1826-1877, British Economist, Critic
A bureaucracy is sure to think that its duty is to augment official power, official business, or official members, rather than to leave free the energies of mankind; it overdoes the quantity of government, as well as impairs its quality. The truth is, that a skilled bureaucracy is, though it boasts of an appearance of science, quite inconsistent with the true principles of the art of business.
Walter Bagehot – [Bureaucracy]
A constitutional statesman is in general a man of common opinions and uncommon abilities.
Walter Bagehot – [Politicians and Politics]
A family on the throne is an interesting idea. It brings down the pride of sovereignty to the level of petty life.
Walter Bagehot – [Royalty]
A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
Walter Bagehot – [Pleasure]
A princely marriage is the brilliant edition of a universal fact, and, as such, it rivets mankind.
Walter Bagehot – [Weddings]
A schoolmaster should have an atmosphere of awe, and walk wonderingly, as if he was amazed at being himself.
Walter Bagehot – [Teachers and Teaching]
A severe though not unfriendly critic of our institutions said that the cure for admiring the House of Lords was to go and look at it.
Walter Bagehot – [Parliament]
A slight daily unconscious luxury is hardly ever wanting to the dwellers in civilization; like the gentle air of a genial climate, it is a perpetual minute enjoyment.
Walter Bagehot – [Luxury]
An ambassador is not simply an agent; he is also a spectacle.
Walter Bagehot – [Diplomacy]
An element of exaggeration clings to the popular judgment: great vices are made greater, great virtues greater also; interesting incidents are made more interesting, softer legends more soft.
Walter Bagehot – [Exaggeration]
An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.
Walter Bagehot – [Silence]
Conquest is the missionary of valor, and the hard impact of military virtues beats meanness out of the world.
Walter Bagehot – [Conquest]
History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.
Walter Bagehot – [Third World]
In every particular state of the world, those nations which are strongest tend to prevail over the others; and in certain marked peculiarities the strongest tend to be the best.
Walter Bagehot – [Nations]
It is often said that men are ruled by their imaginations; but it would be truer to say they are governed by the weakness of their imaginations.
Walter Bagehot – [Government]
Men who do not make advances to women are apt to become victims to women who make advances to them.
Walter Bagehot – [Men and Women]
One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.
Walter Bagehot – [Innovation]
Our law very often reminds one of those outskirts of cities where you cannot for a long time tell how the streets come to wind about in so capricious and serpent-like a manner. At last it strikes you that they grew up, house by house, on the devious tracks of the old green lanes; and if you follow on to the existing fields, you may often find the change half complete.
Walter Bagehot – [Law and Lawyers]
Poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.
Walter Bagehot – [Poverty and The Poor]
Progress would not have been the rarity it is if the early food had not been the late poison.
Walter Bagehot – [Progress]