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A basic truth, law, force, or belief.

“There is probably no direct way to get in touch with our inner selves or to seek out satisfaction and happiness.  It’s best to live by sound principles – honesty, courage, liberty, and love – and then to await what unfolds.  When, inevitably, we go astray for a time, we must return, once again, to living by the principles we cherish.  The formula isn’t all that difficult to understand;  applying it is the work of a lifetime.”

Peter R. Breggin (1936 -).  The Heart of Being Helpful: Empathy and the Creation of a Healing Presence, 13, 1997

“Expedients are for the hour, but principles are for the ages.”

Henry Ward Beecher (1813 – 1887). “Morals,” Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, ed. William Drysdale, 1887

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 – 1969).  First Inaugural Address, 20 January 1953

“To have doubted one’s own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841 – 1935).  “Ideals and Doubts,” Illinois Law Review, May 1915

“Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.”

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865). Last public address, Washington, 11 April 1865

“A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man … [H]is good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.”

Machiavelli (1469 – 1527).  The Discources, 3.1, 1517, tr. Christian E. Detmold, 1940

“The citizen is influenced by principle in direct proportion to his distance from the political situation.”

Milton Rakove. Stating “Rakove’s law of principle and politics.” In Virginia Quarterly Review, vol. 41, 1965

“All the great things of humanity have been accomplished in the name of absolute principles.”

Ernest Renan (1823 – 1892). The Life of Jesus, 20, 1863, Modern Library edition, 1927






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