Not to be loved is a misfortune, but it is an insult to be loved no longer.
– Charles de Secondat
There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.
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.
Weak minds exaggerate too much the wrong done to the Africans.
Men, who are rogues individually, are in the mass very honorable people.
Raillery is a mode of speaking in favor of one’s wit at the expense of one’s better nature.
Life was given to me as a favor, so I may abandon it when it is one no longer.
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.
Society is the union of men and not the men themselves.
There is only one thing that can form a bond between men, and that is gratitude… we cannot give someone else greater power over us than we have ourselves.
I have read descriptions of Paradise that would make any sensible person stop wanting to go there.
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.
Religious wars are not caused by the fact that there is more than one religion, but by the spirit of intolerance… the spread of which can only be regarded as the total eclipse of human reason.
Republics end through luxury; monarchies through poverty.
I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should appear like a fool but be wise.
The deterioration of a government begins almost always by the decay of its principles.
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.
Do you think that God will punish them for not practicing a religion which he did not reveal to them?
The success of most things depends upon knowing how long it will take to succeed.
The state of slavery is in its own nature bad.
A man should be mourned at his birth, not at his death.
You have to study a great deal to know a little.
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.
Happy the people whose annals are tiresome.
Liberty is the right of doing whatever the laws permit.
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.