Here's a more complete quote and citing for the Acton quote, and some elaboration on the Bacon quote. And some more quotes on "power" that you may find interesting. Great topic.
"Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end...liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition...The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to to govern. Every class is unfit to govern...Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
~ Historian Lord Acton
(1834-1902) (written in an 1887 letter to the Bishop of London, Mandell Creighton: regarding the 1870 promulgation of the doctrine of papal infallibility
Bacon had two quotes on power:
1620: Knowledge and human power are synonymous.
(Scientia et potentia humana in idem coincidunt)
, Aphor. 3.
1626: Knowledge itself is power.
(Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.)
Another man professes to laugh at all this, and says, as Anaxagoras says, that justice is mind, for mind, as they say, has absolute power, and mixes with nothing, and orders all things, and passes through all things.
~Plato - Dialogues
translated by Benjamin Jowett:
Though there the people had more absolute power,
I say, they nourish'd disobedience, fed
The ruin of the state.
~Shakespeare (CORIOLANUS ACT III SCENE I)
http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Shake ... nus3_2.htm
A nation of slaves is always prepared to applaud the clemency of their master, who, in the abuse of absolute power, does not proceed to the last extremes of injustice and oppression.
~ Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Montesquieu, who attributed to absolute power an authority peculiar to itself, did it, as I conceive, an undeserved honor; for despotism, taken by itself, can produce no durable results.
If it be admitted that a man, possessing absolute power, may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should a majority not be liable to the same reproach?
They are so deluded by their recollections, as to judge the tendency of absolute power by what it was formerly, and not by what it might become at the present time. If absolute power were re-established amongst the democratic nations of Europe, I am persuaded that it would assume a new form, and appear under features unknown to our forefathers.
~ Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Having absolute power, he got into the habit of openly plundering men's pretty daughters and wives from them, and, after a few weeks, sending them back;
~ Thomas Carlyle Early Kings of Norway
And hence it is that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life.
For he that thinks absolute power purifies men's blood, and corrects the baseness of human nature, need read but the history of this, or any other age, to be convinced to the contrary.
so that the children, whatever may have happened to the fathers, are free men, and the absolute power of the conqueror reaches no farther than the persons of the men that were subdued by him, and dies with them;
~ John Locke, Essay Concerning Government
YUSUFALI: "And when ye exert your strong hand, do ye do it like men of absolute power?
PICKTHAL: And if ye seize by force, seize ye as tyrants?
SHAKIR: And when you lay hands (on men) you lay hands (like) tyrants;
~Holy Quran, triple translation - Yusufali, Pickthal, Shakir
. . .they would prove themselves wiser than any class, possessed of absolute power, has shown itself, or, we may venture to say, is ever likely to show itself, under that corrupting influence.
~ John Stuart Mill, Representative Government
To give a man power without accountability is to establish a tyrant; to make a man accountable for something without the necessary power to achieve it is, at best, silly, and at worst, insane.
~ Robert A. Heinlein
You cannot give a man power over other men without tempting him to misuse it -- a temptation which roughly increases with the amount of power wielded, and which very few are capable of resisting.
~ Lord Acton's law
"A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength."
~Proverbs (xxiv. 5)
"Knowledge is more than equivalent to force."
~Samuel Johnson, Rasselas
Never overestimate your power to change others. In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
-- Dalai Lama
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
-- Leo Buscaglia
We never respect those who amuse us, however we may smile at their comic powers.
~Lady Marguerite Blessington (1789 - 1849) English socialite, writer
"Desultory Thoughts and Reflections
To us Americans much has been given; of us much is required. With all our faults and mistakes, it is our strength in support of the freedom our forefathers loved which has saved mankind from subjection to totalitarian power.
~Norman Thomas (1884 - 1968) US socialist, social reformer
You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything he's no longer in your power -- he's free again.
~Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918 -) Russian novelist
Bobynin, in The First Circle
, ch. 17 (1968).
Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.
~Stephen R. Covey (1932 -) US consultant, author
Temperament lies behind mood; behind will, lies the fate of character. Then behind both, the influence of family the tyranny of culture; and finally the power of climate and environment; and we are free, only to the extent we rise above these.
~John Burroughs (1837 - 1921) US author, naturalist
The price of power is responsibility for the public good.
Grac'd as thou art with all the power of words,
So known, so honour'd at the House of Lords.
~ Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
Satires, Epistles, and Odes of Horace. Epistle vi. Book i.
Essay: Democracy and the people
by Mahatma Gandhi
Self-government depends entirely upon our own internal strength, upon our ability to fight against the heaviest odds. Indeed, self-government which does not require that continuous striving to attain it and to sustain it, is not worth the name. I have therefore endeavoured to show both in word and deed that political self-government, and therefore, it is to be attained by precisely the same means that are required for individual self-government or self-rule.
The true source of rights is duty. If we all discharge our duties, right will not be far to seek. If leaving duties unperformed we run after rights, they will escape us like a will-o-the-wisp. The more we pursue them, the farther will they fly.
To me political power is not an end but one of the means of enabling people to better their condition in every department of life. Political power means capacity to regulate national life through national representatives. If national life becomes so perfect as to become self-regulated, no representation becomes necessary. There is then a state of enlightened anarchy. In such a state every one is his own ruler. He rules himself in such a manner that he is never a hindrance to his neighbour. In the ideal State, therefore, there is no political power because there is no State. But the ideal is never fully realized in life. Hence the classical statement of Thoreau that that government is best which governs the least.
I believe that true democracy can only be an outcome of non-violence.
http://www.indiaworld.co.in/subscribe/r ... aymkg.html
Unattributed statements on "power":
“Remember, privacy is a function of personal power. Nobody steals power, it is always given away. In other words power is given, not taken.”
"Power is given, not taken. Trust is gained, not asked for."
"Power is given, not taken, and there is no power that counts but the power of the soul.
That can only be lent."
I used to suffer along with millions of the people under the repressive regime of the past. I risked being thrown into jail for opposing them. I did not love power. But let me tell you, once the power slips away, you miss it.
~Lech Walesa, interview, "Jaruzelski Robbed Us of 10 Years of Democracy"
We turn a blind eye to what a great number of people are really striving for - power. In politics, in business, in religion, even in families, the number one objective is power. Not goodness. Not love. Power is the goal. And whenever goodness presents a challenge to power, power will make sure that goodness suffers, and if need be, dies.
~Fom A sermon preached by the Reverend Dr. Bob Robinson
Calvin Presbyterian Church, North Bay, Ontario
March 19, 2000
In the liberal culture, however, there is nothing sacred about power, which tends rather to be considered as possessing a diabolic nature; however it is composed and whatever its origins (political, economic, public or private), in the liberal culture Power is a danger to be restrained and limited. The liberal does not love power, not even his own (the use of which he considers more of a duty than a right); he does not believe in the Neapolitan proverb according to which it is better to exercise power than to make love, and for that reason prefers to enjoy life.
~From Rules and Politics, Halfway Liberals
The crisis of politics is a crisis of values.
Disarming our institutions won't do anyone any good
BY PIERO OSTELLINO
"And Power was with him in the night,
Which makes the darkness and the light,
And dwells not in the light alone,
But in the darkness and the cloud,
As over Sinais peaks of old,
While Israel made their gods of gold,
Altho the trumpet blew so loud."
~Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam