Alexis de Tocqueville quotes

  • Any measure that establishes legal charity on a permanent basis and gives it an administrative form thereby creates an idle and lazy class, living at the expense of the industrial and working class.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Class #Giving #Lazy

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

    #Soil #Revolution

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

    #Freedom #Equality #Slavery

  • Despotism often presents itself as the repairer of all the ills suffered, the support of just rights, defender of the oppressed, and founder of order.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Rights #Order #Support

  • 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.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Patriotic #Equality #Differences

  • There is no country in the world in which everything can be provided for by the laws, or in which political institutions can prove a substitute for common sense and public morality.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Country #Law #Common Sense

  • Life is to be entered upon with courage.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Courage #Worry #Anxiety

  • I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Moving #Men #Innovation

  • All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Peace #War #Mean

  • There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Party #Men #America

  • Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Pregnancy #Liberty #Ethics

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

    #Republic #Politics #Conservative

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

    #Government #Political #Pay

  • Nobody is going to occupy a place higher than I.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Higher

  • I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Believe #Liberty #Worship

  • The tie of language is perhaps the strongest and the most durable that can unite mankind.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Ties #Language #Mankind

  • Every central government worships uniformity: uniformity relieves it from inquiry into an infinity of details.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Government #Liberty #Details

  • A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Men #Admiration #Collectivism

  • Nothing is so dangerous as that of violence employed by well-meaning people for beneficial objects.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #People #Violence #Dangerous

  • No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Country #Peace #War

  • It's not an endlessly expanding list of rights - the "right" to education, the "right" to health care, the "right" to food and housing. That's not freedom, that's dependency. Those aren't rights, those are the rations of slavery - hay and a barn for human cattle.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Rights #Liberty #Barns

  • 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.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Men #Differences #Giving

  • There are at the present time two great nations in the world--the Russians and the Americans. The American relies upon his personal interest to accomplish his ends and gives free scope to the unguided exertions and common sense of the people. The Russian centers all his authority of society in a single arm. The principal instrument of the former is freedom; of the latter, servitude. Their starting point is different and their courses are not the same; yet each of them seems marked by the will of Heaven to sway the destinies of half the globe.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Destiny #Two #Common Sense

  • An American cannot converse, but he can discuss, and his talk falls into a dissertation. He speaks to you as if he was addressing a meeting; and if he should chance to become warm in the discussion, he will say 'Gentlemen' to the person with whom he is conversing.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #War #Fall #Gentleman

  • The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Mind #Liberty #Impossible

  • 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.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Political #Use #Politics

  • Society is endangered not by the great profligacy of a few, but by the laxity of morals amongst all.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Moral

  • 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

    #Air #Individuality #Comfort

  • In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Friendship #Hatred #Politics

  • 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

    #Running #Men #Office

  • 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.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Political #Democracy #Politics

  • Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Flames #America #Secret

  • What is 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.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Men #Hands #Class

  • Democratic communities have a natural taste for freedom: left to themselves they will seek it, cherish it, and view any deprivation of it with regret. But for equality their passion is ardent, insatiable, incessant, invincible: they call for equality in freedom; and if they cannot obtain that, they still call for equality in slavery.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Regret #Passion #Equality

  • 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?
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Money #Character #Answers

  • On close inspection, we shall find that religion, and not fear, has ever been the cause of the long-lived prosperity of an absolute government.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Fear #Government #Long

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

    #Men #Liberty #Slave

  • 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

    #Law #People #Justice

  • When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Past #History #Darkness

  • If men are to remain civilized or to become so, the art of associating together must grow and improve in the same ratio in which the equality of conditions is increased.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Art #Men #Together

  • 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

    #Men #Rights #Self

  • Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Art #Being Free #Use

  • Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Faith #Ties #People

  • 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

    #Character #Animal #Government

  • I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Country #Freedom #Real

  • The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals; morals can turn the worst laws to advantage. That is a commonplace truth, but one to which my studies are always bringing me back. It is the central point in my conception. I see it at the end of all my reflections.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Reflection #Law #Moral

  • It is above all in the present democratic age that the true friends of liberty and human grandeur must remain constantly vigilant and ready to prevent the social power from lightly sacrificing the particular rights of a few individuals to the general execution of its designs. In such times there is no citizen so obscure that it is not very dangerous to allow him to be oppressed, and there are no individual rights so unimportant that they can be sacrificed to arbitrariness with impunity.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #True Friend #Sacrifice #Rights

  • The happy and powerful do not go into exile, and there are no surer guarantees of equality among men than poverty and misfortune.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Powerful #Men #Guarantees

  • Lawyers belong to the people by birth and interest, and to the aristocracy by habit and taste; they may be looked upon as the connecting link of the two great classes of society.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Class #Two #People

  • In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Revolution #Rebellious #Invention

  • There is, in fact, a manly and lawful passion for equality which excites men to wish all to be powerful and honored. This passion tends to elevate the humble to the rank of the great; but there exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Powerful #Passion #Heart

  • Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Years #India #Division

  • 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

    #Sacrifice #Men #Compassion

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

    #War #Two #People

  • Chance does nothing that has not been prepared beforehand.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Doe #Chance #Prepared

  • 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

    #Positive #Success #Business

  • When a large number of organs of the press come to advance along the same track, their influence becomes almost irresistible in the long term, and public opinion, struck always from the same side, ends by yielding under their blows.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Blow #Numbers #Long

  • everybody feels the evil, but no one has courage or energy enough to seek the cure
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Evil #Energy #Enough

  • I studied the Quran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Men #Political #Islam

  • Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts, the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Liberty #Conflict #Christianity

  • Society was cut in two: those who had nothing united in common envy; those who had anything united in common terror.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Cutting #Two #Envy

  • It would seem as if the rulers of our time sought only to use men in order to make things great; I wish that they would try a little more to make great men; that they would set less value on the work and more upon the workman; that they would never forget that a nation cannot long remain strong when every man belonging to it is individually weak; and that no form or combination of social polity has yet been devised to make an energetic people out of a community of pusillanimous and enfeebled citizens.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Strong #Men #Order

  • The more I view the independence of the press in its principal effects, the more I convince myself that among the moderns the independence of the press is the capital and so to speak the constitutive element of freedom.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Views #Independence #Elements

  • A long war almost always places nations in this sad alternative: that their defeat delivers them to destruction and their triumph to despotism.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #War #Long #Triumph

  • It is indeed difficult to imagine how men who have entirely renounced the habit of managing their own affairs could be successful in choosing those who ought to lead them. It is impossible to believe that a liberal, energetic, and wise government can ever emerge from the ballots of a nation of servants.
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Wise #Believe #Successful

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

    #America #Be Good

  • What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish?
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville

    #Eye #Sleep #Thinking