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Edmund Burke quotes

Edmund Burke was an Irish philosopher, political theorist and author. He was born on 12 January 1729 and was educated at Trinity College Dublin. He was elected as a member of the British parliament in 1765 and spent most of his life in London.

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Burke was one of the leading political thinkers of the day and wrote numerous essays and pamphlets on major issues. He supported the Americans in the War of Independence.

In a speech in the British parliament, he pleaded with King George III not impose taxes on the American colonists. In 1775, he pleaded with the king to seek reconciliation with the Americans but to no avail. The American War of Independence began a year later.

Edmund Burke quote. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.

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Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

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Our patience will achieve more than our force.

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Edmund Burke quote. You can never plan the future by the past. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

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Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.

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Edmund Burke quote. It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do, but what humanity, reason and justice tell me I ought to do. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.

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By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.

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Edmund Burke quote. Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Beauty is the promise of happiness.

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The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system, are wisely careful never to set up any of their own.

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Edmund Burke quote. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.

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The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.

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Edmund Burke quote. In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority.  Image copyright Ireland Calling

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But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

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Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist.

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Edmund Burke quote. The greater the power the more dangerous the abuse. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

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Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.

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Edmund Burke quote. To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Religion is essentially the art and the theory of the remaking of man. Man is not a finished creation.

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Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.

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He that struggles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

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Edmund Burke quote. People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Edmund Burke’s father was a Protestant and his mother was Catholic. Burke was brought up in the Church of Ireland and remained a Protestant all his life, although his political enemies often accused him of being a closet Catholic in an attempt to smear his name in 18th century England.

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In 1757, he married Jane Nugent, the daughter of a Catholic doctor who had treated him in England. They had one surviving son, named Richard.

Burke is remembered as a great political philosopher and the father of modern conservatism. He remains influential today and is one of the most quoted political writers of all time.

Quotes Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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