"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
[Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel, le Comte de Tocqueville] (1805-1859) French historian
Democracy in America, 1835
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Kristen, Jackson, MS      
It helps one to realize that the problems we are facing today are not new... and thus perhaps survivable.
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    1835! Amazing
     -- senor reek, Corozal     
    This is soooooooooooo true!
     -- Anonymous     
    Americans have been from the very beginning of the so-called Republic hypocritical in their application of 'Freedom' in America. Even in 1835, nearly sixty years after Independence from the Crown, people were still kept as slaves, women were not accorded the same rights as men, and politicians used their office to promote their own self-interests. Yes, there have been a few free thinkers to arise from America, but most of her citizens are devout conformists. This is the real America. And the price of this hypocrisy has been the very Freedom that America claims to revere more than any other nation. Have we learned? Americans today are more conditioned, ignorant and prejudiced than ever. No wonder Fascism is being so well received. Of course the blowback from this message will likely prove de Tocqueville's point above.
     -- E.F., Washington, DC     
    So accurate. Our government (politicians) apparently find the public too stupid to have independence of mind. Only "they" [sarcasm] know what's best for us ... ignoring that people WILL do what's best, or at least easiest, for themselves.
     -- Joel, Rochester, MI     
    Tocqueville also said (I paraphrase) that once Americans lose their reliance on God the American Republic will be no more. So, welcome to the New World Order - the political-economic Weapon of Mass Destruction! By the way, have you surrendered your gun(s) lately?
     -- John-Douglas, Nassau     
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). De Tocqueville also said that America was great because America was good, and that he found the secret to America's greatness in her pulpits. Now that we have pulpits full of hirelings, cowards and marketing gurus, it's no wonder.
     -- Steve, Raleigh, NC     
    Regarding the "America is great because America is good" quote mentioned above by Steve (Raleigh, NC) & John-Douglas (Nassau), de Tocqueville never actually said it -- it is a popular false quote though.
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
    Whoa there, editor. I never used the quote alleged to me. I did write "once Americans lose their reliance on God the American Republic will be no more" - and if de Tocqueville never said it, then I claim it. And what I wrote is true.
     -- John-Douglas, Nassau     
    Very well, J.D., if you are quoting de Tocqueville, do your homework. There are thousands of quotes on this site -- pick one of his actual quotes if you wish de Tocqueville to back up your claim. He never said what you attributed to him either.
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
    This quote, like so many others, has been totally taken out of context. Furthermore, if you wish to "rate a quote" by a thinker such as Alexis de Tocqueville at least have some understanding about what he was driving at and don't think for a second that that one sentence is the author's complete thought. -Tolerance not reason, is the very core of liberty and freedom.
     -- Sean Hogan, Wheaton     
     -- Anonymous, US      
    Sean I'm in complete agreement with your assessment of this quote, like many other quotes on this site it is taken totally out of context. After reading many of the responses I would have to assume that no one this board has actually read Democracy in America. If they did they would realize that Alexis De Tocqueville was a strong and avid promoter of American Democracy and of the American Citizen. De Tocqueville wanted his own aristocratic government of France to follow the best practices learned from the Democratic government that was being developed in America. We Americans should be proud of our struggle for Democracy and have a better understanding of it critiques.
     -- $, D.C.     
    Sad, but true.
     -- Anonymous     
    Actually, this quote is not out of context. Tocqueville wrote 5 chapters on the tyranny of majority in America. Maybe all of you who say this quote is out of context should read the book. I have..... twice. Tyranny of the Majority was Tocqueville's main fear of the type of democracy America has. (Chapters 6,7,8,9 in part II of the first half, chapter 4 part I f the first half --> all about the tyranny of majority)
     -- Eric, New York     
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