Citações John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

„In the Moral Sciences Prejudice is Dishonesty.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

Postscript of letter to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), puplished in Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1907), edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Appendix, p. 505 http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2201&chapter=203934&layout=html&Itemid=27
Contexto: ADVICE TO PERSONS ABOUT TO WRITE HISTORY — DON’T
In the Moral Sciences Prejudice is Dishonesty.
A Historian has to fight against temptations special to his mode of life, temptations from Country, Class, Church, College, Party, Authority of talents, solicitation of friends.
The most respectable of these influences are the most dangerous.
The historian who neglects to root them out is exactly like a juror who votes according to his personal likes or dislikes.
In judging men and things Ethics go before Dogma, Politics or Nationality. The Ethics of History cannot be denominational.
Judge not according to the orthodox standard of a system religious, philosophical, political, but according as things promote, or fail to promote the delicacy, integrity, and authority of Conscience.
Put conscience above both system and success.
History provides neither compensation for suffering nor penalties for wrong.

„In the height of their power the Romans became aware of a race of men that had not abdicated freedom in the hands of a monarch; and the ablest writer of the empire pointed to them with a vague and bitter feeling that, to the institutions of these barbarians, not yet crushed by despotism, the future of the world belonged.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: In the height of their power the Romans became aware of a race of men that had not abdicated freedom in the hands of a monarch; and the ablest writer of the empire pointed to them with a vague and bitter feeling that, to the institutions of these barbarians, not yet crushed by despotism, the future of the world belonged. Their kings, when they had kings, did not preside [at] their councils; they were sometimes elective; they were sometimes deposed; and they were bound by oath to act in obedience to the general wish. They enjoyed real authority only in war. This primitive Republicanism, which admits monarchy as an occasional incident, but holds fast to the collective supremacy of all free men, of the constituent authority over all constituted authorities, is the remote germ of parliamentary government.

„That men should understand that governments do not exist by divine right, and that arbitrary government is the violation of divine right, was no doubt the medicine suited to the malady under which Europe languished.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: That men should understand that governments do not exist by divine right, and that arbitrary government is the violation of divine right, was no doubt the medicine suited to the malady under which Europe languished. But although the knowledge of this truth might become an element of salutary destruction, it could give little aid to progress and reform. Resistance to tyranny implied no faculty of constructing a legal government in its place. Tyburn tree may be a useful thing; but it is better still that the offender should live for repentance and reformation. The principles which discriminate in politics between good and evil, and make states worthy to last, were not yet found.

„The clergy who had in so many ways served the cause of freedom during the prolonged strife against feudalism and slavery, were associated now with the interest of royalty.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: The way was paved for absolute monarchy to triumph over the spirit and institutions of a better age, not by isolated acts of wickedness, but by a studied philosophy of crime, and so thorough a perversion of the moral sense that the like of it had not been since the Stoics reformed the morality of paganism.
The clergy who had in so many ways served the cause of freedom during the prolonged strife against feudalism and slavery, were associated now with the interest of royalty.

„In gathering the materials of International law, he had to go beyond national treaties and denominational interests, for a principle embracing all mankind. The principles of law must stand, he said, even if we suppose that there is no God.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: The French philosopher Charron was one of the men least demoralised by party spirit, and least blinded by zeal for a cause. In a passage almost literally taken from St. Thomas, he describes our subordination under the law of nature, to which all legislation must conform; and he ascertains it not by the light of revealed religion, but by the voice of universal reason, through which God enlightens the consciences of men. Upon this foundation Grotius drew the lines of real political science. In gathering the materials of International law, he had to go beyond national treaties and denominational interests, for a principle embracing all mankind. The principles of law must stand, he said, even if we suppose that there is no God. By these inaccurate terms he meant that they must be found independently of Revelation. From that time it became possible to make politics a matter of principle and of conscience, so that men and nations differing in all other things could live in peace together, under the sanctions of a common law.

„The true democratic principle, that none shall have power over the people, is taken to mean that none shall be able to restrain or to elude its power. The true democratic principle, that the people shall not be made to do what it does not like, is taken to mean that it shall never be required to tolerate what it does not like. The true democratic principle, that every man‘s free will shall be as unfettered as possible, is taken to mean that the free will of the collective people shall be fettered in nothing.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

Review of Democracy in Europe (1878)
Contexto: The manifest, the avowed difficulty is that democracy, no less than monarchy or aristocracy, sacrifices everything to maintain itself, and strives, with an energy and a plausibility that kings and nobles cannot attain, to override representation, to annul all the forces of resistance and deviation, and to secure, by Plebiscite, Referendum, or Caucus, free play for the will of the majority. The true democratic principle, that none shall have power over the people, is taken to mean that none shall be able to restrain or to elude its power. The true democratic principle, that the people shall not be made to do what it does not like, is taken to mean that it shall never be required to tolerate what it does not like. The true democratic principle, that every man‘s free will shall be as unfettered as possible, is taken to mean that the free will of the collective people shall be fettered in nothing. Religious toleration, judicial independence, dread of centralisation, jealousy of State interference, become obstacles to freedom instead of safeguards, when the centralised force of the State is wielded by the hands of the people. Democracy claims to be not only supreme, without authority above, but absolute, without independence below; to be its own master, not a trustee. The old sovereigns of the world are exchanged for a new one, who may be flattered and deceived, but whom it is impossible to corrupt or to resist, and to whom must be rendered the things that are Caesar's and also the things that are God’s. The enemy to be overcome is no longer the absolutism of the State, but the liberty of the subject. Nothing is more significant than the relish with which Ferrari, the most powerful democratic writer since Rousseau, enumerates the merits of tyrants, and prefers devils to saints in the interest of the community.
For the old notions of civil liberty and of social order did not benefit the masses of the people. Wealth increased, without relieving their wants. The progress of knowledge left them in abject ignorance. Religion flourished, but failed to reach them. Society, whose laws were made by the upper class alone, announced that the best thing for the poor is not to be born, and the next best to die in childhood, and suffered them to live in misery and crime and pain. As surely as the long reign of the rich has been employed in promoting the accumulation of wealth, the advent of the poor to power will be followed by schemes for diffusing it. Seeing how little was done by the wisdom of former times for education and public health, for insurance, association, and savings, for the protection of labour against the law of self-interest, and how much has been accomplished in this generation, there is reason in the fixed belief that a great change was needed, and that democracy has not striven in vain. Liberty, for the mass, is not happiness; and institutions are not an end but a means. The thing they seek is a force sufficient to sweep away scruples and the obstacle of rival interests, and, in some degree, to better their condition. They mean that the strong hand that heretofore has formed great States, protected religions, and defended the independence of nations, shall help them by preserving life, and endowing it for them with some, at least, of the things men live for. That is the notorious danger of modern democracy. That is also its purpose and its strength. And against this threatening power the weapons that struck down other despots do not avail. The greatest happiness principle positively confirms it. The principle of equality, besides being as easily applied to property as to power, opposes the existence of persons or groups of persons exempt from the common law, and independent of the common will; and the principle, that authority is a matter of contract, may hold good against kings, but not against the sovereign people, because a contract implies two parties.

„It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Antiquity (1877)
Contexto: It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist. But from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason.

„Put conscience above both system and success.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

Postscript of letter to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), puplished in Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1907), edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Appendix, p. 505 http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2201&chapter=203934&layout=html&Itemid=27
Contexto: ADVICE TO PERSONS ABOUT TO WRITE HISTORY — DON’T
In the Moral Sciences Prejudice is Dishonesty.
A Historian has to fight against temptations special to his mode of life, temptations from Country, Class, Church, College, Party, Authority of talents, solicitation of friends.
The most respectable of these influences are the most dangerous.
The historian who neglects to root them out is exactly like a juror who votes according to his personal likes or dislikes.
In judging men and things Ethics go before Dogma, Politics or Nationality. The Ethics of History cannot be denominational.
Judge not according to the orthodox standard of a system religious, philosophical, political, but according as things promote, or fail to promote the delicacy, integrity, and authority of Conscience.
Put conscience above both system and success.
History provides neither compensation for suffering nor penalties for wrong.

„ADVICE TO PERSONS ABOUT TO WRITE HISTORY — DON’T“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

Postscript of letter to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), puplished in Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1907), edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Appendix, p. 505 http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2201&chapter=203934&layout=html&Itemid=27
Contexto: ADVICE TO PERSONS ABOUT TO WRITE HISTORY — DON’T
In the Moral Sciences Prejudice is Dishonesty.
A Historian has to fight against temptations special to his mode of life, temptations from Country, Class, Church, College, Party, Authority of talents, solicitation of friends.
The most respectable of these influences are the most dangerous.
The historian who neglects to root them out is exactly like a juror who votes according to his personal likes or dislikes.
In judging men and things Ethics go before Dogma, Politics or Nationality. The Ethics of History cannot be denominational.
Judge not according to the orthodox standard of a system religious, philosophical, political, but according as things promote, or fail to promote the delicacy, integrity, and authority of Conscience.
Put conscience above both system and success.
History provides neither compensation for suffering nor penalties for wrong.

„No obstacle has been so constant, or so difficult to overcome, as uncertainty and confusion touching the nature of true liberty.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Antiquity (1877)
Contexto: No obstacle has been so constant, or so difficult to overcome, as uncertainty and confusion touching the nature of true liberty. If hostile interests have wrought much injury, false ideas have wrought still more; and its advance is recorded in the increase of knowledge, as much as in the improvement of laws.<!--p.2

„The idea that the ends of government justify the means employed, was worked into system by Machiavelli.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: The idea that the ends of government justify the means employed, was worked into system by Machiavelli. He was an acute politician, sincerely anxious that the obstacles to the intelligent government of Italy should be swept away. It appeared to him that the most vexatious obstacle to intellect is conscience, and that the vigorous use of statecraft necessary for the success of difficult schemes would never be made if governments allowed themselves to be hampered by the precepts of the copy-book.
His audacious doctrine was avowed in the succeeding age, by men whose personal character otherwise stood high. They saw that in critical times good men have seldom strength for their goodness, and yield to those who have grasped the meaning of the maxim that you cannot make an omelette if you are afraid to break the eggs. They saw that public morality differs from private, because no government can turn the other cheek, or can admit that mercy is better than justice. And they could not define the difference, or draw the limits of exception; or tell what other standard for a nation’s acts there is than the judgment which heaven pronounces in this world by success.

„When the last of the Reformers died, religion, instead of emancipating the nations, had become an excuse for the criminal art of despots. Calvin preached, and Bellarmine lectured; but Machiavelli reigned.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: John Knox thought that every Catholic in Scotland ought to be put to death; and no man ever had disciples of a sterner or more relentless temper. But his counsel was not followed.
All through the religious conflict, policy kept the upper hand. When the last of the Reformers died, religion, instead of emancipating the nations, had become an excuse for the criminal art of despots. Calvin preached, and Bellarmine lectured; but Machiavelli reigned.

„From that time it became possible to make politics a matter of principle and of conscience, so that men and nations differing in all other things could live in peace together, under the sanctions of a common law.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: The French philosopher Charron was one of the men least demoralised by party spirit, and least blinded by zeal for a cause. In a passage almost literally taken from St. Thomas, he describes our subordination under the law of nature, to which all legislation must conform; and he ascertains it not by the light of revealed religion, but by the voice of universal reason, through which God enlightens the consciences of men. Upon this foundation Grotius drew the lines of real political science. In gathering the materials of International law, he had to go beyond national treaties and denominational interests, for a principle embracing all mankind. The principles of law must stand, he said, even if we suppose that there is no God. By these inaccurate terms he meant that they must be found independently of Revelation. From that time it became possible to make politics a matter of principle and of conscience, so that men and nations differing in all other things could live in peace together, under the sanctions of a common law.

„That is the notorious danger of modern democracy. That is also its purpose and its strength.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

Review of Democracy in Europe (1878)
Contexto: The manifest, the avowed difficulty is that democracy, no less than monarchy or aristocracy, sacrifices everything to maintain itself, and strives, with an energy and a plausibility that kings and nobles cannot attain, to override representation, to annul all the forces of resistance and deviation, and to secure, by Plebiscite, Referendum, or Caucus, free play for the will of the majority. The true democratic principle, that none shall have power over the people, is taken to mean that none shall be able to restrain or to elude its power. The true democratic principle, that the people shall not be made to do what it does not like, is taken to mean that it shall never be required to tolerate what it does not like. The true democratic principle, that every man‘s free will shall be as unfettered as possible, is taken to mean that the free will of the collective people shall be fettered in nothing. Religious toleration, judicial independence, dread of centralisation, jealousy of State interference, become obstacles to freedom instead of safeguards, when the centralised force of the State is wielded by the hands of the people. Democracy claims to be not only supreme, without authority above, but absolute, without independence below; to be its own master, not a trustee. The old sovereigns of the world are exchanged for a new one, who may be flattered and deceived, but whom it is impossible to corrupt or to resist, and to whom must be rendered the things that are Caesar's and also the things that are God’s. The enemy to be overcome is no longer the absolutism of the State, but the liberty of the subject. Nothing is more significant than the relish with which Ferrari, the most powerful democratic writer since Rousseau, enumerates the merits of tyrants, and prefers devils to saints in the interest of the community.
For the old notions of civil liberty and of social order did not benefit the masses of the people. Wealth increased, without relieving their wants. The progress of knowledge left them in abject ignorance. Religion flourished, but failed to reach them. Society, whose laws were made by the upper class alone, announced that the best thing for the poor is not to be born, and the next best to die in childhood, and suffered them to live in misery and crime and pain. As surely as the long reign of the rich has been employed in promoting the accumulation of wealth, the advent of the poor to power will be followed by schemes for diffusing it. Seeing how little was done by the wisdom of former times for education and public health, for insurance, association, and savings, for the protection of labour against the law of self-interest, and how much has been accomplished in this generation, there is reason in the fixed belief that a great change was needed, and that democracy has not striven in vain. Liberty, for the mass, is not happiness; and institutions are not an end but a means. The thing they seek is a force sufficient to sweep away scruples and the obstacle of rival interests, and, in some degree, to better their condition. They mean that the strong hand that heretofore has formed great States, protected religions, and defended the independence of nations, shall help them by preserving life, and endowing it for them with some, at least, of the things men live for. That is the notorious danger of modern democracy. That is also its purpose and its strength. And against this threatening power the weapons that struck down other despots do not avail. The greatest happiness principle positively confirms it. The principle of equality, besides being as easily applied to property as to power, opposes the existence of persons or groups of persons exempt from the common law, and independent of the common will; and the principle, that authority is a matter of contract, may hold good against kings, but not against the sovereign people, because a contract implies two parties.

„Where the division of property and labour is incomplete there is little division of classes and of power. Until societies are tried by the complex problems of civilisation they may escape despotism, as societies that are undisturbed by religious diversity avoid persecution.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Antiquity (1877)
Contexto: [L]liberty is ancient, and it is despotism that is new.... The heroic age of Greece confirms it, and it is still more conspicuously true of Teutonic Europe.... They exhibit some sense of common interest in common concerns, little reverence for external authority, and an imperfect sense of the function and supremacy of the State. Where the division of property and labour is incomplete there is little division of classes and of power. Until societies are tried by the complex problems of civilisation they may escape despotism, as societies that are undisturbed by religious diversity avoid persecution.<!--pp. 5-6

„I have reached the end of my time, and have hardly come to the beginning of my task.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: I have reached the end of my time, and have hardly come to the beginning of my task. In the ages of which I have spoken, the history of freedom was the history of the thing that was not. But since the Declaration of Independence, or, to speak more justly, since the Spaniards, deprived of their king, made a new government for themselves, the only known forms of Liberty, Republics and Constitutional Monarchy, have made their way over the world.

„Atrocious deeds were done, in which religious passion was often the instrument, but policy was the motive.
Fanaticism displays itself in the masses; but the masses were rarely fanaticised; and the crimes ascribed to it were commonly due to the calculations of dispassionate politicians.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: Nations eagerly invested their rulers with every prerogative needed to preserve their faith, and all the care to keep Church and State asunder, and to prevent the confusion of their powers, which had been the work of ages, was renounced in the intensity of the crisis. Atrocious deeds were done, in which religious passion was often the instrument, but policy was the motive.
Fanaticism displays itself in the masses; but the masses were rarely fanaticised; and the crimes ascribed to it were commonly due to the calculations of dispassionate politicians.

„The way was paved for absolute monarchy to triumph over the spirit and institutions of a better age, not by isolated acts of wickedness, but by a studied philosophy of crime“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Christianity (1877)
Contexto: The way was paved for absolute monarchy to triumph over the spirit and institutions of a better age, not by isolated acts of wickedness, but by a studied philosophy of crime, and so thorough a perversion of the moral sense that the like of it had not been since the Stoics reformed the morality of paganism.
The clergy who had in so many ways served the cause of freedom during the prolonged strife against feudalism and slavery, were associated now with the interest of royalty.

„A generous spirit prefers that his country should be poor, and weak, and of no account, but free, rather than powerful, prosperous, and enslaved.“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Antiquity (1877)
Contexto: Increase of freedom in the state may sometimes promote mediocrity, and give vitality to prejudice; it may even retard useful legislation, diminish the capacity for war, and restrict the boundaries of Empire... A generous spirit prefers that his country should be poor, and weak, and of no account, but free, rather than powerful, prosperous, and enslaved. It is better to be the citizen of a humble commonwealth in the Alps, without a prospect of influence beyond the narrow frontier, than a subject of a superb autocracy that overshadows half of Asia and of Europe.

„Liberty, next to religion has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime“

—  John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

The History of Freedom in Antiquity (1877)
Contexto: Liberty, next to religion has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime, from the sowing of the seed at Athens, two thousand four hundred and sixty years ago, until the ripened harvest was gathered by men of our race.<!--p. 1

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