In England we have come to rely upon a comfortable time-lag of fifty years or a century intervening between the perception that something ought to be done and a serious attempt to do it.
—H. G. Wells (1866–1946) English Novelist, Historian, Social Thinker
There is a transcendent power in example. We reform others unconsciously, when we walk uprightly.
—Sophie Swetchine (1782–1857) Russian Mystic, Writer
You have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else, in fact you have to be there all the time and see that they do not snow you under, if you are really going to get your reform realized.
—Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) British Suffragette Leader
Let my name stand among those who are willing to bear ridicule and reproach for the truth’s sake, and so earn some right to rejoice when the victory is won.
—Louisa May Alcott (1832–88) American Novelist
Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with despised ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.
—Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) American Civil Rights Leader
You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side.
—William Ewart Gladstone (1809–98) English Liberal Statesman, Prime Minister
Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
I’m not entitled to have an opinion unless I can state the arguments against my position better than the people who are in opposition. I think that I am qualified to speak only when I’ve reached that state.
—Charlie Munger (b.1924) American Investor, Philanthropist
If you would civilize a man, begin with his grandmother.
—Victor Hugo (1802–85) French Novelist
Necessity reforms the poor, and satiety the rich.
—Tacitus (56–117) Roman Orator, Historian
No one is to blame. It is neither their fault nor ours. It is the misfortune of being born when a whole world is dying.
—Alexander Herzen (1812–70) Russian Revolutionary, Writer
How important, often, is the pain of guilt, as a stimulant to amendment and reformation.
—John Foster Dulles (1888–1959) American Lawyer, Diplomat, Politician
The social order destroyed by a revolution is almost always better than that which immediately preceded it, and experience shows that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is generally that in which it sets about reform.
—Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) French Historian, Political Scientist
Of all follies there is none greater than wanting to make the world a better place.
—Moliere (1622–73) French Playwright
People who love soft methods and hate iniquity forget this, — that reform consists in taking a bone from a dog. Philosophy will not do it.
—John Jay Chapman (1862–1933) American Biographer, Poet, Essayist, Writer
Until politics are a branch of science we shall do well to regard political and social reforms as experiments rather than short-cuts to the millennium.
—J. B. S. Haldane (1892–1964) British Biologist, Geneticist
When a child can be brought to tears, and not from fear of punishment, but from repentance he needs no chastisement. When the tears begin to flow from the grief of their conduct you can be sure there is an angel nestling in their heart.
—Horace Mann (1796–1859) American Educator, Politician, Educationalist