quotations about principles
Expedients are for the hour, but principles are for the ages.
HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit
He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own.
Even an evil man can have principles--he can be true to his own evil, which is not always so easy.
NORMAN MAILER, The Paris Review, winter-spring 1964
Principles have no real force except when one is well fed.
MARK TWAIN, Adam's Diary
Many frequently change their principles, but seldom their practices.
NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections
Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything which was. It not only divides States and churches, it divides families; ay, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.
HENRY DAVID THOREAU, "Resistance to Civil Government"
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1953
A principle that can't bear being laughed at, frowned on, and cold-shouldered, isn't worthy of the name.
LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, An Old-Fashioned Girl
It is, methinks, worthy the curiosity of a nice observer of human nature, to watch the course of a principle in the mind, and mark its various effects; now cherishing a virtue, now a vice; now establishing order, and now inclining to irregularity: to trace it like a stream from a source, through all its windings; each of which, those who see but a part, distinguish by a different name, and suppose to be fed by a different spring.
FULKE GREVILLE, Maxims, Characters and Reflections
Learn the principles, abide by the principles, and then dissolve the principles.
BRUCE LEE, Bruce Lee: Artist of Life
We speak of being anchored to our principles. But if the weather turns nasty you up with an anchor and let it down where there's less wind, and the fishing's better.
ROBERT BOLT, A Man for All Seasons
The problem was not that they failed to find these principles written upon their hearts, but that they could not bring themselves to attend closely to the inscription.
J. BUDZISZEWSKI, What We Can't Not Know: A Guide
There are no principles, only events; there are no laws, only circumstances: a superior man espouses events and circumstances the better to influence them. If fixed principles and laws really existed, countries wouldn't change them as often as we change shirts. One man can't be expected to show more sense than an entire nation.
HONORE DE BALZAC, Father Goriot
A precedent embalms a principle.
BENJAMIN DISRAELI, speech on the Expenditures of the Country, February 22, 1848
We talk on principle, but we act on interest.
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR, Imaginary Conversations of Literary Men and Statesmen
I think all theories are suspect, that the finest principles may have to be modified, or may even be pulverized by the demands of life, and that one must find, therefore, one's own moral center and move through the world hoping that this center will guide one aright.
JAMES BALDWIN, Notes of a Native Son
The principle gives birth to the rule; the motive may justify the exception.
AUGUSTUS WILLIAM HARE, Guesses at Truth
Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor ... If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?
CHARLOTTE BRONTË, Jane Eyre
Principles don't change, people do.
CARLOS WALLACE, Life Is Not Complicated -- You Are
A man with honest principles and a good conscience, is invulnerable against the attacks of treachery and deception.
JAMES ELLIS, attributed, Day's Collacon