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.
Source: Lord Acton, as quoted in Lord Acton, Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence (London: Macmillan, 1907).
Daily Dabble in the Classics is a project of Steve Farrell and The Moral Liberal. Visit our Daily Dabble in the Classics Library.
The Moral Liberal recommends: Essays in Religion, Politics, and Morality (Selected Writings of Lord Acton)