by Martha Schick and Jim Knell
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/288200.html)
So said John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, a historian in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. This phrase simply tells us what we don’t want to believe: many times, we have to bend our morals to get what we want.
In extreme historical examples, we know that absolute power can change the world for the worst. Hitler used it to kill innocent people. That can also be said of Alexander, the Great as well.
This tells us something about humans getting too much power.
When people simply have power over themselves, and their decisions only affect their own lives, they are often not satisfied.
Something within us wants to be influential.
And it should be noted that many of the people that history has chosen to remember were in fact corrupted by power. It’s practically a requirement.
Wanting to be influential is not necessarily a bad thing. But what we do with the power… that is what decides how we are remembered.