But constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go.
An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.
Author: A fool who, not content with having bored those who have lived with him, insists on tormenting generations to come.
There are only two cases in which war is just: first, in order to resist the aggression of an enemy, and second, in order to help an ally who has been attacked.
Thus the creation, which seems an arbitrary act, supposes laws as invariable as those of the fatality of the Atheists. It would be absurd to say that the Creator might govern the world without those rules, since without them it could not subsist.
They who assert that a blind fatality produced the various effects we behold in this world talk very absurdly; for can anything be more unreasonable than to pretend that a blind fatality could be productive of intelligent beings?
Friendship is an arrangement by which we undertake to exchange small favors for big ones.
Each particular society begins to feel its strength, whence arises a state of war between different nations.
When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.
People here argue about religion interminably, but it appears that they are competing at the same time to see who can be the least devout.
Law in general is human reason, inasmuch as it governs all the inhabitants of the earth: the political and civil laws of each nation ought to be only the particular cases in which human reason is applied.
I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should appear like a fool but be wise.
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.
If I knew of something that could serve my nation but would ruin another, I would not propose it to my prince, for I am first a man and only then a Frenchman... because I am necessarily a man, and only accidentally am I French.
Slavery, properly so called, is the establishment of a right which gives to one man such a power over another as renders him absolute master of his life and fortune.
Although born in a prosperous realm, we did not believe that its boundaries should limit our knowledge, and that the lore of the East should alone enlighten us.
The deterioration of a government begins almost always by the decay of its principles.
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.
Weak minds exaggerate too much the wrong done to the Africans.
It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption.
It is always the adventurers who do great things, not the sovereigns of great empires.
The sublimity of administration consists in knowing the proper degree of power that should be exerted on different occasions.
To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.
Life was given to me as a favor, so I may abandon it when it is one no longer.