Power Corrupts

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Power Corrupts

Throughout the history of man, rulers and philosophers have proven

that power corrupts. The British Historian Lord Acton observed that

“power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Lord

Acton statement is proven through the actions of rulers such as

Charles I of England and Hitler.

In a letter to his friend Lord Acton wrote that “power tends to

corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This quote describes how

absolute power always becomes corrupt. Lord Acton recognized the

dangers of political power. He understood that rulers put their own

interest above all and will do just about anything to stay in power.

He believed that wars were always started to increase the power of the

ruler. The wars between countries were always the rulers attempt to

reduce or take over land. Civil wars were started to get rid of an

oppressive ruler. No wars were started because it was supported by the

people; it is always the rulers who are making the decisions[1]. Our

founding fathers believed in Lord Acton’s theories and designed our

constitution to avoid the corruption of power. This is why there are

checks and balances between legislature, executive and judicial

branches. However, democracy is everybody’s entitlement to gain power

over everyone else. Their still and always will remain a struggle

between individuals and groups for power[2].

Lord Acton’s theory comes to truth in the 17th and 18th century. Most

of the monarchs, when faced with controlling powerful nations, became

corrupt and greedy. One example would be Charles I, who came into

power after his father James I died. He felt that he should control


... middle of paper ...

... The purpose of this essay was to prove that power does corrupt. I

think I did a very good job in proving this because I used specific

informative examples. Using these real life history examples was one

of the strong points in my essay. My essay is precise organised and

formal. This is another strong point of my essay.


[1] Moreell, Ben, “Power Corrupts”, Acton Institute.

[2] Ellis, Tom, “Liberty vs. Democracy”, Acton Institute, 1995.

[3] “Charles I”, Britannia, 2003.

[4] Woods, Alan, “The Truth About the Second World War”, July 21, 2004.
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