110+ Edmund Burke Quotes On Government, Conservatism And History

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Top 10 Edmund Burke Quotes (BEST)

  1. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
  2. Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
  3. The hottest fires in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis.
  4. Silence is golden but when it threatens your freedom it's yellow.
  5. It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.
  6. Mere parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy.
  7. When you fear something, learn as much about it as you can. Knowledge conquers fear.
  8. Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.
  9. The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.
  10. The Fate of good men who refuse to become involved in politics is to be ruled by evil men.

Edmund Burke Image Quotes

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 quote Our minds can be convinced, but our hearts must be won.
Our minds can be convinced, but our hearts must be won.
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To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely. — Edmund Burke

 quote The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men
The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
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To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. — Edmund Burke

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Passion for fame: A passion which is the instinct of all great souls. — Edmund Burke

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Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Short Quotes

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  • To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.
  • To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
  • Passion for fame: A passion which is the instinct of all great souls.
  • Our patience will achieve more than our force.
  • All men have equal rights, but not to equal things.
  • You can never plan the future by the past.
  • A State without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.
  • Society can overlook murder, adultery or swindling; it never forgives preaching of a new gospel.
  • Good order is the foundation of all things.
  • The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth.
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Edmund Burke Quotes On Government

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Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government. — Edmund Burke

I cannot help concurring with the opinion that an absolute democracy, no more than absolute monarchy, is to be reckoned among the legitimate forms of government. — Edmund Burke

Despots govern by terror. They know that he who fears God fears nothing else; and therefore they eradicate from the mind, through their Voltaire, their Helvetius, and the rest of that infamous gang, that only sort of fear which generates true courage. — Edmund Burke

There is but one law for all, namely that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity - the law of nature and of nations. — Edmund Burke

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

When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss cannot possibly be estimated. From that moment, we have no compass to govern us, nor can we know distinctly to what port to steer. — Edmund Burke

And having looked to Government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them. — Edmund Burke

Whenever government abandons law, it proclaims anarchy. — Edmund Burke

If any ask me what a free government is, I answer, that, for any practical purpose, it is what the people think so,and that they, and not I, are the natural, lawful, and competent judges of this matter. — Edmund Burke

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On History

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History is a pact between the dead, the living, and the yet unborn. — Edmund Burke

History consists, for the greater part, of the miseries brought upon the world by pride, ambition, avarice, revenge, lust, sedition, hypocrisy, ungoverned zeal, and all the train of disorderly appetite. — Edmund Burke

In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind. — Edmund Burke

He only deserves to be remembered by posterity who treasures up and preserves the history of his ancestors. — Edmund Burke

People will not look forward to posterity who will not look backward to their ancestors. — Edmund Burke

Many of the greatest tyrants on the records of history have begun their reigns in the fairest manner. But the truth is, this unnatural power corrupts both the heart and the understanding. — Edmund Burke

There was an ancient Roman lawyer, of great fame in the history of Roman jurisprudence, whom they called Cui Bono, from his having first introduced into judicial proceedings the argument, "What end or object could the party have had in the act with which he is accused." — Edmund Burke

Continue to instruct the world; and - whilst we carry on a poor unequal conflict with the passions and prejudices of our day, perhaps with no better weapons than other passions and prejudices of our own - convey wisdom to future generations. — Edmund Burke

All those instances to be found in history, whether real or fabulous, of a doubtful public spirit, at which morality is perplexed, reason is staggered, and from which affrighted Nature recoils, are their chosen and almost sole examples for the instruction of their youth. — Edmund Burke

When slavery is established in any part of the world, those who are free are by far the most proud and jealous of their freedom. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Freedom

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Freedom and not servitude is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy of superstition. — Edmund Burke

In a free country every man thinks he has a concern in all public matters,--that he has a right to form and a right to deliver an opinion on them. This it is that fills countries with men of ability in all stations. — Edmund Burke

General rebellions and revolts of a whole people never were encouraged now or at any time. They are always provoked. — Edmund Burke

Freedom without virtue is not freedom but license to pursue whatever passions prevail in the intemperate mind; man's right to freedom being in exact proportion to his willingness to put chains upon his own appetites; the less restraint from within, the more must be imposed from without. — Edmund Burke

A man is allowed sufficient freedom of thought, provided he knows how to choose his subject properly.... But the scene is changed as you come homeward, and atheism or treason may be the names given in Britain to what would be reason and truth if asserted in China. — Edmund Burke

To prove that the Americans ought not to be free, we are obliged to deprecate the value of freedom itself. — Edmund Burke

Depend upon it that the lovers of freedom will be free. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Law

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Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny. — Edmund Burke

We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature. — Edmund Burke

Religion, to have any force upon men's understandings,--indeed, to exist at all,--must be supposed paramount to law, and independent for its substance upon any human institution, else it would be the absurdest thing in the world,--an acknowledged cheat. — Edmund Burke

It is hard to say whether doctors of law or divinity have made the greater advances in the lucrative business of mystery. — Edmund Burke

In effect, to follow, not to force the public inclination; to give a direction, a form, a technical dress, and a specific sanction, to the general sense of the community, is the true end of legislature. — Edmund Burke

Law and arbitrary power are at eternal enmity. — Edmund Burke

Laws, like houses, lean on one another. — Edmund Burke

To execute laws is a royal office; to execute orders is not to be a king. However, a political executive magistracy, though merely such, is a great trust. — Edmund Burke

It is the function of a judge not to make but to declare the law, according to the golden mete-wand of the law and not by the crooked cord of discretion. — Edmund Burke

I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that in no branch of his business , after tracts of popular devotion, were so many books as those on the law exported to the Plantations . — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Sublime

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The truly sublime is always easy, and always natural. — Edmund Burke

The only kind of sublimity which a painter or sculptor should aim at is to express by certain proportions and positions of limbs and features that strength and dignity of mind, and vigor and activity of body, which enables men to conceive and execute great actions. — Edmund Burke

Magnificence is likewise a source of the sublime. A great profusion of things which are splendid or valuable in themselves is magnificent. The starry heaven, though it occurs so very frequently to our view, never fails to excite an idea of grandeur. — Edmund Burke

I know of nothing sublime which is not some modification of power. — Edmund Burke

One source of the sublime is infinity. — Edmund Burke

Nothing so effectually deadens the taste of the sublime as that which is light and radiant. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Human Nature

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Gambling is a principle inherent in human nature. — Edmund Burke

I own that there is a haughtiness and fierceness in human nature which will cause innumerable broils, place men in what situation you please. — Edmund Burke

Politics ought to be adjusted not to human reasonings but to human nature, of which reason is but a part and by no means the greatest part. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Political

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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. — Edmund Burke

Politics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement. — Edmund Burke

Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. — Edmund Burke

Prudence is not only the first in rank of the virtues political and moral, but she is the director and regulator, the standard of them all. — Edmund Burke

A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman. — Edmund Burke

It is better to cherish virtue and humanity, by leaving much to free will, even with some loss of the object , than to attempt to make men mere machines and instruments of political benevolence. The world on the whole will gain by a liberty, without which virtue cannot exist. — Edmund Burke

It is very rare, indeed, for men to be wrong in their feelings concerning public misconduct; as rare to be right in their speculations upon the cause of it. I have constantly observed that the generality of people are fifty years, at least, behind in their politics. — Edmund Burke

You had that action and counteraction which, in the natural and in the political world, from the reciprocal struggle of discordant powers draws out the harmony of the universe. — Edmund Burke

Circumstances give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind. — Edmund Burke

The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends the most to the perpetuation of society itself. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Reform

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To innovate is not to reform. — Edmund Burke

Evils we have had continually calling for reformation, and reformations more grievous than any evils. — Edmund Burke

The science of constructing a commonwealth, or renovating it, or reforming it, is, like every other experimental science, not to be taught a priori. Nor is it a short experience that can instruct us in that practical science, because the real effects of moral causes are not always immediate. — Edmund Burke

It is undoubtedly true, though it may seem paradoxical,--but, in general, those who are habitually employed in finding and displaying faults are unqualified for the work of reformation. — Edmund Burke

A nation without means of reform is without means of survival. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On People

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

People must be taken as they are, and we should never try make them or ourselves better by quarreling with them. — Edmund Burke

Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist. — Edmund Burke

Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver; and adulation is not of more service to the people than to kings. — Edmund Burke

When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people. — Edmund Burke

A people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood. — Edmund Burke

I venture to say no war can be long carried on against the will of the people. — Edmund Burke

It looks to me to be narrow and pedantic to apply the ordinary ideas of criminal justice to this great public contest. I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people. — Edmund Burke

A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors. — Edmund Burke

Not men but measures a sort of charm by which many people get loose from every honorable engagement. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Virtue

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Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites. — Edmund Burke

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. — Edmund Burke

Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy. If parsimony were to be considered as one of the kinds of that virtue, there is, however, another and a higher economy. Economy is a distinctive virtue, and consists not in saving, but in selection. — Edmund Burke

True humility-the basis of the Christian system-is the low but deep and firm foundation of all virtues. — Edmund Burke

The great must submit to the dominion of prudence and of virtue, or none will long submit to the dominion of the great. — Edmund Burke

Economy is a distributive virtue, and consists not in saving but selection. Parsimony requires no providence, no sagacity, no powers of combination, no comparison, no judgment. — Edmund Burke

Economy is a distributive virtue, and consists not in saving but in selection. — Edmund Burke

Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants. — Edmund Burke

Religion is for the man in humble life, and to raise his nature, and to put him in mind of a state in which the privileges of opulence will cease, when he will be equal by nature, and may be more than equal by virtue. — Edmund Burke

That cardinal virtue, temperance. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Liberty

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The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts. — Edmund Burke

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

The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please: we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations. — Edmund Burke

All that needs to be done for evil to prevail is good men doing nothing. — Edmund Burke

Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. — Edmund Burke

My vigour relents. I pardon something to the spirit of liberty. — Edmund Burke

Liberty must be limited in order to be possessed. — Edmund Burke

That the greatest security of the people, against the encroachments and usurpations of their superiors, is to keep the Spirit of Liberty constantly awake, is an undeniable truth. — Edmund Burke

Liberty, without wisdom, is license. — Edmund Burke

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites...Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Nation

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Education is the cheap defense of nations. — Edmund Burke

Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation.You choose a Member indeed; but when you have chosen him, heisnotthe Member for Bristol, but heisa Member of Parliament. — Edmund Burke

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

Parliament is a deliberate assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purpose, not local prejudices ought to guide but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. — Edmund Burke

There ought to be system of manners in every nation which a well-formed mind would be disposed to relish. To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely. — Edmund Burke

The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone! — Edmund Burke

A nation is not conquered which is perpetually to be conquered. — Edmund Burke

Spain: A whale stranded upon the coast of Europe. — Edmund Burke

Nothing less will content me, than wholeAmerica. — Edmund Burke

The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Quotes On Mind

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Superstition is the religion of feeble minds. — Edmund Burke

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. — Edmund Burke

The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity. — Edmund Burke

A great empire and little minds go ill together. — Edmund Burke

Writers, especially when they act in a body and with one direction, have great influence on the public mind. — Edmund Burke

It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters. — Edmund Burke

Good company, lively conversation, and the endearments of friendship fill the mind with great pleasure. — Edmund Burke

The march of the human mind is slow. — Edmund Burke

Some degree of novelty must be one of the materials in almost every instrument which works upon the mind; and curiosity blends itself, more or less, with all our pleasures. — Edmund Burke

The wise determine from the gravity of the case; the irritable, from sensibility to oppression; the high minded, from disdain and indignation at abusive power in unworthy hands. — Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke Famous Quotes And Sayings

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Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to anything but power for their relief. — Edmund Burke

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

But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. — Edmund Burke

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To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. — Edmund Burke

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Passion for fame: A passion which is the instinct of all great souls. — Edmund Burke

quote by Edmund Burke

Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government. — Edmund Burke

Old religious factions are volcanoes burned out; on the lava and ashes and squalid scoriae of old eruptions grow the peaceful olive, the cheering vine and the sustaining corn. — Edmund Burke

I dread our own power, and our own ambition; I dread our being too much dreaded... We may say that we shall not abuse this astonishing, and hitherto unheard-of-power. But every other nation will think we shall abuse it. It is impossible but that, sooner or later, this state of things must produce a combination against us which may end in our ruin. — Edmund Burke

There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief. — Edmund Burke

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing as they must if they believe they can do nothing. There is nothing worse because the council of despair is declaration of irresponsibility; it is Pilate washing his hands. — Edmund Burke

There is a boundary to men's passions when they act from feelings; but none when they are under the influence of imagination. — Edmund Burke

The religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principles of resistance: it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion. — Edmund Burke

He had no failings which were not owing to a noble cause; to an ardent, generous, perhaps an immoderate passion for fame; a passion which is the instinct of all great souls. — Edmund Burke

Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle. — Edmund Burke

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

Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan. We may as well think of rocking a grown man in the cradle of an infant. — Edmund Burke

They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance. — Edmund Burke

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

An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to be silent. — Edmund Burke

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed. — Edmund Burke

Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver. — Edmund Burke

All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust, and that they are to account for their conduct in that trust to the one great Master, Author, and Founder of society. — Edmund Burke

There is America, which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men and uncouth manners, yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world. — Edmund Burke

Fraud is the ready minister of injustice. — Edmund Burke

Applaud us when we run, Console us when we fall, Cheer us when we recover. — Edmund Burke

To complain of the age we live in, to murmur at the present possessors of power, to lament the past, to conceive extravagant hopes of the future, are the common dispositions of the greatest part of mankind. — Edmund Burke

I have not yet lost a feeling of wonder, and of delight, that the delicate motion should reside in all the things around us, revealing itself only to him who looks for it. — Edmund Burke

Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other. — Edmund Burke

Ambition can creep as well as soar. — Edmund Burke

The greatest sin is to do nothing because you can only do a little. — Edmund Burke

True religion is the foundation of society. When that is once shaken by contempt, the whole fabric cannot be stable nor lasting. — Edmund Burke

Beauty is the promise of happiness. — Edmund Burke

There is a courageous wisdom; there is also a false, reptile prudence, the result not of caution but of fear. — Edmund Burke

Free trade is not based on utility but on justice. — Edmund Burke

Who can know her, and himself, and entertain much hope? Who can see and know such a creature, and not love her to distraction? She has all the softness that does not imply weakness... she is not made to be the admiration of everybody, but the happiness of one. — Edmund Burke

Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none. — Edmund Burke

A populace never rebels from passion for attack, but from impatience of suffering. — Edmund Burke

We set ourselves to bite the hand that feeds us. — Edmund Burke

We must not always judge of the generality of the opinion by the noise of the acclamation. — Edmund Burke

The nerve that never relaxes, the eye that never blanches, the thought that never wanders, the purpose that never wavers - these are the masters of victory. — Edmund Burke

God has sometimes converted wickedness into madness; and it is to the credit of human reason that men who are not in some degree mad are never capable of being in the highest degree wicked. — Edmund Burke

Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair. — Edmund Burke

Next to love, Sympathy is the divinest passion of the human heart. — Edmund Burke

Under the pressure of the cares and sorrows of our mortal condition, men have at all times, and in all countries, called in some physical aid to their moral consolations - wine, beer, opium, brandy, or tobacco. — Edmund Burke

It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do. — Edmund Burke

Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference. — Edmund Burke

My good friends, while I do most earnestly recommend you to take care of your health and safety, as things most precious to us, I would not have that care degenerate into an effeminate and over-curious attention, which is always disgraceful to a man's self, and often troublesome to others. — Edmund Burke

Never, no never, did Nature say one thing, and wisdom another. — Edmund Burke

Circumspection and caution are part of wisdom. — Edmund Burke

Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all. — Edmund Burke

The greatest crimes do not arise from a want of feeling for others but from an over-sensibilit y for ourselves and an over-indulgence to our own desires — Edmund Burke

Between craft and credulity, the voice of reason is stifled. — Edmund Burke

The concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear. — Edmund Burke

Life Lessons by Edmund Burke

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  1. Edmund Burke taught that change should be gradual and thoughtful, not sudden and rash. He believed that society should be built on the foundation of tradition and the wisdom of the past.
  2. He stressed the importance of understanding the consequences of our actions, and of considering how our decisions will affect both present and future generations.
  3. He also believed in the power of education and reasoned debate to bring about positive change in society.

In Conclusion

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