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Walter Bagehot 

Walter Bagehot

Walter Bagehot, was born on the 3rd February 1826 in Langport, Somerset. He was a banker, economist, politician, journalist, and editor of The Economist and one of the most influential journalists of the mid-Victorian period.


Selected quotes from some of his published works:

"Free government is self-government. A government of the people by the people. The best government of this sort is that which the people think best."

"The greatest pleasure in life is doing what other people say you cannot do."

"A political country is like an American forest; you have only to cut down the old trees, and immediately new trees come up to replace them."

"The great difficulty which history records is not that of the first step, but that of the second step."

"One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea."

"An inability to stay quiet, an irritable desire to act directly, is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind."

"The purse strings tie us to our kind."

"The reason why so few good books are written is, that so few people that can write know anything. In general an author has always lived in a room, has read books, has cultivated science, is acquainted with the style and sentiments of the best authors, but he is out of the way of employing his own eyes and ears. He has nothing to hear and nothing to see. His life is a vacuum. " 

"It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations."

The greatest mistake is trying to be more agreeable than you can be."

"If you have to prove you are worthy of credit, your credit is already gone."

Download the complete text of Walter Bagehot's English Constitution.


Walter Bagehot divided his time between London and his home at Herd's Hill, Langport. He died on the 24th March 1877 and is buried next to his parents in the south-eastern corner of the churchyard of All Saints Church, Langport, Somerset.



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