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Alexis de Tocqueville

Find the best quotes, maxims and aphorisms of: Alexis de Tocqueville

Biography : French diplomat, political scientist and historian.
Born: 1805 - Died: 1859
Period:
19th century
Place of birth: France
France
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Alexis de Tocqueville - Quotes





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When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.
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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.
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The power of the periodical press is second only to that of the people.
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He was as great as a man can be without morality.
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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.
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Those that despise people will never get the best out of others and themselves.
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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.
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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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No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.
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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.
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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.
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The debates of that great assembly are frequently vague and perplexed, seeming to be dragged rather than to march, to the intended goal. Something of this sort must, I think, always happen in public democratic assemblies.
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There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.
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We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects.
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The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.
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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.
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A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.
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Nothing seems at first sight less important than the outward form of human actions, yet there is nothing upon which men set more store: they grow used to everything except to living in a society which has not their own manners.
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Life is to be entered upon with courage.
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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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The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
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There are two things which a democratic people will always find very difficult - to begin a war and to end it.
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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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In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.
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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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History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.
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Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
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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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