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The Wit and Wisdom of Walter Bagehot


Walter Bagehot, born on February 3, 1826, was a prominent British journalist, economist, and political theorist. His insightful writings on economics, government, and the role of the monarchy had a profound influence on British political thought. Bagehot’s most notable work, “The English Constitution,” analyzed the functioning of the British government and highlighted the significance of the unwritten constitution and the role of the monarchy as a symbol of unity. His ideas on the separation of powers and the importance of a responsible government continue to shape political discourse. Bagehot’s intellectual contributions and his deep understanding of governance established him as a key figure in the development of constitutional theory and political science.

Business is really more agreeable than pleasure; it interests the whole mind more deeply. But it does not look as if it did.

Walter Bagehot

A Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more or less idle people.

Walter Bagehot

Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders.

Walter Bagehot

I started out by believing God for a newer car than the one I was driving. I started out believing God for a nicer apartment than I had. Then I moved up.

Walter Bagehot

An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.

Walter Bagehot

Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to drink other men’s thoughts, to speak other men’s words, to follow other men’s habits.

Walter Bagehot

Royalty is a government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions.

Walter Bagehot

Under a Presidential government, a nation has, except at the electing moment, no influence; it has not the ballot-box before it; its virtue is gone, and it must wait till its instant of despotism again returns.

Walter Bagehot

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

Walter Bagehot

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.

Walter Bagehot

A family on the throne is an interesting idea. It brings down the pride of sovereignty to the level of petty life.

Walter Bagehot

The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.

Walter Bagehot

It is often said that men are ruled by their imaginations; but it would be truer to say they are governed by the weakness of their imaginations.

Walter Bagehot

A man’s mother is his misfortune, but his wife is his fault.

Walter Bagehot

A constitutional statesman is in general a man of common opinions and uncommon abilities.

Walter Bagehot

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality – the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.

Walter Bagehot

Poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.

Walter Bagehot

No real English gentleman, in his secret soul, was ever sorry for the death of a political economist.

Walter Bagehot

The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards.

Walter Bagehot

History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.

Walter Bagehot

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