Karl Marx: Modern (1818–1883)

THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism. All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as Communistic by its opponents in […]

Alexis de Tocqueville: Modern (1805–1859)

DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA Chapter 5 Of the Manner in Which Religion in the United States Avails Itself of Democratic Tendencies This brings me to a final consideration, which comprises, as it were, all the others. The more the conditions of men are equalized and assimilated to each other, the more important is it for religions, […]

Isaac Newton: Enlightenment (1642–1727)

MATHEMATICAL PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY The Principa Author’s Preface Since the ancients (as we are told by Pappus), made great account of the science of mechanics in the investigation of natural things; and the moderns, laying aside substantial forms and occult qualities, have endeavoured to subject the phænomena of nature to the laws of mathematics, […]

John Locke: Part Two Enlightenment (1632–1704)

TWO TREATISES ON GOVERNMENT: SECOND TREATISE Chapter II Of the State of Nature §. 4. To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, […]

John Locke: Part One Enlightenment (1632–1704)

AN ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING Book I An Inquiry into the understanding, pleasant and useful. Since it is the understanding that sets man above the rest of sensible beings, and gives him all the advantage and dominion which he has over them; it is certainly a subject, even for its nobleness, worth our labour to […]

Blaise Pascal: Enlightenment (1623–1662)

PENSEES (1) Outline First part: Misery of man without God. Second part: Happiness of man with God.      (Or) First part: That nature is corrupt. Proved by nature itself. Second part: That there is a Redeemer. Proved by Scripture. (60) (2) Strategy (Order:) Men despise religion; they hate it and fear it is true. […]

William Shakespeare: Early Modern (1564–1616)

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Act II, Scene I A hall in Leonato’s house Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, and others LEONATO: Was not Count John here at supper? ANTONIO: I saw him not. BEATRICE: How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him but I am heart-burned an hour after. HERO: He is of […]

Miguel de Cervantes: Early Modern (1547–1616)

DON QUIXOTE Part I, Chapter I: Which Treats of the Character and Pursuits of the Famous Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the […]

John Calvin: Renaissance/Reformation (1509–1564)

THE INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION Chapter 1: The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves Mutually Connected—Nature of This Connection Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by […]

Desiderius Erasmus: Renaissance/Reformation (1466–1536)

IN PRAISE OF FOLLY An Oration…Spoken by Folly At what rate soever the world talks of me (for I am not ignorant what an ill report Folly has got, even among the most foolish), yet that I am that she, that only she, whose deity recreates both gods and men, even this is a sufficient […]

Geoffrey Chaucer: Middle Ages (1343–1400)

THE CANTERBURY TALES The Franklin’s Tale The Prologue “In faith, Squier, thou hast thee well acquit, And gentilly; I praise well thy wit,” Quoth the Franklin; “considering thy youthe So feelingly thou speak’st, Sir, I aloue thee, As to my doom, there is none that is here Of eloquence that shall be thy peer, If […]

Dante Alighieri: Medieval (1265–1321)

THE DIVINE COMEDY’S INFERNO Canto I While I was rushing downward to the lowland, Before mine eyes did one present himself, Who seemed from long-continued silence hoarse. When I beheld him in the desert vast, “Have pity on me,” unto him I cried, “Whiche’er thou art, or shade or real man!” He answered me: “Not […]

Thomas Aquinas: High Middle Ages (1225–1274)

SUMMA THEOLOGICA Whether God Exists? (I.2.3) Objection 1. It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word “God” means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the […]

Plato: Classical Greek (428/427–348/347 BC)

THE REPUBLIC 2.II Socrates—Glaucon With these words I was thinking that I had made an end of the discussion; but the end, in truth, proved to be only a beginning. For Glaucon, who is always the most pugnacious of men, was dissatisfied at Thrasymachus’ retirement; he wanted to have the battle out. So he said […]