TOCQUEVILLE, Alexis Charles Henry de Quotes
(1805-1859), French statesman
Calvinism is a democratic and republican religion.
Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts—the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.
In order to civilize a people, it is necessary first to fix it, and this cannot be done without inducing it to cultivate the soil.
The progress of democracy seems irresistible, because it is the most uniform, the most ancient, and the most permanent tendency which is to be found in history.
"It is a great blessing," says Pascal: "to be born a man of quality, since it brings a man as far forward at eighteen or twenty as another would be at fifty, which is a clear gain of thirty years."— These thirty years are commonly wanting to the ambitious characters of democracies.—The principle of equality, which allows every man to arrive at everything, prevents all men from rapid advancement.
As a general truth, nothing is more opposed to the well-being and freedom of men, than vast empires.
The equality of conditions is more complete in the Christian countries of the present day, than it has been, at any time, or in any part of the world.—Its gradual development is a providential fact, and it possesses all the characteristics of a divine decree; it is universal, it is durable, and it constantly eludes all human interference; and all events, as well as all men, contribute to its progress.
When the political power of the clergy was founded and began to exert itself, and they opened their ranks to all classes, to the poor and the rich, the villain and the lord, equality penetrated into the government through the church and the being who as a serf must have vegetated in perpetual bondage, took his place, as a priest, in the midst of nobles, and not unfrequently above the head of kings.
Despotism may govern without faith, but Liberty cannot.
The institution of the jury, if confined to criminal cases, is always in danger; but when once it is introduced into civil proceedings, it defies the aggressions of time and of man.
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.
Laws are always unstable unless they are founded on the manners of a nation; and manners are the only durable and resisting power in a people.
By birth and interest lawyers belong to the people; by habit and taste to the aristocracy; and they may be looked upon as the natural bond and connecting link of the two great classes of society.—They are attached to public order beyond every other consideration, and the best security of public order is authority.—If they prize the free institutions of their country much, they value the legality of these institutions far more.—They are less afraid of tyranny than of arbitrary power.
Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts, the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.
God gives to every man the virtue, temper, understanding, taste that lifts him into life, and lets him fall in just the niche he was ordained to fill.
The political parties that I would call great, are those which cling more to principles than to consequences; to general, and not to special cases; to ideas, and not to men.—Such parties are usually distinguished by a nobler character, more generous passions, more genuine convictions, and a more bold and open conduct than others.
From the time when the exercise of the intellect became the source of strength and wealth, every addition to science, every fresh truth, and every new idea became a germ of power placed within reach of the people.
Local assemblies of the people constitute the strength of free nations.—Municipal institutions are to liberty, what primary schools are to science: they bring it within the people's reach, and teach them how to use and enjoy it—A nation may establish a system of free government, but without the spirit of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit of liberty.