A FRENCH HISTORIAN ON AMERICA

In 1831 French historian Alexis de Tocqueville spent 9 months touring America and taking notes. In 1835 he published Democracy in America, Volume 1 and in 1840 he published Volume 2. The following quotes reflect his view of America.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

“Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. 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.”

“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”

“There are two things which a democratic people will always find very difficult – to begin a war and to end it.”

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