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 :: 1805-1859, French Social Philosopher

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It is easy to see that, even in the freedom of early youth, an American girl never quite loses control of herself; she enjoys all permitted pleasures without losing her head about any of them, and her reason never lets the reins go, though it may often seem to let them flap.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Girls]

 

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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.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Honor]

 

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Not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but also clouds their view of their descendants and isolates them from their contemporaries. Each man is for ever thrown back on himself alone, and there is danger that he may be shut up in the solitude of his own heart.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Isolation]

 

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Nothing is quite so wretchedly corrupt as an aristocracy which has lost its power but kept its wealth and which still has endless leisure to devote to nothing but banal enjoyments. All its great thoughts and passionate energy are things of the past, and nothing but a host of petty, gnawing vices now cling to it like worms to a corpse.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Aristocracy]

 

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Scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Law and Lawyers]

 

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The Americans never use the word peasant, because they have no idea of the class which that term denotes; the ignorance of more remote ages, the simplicity of rural life, and the rusticity of the villager have not been preserved among them; and they are alike unacquainted with the virtues, the vices, the coarse habits, and the simple graces of an early stage of civilization.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Class]

 

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The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals; morals can turn the worst laws to advantage. That is a commonplace truth, but one to which my studies are always bringing me back. It is the central point in my conception. I see it at the end of all my reflections.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Law and Lawyers]

 

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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.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Congress]

 

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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 - [Language]

 

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The last thing a political party gives up is its vocabulary.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Words]

 

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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.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Religion]

 

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The most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Reform]

 

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The principle of equality does not destroy the imagination, but lowers its flight to the level of the earth.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Equality]

 

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The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [America]

 

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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 - [War]

 

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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 - [Education]

 

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Those that despise people will never get the best out of others and themselves.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Management]

 

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Though it is very important for man as an individual that his religion should be true, that is not the case for society. Society has nothing to fear or hope from another life; what is most important for it is not that all citizens profess the true religion but that they should profess religion.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Multiculturalism]

 

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Trade is the natural enemy of all violent passions. Trade loves moderation, delights in compromise, and is most careful to avoid anger. It is patient, supple, and insinuating, only resorting to extreme measures in cases of absolute necessity. Trade makes men independent of one another and gives them a high idea of their personal importance: it leads them to want to manage their own affairs and teaches them to succeed therein. Hence it makes them inclined to liberty but disinclined to revolution.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [Trade]

 

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Two things in America are astonishing: the changeableness of most human behavior and the strange stability of certain principles. Men are constantly on the move, but the spirit of humanity seems almost unmoved.
~ Alexis De Tocqueville - [America]

 

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