The Meaning and Origin of the Expression: Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
Someone with unchecked power or authority is likely to become corrupt or abuse one’s position;
A person’s sense of morality lessens as his or her power increases.
This phrase is generally attributed to 19th-century historian Lord Acton (John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton; Born January 10, 1834 and died June 19, 1902). In a letter to Archbishop Mandell Creighton, dated April 5, 1882, Lord Acton wrote (among other things) “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” as part of a larger conversation about how historians should judge the past.
“Henry really started abusing the authority of his office when he was promoted to CEO. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”