Authors - Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis-Charles-Henri de Tocqueville (29 July 1805 - 16 April 1859) was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America (appearing in two volumes: 1835 and 1840) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856). In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societies. Democracy in America (1835), his major work, published after his travels in the United States, is today considered an early work of sociology and political science. - Wikipedia
The most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform.
Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.
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.
A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.
However energetically society in general may strive to make all the citizens equal and alike, the personal pride of each individual will always make him try to escape from the common level, and he will form some inequality somewhere to his own profit.
Consider any individual at any period of his life, and you will always find him preoccupied with fresh plans to increase his comfort.
The last thing a political party gives up is its vocabulary.
Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.
America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
The genius of democracies is seen not only in the great number of new words introduced but even more in the new ideas they express.
We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects.
What is the most important for democracy is not that great fortunes should not exist, but that great fortunes should not remain in the same hands. In that way there are rich men, but they do not form a class.
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.
When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.
I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it.
Life is to entered upon with courage.
The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.
The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through.
The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle.
He was as great as a man can be without morality.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.
Nothing is quite so wretchedly corrupt as an aristocracy which has lost its power but kept its wealth and which still has endless leisure to devote to nothing but banal enjoyments. All its great thoughts and passionate energy are things of the past, and nothing but a host of petty, gnawing vices now cling to it like worms to a corpse.
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.
There are two things which a democratic people will always find very difficult - to begin a war and to end it.
When American(s) ask for the cooperation of (their) fellow citizens, it is seldom refused; and I have often seen it afforded spontaneously and with great good will.
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.
In the United States the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.
There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.
In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.
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.
Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Those that despise people will never get the best out of others and themselves.