William Godwin

William Godwin
William Godwin
  • Born: March 3, 1756
  • Died: April 7, 1836
  • Nationality: English
  • Profession: Writer









William Godwin was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism and the first modern proponent of anarchism. Godwin is most famous for two books that he published within the space of a year: An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, an attack on political institutions, and Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, an early mystery novel which attacks aristocratic privilege. Based on the success of both, Godwin featured prominently in the radical circles of London in the 1790s. He wrote prolifically in the genres of novels, history and demography throughout his lifetime.

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Anonymous Father of anarchism
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A national education ought uniformly to be discouraged, on account of its obvious alliance with national government. This is an alliance of a more formidable nature than the old and much contested alliance of church and state. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
All men are fallible; no man can be justified in setting up his judgment as a standard for others. We have no infallible judge of controversies; each man in his own apprehension is right in his decisions; and we can find no satisfactory mode of adjusting their jarring pretensions. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
An attempt to scrutinize men’s thoughts and punish their opinions is of all kinds of despotism the most odious: yet this is peculiarly character of a period of revolution.... There is no period more at war with the existence of liberty. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Every man has a certain sphere of discretion which he has a right to expect shall not be infringed by his neighbours. This right flows from the very nature of man. Nature ;Poverty
Government is nothing but regulated force; force is its appropriate claim upon your attention Miscellaneous
He has no right to his life when his duty calls him to resign it. Other men are bound ... to deprive him of life or liberty, if that should appear in any case to be indispensably necessary to prevent a greater evil. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
If government be founded in the consent of the people, it can have no power over any individual by whom that consent is refused. Miscellaneous
It is in the disposition and view of the mind, and not in the good which may accidentally and unintentionally result, that virtue consists Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It is yours [the state’s right] to shackle the body, and restrain our external actions; that is a restraint we understand. Announce your penalties, and we will make our election of submission or suffering. But do not seek to enslave our minds. Freedom & Liberty
Make men wise, and by that very operation you make them free. Civil liberty follows as a consequence of this; … Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
No usurped power can stand against the artillery of opinion. Public Opinion & Polling
Power is not happiness. Power
Revolution is engendered by an indignation with tyranny, yet is itself pregnant with tyranny Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Since government, even in its best state is an evil, the object principally to be aimed at is that we should have as little of it as the general peace of human society will permit. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The prosperity of all is the interest of all. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The thing really to be desired is the removing as much as possible arbitrary distinctions [titles and nobility], and leaving to talents and virtue the field of exertion unimpaired Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
to a rational being there is but one rule of conduct, justice Justice & Injustice
We cannot perform our tasks to the best of our power, unless we think well of our own capacity. Power ;Human Nature
Above all we should not forget that government is an evil, a usurpation upon the private judgement and individual conscience of mankind. Government
As the true object of education is not to render the pupil the mere copy of his preceptor, it is rather to be rejoiced in, than lamented, that various reading should lead him into new trains of thinking. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
But the watchful care of the parent is endless. The youth is never free from the danger of grating interference.
Everything understood by the term co-operation is in some sense an evil.
God himself has no right to be a tyrant. Religion & God
Government will not fail to employ education, to strengthen its hands, and perpetuate its institutions. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Government
He has no right to his life when his duty calls him to resign it. Other men are bound... to deprive him of life or liberty, if that should appear in any case to be indispensably necessary to prevent a greater evil. Life
He that loves reading has everything within his reach. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
If a thing be really good, it can be shown to be such.
If he who employs coercion against me could mould me to his purposes by argument, no doubt he would. He pretends to punish me because his argument is strong; but he really punishes me because his argument is weak.
In cases where every thing is understood, and measured, and reduced to rule, love is out of the question. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
It is probable that there is no one thing that it is of eminent importance for a child to learn.
Justice is the sum of all moral duty.
Learning is the ally, not the adversary of genius... he who reads in a proper spirit, can scarcely read too much. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Let us not, in the eagerness of our haste to educate, forget all the ends of education. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Make men wise, and by that very operation you make them free. Civil liberty follows as a consequence of this; no usurped power can stand against the artillery of opinion. Power
Man is the only creature we know, that, when the term of his natural life is ended, leaves the memory of himself behind him. Life
My thoughts will be taken up with the future or the past, with what is to come or what has been. Of the present there is necessarily no image. Future
One of the prerogatives by which man is eminently distinguished from all other living beings inhabiting this globe of earth, consists in the gift of reason.
Perseverance is an active principle, and cannot continue to operate but under the influence of desire.
Revolution is engendered by an indignation with tyranny, yet is itself pregnant with tyranny.
Revolutions are the produce of passion, not of sober and tranquil reason.
Study with desire is real activity; without desire it is but the semblance and mockery of activity.
The cause of justice is the cause of humanity. Its advocates should overflow with universal good will. We should love this cause, for it conduces to the general happiness of mankind. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Happiness & Unhappiness
The diligent scholar is he that loves himself, and desires to have reason to applaud and love himself. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
The execution of any thing considerable implies in the first place previous persevering meditation.
The great model of the affection of love in human beings is the sentiment which subsists between parents and children. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
The lessons of their early youth regulated the conduct of their riper years.
The philosophy of the wisest man that ever existed, is mainly derived from the act of introspection.
The proper method for hastening the decay of error is by teaching every man to think for himself.
The real or supposed rights of man are of two kinds, active and passive; the right in certain cases to do as we list; and the right we possess to the forbearance or assistance of other men.
There can be no passion, and by consequence no love, where there is not imagination. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
There is reverence that we owe to everything in human shape.
There must be room for the imagination to exercise its powers; we must conceive and apprehend a thousand things which we do not actually witness.
They held it their duty to live but for their country.
To him it is an ocean, unfathomable, and without a shore.
What can be more clear and sound in explanation, than the love of a parent to his child? Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
What indeed is life, unless so far as it is enjoyed? It does not merit the name. Life

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