Alexis de Tocqueville


Alexis de Tocqueville Quotes

  • ''Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic.''
    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French social philosopher. "About Virtue in Republics," vol. 2, appendix 5, Democracy in America (1840).
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  • ''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 (1805-1859), French social philosopher. "Democracy," vol. 2, appendix 5, Democracy in America (1840).
  • ''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.''
    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 1, ch. 15 (1835).
  • ''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.''
    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 2, pt. 1, ch. 5 (1840).
  • ''In other words, 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 (1805-1859), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 1, pt. 2, ch. 5 (1840).
  • ''There is hardly a pioneer's hut which does not contain a few odd volumes of Shakespeare. I remember reading the feudal drama of Henry V for the first time in a log cabin.''
    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 2, pt. 1, ch. 13 (1840). Of the reading habits of Americans.
  • ''There are two things which will always be very difficult for a democratic nation: to start a war and to end it.''
    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 2, pt. 3, ch. 22 (1840). Tocqueville added, "All those who seek to destroy the freedom of the democratic nations must know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish this. That is the very first axiom of their science."
  • ''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.''
    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 2, pt. 1, ch. 16 (1840).
  • ''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 (1805-1859), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 1, ch. 15 (1835).
  • ''In countries where associations are free, secret societies are unknown. In America there are factions, but no conspiracies.''
    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 1, ch. 12 (1835).

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