The French Contribution

Francis la Rochefoucauld …

Posted on June 20, 2007. Filed under: The French Contribution |

Francis Rochefoucauld  was an author of maxims and memoirs. He stands as an example of the accomplished nobleman.

Great souls are not those who have fewer passions or more vices but those who have greater designs. Few things are impracticable in themselves; and it is for want of application, rather than of means, that men fail to succeed.

Decency is the least of all laws but yet it is the law which is most strictly observed. Perfect behaviour is born out of complete indifference.

A wise man thinks it more advantageous not to join the battle than to win. Gracefulness is to the body what understanding is to the mind.

Before we set our hearts tto much on anything, let us examine how happy are they, who already possess it.

I have always been an admirer. I regard the gift of admiration as indispensable if one is to amount to something; I don’t know where I would be without it.

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Alexis de Tocqueville on America …

Posted on May 22, 2007. Filed under: American Thinkers, Searching for Success, The French Contribution |

Alexis de Tocqueville was a French political thinker and historian best known for his book, ‘Democracy in America’  which was written on his return after travelling widely across America. He stands as an eminent representative of the liberal political tradition.

America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

There is hardly a pioneer’s hut which does not contain a few odd volumes of Shakespeare. I remember reading the feudal drama of Henry V for the first time in a log cabin.

The Indian knew how to live without wants, to suffer without complaint, and to die singing.

As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?

In no other country in the world is the love of property keener or more alert than in the United States, and nowhere else does the majority display less inclination toward doctrines which in any way threaten the way property is owned.

In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.

Consider any individual at any period of his life, and you will always find him preoccupied with fresh plans to increase his comfort.

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Charles de Gaulle … as Great as they come …

Posted on April 13, 2007. Filed under: Guide Posts, Light plus Weighty, Personalities, Quotes, The French Contribution |

Charles de Gaulle was a general and statesman and stands amongst the great leaders in modern French history. He led the Free French Forces during World War II and later founded the French Fifth Republic and served as its first President. He oversaw the development of French atomic weapons and promoted a pan – European foreign policy, seeking to diminish U.S. and British influence. He was the target in the book, which was made into a film – ‘The Day of the Jackal”. Here are some gems from his thought.

Deliberation is the work of many men. Action, of one alone. Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself.

Authority doesn’t work without prestige, or prestige without distance.

Don’t ask me who has influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he’ has digested, and I’ve been reading all my life.

A great country worthy of the name does not have any friends.

I have heard your views. They do not harmonize with mine. The decision is taken unanimously

You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.

When I am right, I get angry. Churchill gets angry when he is wrong. We are angry at each other much of the time.

 And don’t forget to get killed. You’ll live. Only the best get killed. The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.

How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 different kinds of cheese?

The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.

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