I will be satisfied if my epitaph shall be written thus: "Here lies one who never rose to any eminence, who only courted the low ambition to have it said that he striven to ameliorate the condition of the poor, the lowly, the downtrodden of every race and language and color."
Ambition has its disappointments to sour us, but never the good fortune to satisfy us.Benjamin Franklin, "On True Happiness", Pennsylvania Gazette, 20 November 1735.
Many a man acquires a fortune by doing his business thoroughly, while his neighbour remains poor for life , because he only half does it. Ambition, energy, industry, perseverance, are indispensable requisites for success in business.P. T. Barnum. 'Whatever You Do, Do With All Your Might', The Art of Money-Getting.
Amid the wreck and the misery of nations it is our just exaltation that we have continued superior to all that Ambition or despotism could effect; and our still higher exaltation ought to be that we provide not only for our own safety but hold out a prospect for nations now bending under the yoke of tyranny of what the exertions of a free people can effect.1804 Speech to the House of Commons, 25 Apr.
Gentlemen, the melancholy event of yesterday reads to us an awful lesson against being too much troubled about any of the objects of ordinary Ambition. The worthy gentleman, who has been snatched from us at the moment of the election, and in the middle of contest, whilst his desires were as warm, and his hopes as eager as ours, has feelingly told us, what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue.Edmund Burke
Man is in pursuit of two goals: he is looking for happinesse and, being by essence empty ("étant vide par essence", Fr.), he is trying to fill (or take up, - "remplir", Fr.) his life; the latter reason play a more considerable role than we ordinarily think. What we take for vainglory, Ambition, love of power and riches (or wealth), is often, indeed, a need to mask this emptiness, a need to let one's hair down (or to live it up), to put oneself on a false scent or trail. (de se donner le change", Fr.)african spir
Full of hopes beyond their power though not beyond their Ambition.Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (5th century BC), Book III, 39.
I'm hopeful. I know there is a lot of Ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure.George W. Bush —Interview with the Associated Press, January 18, 2001
If the artist is necessarily sensitive, does that sensitiveness form in its essence a state constantly liable to shade off into the morbid? Does this liability, moreover, increase in proportion as the effort is great and the Ambition intense?"The Journal of the Brothers de Goncourt," Fortnightly Review (October 1888)
How highly should we honor the Macedonians, who for the greater part of their lives never cease from fighting with the barbarians for the sake of the security of Greece? For who is not aware that Greece would have constantly stood in the greater danger, had we not been fenced by the Macedonians and the honorable Ambition of their kings?Histories, IX, 35:2 (Loeb) (The Histories)
It is of no consequence what the principles of any party, or what their pretensions, are; the spirit which actuates all parties is the same; the spirit of Ambition, of self-interest, of oppression, and treachery. This spirit entirely reverses all the principles which a benevolent nature has erected within us; all honesty, all equal justice, and even the ties of natural society, the natural affections.Edmund Burke, in A Vindication of Natural Society: or, a View of the Miseries and Evils arising to Mankind from every Species of Artifical Society (1756)