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Alexis de Tocqueville Quotes

Thursday, February 10, 2005
Alexis de Tocqueville Quotes


A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
Alexis de Tocqueville

An American cannot converse, but he can discuss, and his talk falls into a dissertation. He speaks to you as if he was addressing a meeting; and if he should chance to become warm in the discussion, he will say "Gentlemen" to the person with whom he is conversing.
Alexis de Tocqueville

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?
Alexis de Tocqueville

Consider any individual at any period of his life, and you will always find him preoccupied with fresh plans to increase his comfort.
Alexis de Tocqueville

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.
Alexis de Tocqueville

History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.
Alexis de Tocqueville

I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.
Alexis de Tocqueville

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.
Alexis de Tocqueville

In no other country in the world is the love of property keener or more alert than in the United States, and nowhere else does the majority display less inclination toward doctrines which in any way threaten the way property is owned.
Alexis de Tocqueville

In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.
Alexis de Tocqueville

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.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Life is to entered upon with courage.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Nothing seems at first sight less important than the outward form of human actions, yet there is nothing upon which men set more store: they grow used to everything except to living in a society which has not their own manners.
Alexis de Tocqueville

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.
Alexis de Tocqueville

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.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The French want no-one to be their superior. The English want inferiors. The Frenchman constantly raises his eyes above him with anxiety. The Englishman lowers his beneath him with satisfaction.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The power of the periodical press is second only to that of the people.
Alexis de Tocqueville

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.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle.
Alexis de Tocqueville

There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.
Alexis de Tocqueville

There is hardly a pioneer's hut which does not contain a few odd volumes of Shakespeare. I remember reading the feudal drama of Henry V for the first time in a log cabin.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Those that despise people will never get the best out of others and themselves.
Alexis de Tocqueville

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.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Two things in America are astonishing: the changeableness of most human behavior and the strange stability of certain principles. Men are constantly on the move, but the spirit of humanity seems almost unmoved.
Alexis de Tocqueville

We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects.
Alexis de Tocqueville
2/10/2005 09:50:00 AM :: ::
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