What I’m Reading – Alexis de Tocqueville

Democracy in America, Volume I and II

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Alex de Tocqueville - Democracy in AmericaIn 1835 Alex de Tocqueville saw democracy as an equation that balanced liberty and equality, concern for the individual as well as the community.

This 1835 work was written on his observations of America at the time, and still has something to say about America today.

Some of my favorite quotes:

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

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

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?

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.

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

There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.

Words to the wise <IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

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