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

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Quotes by Charles de Montesquieu

  1. A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.
  2. An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.
  3. An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war.
  4. Author: A fool who, not content with having bored those who have lived with him, insists on tormenting generations to come.
  5. Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free.
  6. 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.
  7. Friendship is an arrangement by which we undertake to exchange small favors for big ones.
  8. I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should seem a fool, but be wise.
  9. I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.
  10. If the triangles made a god, they would give him three sides.
  11. If triangles had a god, they would give him three sides.
  12. 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.
  13. In most things success depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.
  14. In the infancy of societies, the chiefs of state shape its institutions; later the institutions shape the chiefs of state.
  15. It is always the adventurers who do great things, not the sovereigns of great empires.
  16. It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption.
  17. Laws undertake to punish only overt acts.
  18. Liberty is the right to do what the law permits.
  19. Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half.
  20. Luxury ruins republics; poverty, monarchies.
  21. Men should be bewailed at their birth, and not at their death.
  22. No kingdom has shed more blood than the kingdom of Christ.
  23. Peace is a natural effect of trade.
  24. Success in the majority of circumstances depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.
  25. Talent is a gift which God has given us secretly, and which we reveal without perceiving it.
  26. The less men think, the more they talk.
  27. The reason the Romans built their great paved highways was because they had such inconvenient footwear.
  28. The severity of the laws prevents their execution.
  29. The spirit of moderation should also be the spirit of the lawgiver.
  30. The sublimity of administration consists in knowing the proper degree of power that should be exerted on different occasions.
  31. 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.
  32. There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.
  33. There is no nation so powerful, as the one that obeys its laws not from principals of fear or reason, but from passion.
  34. 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.
  35. There should be weeping at a man’s birth, not at his death.
  36. To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.
  37. To love to read is to exchange hours of ennui for hours of delight.
  38. Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.
  39. We must have constantly present in our minds the difference between independence and liberty. Liberty is a right of doing whatever the laws permit, and if a citizen could do what they forbid he would no longer be possessed of liberty.
  40. We should weep for men at their birth, not at their death.
  41. What orators lack in depth they make up for in length.