Absolute power corrupts absolutely

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Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Prov. One who has total authority is very likely to abuse his position. (This phrase was used by the British historian Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.") We thought that Johnson would be a responsible mayor, but within a year of taking office, he was as bad as all the rest. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
See also: absolutely, power
References in classic literature ?
But I was soon informed, both by conversation and reading their histories; for, in the course of many ages, they have been troubled with the same disease to which the whole race of mankind is subject; the nobility often contending for power, the people for liberty, and the king for absolute dominion.
The one would have a qualified negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an absolute negative.
Why, that's altered into 'shall be at the absolute disposal of the Vice-Warden'
At this instant I again had a distinct view of the monster- to which, with a shout of absolute terror, I now directed his attention.
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
The carriage drew up at the theatre and he handed her out - a little awkwardly perhaps, but without absolute clumsiness.
The two great English-speaking nations appeared finally to have realized the absolute folly of continual disputes between countries whose destiny and ideals were so completely in accord and whose interests were, in the main, identical.
Turning to the second page of the Trial, I found a Note, assuring the reader of the absolute correctness of the Report of the Proceedings.
And this is the order of truth, lesser though it be, that man must know and guide his actions by with unswerving certitude that it is absolute truth and that in the universe no other order of truth can obtain.
The Fynes had no suspicion; the governess, playing with cold, distinguished exclusiveness the part of mother to the fabulously wealthy Miss de Barral, had no suspicion; the masters of music, of drawing, of dancing to Miss de Barral, had no idea; the minds of her medical man, of her dentist, of the servants in the house, of the tradesmen proud of having the name of de Barral on their books, were in a state of absolute serenity.
The lovers of sounds and sights, I replied, are, as I conceive, fond of fine tones and colours and forms and all the artificial products that are made out of them, but their mind is incapable of seeing or loving absolute beauty.
He was indeed perfectly well satisfied with his prospect of success; for as to that entire and absolute possession of the heart of his mistress which romantic lovers require, the very idea of it never entered his head.
On account of those absolute and impatient ones, be not jealous, thou lover of truth
None of them are stories of experience in the absolute sense of the word.
But this is what the effect was at that time of absolute ignorance.