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Quotations about Integrity

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Don't lose your grip upon your conscience. God put it in your breast to act as sentinel over your weaknesses. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902

Never rob your character to enrich your pocket. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

It is not to know what to do, but strength to do it, knowing. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: LXXVIII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

The world is becoming more complicated every day, my fellow citizens. No man ought to be foolish enough to think that he understands it all. And, therefore, I am glad that there are some simple things in the world. One of the simple things is principle. Honesty is a perfectly simple thing. ~Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914 July 4th

[I]ntegrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain. ~Chris Karcher, Relationships of Grace, 2003

Never mind the value of Granddad's dollar in today's money. What about the value of Granddad's word in today's morals?" ~Robert Brault,, 2019

How others treat me is their path; how I react is mine. ~Wayne Dyer (1940–2015)

I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am. ~Joseph Baretti, quoted by James Boswell, 1766 (commonly misattributed to Samuel Johnson)

Transcend political correctness and strive for human righteousness. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. ~David Star Jordan, The Philosophy of Despair

Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught. ~J.C. Watts

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters. ~Alan Simpson

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. ~Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

Character is much easier kept than recovered. ~Thomas Paine

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. ~Buddha

One does evil enough when one does nothing good. ~German Proverb

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. ~French Proverb

Don't try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough. ~Arthur Freed

Your life may be the only Bible some people read. ~Author Unknown

Do not repeat anything you will not sign your name to. ~Author Unknown

Are right and wrong convertible terms, dependent upon popular opinion? ~William Lloyd Garrison

The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out. ~Thomas Babington Macaulay

Have you yet come across one of the new favourite patent elastic reversible consciences? I have many. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right. ~William Safire

Hold integrity sacred. ~"Alphabetical Aphorisms," in The Myrtle, 1884 January 26th

The only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions, running down their friends, side-stepping responsibility, and pushing their luck! ~Author Unknown

Character is higher than intellect. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion. ~Attributed to Abraham Lincoln (unconfirmed)

Don't pose as a saint, but be a girl of principle, and your light will shine clearly. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence. ~Ted Key

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking. ~Henry Ford

Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one. ~Chinese Proverb

He who doeth evil steals from his own soul. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. ~Mark Twain, "What Is Man?"

If we are ever in doubt what to do, it is a good rule to ask ourselves what we shall wish on the morrow that we had done. ~John Lubbock, "The Happiness of Duty," 1887

      It is the final test of a gentleman—his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him. ~William Lyon Phelps, quoted in Golden Book Magazine, July 1935
      [See also] I confess I cannot read without squirming those passages in "Great Expectations" where every visitor greeted the small boy by ruffling his hair, and I think most of us can remember without any difficulty and with a flush of joy those extremely rare cases in our own childhood when some grown-up visitor treated us with real, instead of with mock, respect. It is perhaps the final test of a gentleman—his attitude toward children. ~William Lyon Phelps, "Charles Dickens: The Man Who Cheers Us All Up," The Century Magazine, January 1912
      [See also] A man's character is most evident by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or reciprocate. ~Paul Eldridge, c.1948
      [See also] You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. ~Malcolm S. Forbes, c.1972
      (Thanks, Garson O'Toole of! You can read more about the research on these quotations at his website.)

Let me be thankful first, because I never was robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourthly, because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed. ~Matthew Henry (1662–1714)

My country is the world, and my religion is to do good. ~Thomas Paine (1737–1809), Rights of Man

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right! ~Isaac Asimov

Harder even than speaking truth to power is speaking truth to comfort. ~Robert Brault,, 2019

There is one thing more important than anything else, and that is that within there should be a citadel which none can assail, a fortress that can not be carried by assault, that is proof against any kind of attack; and that is the citadel of self-respect.... A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he is always in good company. ~Charles E. Hughes (1862–1948), "A Lay Sermon to Young Americans" (address to members of the Young Men's Christian Association of New York, revised by Mr Hughes for publication in Putnam's Monthly, October 1907)

To condone a public injustice is simply to take your place in the line of eventual victims. ~Robert Brault,

Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them. ~Aristotle

You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest. ~Robert Brault,

You can out-distance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you. ~Rwandan Proverb

With the same zeal that I seek freedom I will avoid trespassing. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

We grow with years more fragile in body, but morally stouter, and can throw off the chill of a bad conscience almost at once. ~Logan Pearsall Smith, "Age and Death," Afterthoughts, 1931

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world. ~George Bernard Shaw

Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only. ~Samuel Butler, Erewhon

The deepest, purest, sweetest happiness, the peace which passeth all understanding, the joy that is unspeakable, comes from no outward state, it depends on no earthly condition. It springs from the simple, bare consciousness of rectitude in the soul. God has made every man the guardian of his own happiness by making him the keeper of his own conscience. Only be at peace with that clear, calm voice which whispers duty in the soul, and there is no power on earth that can make you miserable. ~Daniel March, "Man Wonderfully Made," Our Father's House, or the Unwritten Word, 1869

There is a point where the evil condoned by otherwise good people begins to strain the meaning of otherwise. ~Robert Brault,, 2019

Every time I've done something that doesn't feel right, it's ended up not being right. ~Mario Cuomo

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice. ~Confucius

In judging ourselves, we cannot be too severe; in judging others, we cannot be too candid. We should judge ourselves by our motives, but others by their actions. ~William Nevins (1797–1835)

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh, 1849

We judge ourselves by our best acts and most noble intentions, but we will be judged by our last worst act. ~Michael Josephson,

You don't carry in your countenance a letter of recommendation. ~Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge

Character is doing the right thing even when it costs more than you want to pay. ~Michael Josephson,

Just do good, don't worry about the road ahead. ~Monk Wansong

I am,
a king,
because I know how
to rule myself.
~Pietro Aretino, 1537

Not being able to govern events, I govern myself. ~Michel de Montaigne

Be always sure you're right, then go ahead. ~Davy Crockett

Ride not on the devil's back to avoid walking in the mud. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

I have fancied myself a rebel, but at every critical moment of my life, I have been exactly the child my parents raised. ~Robert Brault,

The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology. ~Red Auerbach

Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not a sin — just stupid.) ~Robert A. Heinlein

Goodness is the only investment that never fails. ~Henry David Thoreau

If we cannot live so as to be happy, let us at least live so as to deserve it. ~Immanuel Hermass von Fichte

People who fight fire with fire end up with only the ashes of their own integrity. ~Michael Josephson,

I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I have ever met. ~Dwight Lyman Moody

No one of good character leaves behind a wasted life — whether they die in obscurity or renown.... Your character is what you are to yourself, not what you pretend to be to yourself or others. Although human beings often attempt self-delusion, we cannot forever hide the truth about ourselves from ourselves. It will make itself known to us by means of our conscience despite our most strenuous effort to suppress it. ~John McCain, 1996

Conscience is that still, small voice that is sometimes too loud for comfort. ~Bert Murray

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. ~Will Rogers

My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there. ~Indira Gandhi

The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

A man is usually more careful of his money than of his principles. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., speech, Boston, 8 January 1897

In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current. ~Thomas Jefferson

It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Everyone complains of his memory, but no one complains of his judgment. ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims, 1665

God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless. ~Chester W. Nimitz

I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to. ~Author Unknown

Conscience: the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking. ~H. L. Mencken, A Little Book in C Major, 1916

The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour. ~Japanese Proverb

For the human mind is seldom at stay: If you do not grow better, you will most undoubtedly grow worse. ~Samuel Richardson

There is an ongoing battle between conscience and self-interest in which, at some point, we have to take sides. ~Robert Brault,

I would rather be right than President. ~Henry Clay, speech, 1850

If moral behavior were simply following rules, we could program a computer to be moral. ~Samuel P. Ginder

I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith; having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, and another for a private man. ~Thomas Jefferson, 1809

It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. ~Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit: An Improbable Farce in Three Acts, 1941

Goodness is beauty in the best estate. ~Christopher Marlowe

The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart. ~Alexander Solzhenitsyn

If we were all to be judged by our thoughts, the hills would be swarming with outlaws. ~Johann Sigurjonsson

Righteousness is easy in retrospect. ~Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

Persons with weight of character carry, like planets, their atmospheres along with them in their orbits. ~Thomas Hardy

Men are not punished for their sins, but by them. ~Elbert Hubbard, A Thousand and One Epigrams, 1911

I will follow the right side even to the fire, but excluding the fire if I can. ~Michel de Montaigne, translated

Our names are labels, plainly printed on the bottled essence of our past behavior. ~Logan Pearsall Smith

One of the "lost arts" is that of minding one's own business. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Sometimes, to do the right thing, we must keep a promise we never made. ~Robert Brault,

I have found some of the best reasons I ever had for remaining at the bottom simply by looking at the men at the top. ~Frank Moore Colby

Round and round the race-course of sin
Satan follows those who follow him.
~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Values are good things only if they are good values. ~Michael Josephson,

It's impossible to be loyal to your family, your friends, your country, and your principles, all at the same time. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball,
And that is to have either a clear conscience, or none at all.
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Inter-Office Memorandum"

If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless, since their chief purpose is to make us bear with patience the injustice of our fellows. ~Jean Baptiste Molière, Le Misanthrope

If honor be your clothing, the suit will last a lifetime; but if clothing be your honor, it will soon be worn threadbare. ~William Arnot

Conscience warns us before it reproaches us. ~Comtesse Diane (Marie Josephine de Suin de Beausacq), Maximes de la vie, 1908

If a man is not rising upwards to be an angel, depend upon it, he is sinking downwards to be a devil. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Every wrong seems possible today, and is accepted. I don't accept it. ~Pablo Casals

Consequences are unpitying. Our deeds carry their terrible consequences, quite apart from any fluctuations that went before—consequences that are hardly ever confined to ourselves. And it is best to fix our minds on that certainty, instead of considering what may be the elements of excuse for us. ~George Eliot, Adam Bede

As soon as you concern yourself with the "good" and "bad" of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. ~Morihei Ueshiba

Are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul? ~Socrates

Every human being has... an attendant spirit.... If it does not always tell us what to do, it always cautions us what not to do. ~Lydia M. Child

To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves. ~Will Durant

Every man over forty is responsible for his face. ~Abraham Lincoln

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. ~William Faulkner

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, not forgetting to leave others be as you would have them leave you be. ~Robert Brault,

There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thought under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging ten times in his life. ~Michel de Montaigne, Essays, 1595

If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill came always together, who would escape hanging? ~Mark Twain

God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won't. ~Alfred Korzyybski

You must question a code of ethics that never impedes your progress. ~Robert Brault,

What is right is often forgotten by what is convenient. ~Bodie Thoene, Warsaw Requiem

I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill. ~Mahatma Gandhi

[T]hough of all poses a moral pose is the most offensive, still to have a pose at all is something. ~Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist, 1890

A man may be born a jackass; but it is his business if he makes himself a double one. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. ~Ann Landers

Fortune does not change men; it unmasks them. ~Suzanne Necker

The strength of a man's virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts. ~Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 1670

In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightingale. Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity. ~Ambrose Bierce

There is a great deal of self-will in the world, but very little genuine independence of character. ~Frederick W. Faber

If it was necessary to tolerate in other people everything that one permits oneself, life would be unbearable. ~Georges Courteline, La philosophie de Georges Courteline, 1917

I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self. ~Martin Luther

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light. ~Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams

I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has some day to cry aloud on the house-tops. ~Oscar Wilde

The glitter of sin
Is Satan's grin.
~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

You can't learn too soon that the most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency. ~Somerset Maugham

Reputation is character minus what you've been caught doing. ~Michael Iapoce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Boardroom

We are sinners by nature, but much more so by practice. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), "Human Life," Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

You can't escape moral judgment through a legal loop hole. ~Michael Josephson,

In all men is evil sleeping; the good man is he who will not awaken it, in himself or in other men. ~Mary Renault

Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to. ~Mark Twain

The universe seems bankrupt as soon as we begin to discuss the characters of individuals. ~Henry David Thoreau

I shall not judge the ones I see in sin...
I shall not judge; for who am I to judge?!
For I, myself, am far from perfect, too!
So, God, I place each child of Thine in love;
For there is no one perfect, Lord, but you!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "I Shall Not Judge," 1940s

Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown

The only guy I have to get better than is who I am right now. ~M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man. ~George Washington

If it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul. ~William Shakespeare

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Live so that your friends can defend you but never have to. ~Arnold H. Glasow

What you allow, you encourage. ~Michael Josephson,

When you choose the lesser of two evils, always remember that it is still an evil. ~Max Lerner, Actions and Passions, 1949

There are loose screws in the character of some men which invite the immediate application of a large moral screwdriver. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it. ~A.A. Hodge

Aspire to a lower level of harm. ~Terri Guillemets

Have no fear of robbers or murderers. They are external dangers, petty dangers. We should fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices the real murders. The great dangers are within us. Why worry about what threatens our heads or purses? Let us think instead of what threatens our souls. ~Victor Hugo

Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good. ~Author unknown

Be careful of selfish motives. You can mistake them for principles and end up dying for them. ~Robert Brault,

I did not use paint, I made myself up morally. ~Eleanora Duse, Le Gaulois, 1922

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. ~Abraham Lincoln

I was so hungry. It was against my principles, but I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed... ~Mark Twain

A healthy mind has an easy breath. ~Author Unknown

The man who has won millions at the cost of his conscience is a failure. ~B.C. Forbes

"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions," said Atticus, "but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960

It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. ~Buddha

The time is always right to do what is right. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide on way, and that way be the right way accordng to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country—hold up your head. ~Mark Twain

Let right be your light
May you always burn bright
Glowing the path for others.
~Terri Guillemets

Whether you end up in heaven or hell, it's not God's plan it's your own. ~Cowboys & Aliens

'Tis better to suffer wrong than do it. ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is. ~G.B. Shaw, Man and Superman, 1905

Conscience is, in most, an anticipation of the opinion of others. ~Henry Taylor

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~Thomas Paine

Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns! ~Allison Gappa Bottke

Morality may consist solely in the courage of making a choice. ~Léon Blum

I'll tell you a big secret, my friend: Don't wait for the Last Judgment. It happens every day. ~Albert Camus, The Fall, 1956

If at first you don't succeed, do it like your mother told you. ~Author Unknown

A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience. ~Doug Larson

Take care that no one hates you justly. ~Publilius Syrus

It is curious—curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare. ~Mark Twain

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Little boldness is needed to assail the opinions and practices of notoriously wicked men; but to rebuke great and good men for their conduct, and to impeach their discernment, is the highest effort of moral courage. ~William Lloyd Garrison

You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims. ~Harriet Woods

Rule #1: Use your good judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. ~Nordstrom's Employee Handbook

Have a very good reason for everything you do. ~Laurence Olivier

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