Alexis De Tocqueville Quotes & Wallpapers

Alexis De Tocqueville
Total Quotes: 367


There is no philosopher in the world so great but he believes a million things on the faith of other people and accepts a great many more truths than he demonstrates. Alexis De Tocqueville

In the United States, there is no end which human will despairs of attaining through the combined power of individuals united in a society. Alexis De Tocqueville

The nations of our time cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal, but it depends upon themselves whether the principle of equality is to lead them to servitude or freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to prosperity or wretchedness. Alexis De Tocqueville

I have seen Americans making great and sincere sacrifices for the key common good and a hundred times I have noticed that, when needs be, they almost always gave each other faithful support Alexis De Tocqueville

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. Alexis De Tocqueville

Democratic institutions generally give men a lofty notion of their country and themselves. Alexis De Tocqueville

The position of the Americans is quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one. Alexis De Tocqueville

For the first time in sixty years, the priests, the old aristocracy and the people met in a common sentiment-a feeling of revenge, it is true, and not of affection ; but even that is a great thing in politics, where a community of hatred is almost always the foundation of friendships. Alexis De Tocqueville

I cannot believe that a republic could subsist at the present time, if the influence of lawyers in public business did not increase in proportion to the power of the people. Alexis De Tocqueville

Democratic nations care but little for what has been, but they are haunted by visions of what will be; in this direction their unbounded imagination grows and dilates beyond all measure.... Democracy, which shuts the past against the poet, opens the future before him. Alexis De Tocqueville

There are two things which a democratic people will always find very difficult-to begin a war and to end it. Alexis De Tocqueville

When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education . . . the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint . . . . It is not necessary to do violence to such a people in order to strip them of the rights they enjoy; they themselves willingly loosen their hold. . . . they neglect their chief business which is to remain their own masters. Alexis De Tocqueville

I am unaware of his plans but I shall never stop believing in them because I cannot fathom them and I prefer to mistrust my own intellectual capacities than his justice. Alexis De Tocqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money. Alexis De Tocqueville

The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults. Alexis De Tocqueville

The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens. Alexis De Tocqueville

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

I must say that I have seen Americans make great and real sacrifices to the public welfare; and have noticed a hundred instances in which they hardly ever failed to lend faithful support to one another. Alexis De Tocqueville

Trade is the natural enemy of all violent passions because it loves moderation, delights in compromise an is most careful to avoid anger. Alexis De Tocqueville

I have an intellectual inclination for democratic institutions, but I am instinctively an aristocrat, which means that I despise and fear the masses. I passionately love liberty, legality, the respect for rights, but not democracy....liberty is my foremost passion. That is the truth. Alexis De Tocqueville

[Liberty] considers religion as the safeguard of morality, and morality as the best security of law and the surest pledge of the duration of freedom. Alexis De Tocqueville

I shall not fear to say that the doctrine of self-interest rightly understood seems to me of all the philosophic theories the most appropriate to the needs of men in our time, and that I see in it the most powerful guarantee against themselves that remains to them. The minds of the moralists of our day ought to turn, therefore, principally toward it. Even should they judge it imperfect, they would still have to adopt it as necessary. Alexis De Tocqueville

The Americans, on the contrary, are fond of explaining almost all the actions of their lives by the principle of interest rightly understood; they show with complacency how an enlightened regard for themselves constantly prompts them to assist each other, and inclines them willingly to sacrifice a portion of their time and property to the welfare of the state. Alexis De Tocqueville

Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. Alexis De Tocqueville

Men are not corrupted by the exercise of power or debased by the habit of obedience, but by the exercise of a power which they believe to be illegal and by obedience to a rule which they consider to be usurped and oppressive. Alexis De Tocqueville

Socialism is a new form of slavery. Alexis De Tocqueville

We can state with conviction, therefore, that a man's support for absolute government is in direct proportion to the contempt he feels for his country. Alexis De Tocqueville

The French under the old monarchy held it for a maxim that the king could do no wrong . The Americans entertain the same opinion with respect to the majority.... If ever the free institutions of America are destroyed, that event may be attributed to the omnipotence of the majority. Alexis De Tocqueville

The principle of equality does not destroy the imagination, but lowers its flight to the level of the earth. Alexis De Tocqueville

Democracy does not create strong ties between people. But it does make living together easier. Alexis De Tocqueville

When I refuse to obey an unjust law, I do not contest the right of the majority to command, but I simply appeal from the sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of mankind. Alexis De Tocqueville

It is far more important to resist apathy than anarchy or despotism, for apathy can give rise, almost indifferently, to either one. Alexis De Tocqueville

The last thing a political party gives up is its vocabulary. Alexis De Tocqueville

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. Alexis De Tocqueville

I have no hesitation in saying that although the American woman never leaves her domestic sphere and is in some respects very dependent within it, nowhere does she enjoy a higher station. And if anyone asks me what I think the chief cause of the extraordinary prosperity and growing power of this nation, I should answer that it is due to the superiority of their women. Alexis De Tocqueville

When an opinion has taken root in a democracy and established itself in the minds of the majority, it 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. Alexis De Tocqueville

European Christianity has allowed itself to be intimately united with the powers of this world. Now that these powers are falling, it is as if it were buried under their ruins. 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. Do not talk to him about the interests and rights of the human race; that little private business of his for the moment absorbs all his thoughts, and he hopes that public disturbances can be put off to some other time. Alexis De Tocqueville

Muhammad brought down from heaven and put into the Koran not religious doctrines only, but political maxims, criminal and civil laws, and scientific theories. The Gospels on the other hand, deal only with the general relations between man and God and between man and man. Beyond that, they teach nothing and do not oblige people to believe anything. That alone, among a thousand reasons, is enough to show that Islam will not be able to hold its power long in ages of enlightenment and democracy, while Christianity is destined to reign in such ages, as in all others. Alexis De Tocqueville

Christianity has therefore retained a strong hold on the public mind in America... In the United States... Christianity itself is a fact so irresistibly established, that no one undertakes either to attack or to defend it. Alexis De Tocqueville

I know of no country, indeed, where the love of money has taken stronger hold on the affections of men, and where the profounder contempt is expressed for the theory of the permanent equality of property. Alexis De Tocqueville

There is hardly a political question in the United States which doesn't sooner or later turn into a judicial one. Alexis De Tocqueville

A French observer is surprised to hear how often an English or an American lawyer quotes the opinions of others, and how little he alludes to his own; ... This abnegation of his own opinion, and this implicit deference to the opinion of his forefathers, which are common to the English and American lawyer, this servitude of thought which he is obliged to profess, necessarily give him more timid habits and more conservative inclinations in England and America than in France. Alexis De Tocqueville

I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run. Alexis De Tocqueville

America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. Alexis De Tocqueville

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

In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end. 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

Among the droves of men with political ambitions in the United States, I found very few with that virile candor, that manly independence of thought, that often distinguished Americans in earlier times and that is invariably the preeminent trait of great characters wherever it exists. Alexis De Tocqueville

The public, therefore, among a democratic people, has a singular power, which aristocratic nations cannot conceive; for it does not persuade others to its beliefs, but it imposes them and makes them permeate the thinking of everyone by a sort of enormous pressure of the mind of all upon the individual intelligence. Alexis De Tocqueville

Furthermore, when citizens are all almost equal, it becomes difficult for them to defend their independence against the aggressions of power. Alexis De Tocqueville

Useful undertakings which require sustained attention and vigorous precision in order to succeed often end up by being abandoned, for, in America, as elsewhere, the people move forward by sudden impulses and short-lived efforts. Alexis De Tocqueville

Whatever may be the general endeavor of a community to render its members equal and alike, the personal pride of individuals will always seek to rise above the line, and to form somewhere an inequality to their own advantage. Alexis De Tocqueville

Freedom sees in religion the companion of its struggles and its triumphs, the cradle of its infancy, the divine source of its rights. It considers religion as the safeguard of mores; and mores as the guarantee of laws and the pledge of its duration. Alexis De Tocqueville

The man who asks of freedom anything other than itself is born to be a slave. Alexis De Tocqueville

Righteous women in their circle of influence, beginning in the home, can turn the world around. Alexis De Tocqueville

Democracy encourages a taste for physical gratification; this taste, if it becomes excessive, soon disposes men to believe that all is matter only; and materialism, in its turn, hurries them on with mad impatience to these same delights; such is the fatal circle within which democratic nations are driven round. It were well that they should see the danger and hold back. Alexis De Tocqueville

If there ever are great revolutions there, they will be caused by the presence of the blacks upon American soil. Alexis De Tocqueville

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. Alexis De Tocqueville

At the head of any new undertaking where in France you would find the government, or in England some great lord, in the United States you are sure to find an association. Alexis De Tocqueville

Equality is a slogan based on envy. It signifies in the heart of every republican: Nobody is going to occupy a place higher than I. Alexis De Tocqueville

In countries where associations are free, secret societies are unknown. In America there are factions, but no conspiracies. Alexis De Tocqueville

Men seldom take the opinion of their equal, or of a man like themselves, upon trust. Alexis De Tocqueville

I considered mores to be one of the great general causes responsible for the maintenance of a democratic republic . . . the term "mores" . . . meaning . . . habits of the heart. Alexis De Tocqueville

In democratic ages men rarely sacrifice themselves for another, but they show a general compassion for all the human race. One never sees them inflict pointless suffering, and they are glad to relieve the sorrows of others when they can do so without much trouble to themselves. They are not disinterested, but they are gentle. Alexis De Tocqueville

In democratic centuries, on the contrary, when the duties of each individual toward the species are much clearer, devotion toward one man becomes rarer: the bond of human affections is extended and loosened. Alexis De Tocqueville

It is an axiom of political science in the United States that the sole means of neutralizing the effects of newspapers is to multiply their number. Alexis De Tocqueville

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. Alexis De Tocqueville

[R]eligion cannot share the material strength of the rulers without being burdened with some of the animosity roused against them. Alexis De Tocqueville



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