65 Alexis de Tocqueville Quotes On Success In Life

Alexis Charles Henri Clérel, comte de Tocqueville colloquially known as Tocqueville was a French aristocrat, diplomat, political scientist, political philosopher and historian. He is best known for his works Democracy in America (appearing in two volumes, 1835 and 1840) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856). In both, he analyzed the improved living standards and social conditions of individuals as well as their relationship to the market and state in Western societies. Democracy in America was published after Tocqueville’s travels in the United States and is today considered an early work of sociology and political science. These Alexis de Tocqueville quotes will motivate you.

Best Alexis de Tocqueville Quotes

  1. “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  2. “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.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  3. “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  4. “Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  5. “It is easier for the world to accept a simple lie than a complex truth.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  6. “Despotism often presents itself as the repairer of all the ills suffered, the support of just rights, defender of the oppressed, and founder of order.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  7. “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  8. “I studied the Quran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  9. “Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom…. The subjection of individuals will increase amongst democratic nations, not only in the same proportion as their equality, but in the same proportion as their ignorance.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  10. “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  11. As for me, I am deeply a democrat; this is why I am in no way a socialist. Democracy and socialism cannot go together. You can’t have it both ways. Socialism is a new form of slavery.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  12. “I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  13. “Any measure that establishes legal charity on a permanent basis and gives it an administrative form thereby creates an idle and lazy class, living at the expense of the industrial and working class.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  14. “Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France, I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  15. “When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  16. “There is in fact a manly and legitimate passion for equality that spurs all men to wish to be strong and esteemed. This passion tends to elevate the lesser to the rank of the greater. But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  17. “Generally speaking, only simple conceptions can grip the mind of a nation. An idea that is clear and precise even though false will always have greater power in the world than an idea that is true but complex.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  18. “When a large number of organs of the press come to advance along the same track, their influence becomes almost irresistible in the long term, and public opinion, struck always from the same side, ends by yielding under their blows.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  19. “If ever America undergoes great revolutions, they will be brought about by the presence of the black race on the soil of the United States – that is to say, they will owe their origin not to the equality but to the inequality of conditions.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  20. “Socialism is a new form of slavery.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  21. “In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  22. “It is indeed difficult to imagine how men who have entirely renounced the habit of managing their own affairs could be successful in choosing those who ought to lead them. It is impossible to believe that a liberal, energetic, and wise government can ever emerge from the ballots of a nation of servants.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  23. “There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  24. “The more government takes the place of associations, the more will individuals lose the idea of forming associations and need the government to come to their help. That is a vicious circle of cause and effect.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  25. “In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  26. “Society is endangered not by the great profligacy of a few, but by the laxity of morals amongst all.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  27. “A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  28. “It would seem as if the rulers of our time sought only to use men in order to make things great; I wish that they would try a little more to make great men; that they would set less value on the work and more upon the workman; that they would never forget that a nation cannot long remain strong when every man belonging to it is individually weak; and that no form or combination of social polity has yet been devised to make an energetic people out of a community of pusillanimous and enfeebled citizens.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  29. “I am deeply convinced that any permanent, regular administrative system whose aim is to provide for the needs of the poor will breed more miseries than it can cure, will deprave the population that it wants to help and comfort, will dry up the sources of savings, will stop the accumulation of capital, will retard the development of trade, and will benumb human industry.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  30. “Nothing is so dangerous as that of violence employed by well-meaning people for beneficial objects.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  31. “I have seen Americans making great and sincere sacrifices for the key common good and a hundred times I have noticed that, when needs be, they almost always gave each other faithful support” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  32. “Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts, the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  33. “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  34. “There is, indeed, a most dangerous passage in the history of a democratic people. When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education and their experience of free institutions, the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint at the sight of new possessions they are about to obtain. In their intense and exclusive anxiety to make a fortune they lose sight of the close connection that exists between the private fortune of each and the prosperity of all.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  35. “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.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  36. “Those who prize freedom only for the material benefits it offers have never kept it for long.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  37. “A man’s admiration of absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  38. “Muhammad brought down from heaven and put into the Koran not religious doctrines only, but political maxims, criminal and civil laws, and scientific theories. The Gospels on the other hand, deal only with the general relations between man and God and between man and man. Beyond that, they teach nothing and do not oblige people to believe anything. That alone, among a thousand reasons, is enough to show that Islam will not be able to hold its power long in ages of enlightenment and democracy, while Christianity is destined to reign in such ages, as in all others.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  39. “Every nation that has ended in tyranny has come to that end by way of good order. It certainly does not follow from this that peoples should scorn public peace, but neither should they be satisfied with that and nothing more. A nation that asks nothing of government but the maintenance of order is already a slave in the depths of its heart; it is a slave of its well-being, ready for the man who will put it in chains.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  40. “Those which we call necessary institutions are simply no more than institutions to which we have become accustomed.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  41. “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  42. “It is odd to watch with what feverish ardour Americans pursue prosperity, ever tormented by the shadowy suspicion that they might not have chosen the shortest route to get it. They cleave to the things of this world as if assured they will never die, and yet rush to snatch any that comes within their reach, as if they expected to stop living before relishing them. Death steps in, in the end, and stops them, before they have grown tired of this futile pursuit of that complete felicity which always escapes them.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  43. “There is, in fact, a manly and lawful passion for equality which excites men to wish all to be powerful and honored. This passion tends to elevate the humble to the rank of the great; but there exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  44. “The man who asks of freedom anything other than itself is born to be a slave.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  45. “When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education . . . the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint . . . . It is not necessary to do violence to such a people in order to strip them of the rights they enjoy; they themselves willingly loosen their hold. . . . they neglect their chief business which is to remain their own masters.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  46. “I am obliged to confess that I do not regard the abolition of slavery as a means of warding off the struggle of the two races in the Southern states. The Negroes may long remain slaves without complaining; but if they are once raised to the level of freemen, they will soon revolt at being deprived of almost all their civil rights; and as they cannot become the equals of the whites, they will speedily show themselves as enemies.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  47. “If I were asked … to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of Americans ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: To the superiority of their women.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  48. “I avow that I do not hold that complete and instantaneous love for the freedom of the press that one accords to things whose nature is unqualifiedly good. I love it out of consideration for the evils it prevents much more than for the good it does.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  49. “Even despots accept the excellence of liberty. The simple truth is that they wish to keep it for themselves and promote the idea that no one else is at all worthy of it. Thus, our opinion
    of liberty does not reveal our differences but the relative value which we place on our fellow man. We can state with conviction, therefore, that a man’s support for absolute government is
    in direct proportion to the contempt he feels for his country.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  50. “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.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  51. “The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colors breaking through.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  52. “Equality is a slogan based on envy. It signifies in the heart of every republican: “Nobody is going to occupy a place higher than I.”” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  53. “It is certain that despotism ruins individuals by preventing them from producing wealth much more than by depriving them of what they have already produced; it dries up the source of riches, while it usually respects acquired property. Freedom, on the contrary, produces far more goods than it destroys; and the nations which are favored by free institutions invariably find that their resources increase even more rapidly than their taxes.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  54. “Men are not corrupted by the exercise of power or debased by the habit of obedience, but by the exercise of a power which they believe to be illegal and by obedience to a rule which they consider to be usurped and oppressive.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  55. “Every central government worships uniformity: uniformity relieves it from inquiry into an infinity of details.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  56. “History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  57. “I studied the Koran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  58. “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.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  59. “The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  60. “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
  61. “America is a country where they have freedom of speech but everyone says the same thing.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

  62. “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.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  63. “Life is to be entered upon with courage.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  64. “Men will not receive the truth from their enemies, and it is seldom offered to them by their friends.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
  65. “Rulers who destroy men’s freedom commonly begin by trying to retain its forms. … They cherish the illusion that they can combine the prerogatives of absolute power with the moral authority that comes from popular assent.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

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