Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

French diplomat, political scientist, and historian

Lived from: 1805-1859

Category: Politics | History and sociology | Science

Quotes: Alexis de Tocqueville

Quotes 1 till 15 of 49.

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    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.
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    Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
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    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.
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    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?
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    Consider any individual at any period of his life, and you will always find him preoccupied with fresh plans to increase his comfort.
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    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.
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    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?
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    Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic.
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    He was as great as a man can be without morality.
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    History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.
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    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.
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    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.
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    I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.
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    In a revolution, as in a novel. the most difficult part to invent is the end.
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    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.
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