Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wise Guy: Alexis De Tocqueville

Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clérel De Tocqueville was a French aristocrat who visited the United States from 1831-1840 to study our government and its policies. His first book, On the Penitentiary System in the United States and Its Application in France, was published in 1832. The work for which he is most famous in this country, Democracy in America, was published in two volumes; the first in 1835, the second in 1840.

He had a unique insight into our national psyche and offered some profound analysis not only of American government but of American citizens as well.
'A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.'

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

'Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.'
Of particular relevance to current events are the following:
'The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.'

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

No comments: