Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 September 2021


  1. Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
    Isaac Asimov 1920–92 Russian-born biochemist and science fiction writer: Foundation (1951)
  2. The only thing that's been a worse flop than the organization of non-violence has been the organization of violence.
    Joan Baez 1941–  American singer and songwriter: Daybreak (1970)
  3. All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
    The Bible (Authorized Version, 1611): St Matthew ch. 26, v. 52
  4. Force is not a remedy.
    John Bright 1811–89 English Liberal politician and reformer: speech to the Birmingham Junior Liberal Club, 16 November 1880
  5. I say violence is necessary. It is as American as cherry pie.
    H. Rap Brown 1943–  American Black Power leader: speech at Washington, 27 July 1967
  6. Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.
    Noël Coward 1899–1973 English dramatist, actor, and composer: Private Lives (1930) act 3
  7. Not hard enough.
    when asked how hard she had slapped a policeman
    Zsa Zsa Gabor 1919–2016 Hungarian-born film actress: in Independent 21 September 1989
  8. Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.
    Mahatma Gandhi 1869–1948 Indian statesman: Satyagraha Leaflet no. 13 (1919)
  9. Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.
    Mahatma Gandhi 1869–1948 Indian statesman: speech at Shahi Bag, 18 March 1922, on a charge of sedition
  10. Wisdom has taught us to be calm and meek,
    To take one blow, and turn the other cheek;
    It is not written what a man shall do
    If the rude caitiff smite the other too!
    Oliver Wendell Holmes 1809–94 American physician, poet, and essayist: ‘Non-Resistance’ (1861)
  11. Vis consili expers mole ruit sua.
    Force, unaided by judgement, collapses through its own weight.
    Horace 65–8 bc Roman poet: Odes bk. 3, no. 4, l. 65
  12. A man may build himself a throne of bayonets, but he cannot sit on it.
    William Ralph Inge 1860–1954 English writer; Dean of St. Paul's, 1911–34: Philosophy of Plotinus (1923) vol. 2, Lecture 22; see Yeltsin
  13. What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet.
    Robert Kennedy 1925–68 American Democratic politician: speech to Cleveland City Club, 5 April 1968
  14. A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.
    Martin Luther King 1929–68 American civil rights leader: Where Do We Go From Here? (1967) ch. 4
  15. In violence, we forget who we are.
    Mary McCarthy 1912–89 American novelist: On the Contrary (1961) ‘Characters in Fiction’
  16. Who overcomes
    By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
    John Milton 1608–74 English poet: Paradise Lost (1667) bk. 1, l. 648
  17. If you strike a child take care that you strike it in anger, even at the risk of maiming it for life. A blow in cold blood neither can nor should be forgiven.
    George Bernard Shaw 1856–1950 Irish dramatist: Man and Superman (1903) ‘Maxims: How to Beat Children’
  18. Where force is necessary, there it must be applied boldly, decisively and completely. But one must know the limitations of force; one must know when to blend force with a manoeuvre, a blow with an agreement.
    Leon Trotsky 1879–1940 Russian revolutionary: What Next? (1932)
  19. Not believing in force is the same thing as not believing in gravitation.
    Leon Trotsky 1879–1940 Russian revolutionary: G. Maximov The Guillotine at Work (1940)