„Lety5 - ay4 + by3 - cy2 + dy - e = 0be the general equation of the fifth degree and suppose that it can be solved algebraically,—i. e., that y can be expressed as a function of the quantities a, b, c, d, and e, composed of radicals. In this case, it is clear that y can be written in the formy = p + p1R1/m + p2R2/m +...+ pm-1R(m-1)/m,m being a prime number, and R, p, p1, p2, etc. being functions of the same form as y. We can continue in this way until we reach rational functions of a, b, c, d, and e. [Note: main body of proof is excluded]
... we can find y expressed as a rational function of Z, a, b, c, d, and e. Now such a function can always be reduced to the formy = P + R1/5 + P2R2/5 + P3R3/5 + P4R4/5, where P, R, P2, P3, and P4 are functions or the form p + p1S1/2, where p, p1 and S are rational functions of a, b, c, d, and e. From this value of y we obtainR1/5 = 1/5(y1 + α4y2 + α3y3 + α2y4 + α y5) = (p + p1S1/2)1/5,whereα4 + α3 + α2 + α + 1 = 0.Now the first member has 120 different values, while the second member has only 10; hence y can not have the form that we have found: but we have proved that y must necessarily have this form, if the proposed equation can be solved: hence we conclude that
It is impossible to solve the general equation of the fifth degree in terms of radicals.
It follows immediately from this theorem, that it is also impossible to solve the general equations of degrees higher than the fifth, in terms of radicals.“
— Niels Henrik Abel
A Memoir on Algebraic Equations, Proving the Impossibility of a Solution of the General Equation of the Fifth Degree (1824) Tr. W. H. Langdon, as quote in A Source Book in Mathematics (1929) ed. David Eugene Smith