Alexis De Tocqueville

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Alexis De Tocqueville

Alexis De Tocqueville

In countries where associations are free, secret societies are unknown. In America there are factions, but no conspiracies.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all for fear of being carried off their feet. The prospect really does frighten me that they may finally become so engrossed in a cowardly love of immediate pleasures that their interest in their own future and in that of their descendants may vanish, and that they will prefer tamely to follow the course of their destiny rather than make a sudden energetic effort necessary to set things right.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The debates of that great assembly are frequently vague and perplexed, seeming to be dragged rather than to march, to the intended goal. Something of this sort must, I think, always happen in public democratic assemblies.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
It is easy to see that, even in the freedom of early youth, an American girl never quite loses control of herself; she enjoys all permitted pleasures without losing her head about any of them, and her reason never lets the reins go, though it may often seem to let them flap.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The principle of equality does not destroy the imagination, but lowers its flight to the level of the earth.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
It is the dissimilarities and inequalities among men which give rise to the notion of honor; as such differences become less, it grows feeble; and when they disappear, it will vanish too.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals; morals can turn the worst laws to advantage. That is a commonplace truth, but one to which my studies are always bringing me back. It is the central point in my conception. I see it at the end of all my reflections.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
By and large the literature of a democracy will never exhibit the order, regularity, skill, and art characteristic of aristocratic literature; formal qualities will be neglected or actually despised. The style will often be strange, incorrect, overburdened, and loose, and almost always strong and bold. Writers will be more anxious to work quickly than to perfect details. Short works will be commoner than long books, wit than erudition, imagination than depth. There will be a rude and untutored vigor of thought with great variety and singular fecundity. Authors will strive to astonish more than to please, and to stir passions rather than to charm taste.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but also clouds their view of their descendants and isolates them from their contemporaries. Each man is for ever thrown back on himself alone, and there is danger that he may be shut up in the solitude of his own heart.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Though it is very important for man as an individual that his religion should be true, that is not the case for society. Society has nothing to fear or hope from another life; what is most important for it is not that all citizens profess the true religion but that they should profess religion.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Born often under another sky, placed in the middle of an always moving scene, himself driven by the irresistible torrent which draws all about him, the American has no time to tie himself to anything, he grows accustomed only to change, and ends by regarding it as the natural state of man. He feels the need of it, more he loves it; for the instability; instead of meaning disaster to him, seems to give birth only to miracles all about him.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
When an opinion has taken root in a democracy and established itself in the minds of the majority, if afterward persists by itself, needing no effort to maintain it since no one attacks it. Those who at first rejected it as false come in the end to adopt it as accepted, and even those who still at the bottom of their hearts oppose it keep their views to themselves, taking great care to avoid a dangerous and futile contest.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Trade is the natural enemy of all violent passions. Trade loves moderation, delights in compromise, and is most careful to avoid anger. It is patient, supple, and insinuating, only resorting to extreme measures in cases of absolute necessity. Trade makes men independent of one another and gives them a high idea of their personal importance: it leads them to want to manage their own affairs and teaches them to succeed therein. Hence it makes them inclined to liberty but disinclined to revolution.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
In politics... shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
I am obliged to confess that I do not regard the abolition of slavery as a means of warding off the struggle of the two races in the Southern states. The Negroes may long remain slaves without complaining; but if they are once raised to the level of freemen, they will soon revolt at being deprived of almost all their civil rights; and as they cannot become the equals of the whites, they will speedily show themselves as enemies.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
In a revolution, as in a novel. the most difficult part to invent is the end.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
In other words, a democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The main business of religions is to purify, control, and restrain that excessive and exclusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
It is almost never when a state of things is the most detestable that it is smashed, but when, beginning to improve, it permits men to breathe, to reflect, to communicate their thoughts with each other, and to gauge by what they already have the extent of their rights and their grievances. The weight, although less heavy, seems then all the more unbearable.More Alexis De Tocqueville [01/01/2000 12:01:00]

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