Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

2410 Words May 4th, 2008 10 Pages
Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Throughout history the argument of power falling hand in hand with corruption has been brought to our attention in devastating scenes of destruction, turmoil and moments which will never be forgotten. But do these moments conclude that power eventually leads to corruption? Are there events over the past 100 years or more which argue this fact? In this essay I will discuss my own opinion on this topic looking at crucial figure heads in history, Hitler, Gandhi and more recent activities within politics. I will also explore the opinions of noted writers on this subject focusing on “Animal Farm” by George Orwell among other things which highlight my debate.

“Power tends to corrupt and
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The largest over riding theme in Animal Farm is the famous quote by Lord Acton and the title of this essay “ power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.” Animal Farm is the story of a revolution gone sour. Animalism, Communism, and Fascism are all illusions which are used by the pigs as a means of satisfying their greed and lust for power. The book concentrates on whether a focus of power in one person is healthy for society and comes to the overwhelming conclusion that it is not.

Has the “power corrupts” syllogism in today’s world been translated into a credo of personal morality? Does power lead to becoming a bad person, unjust, cruel or megalomaniacal. In my opinion this isn’t true, because if it were history would simple be made up of chronicles of bad powerful men.
Let’s look at George Washington. Washington was a man of great power, possibly the greatest of his time and yet when put with the choice of whether or not continuing his presidency he chose not to. He denied himself this great power feeling he had done justice to himself as president but it was time for someone else to lend their input into the running of society. NR’s Richard Brookhiser has chronicled, Washington remained a decent man, courteous to a fault in face as he grew in influence and power.

It is clear beyond doubt that power can alter, possibly corrupt, someone’s judgements. But if absolute power