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Responsibility is the state of being "responsible", or answerable for an act performed or for its consequences, especially morally, legally, or politically.


  • For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us—recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state—our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

    First, were we truly men of courage—with the courage to stand up to one's enemies—and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one's associates—the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?

    Secondly, were we truly men of judgment—with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past—of our mistakes as well as the mistakes of others—with enough wisdom to know what we did not know and enough candor to admit it.

    Third, were we truly men of integrity—men who never ran out on either the principles in which we believed or the men who believed in us—men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?

    Finally, were we truly men of dedication—with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and comprised of no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest?

    Courage—judgment—integrity—dedication—these are the historic qualities … which, with God's help … will characterize our Government's conduct in the 4 stormy years that lie ahead.
    • John F. Kennedy, address to the Massachusetts legislature (January 9, 1961); Congressional Record (January 10, 1961), vol. 107, Appendix, p. A169.
  • 'Am I responsible or are you', a senior official asked his pilot, dubiously beginning a flight to Baghdad, 'for seeing that this machine is not overloaded?' 'That will have to be decided at the inquest.'
  • With great power there must also come — great responsibility!
    • Amazing Fantasy #15, August 1962 (the first Spider-Man story)
    • Variant: "With great power comes great responsibility."
      • Possibly used in Isaac Asimov's novella "The Bicentennial Man" (1976)
      • "Uncle" Ben Parker, in Spider-Man (2002).
      • The saying, however, long pre-dates these sources, appearing in print in a number of variants since at least 1817 (Thomas C. Hansard, ed (1817). Parliamentary Debates. p. 1227. Retrieved on October 10, 2013. "He should, however, beg leave to remind the conductors of the press of their duty to apply to themselves a maxim which they never neglected to urge on the consideration of government —"that the possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility." ).

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