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Voltaire quotes page 1

November 21, 1694 - May 30, 1778; Voltaire's legacy is as one of the greatest French Enlightenment writers and philosophers. The seeds for his thinking were planted at a young age when his mother passed away. Just seven, Voltaire (who was born François-Marie Arouet) became fond of his godfather, who was a very liberal thinker for the time. From his early days, Voltaire showed a high intellect with a special passion for poetry, literature and the theater. His father tried to put a stop to this by sending him off to Caen, France when he was just 17. He hoped this would force his son to study law. He would find trouble almost immediately and be forced back to Paris. There his fortunes would get worse, though, as some of his writings got him sent to the Bastille. Upon his release, Voltaire garnered success as a poet and playwright with ambitious writings the country had never seen from a native before. He moved to England where he was received with even more fanfare. Thanks to writers like John Locke, the country only increased his independent streak. After 20 years in England he was invited to live at court in Germany, which he accepted. After three years, though, he left, disappointed and bored. Back in France, Voltaire continued writing on his philosophy, poetry and historical works. His later years were often occupied helping those he felt were persecuted owing to his love of independence. This earned him the nickname "The Conscience of Europe."

Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.
Voltaire

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
Voltaire

Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law.
Voltaire

I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Voltaire

Common sense is not so common.
Voltaire

Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination.
Voltaire

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and
to the sound of trumpets.
Voltaire

Men use thought only to justify their wrong-doings, and speech only to conceal their
toughts.
Voltaire

Dare to think for yourself.
Voltaire

Our friends abandon us only too easily, and our enemies are implacable.
Voltaire

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.
Voltaire

We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies – it is the
first law of nature.
Voltaire

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
Voltaire

It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one.
Voltaire

Never argue at the dinner table, for the one who is not hungry always gets the best of the
argument.
Voltaire

Atheism is the vice of a few intelligent people.
Voltaire

Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.
Voltaire

When he who hears doesn't know what he who speaks means, and when he who speaks
doesn't know what he himself means - that is philosophy.
Voltaire

He who thinks himself wise, O Heavens! is a great fool.
Voltaire

Paradise is where I am.
Voltaire

Who has not the spirit of his age, of his age has all the unhappiness.
Voltaire

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies
ridiculous." And God granted it.
Voltaire

The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess
it.
Voltaire

There are men who can think no deeper than a fact.
Voltaire

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.
Voltaire

Pleasure is the object, duty and the goal of all rational creatures.
Voltaire

In this country (England) it is useful from time to time to kill one admiral in order to
encourage the others.
Voltaire

Prejudices are what fools use for reason.
Voltaire

Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you
commit injustices.
Voltaire

Lord, protect me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies.
Voltaire

Work keeps us from three great evils, boredom, vice, and poverty.
Voltaire

This agglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire is
neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.
Voltaire

Change everything, ecxept your loves.
Voltaire

History is no more than the portrayal of crimes and misfortunes.
Voltaire

I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.
Voltaire

Orgies: participate once, you're a philosopher; twice, a pervert.
Voltaire

Shun idleness. It is a rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals.
Voltaire

The best is the enemy of the good.
Voltaire

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature effects the cure.
Voltaire

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