Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Embellish the soul with simplicity, with prudence, and everything which is neither virtuous nor vicious. Love all men. Walk according to God; for, as a poet hath said, his laws govern all." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Freedom does not consist in the dream of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives or systematically making them work towards definite ends. This holds good in relation both to the laws of external nature and to those which govern the bodily and mental existence of men themselves - two classes of laws which we can separate from each other at most only in thought but not in reality. Freedom of the will therefore means nothing but the capacity to make decisions with knowledge of the subject." - Friedrich Engels

"Two principles govern the moral and intellectual world. One is perpetual progress, the other the necessary limitations to that progress. If the former alone prevailed, there would be nothing steadfast and durable on earth, and the whole of social life would be the sport of winds and waves. If the alter had exclusive sway, or even if it obtained a mischievous preponderancy, every thing would petrify or rot. The best ages of the world are those in which these two principles are the most equally balanced. In such ages every enlightened man ought to adopt both principles, and with one hand develop what he can, with the other restrain and uphold what he ought." - Friedrich Gentz, aka Friedrich von Gentz

"Govern your passions or otherwise they will govern you." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Riches either serve or govern the possessor." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Who then is free? The wise man who can govern himself." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Curiosity, or the love of knowledge, has a very limited influence, and requires youth, leisure, education, genius and example to make it govern any person." - David Hume

"He who would govern his actions by the laws of virtue must regulate his thought by those of reason." -

"No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent." - Abraham Lincoln

"It is... most profitable to us in life to make perfect the intellect or reason as far as possible, and in this one thing consists the highest happiness or blessedness of man; for blessedness is nothing but the peace of mind which springs from the intuitive knowledge of God, and to perfect the intellect is nothing but to understand god, together with the attributes and actions of God, which flow from the necessity of His nature. The final aim, therefore, of a man who is guided by reason, that is to say, the chief desire by which he strives to govern all his other desires, is that by which he is led adequately to conceive himself and all things which can be conceived by his intelligence." -

"Men can govern anything more easily than their tongues." -

"Surely human affairs would be far happier if the power of men to be silent were the same as that to speak. But experience more than sufficiently teaches that men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more easily than their words." -

"The impotence of man to govern or restrain the affects I call bondage, for a man who is under their control is not his own master, but is mastered by fortune, in whose power he is, so that he is often forced to follow the worse, although he sees the better before him." -

"Passion and prejudice govern the world; only under the name of reason. It is our part, by religion and reason joined, to counteract them all we can." - John Wesley

"The super-businessmen have to a large extent failed to see that the need for morality in the people they practically govern is greater than ever, because social relations are infinitely more delicate and complex in adjustment than heretofore." - James R. Adams

"A wise man neither lets himself be governed, nor seeks to govern others; he wishes that reason should govern alone and always." - Jean de La Bruyère

"The happiness of every man depends on the harmony between the development of his various faculties and the entire system of circumstances which govern his life." - Auguste Comte, formally Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte

"You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose." - Mario Cuomo

"Children are very nice observers, and they will often perceive your slightest defects. In general, those who govern children forgive nothing in them but everything in themselves." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"What is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Laws are to govern all alike - those opposed as well as those who favor them. I know of no method to repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution." - Ulysses S. Grant, fully Ulysses Simpson Grant, born Hiram Ulysses Grant

"He that is to govern a whole nation must read in himself, not this or that particular man; but mankind." - Thomas Hobbes

"As the mind must govern the hands, so in every society the man of intelligence must direct the man of labor." -

"When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is despotism... No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent." - Abraham Lincoln

"Every one may begin a war at his pleasure, but cannot so finish it. A prince, therefore, before engaging in any enterprise, should well measure his strength, and govern himself accordingly." - Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

"Show is not substance; realities govern wise men." - William Penn

"The greatest business of a man is to improve his mind and govern his manners; all other projects and pursuits, whether in our power to compass or not, are only amusements." - Pliny the Younger, full name Casus Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo NULL

"Every physician knows, though metaphysicians know little about it, that the laws which govern the animal machine are as certain and invariable as those which guide the planetary system, and are as little within the control of the human being who is subject to them." - J (ohn) B (oynton) Priestley, Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) English Theologian, Philosopher or J (ohn) B (oynton) Priestly

"The greater a man is in power above others, the more he ought to excel them in virtue. None ought to govern who is not better than the governed." - Publius Syrus

"Custom and convention govern human activities." - Pyrrho (or Pyrrhon), aka Pyrrho of Elis NULL

"The way to subject all things to thyself is to subject thyself to reason; thou shalt govern many, if reason govern thee. Wouldst thou be crowned the monarch of a little world? command thyself." - Francis Quarles

"Syllables govern the world." - John Selden

"They who govern most make the least noise." -

"Men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more than their words." -

"Men would never be superstitious, if they could govern all their circumstances by set rules, or if they were always favored by fortune: but being frequently driven into straits where rules are useless, and being often kept fluctuating pitiably between hope and fear by the uncertainty of fortune’s greedily coveted favors, they are consequently, for the most part, very prone to credulity." -

"Surely human affairs would be far happier if the power of men to be silent were the same as that to speak. But experience more than sufficiently teaches that men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more easily than their words." -

"Despotism may govern without faith, but Liberty cannot." - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"Civilization consists in teaching men to govern themselves." - Benjamin Ricketson Tucker

"The heart commonly govern the head; and any strong passion, set the wrong way, will soon infatuate even the wisest of men; therefore the first part of wisdom is to watch the affections." - Daniel Cosgrove Waterland

"The essential problem is how to govern a large-scale world with small-scale minds." - Alfred Zimmern, fully Sir Alfred Eckhard Zimmern

"Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern but impossible to enslave." - Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux

"One cannot govern with “buts.”" -

"The wise man does not try to set up detailed systems. One uses what is right for today to govern th eworld of today, but this does not mean that it will be right for a later day." - Wang Fuzhi or Fu-chih or Fuchih, pseudonym Chuanshan, courtesy name Ernong

"It is earnestly desired that each man should be wise enough to govern himself without the intervention of any compulsory restraint; and, since government, even in its best state, is an evil, the object principally to be aimed at is that we should have as little of it as the general peace of human society permit." - William Godwin

"All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power. If you want to govern people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them." - Lao Tzu, ne Li Urh, also Laotse, Lao Tse, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laozi, Lao Zi, La-tsze

"No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other’s consent." - Abraham Lincoln

"What greater vanity can there be, than to go about by our proportions and conjectures to guess at God? And to govern both him, and the world according to our capacity and laws?" -

"The basic function of a myth is always to govern present action towards future hopes." - George Sawyer Pettee

"To govern is to educate." - Domingo Faustino Sarmiento