Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes

Take a look into the lives of the writers who wrote the most famous anti-corruption quotes and sayings in history.

What makes a quote stay relevant in history for centuries? These are the most famous anti-corruption quotes that will forever be recognized for their powerful and resonating thoughts. 

It takes a truly intelligent person to write something that will resonate with changing societies and governments. These quotes still remain relevant and timely, despite the time period these famous authors took their pen to paper. 

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by Mark Twain

Mark Twain, also known as the "Father of American Literature" wrote the novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, which was published in 1873 with the help of author Charles Dudley Warner, a close friend of Twain's. This was the only book that Twain wrote in collaboration with another author. 

The two wrote the book about the political corruption that was prominent in America after the Civil War. This period of time is referred to as the Gilded Age because of the success of this novel. Within this book, there are many quotes that have been known as some of Twain's most famous quotes about anti-corruption:

"We have the best government that money can buy."
“No country can be well governed unless its citizens as a body keep religiously before their minds that they are the guardians of the law, and that the law officers are only the machinery for its execution, nothing more.” 

These quotes are still relevant in today's society, even considering the date that the publication was made, over a century ago. 

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by John Steinbeck

As a Nobel Prize for Literature and Pulitzer Prize winner, John Steinbeck is the famous author of Of Mice and Men, which was published in 1937. His novella is based on personal experiences and follows the story of two migrant workers by the names of George and Lennie and what makes them human. With themes of loneliness, sacrifice, and companionship, the story is a dark development of human interaction. And from this, we received one of the most famous quotes about corruption:

In every bit of honest writing in the world … there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. 

The quote below comes from a political satire book written by Steinbeck in 1957. Though the novel revolves around making light of French politics, his quote referring to power and corruption does not disappoint. 

"Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts, perhaps the fear of a loss of power." – John Steinbeck

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair is the author of The Jungle, a novel that explores the lives of immigrants living in Chicago while they endure the harshest conditioning and exploitation. Socialism in the US was advancing, as well as unhealthy practices in the meatpacking industry. 

As a tribute to document all of the corruption in America at the time, of course, The Jungle provided us with some of the most famous anti-corruption quotations of all time. Plus, as an American writer of over 100 books, Sinclair was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. 

“The great corporation which employed you lied to you, and lied to the whole country—from top to bottom it was nothing but one gigantic lie.” 
“If we are the greatest nation the sun ever shone upon, it would seem to be mainly because we have been able to goad our wage-earners to this pitch of frenzy.” 

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by Thomas Nast

Thomas Nast was a well-known political cartoonist, often referred to as the "Father of the American Cartoon," as he began his career in the mid-1800s. 

Nast was most famously credited with exposing the corruption of Boss Tweed, who regularly tried to silence him. Though many of his political references created his famous career, his most well-known revolves around his reference to Boss Tweed:

"Boss Tweed, 'As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?" 

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by George Orwell

Known by his pen name, George Orwell, Eric Arthur Blair was a novelist, critic, and journalist during the early 1900s. He chose to focus his career as a writer on the issues at hand in England including social injustice, democratic socialism, and totalitarianism. One of his most famous quotes paints the picture of a corrupt leader:

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims... but accomplices”

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by H.G. Wells

As an English writer, Herbert George Wells had explored many genres of writing, Some of which included biography, satire, and social commentary. As his career expanded, he became a well-known social critic through his literary abilities. Some of his most influential writings came from political and civilization topics, referring to both education and character. 

“We should strive to welcome change and challenges, because they are what help us grow. With out them we grow weak like the Eloi in comfort and security. We need to constantly be challenging ourselves in order to strengthen our character and increase our intelligence. ” 
“It is a law of nature we overlook, that intellectual versatility is the compensation for change, danger, and trouble. An animal perfectly in harmony with its environment is a perfect mechanism. Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change. Only those animals partake of intelligence that have a huge variety of needs and dangers.” 
“Civilization is a race between disaster and education.” 

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by Walter Lippmann

As a political commentator and writer, Walter Lippman not only left us with one of the most famous anti-corruption quotes, but coined the term "stereotype" during the time that the Cold War was introduced. 

"Corrupt, stupid grasping functionaries will make at least as big a muddle of socialism as stupid, selfish and acquisitive employers can make of capitalism."

This quote comes from Lippmann's book A Preface to Morals. 

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by Karl Kraus

A satirist, writer, and journalist, Karl Kraus used his outlet as a writer to speak on German culture and politics as well as Austrian politics. He was even nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature for three years. It is not a surprise that one of his most popular quotes revolves around the themes of corruption and endangerment of society. 

Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by Albert Einstein

Of course, we all know and respect the legacy that is Albert Einstein. But besides developing the theory of relativity, Einstein was also a well-developed essayist, where he wrote about topics like socialism and a democratic global government. Below are some of his most famous anti-corruption quotes: 

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."
"The only way to escape the personal corruption of praise is to go on working. One is tempted to stop and listen to it. The only thing is to turn away and go on working. Work. There is nothing else."
"The only way to escape the corruptible effect of praise is to go on working."

Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes by Maximilien Robespierre

Maximilien Robespierre was behind the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Because of his well-known history, it might come as a surprise that quotes by this man have made it to the list of the most famous anti-corruption quotes. 

However, Robespierre was a known politician and an advocate for universal male suffrage, the poor, food commodities, and the abolition of slavery.

The most extravagant idea that can be born in the head of a political thinker is to believe that it suffices for people to enter, weapons in hand, among a foreign people and expect to have its laws and constitution embraced. No one loves armed missionaries; the first lesson of nature and prudence is to repulse them as enemies.

This quote is derived from a speech that Robespierre gave to Jacobin Club in the 1790s. Still today, it remains relevant. 

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Most Famous Anti-Corruption Quotes