De Tocqueville's Remarks about Lieber

De Tocqueville noted in his diary the following remarks about Lieber and his ideas: "We Europeans, we think to create republics by organizing a great political assembly. The Republic, on the contrary, is of all the governments the one that depends most on every part of society. Look at this country! The Republic is everywhere, in the streets as in Congress. If an obstacle embarrasses the public way, the neighbors will at once constitute themselves a deliberative body; they will name a commission and will remedy the evil by their collective force, wisely directioned. Does a public ceremony, a banquet, take place, you will likewise see a gathering, a deliberation, and an executive authority arising therefrom. The concept of an authority preceding that of the parties interested does not exist in any one's head. The people has the Republic to the marrow of the bones."

Democratic Behavior
in American Society

"Another time he said to us: How can a man who has seen America believe that it is possible to transplant its political laws to Europe, and especially at one fell swoop? Since seeing this country I can't believe M. de Lafayette in good faith in his theories; one can't deceive oneself so grossly. For my part, I feel myself inclined to believe every day more strongly that constitutions and political laws are nothing in themselves. They are dead creations to which the morals and the social position of the people alone can give life."

Lack of Egalitarianism
in European Societies
Go Back    Table of Contents    Continue the Tour

This site is maintained by Stefan Pollklas.
This document was last updated on 02/18/98.