A Sort of Despotism

Our friend and fellow-blogger Hugh Curtler has provided a short excerpt from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, long considered one of the most influential and relevant books of the 19th century. This is a short piece, but even though it was published 182 years ago. Please take a moment to read it and think about it. Many thanks, dear Hugh, for such a timely piece and implied permission to re-blog!


In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States for nine months ostensibly to examine our prison system, but in fact to examine the American political system. He later wrote Democracy In America, a most remarkable book that very few read any more (sad to say). In a chapter of that book titled “What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear” he provided us with an analysis that is as timely today as it was when he wrote it, proving once again that the classics are always relevant:

“I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observer is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is a stranger to the fate of the…

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2 thoughts on “A Sort of Despotism

  1. An excellent piece. The choice of whether to take back Government from those who would stupefy you depends upon who stands and claims to be different. The two party system seems to have things nicely wrapped up and though I like the Democratic party there’d no denying that great wealth leads that party too and sometimes, though it claims in the gentlest of ways, it too would make decisions for the people which may benefit their friends rather than the people.Look at the power the NRA are allowed to wield and yet statistics show more people want some form of gun control. Politics is currently a game for the wealthy. It’s time to level the playing field so more people can put themselves forward allowing the electorate a better choice of candidate. It’s to be hoped they wouldn’t still vote in megarich buffoons with a leaning towards tyranny and away from truth.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Words of wisdom, my friend. Y’know … the two-party system we have has seemed to function relatively well, and I have had faith in it until the past few years when it has become so polarized as to hobble the government. Now I begin to wonder if a multiple-party system might not be the better way after all. Something to ponder anyway.

      I would like to think that the fiasco we are currently embroiled in has taught people a lesson and that they will begin choosing candidates with intelligence, common sense, humanity and humility, but alas … I doubt it. But, I am feeling more cynical than usual today, so perhaps I am being unnecessarily harsh in my assessment of the average U.S. voter. Sigh.

      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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