„Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.“

—  John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, Context: I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means. Letter http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1407&Itemid=283 to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), published in Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1907), edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Appendix, p. 504; also in Essays on Freedom and Power (1972) Paraphrased variant: All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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„Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat.“

—  John Lehman American banker and government official 1942
This quote is often misattributed to John Lehman, but it apparently was actually said by Donald Regan, President Reagan's chief of staff, to a 1987 Gridiron Dinner audience. http://www.johnflehman.com/books/books_makingwar_vulnerable.html

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„Immunity corrupts; absolute immunity corrupts absolutely.“

—  John W. Campbell American science fiction writer and editor 1910 - 1971
Editorial in Analog Science Fiction/Fact magazine (1970)<!-- More specific date of the issue would be helpful, if anyone can provide it. -->

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„Powerlessness corrupts: absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely.“

—  Rosabeth Moss Kanter American economist 1943
Slightly edited version of text in Men and Women of the Corporation, Basic Books, 1977

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„Mortal combat corrupts, and war corrupts absolutely.“

—  Poul Anderson American science fiction and fantasy writer 1926 - 2001
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„It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.“

—  Frank Herbert American writer 1920 - 1986
Context: All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted. Chapterhouse Dune (1985)

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„Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.“

—  John Steinbeck American writer 1902 - 1968
The Short Reign of Pippin IV (1957), p. 102

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