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.
America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
Born often under another sky, placed in the middle of an always moving scene, himself driven by the irresistible torrent which draws all about him, the American has no time to tie himself to anything, he grows accustomed only to change, and ends by regarding it as the natural state of man. He feels the need of it, more he loves it; for the instability; instead of meaning disaster to him, seems to give birth only to miracles all about him.
Consider any individual at any period of his life, and you will always find him preoccupied with fresh plans to increase his comfort.
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.
Despotism may govern without faith, but Liberty cannot.
He was as great as a man can be without morality.
History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.
However energetically society in general may strive to make all the citizens equal and alike, the personal pride of each individual will always make him try to escape from the common level, and he will form some inequality somewhere to his own profit.
I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it.
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 politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.
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.
It is the dissimilarities and inequalities among men which give rise to the notion of honor; as such differences become less, it grows feeble; and when they disappear, it will vanish too.
Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
Life is to entered upon with courage.
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.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.
The genius of democracies is seen not only in the great number of new words introduced but even more in the new ideas they express.
The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.
The last thing a political party gives up is its vocabulary.
The main business of religions is to purify, control, and restrain that excessive and exclusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality.
The most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform.
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.
The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle.
There are two things which a democratic people will always find very difficult - to begin a war and to end it.
There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.
Those that despise people will never get the best out of others and themselves.
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.
We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects.
What is the most important for democracy is not that great fortunes should not exist, but that great fortunes should not remain in the same hands. In that way there are rich men, but they do not form a class.
When American(s) ask for the cooperation of (their) fellow citizens, it is seldom refused; and I have often seen it afforded spontaneously and with great good will.
When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.