Saturday, January 29, 2011

Alexis de Tocqueville x 10....

Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
"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."

"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."

"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?"

"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."

"I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America."

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

"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 two things which a democratic people will always find very difficult - to begin a war and to end it."

"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."

"When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness."

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