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Frances Wright

  • The condition of women affords in all countries the best criterion by which to judge the character of men.

  • I never walked through the streets of any city with as much satisfaction as those of Philadelphia. The neatness and cleanliness of all animate and inanimate things, houses, pavements, and citizens, is not to be surpassed.

  • Love of power more frequently originates in vanity than pride (two qualities, by the way, which are often confounded) and is, consequently, yet more peculiarly the sin of little than of great minds.

  • No man can see his own prejudices ...

  • Many are called impious, not for having a worse, but a different religion from their neighbors; and many atheistical, not for the denying of God, but for thinking somewhat peculiarly concerning him.

  • ... the mode of delivering a truth makes, for the most part, as much impression on the mind of the listener as the truth itself.

  • Credulity is always a ridiculous, often a dangerous failing: it has made of many a clever man, a fool; and of many a good man, a knave.

  • The perfection of wisdom, and the end of true philosophy, is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambitions to our capacities.

  • Trust me, there are as many ways of living as there are men, and one is no more fit to lead another, than a bird to lead a fish, or a fish a quadruped.

  • ... an opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth; or it is an error; it can never be a crime or a virtue.

  • ... the language of truth is too simple for inexperienced ears.

  • Truth is but approved facts.

  • You have heard of, and studied various systems of philosophy; but real philosophy is opposed to all systems.

  • What were the glories of the sun, if we knew not the gloom of darkness?

  • Do not confound noise with fame. The man who is remembered, is not always honored.

  • Moral truth, resting entirely upon the ascertained consequences of actions, supposes a process of observation and reasoning.

  • ... the leading error of the human mind, — the bane of human happiness — the perverter of human virtue ... is Religion — that dark coinage of trembling ignorance! It is Religion — that poisoner of human felicity! It is Religion — that blind guide of human reason! It is Religion — that dethroner of human virtue! which lies at the root of all the evil and all the misery that pervade the world!

  • The world is full of religion, and full of misery and crime.

  • ... it is not that religion is merely useless, it is mischievous. It is mischievous by its idle terrors; it is mischievous by its false morality; it is mischievous by its hypocrisy; by its fanaticism; by its dogmatism; by its threats; by its hopes; by its promises.

  • The knowledge of one generation is the ignorance of the next.

  • I am not going to question your opinions. I am not going to meddle with your belief. I am not going to dictate to you mine. All that I say is, examine, inquire. Look into the nature of things. Search out the grounds of your opinions, the for and the against. Know why you believe, understand what you believe, and possess a reason for the faith that is in in you.

  • Religion may be defined thus: a belief in, and homage rendered to, existences unseen and causes unknown.

  • The man possessed of a dollar, feels himself to be not merely one hundred cents richer, but also one hundred cents better, than the man who is penniless; so on through all the gradations of earthly possessions — the estimate of our own moral and political importance swelling always in a ratio exactly proportionate to the growth of our purse.

  • Fathers and husbands! do ye not also understand this fact? Do ye not see how, in the mental bondage of your wives and fair companions, ye yourselves are bound?

  • ... until women assume the place in society which good sense and good feeling alike assign to them, human improvement must advance but feebly.

  • Equality! Where is it, if not in education? Equal rights! They cannot exist without equality of instruction.

  • There is but one honest limit to the rights of a sentient being; it is where they touch the rights of another sentient being.

Frances Wright, Scottish born U.S. writer, freethinker, feminist, abolitionist, social reformer

(1795 - 1852)

Also known as Fanny Wright