Quotations about   office

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Every time I fill a vacant office I make a hundred malcontents and one ingrate.

Louis XIV (1638-1715) French monarch (1643-1715) [Louis the Great, the Sun King)
(Attributed)

Quoted in Voltaire, The Age of Louis XIV, ch. 26 (1751).
Added on 27-May-20 | Last updated 27-May-20
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When you get to be President, there are all those things, the honors, the twenty-one gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency.

Harry S Truman (1884-1972) US President (1945-1953)
In Merle Miller, Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman, ch. 15 (1973)
Added on 31-May-16 | Last updated 31-May-16
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It is not titles that honor men, but men honor the titles.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses on Livy, Book 3, ch. 38 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1882)]
Added on 4-Apr-14 | Last updated 27-Jan-20
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A man should say, I am not concerned that I have no place, I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be known.

Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese philosopher [Ku'ng Ch'iu / King Qiu, Ku'ng Fu-tzu / Kong Fuzi]
The Analects [Lun Yü], 4.14 (6th C. BC) [ed. Lao-Tse; tr. Legge (1930)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Do not worry if you are without a position; worry lest you do not deserve a position. Do not worry if you are not famous; worry let you do not deserve to be famous." [tr. Leys (1997)]
  • "Do not worry that you have no official position. Worry about not having the qualifications to deserve a position. Do not worry that others do not know you. seek to be worthy of being known." [tr. Chin (2014)]
  • "Do not worry about having no office; rather, worry about whether you deserve to stand in that office. Do not worry about nobody knowing you; rather, seek to be worth knowing." [tr. Huang (1997)]
Added on 19-Mar-10 | Last updated 22-Jun-20
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I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. All 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.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
Letter to Bp. Mandell Creighton (3 Apr 1887)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

There is an alternate, probably spurious version of this quote, for which I have been unable to find an actual citation (except where it is mis-cited to this letter to Bp. Creighton): "And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." As the word "gangster" has only been traced back to 1886, and that in the US, its use by Acton (esp. in a modern sense) seems unlikely.
Added on 16-Oct-07 | Last updated 30-Apr-20
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