Charles De Montesquieu (1689-1755)

“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.”

“We should weep for men at their birth, not at their death.”

“It is always the adventurous who accomplish great things.”

“If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.”

“I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.”

“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.”

“No kingdom has shed more blood than the kingdom of Christ.”

“The less men think, the more they talk.”

“In most things success depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.”

“An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.”

“To love to read is to exchange hours of ennui for hours of delight.”

“An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war.”

“Peace is a natural effect of trade.”

“Talent is a gift which God has given us secretly, and which we reveal without perceiving it.”

“Useless laws weaken necessary laws.”

“Friendship is an arrangement by which we undertake to exchange small favors for big ones.”

“Vitam Impendere Vero (I consecrate my life to truth).”

“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.”

“If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.”

“If I knew something that would serve my country but would harm mankind, I would never reveal it; for I am a citizen of humanity first and by necessity, and a citizen of France second, and only by accident.”

“Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half.”

“An author is a fool who, not content with having bored those who have lived with him, insists on boring future generations.”

“It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption.”

“What orators lack in depth they make up for in length.”

“A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.”

“The severity of the laws prevents their execution.”

“Laws undertake to punish only overt acts”

“False happiness renders men stern and proud, and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible, and that happiness is always shared.”

“What orators lack in depth they make up to you in length.”

“Liberty is the right to do what the law permits.”

“I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should seem a fool, but be wise.”

“I have always observed that to succeed in the world a person must seem simple, yet wise.”

“Luxury ruins republics; poverty, monarchies.”

“If the triangles made a god, they would give him three sides.”

“In the infancy of societies, the chiefs of state shape its institutions; later the institutions shape the chiefs of state.”

“The sublimity of administration consists in knowing the proper degree of power that should be exerted on different occasions.”

“There is no nation so powerful, as the one that obeys its laws not from principals of fear or reason, but from passion.”

“This is how I define talent; it is a gift that God has given us in secret, which we reveal without knowing it.”

“It is always the adventurers who do great things, not the sovereigns of great empires.”

“The spirit of moderation should also be the spirit of the lawgiver.”

“Virtue has need of limits.”

“I have ever held it as a maxim never to do that through another which it was impossible for me to execute myself.”

“Happy are the people whose annals are boring to read.”

“Political liberty is to be found only in moderate governments.”

“There is no one, says another, whom fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she does not find him ready to receive her, she walks in at the door, and flies out at the window.”

“Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free.”

“An absolute ruler is an undesireable leader.”

“Men should be bewailed at their birth, and not at their death.”

“Solemnity is the shield of idiots.”


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