, people, will, freedom, despair, wisdom, freedom, unjust, superstition, religion, arrogance, welfare and more.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Woman is not made to be the admiration of all, but the happiness of one. Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting. Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength. Our patience will achieve more than our force. Never apologise for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologise for the truth. Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."
[Preface to Brissot's Address to His Constituents (1794)] It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality. Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair. He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed. There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist. It is a general popular error to imagine the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare. People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors. It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me I ought to do. Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government. I have not yet lost a feeling of wonder, and of delight, that the delicate motion should reside in all the things around us, revealing itself only to him who looks for it. There is a boundary to men's passions when they act from feelings; but none when they are under the influence of imagination. Kings will be tyrants by policy when subjects are rebels from principle. They never will love where they ought to love, who do not hate where they ought to hate. The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. The greatest gift is a passion for reading. The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered. For there is in mankind an unfortunate propensity to make themselves, their views and their works, the measure of excellence in every thing whatsoever A state without the means of some change, is without the means of its own conservation. Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not to occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear. The human mind is often, and I think it is for the most part, in a state neither of pain nor pleasure, which I call a state of indifference. It is our ignorance of things that causes all our admiration and chiefly excites our passions. No man had ever a point of pride that was not injurious to him. Ambition can creep as well as soar. The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse. Those who attempt to level, never equalize. Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all. There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief. The nature of things is, I admit, a sturdy adversary. He that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one. Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites. We set ourselves to bite the hand that feeds us Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe. Society is indeed a contract. ... It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. It is generally, in the season of prosperity that men discover their real temper, principles and design. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. A representative owes not just his industry but his judgement Society is indeed a contract ... it becomes a participant not only between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. There is a sort of gloss upon ingenious falsehoods that dazzles the imagination, but which neither belongs to, nor becomes the sober aspect of truth. I cannot conceive how any man can have brought himself to consider his country as nothing but carte blanche, upon which he may scribble whatever he pleases. All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing. Superstition is the religion of feeble minds. The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations which may be soon turned into complaints. It is a dreadful truth, but it is a truth that cannot be concealed; in ability, in dexterity, in the distinctness of their views, the Jacobins are our superiors. Rage and frenzy will pull down more in half an hour than prudence, deliberation, and foresight can build up in a hundred years. Politics ought to be adjusted not to human reasonings but to human nature, of which reason is but a part and by no means the greatest part.
No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver, and adulation is not of more service to the people than to kings.
A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper, and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.
Better to be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident a security.
Nothing is such an enemy to accuracy of judgment as a coarse discrimination; a want of such classification and distribution as the subject admits of.
Society is a partnership of the dead, the living and the unborn. A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood.