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Democracy In America
Alexis De Tocqueville
Translator - Henry Reeve




Book One


Introduction

Special Introduction By Hon. John T. Morgan

In the eleven years that separated the Declaration of the
Independence of the United States from the completion of that act
in the ordination of our written Constitution, the great minds of
America were bent upon the study of the principles of government
that were essential to the preservation of the liberties which
had been won at great cost and with heroic labors and sacrifices.
Their studies were conducted in view of the imperfections that
experience had developed in the government of the Confederation,
and they were, therefore, practical and thorough.

When the Constitution was thus perfected and established, a
new form of government was created, but it was neither
speculative nor experimental as to the principles on which it was
based. If they were true principles, as they were, the
government founded upon them was destined to a life and an
influence that would continue while the liberties it was intended
to preserve should be valued by the human family. Those
liberties had been wrung from reluctant monarchs in many
contests, in many countries, and were grouped into creeds and
established in ordinances sealed with blood, in many great
struggles of the people. They were not new to the people. They
were consecrated theories, but no government had been previously
established for the great purpose of their preservation and
enforcement. That which was experimental in our plan of
government was the question whether democratic rule could be so
organized and conducted that it would not degenerate into license
and result in the tyranny of absolutism, without saving to the
people the power so often found necessary of repressing or
destroying their enemy, when he was found in the person of a
single despot.

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