Edmund Burke

Updated July 24, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The Question:

I am looking for the person who said, "All that is needed for evil to thrive is for good people to do nothing." I have searched Bartlett's Familiar Quotations online, but with no success. Can you provide me with the answer or refer me to another site perhaps?

The Answer:

The quotation is usually attributed to Edmund Burke, although it has not been found in his writings. Webster's Dictionary of Quotations gives a slightly different version:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

-The Editors

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