Editor's Note: The following
exchange is adapted from a public conversation among Paul Rahe
(Hillsdale College), James Ceaser (University of Virginia), and
Thomas West (University of Dallas) that took place at The Heritage
Foundation on April 16, 2009, the date of release for Paul Rahe's
book SoftDespotism, Democracy's Drift, and the 150th
anniversary of the death of Alexis de Tocqueville.
Paul Rahe: Conservatism
in America is now at a nadir, but there is some hope that it might
recover. What would happen if it were to do so? In particular, what
would happen if the Republicans were to make a dramatic comeback as
they did in 1938, 1966, and 1994?
As the Obama Administration founders,
and as the President's negatives rise slowly but, I think,
inexorably, as the Republicans ride higher in the polls and
Democratic Senators from toss-up states begin to display anxiety,
such a scenario seems conceivable. Thus far, the Republicans have
been tactically adept, and we can foresee the possibility (but
maybe not the probability) that they will stick to their guns and
refuse to become what they were before 1980: tax collectors for the
Opposition is, however, the easy part.
There is no sign that anyone in the GOP has given any serious
thought to developing a coherent program for governance. In the
absence of such a strategy and plan, as became evident almost
immediately after Newt Gingrich resigned his post as Speaker of the
House, the Republicans will wander more or less aimlessly.
Before we contemplate the future,
however, we must confront an exceedingly unpleasant fact. For
nearly a century now, the friends of liberty, local autonomy, and
civic agency have been in retreat, and the administrative state has
grown by leaps and bounds.
The ideological foundation for this
development was laid during the presidential campaign of 1912, when
both Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt attacked the
Constitution and William Howard Taft, its only defender, came in a
dismal third. The institutional foundation was put in place one
year later with ratification of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth
Amendments to the Constitution, which legalized the federal income
tax and provided for the direct election of United States Senators,
putting the federal government in a position to secure for itself
unlimited funding and denying to the state legislatures, which had
once chosen the Senators, the capacity to defend state and local
governments against federal encroachment.
Since that time, since 1913, without a
respite, the conservatives have been giving ground, sometimes
slowly, sometimes rapidly, and the advocates of centralized
administration have gradually extended their tentacles into nearly
every corner of American public and private life.
Moreover, since 1928, the only real
difference between Republicans and Democrats has been the pace.
Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George Herbert
Walker Bush, and George W. Bush may not have been as enthusiastic
about extending federal powers as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon
Baines Johnson, and Barack Obama, but they were nonetheless quite
assiduous. Even under Ronald Reagan, the only recent President who
made a concerted attempt to limit the growth of the federal
government, the federal government extended its reach.
Of course, the localities and the
states still exist. Elections take place. There are school boards,
and there are town, city, county, and state governments; and they
still matter--even if, on a growing and great variety of subjects,
they take their orders from a national government that offers them
vast sums of funding in return for strict compliance with its every
whim. Our polity is a hodge-podge, but with every passing year the
burden of federal regulation becomes more intolerable, and the
number of mandates grows with increasing rapidity. Moreover, nearly
all of the regulations imposed are devised by unelected civil
servants and political appointees to whom Congress--undeniably in
breach of the Constitution's separation of powers--has delegated
legislative, executive, and judicial responsibilities.
Next to nothing with regard to these is
examined and voted on by elected officials who can be held
responsible by the voting public for the consequences of what has
been done. Moreover, what remains undecided within the
administrative agencies is generally dealt with in courts,
unresponsive to the electorate. We may still take pride in being a
self-governing people, but to an ever-increasing degree, that
pretense is unsustainable.
The Tocquevillean Cure for the French
If we are ever to put a stop to the
advance of the administrative state or even roll it back, if we are
ever to recover the liberty that once was ours and reassert our
dignity as citizens rather than as clients and as subjects, we must
first come to understand what it is that has occasioned central
administrations' seemingly inexorable march. Here, I would argue,
Alexis de Tocqueville, who died 150 years ago today, on 16 April
1859, is our best guide, for what he feared with regard to his
native France is increasingly true for the United States.
We have contracted the "French
disease." To an ever-increasing degree, our compatriots are subject
to what Tocqueville described as "an immense tutelary power which
takes sole charge of assuring their enjoyment and of watching over
their fate." As he predicted, this power is "absolute,
attentive to detail, regular, provident and gentle," and it "works
willingly for their happiness, it provides for their security,
foresees and supplies their needs, guides them in their principal
affairs, directs their industry, regulates their testaments,
divides their inheritances." It is entirely proper to ask whether
it can "relieve them entirely of the trouble of thinking and of the
effort associated with living," for such is evidently its aim.
Moreover, "after having taken each
individual in this fashion by turns, into its powerful hands, and
after having kneaded him in accord with his desires":
[The sovereign] extends its arms about
society as a whole. It covers its surface with a network of petty
regulations--complicated, minute, and uniform--through which even
the most original minds and the most vigorous souls know not how to
make their way past the crowd and emerge into the light of day. It
does not break wills; it softens them, bends them and directs them.
Rarely does it force one to act but it constantly opposes itself to
one's acting on one's own. It does not destroy, it prevents things
from being born, it extinguishes, it stupefies and finally, it will
reduce each nation to nothing more than a herd of timid, and
industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.
As I said, when Tocqueville wrote these
words, he did not have our country in mind. He was worried--and
rightly so--about his native France. Where other luminaries, such
as François Guizot, looked optimistically to the rule of a
technocratic elite armed with authority conferred by a liberal,
quasi-democratic regime, Tocqueville anticipated something much
more ominous: the establishment of a "social body" that would be
intent on exercising foresight with regard to everything. It would
act as a "second providence," nourishing men from birth and
protecting them from "perils," and it would function as a "tutelary
power" capable of rendering men "gentle" and sociable in such a
manner that crimes would become rare, and virtues as well.
When under the rule of this "tutelary
power," he foresaw that the human soul would enter into a "long
repose." In the process, "individual energy" would be "almost
extinguished," and when action was required, men would "rely on
others." In effect, a peculiar brand of what Tocqueville called
"egoism" initially, and "individualism" later, would reign, for
everyone would "withdraw into himself." If "fanaticism"
disappeared, as he suspected it would, so would "convictions" and
"beliefs" and human agency itself.
The new and unprecedented "species of
servitude" that Tocqueville had in mind was, as he later observed,
"regulated, gentle, or soft, and favorable to peace." He suspected
that it could be "combined more easily" than men were inclined to
imagine "with some of the external forms of liberty." He even
suggests "that it would be possible for it to be established in the
very shadow of the sovereignty of the people."
In this fashion--with the institution
of a "unitary, tutelary, all-powerful" government "elected by the
citizens" at regular intervals--one might actually satisfy the two
contradictory impulses found among his contemporaries: the felt
"need for guidance and the longing to remain free." What this would
involve, Tocqueville explains, is a "species of compromise between
administrative despotism and the sovereignty of the people," a
corrupt bargain between the ghost of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and that
of his erstwhile admirer Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot in which the
political doctrine of Rousseau was deployed rhetorically for the
purpose of legitimizing a law-abiding, steady, reliable despotism
on the Chinese model--a model of the sort that was espoused, in
full knowledge of what they were embracing, by Turgot's mentors
among the Physiocrats in France.
Under such an arrangement, Tocqueville
remarked, "the citizens emerge for a brief moment from dependence
for the purpose of indicating their masters, and then re-enter,"
without further ado, "their former state" of dependence. "They
console themselves for being in tutelage, with the thought that
they had chosen the tutors themselves," and "they think that they
have sufficiently guaranteed the liberty of the individual when
they have delivered to the national power."
This is the fear that brought
Tocqueville to North America: that the great democratic revolution
sweeping the globe would eventuate not in liberty, but in a soft,
gentle despotism wholly welcome to those who would be subject to
it. He came to these shores hoping against hope that he would
discover in our country an antidote to the process that had in
France produced a Napoleon and that seemed likely to eventuate in
something far less impressive than the great Bonaparte.
And here, on these shores, Tocqueville
discovered what he was looking for. In decentralized
administration, local self-government, civic associations, an
unfettered press, Biblical religion, and the marital solidarity
characteristic of Jacksonian America, he found what he took to be
an antidote for the soft despotism that he rightly saw as
Above all, he was persuaded that where
there is centralized administration and individual citizens find
themselves alone facing the state, they will succumb to the
disposition that Pascal, Montesquieu, and Rousseau had called
inquiétude (using a word that has a range of meanings
stretching from uneasiness and restlessness to anxiety and outright
fear) and, in search of a sense of security, will gradually become
passive subjects. But he also saw that where there is considerable
local autonomy, as there was in the United States, and the citizens
experienced civic agency and learned the art of association
thereby, where there is genuine and spirited public debate, where
the citizens find in Biblical religion a moral anchor and a
foundation for their own dignity and where they are sustained by
domestic tranquility typifying their homes, the sense of
inquiétude typical of the liberal democratic man will
give way to citizens' trust in their own capacities, and they will
be likely to be anything but passive and to have the confidence to
join together and face down officials intent on lording it over
One cannot today read Tocqueville's
description of democracy in America with equanimity, for as I have
already intimated, to a considerable extent, the world that he
described is lost. The states and localities are in thrall to the
federal government. Civic associations survive almost solely as
lobbying operations. Newspapers are disappearing hither and yon.
Christianity and Judaism have lost their hold on much of our
population. The divorce rate is unconscionably high, and, last
year, 40 percent of all children in the United States were born out
of wedlock. We cannot continue on the path we now tread and sustain
a genuine democracy.
The Second Crisis of the American Regime
Of course, this is not the first time
that the American regime has faced a great crisis. We did so once
before, in and before the 1860s; and, at a terrible cost, we
managed to weather that predicament by attending to the principles
enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, put into practical
form through the Constitution, and given an authoritative
interpretation in The Federalist.
Tocqueville was not entirely oblivious
to this first crisis when he published Democracy in America,
but he did not fully appreciate it in the 1830s. He had planned to
sojourn in Charleston, South Carolina, for a time, but his travels
in North America were cut short by orders from France. Had he gone
there as planned, he would have realized that the principles of the
Declaration of Independence, which he had heard read out loud on
the Fourth of July in Albany, New York, were under assault in
another corner of the country. It was not until later, as evidenced
in his letters (especially those written in 1849, when he was
Foreign Minister of France, and in the 1850s), that he came to
fully appreciate the danger.
We can learn something about this
problem from reading Democracy in America, but Americans in
the 1850s had no real need of Tocqueville's guidance on the dispute
then current. What was at issue was clear enough, and the
Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and The
Federalist were a sufficient guide. What was required was,
simply, a reassertion of American principles.
The second crisis of the American
regime--our crisis--is of a different character. It had its origins
in the 1870s and in the 1880s in the most unlikely of places: among
the political offspring of Abraham Lincoln. It began within the
Republican Party, within the liberal wing of Evangelical
Christianity, and it had its initial home in the universities.
Its proponents called themselves
Progressives. They inhabited universities constituted on the German
model. They thought of themselves as scientists exploring new
frontiers. They were powerfully influenced by Hegel's
Phenomenology of Right and by the social Darwinism inspired
by Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species.
For Abraham Lincoln, almost without
exception, they expressed admiration; but under the influence of
Hegel and Darwin, they abandoned as outmoded the notion, asserted
by the Founding Fathers and reasserted by Lincoln, that the
Declaration of Independence embodied self-evident truths. Under
these influences, they came to see the Constitution as outmoded;
and when the generation to which they belonged came to exercise
leadership, in 1912, they advocated jettisoning both.
We do not need Tocqueville to see this
apostasy as an apostasy. No one who reads the preamble to the
Declaration of Independence can be comfortable with affirmative
action and intrusive bureaucracy. No one who reads the Constitution
in light of The Federalist can be satisfied with our
abandonment of the two great principles of self-government
enshrined in that Constitution and defended in that volume: the
separation of powers and federalism. Our entire tradition weighs
against the administrative state. But nonetheless it has grown. It
continues to grow under Republicans and Democrats alike, and right
now it threatens to grow dramatically.
Tocqueville's Contribution: Resisting Tyrannical
Ambition and Servile Temptation
This is where Tocqueville comes in.
Neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution nor
The Federalist is sufficient to enable us to understand what
I will call the nexus of tyrannical ambition and servile
temptation. The leading documents of our tradition do not address
this question, nor should they have done so. The preamble of the
Declaration of Independence is a statement of first principles. It
is not a fully elaborated political science.
The Constitution presupposes such a
political science, and much of what it presupposes is elaborated in
The Federalist, but that work was produced for an occasion.
Its aim was to encourage the ratification of the Constitution. Its
authors hoped thereby to form a more perfect Union. They had no
need to make the case for local autonomy; it was their task to show
where its proper limits lay. As a statement of political science,
it was, in consequence, incomplete because of the occasion to which
it was directed. If the Founders understood the nexus of tyrannical
ambition and servile temptation--and, as we shall see, at least one
of them certainly did--they quite properly refrained from
addressing it in this book.
This is why we need Tocqueville today.
As his letters reveal, he came to America with a fully worked out
account of the nexus of tyrannical ambition and servile temptation.
What he looked for in these parts and found was a regime equipped
with the means to resist that temptation.
His is not a book primarily about the
American regime. It is a book about democracy as such, and
he uses our regime solely as an example. He wrote in French for a
French audience. His aim was to instruct them in what
they needed to know. It was not necessary that he mention
the Declaration of Independence. First principles were not germane
to his task. The French, after all, had their own declaration, and
it too embodied the principle that all men are created equal and
endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. This
principle he took for granted, and he alluded to its
implications--for example, in discussing slavery--in much the same
fashion as did The Federalist: without citing chapter and
Tocqueville did speak about the gradual
discovery of the equality principle in the course of European
history, and he quite rightly traced this discovery to the
Christian faith (for the first to talk about men being endowed by
their Creator with natural rights, the first to speak about men
being naturally equal, were the Church Fathers), and he highlighted
the influence that Christianity exercised within Europe over a
multitude of centuries. But he never suggested, as some suppose,
that the truth of the principle of equality was in any way
historically contingent. His subject when he talked about history
and the principle of equality was the discovery of the
principle of equality.
We need to read Democracy in
America as Tocqueville intended that it be read: as an adjunct
to The Federalist (which he frequently cites) intended to
instruct the French in virtues they sorely lacked (and still sorely
lack), but above all, in an appreciation for the vital significance
of federalism and local self-government, the importance of civic
associations and a free press, the political virtue of the
Christian religion, and the necessity for familial harmony. We
would not ourselves desperately need this adjunct to The
Federalist had we remained true to our inheritance, had we not
contracted what I call in my book Soft Despotism, Democracy's
Drift the "French disease."
But now, alas, we are as much in need
of Tocqueville as were the French in his own day, and we cannot
understand the nexus of tyrannical ambition and servile temptation
if we do not pay close attention to his account--indebted to
Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws and to Montesquieu's
greatest student, Rousseau--of the distinctive political psychology
of liberal democratic man. And we must also attend to what he
learned from Thomas Jefferson, the one American fearful of the
nexus of tyrannical ambition and servile temptation, who identified
local self-government (what he called "ward republics") as the
means by which this could be resisted.
Seventy-two years ago, in 1937 at the
height of the New Deal, Walter Lippmann, a repentant Progressive,
[W]hile the partisans who are now
fighting for the mastery of the modern world wear shirts of
different colors, their weapons are drawn from the same armory,
their doctrines are variations of the same theme and they go forth
to battle singing the same tune with slightly different
Throughout the world, in the name of
progress, men who call themselves communists, socialists, fascists,
nationalists, progressives and even liberals, are unanimous in
holding that government with its instruments of coercion, must by
commanding the people how they shall live, direct the course of
civilization and fix the shape of things to come.... [T]he premises
of authoritarian collectivism have become the working beliefs, the
self-evident assumptions, the unquestioned axioms, not only of all
the revolutionary regimes, but of nearly every effort which lays
claim to being enlightened, humane, and progressive.
So universal is the dominion of this
dogma over the minds of contemporary men that no one is taken
seriously as a statesman or a theorist who does not come forward
with proposals to magnify the power of public officials and to
extend and multiply their intervention in human affairs. Unless he
is authoritarian and collectivist, he is a mossback, a reactionary,
at best an amiable eccentric swimming hopelessly against the tide.
It is a strong tide. Though despotism is no novelty in human
affairs, it is probably true that at no time in twenty-five hundred
years has any western government claimed for itself a jurisdiction
over men's lives comparable with that which is officially attempted
in totalitarian states....
But it is even more significant that in
other lands where men shrink from the ruthless policy of these
regimes, it is commonly assumed that the movement of events must be
in the same direction. Nearly everywhere, the mark of a progressive
is that he relies at last upon an increased power of officials to
improve the condition of men.
What worried Lippmann the most--what
had worried Calvin Coolidge before him, and what should worry us
even more today--was the failure of those who considered themselves
Progressives to "remember how much of what they cherish as
progressive has come by emancipation from political dominion, by
the limitation of power, by the release of personal energy from
authority and collective coercion." Lippmann cited "the whole long
struggle to extricate conscience, intellect, labor, and personality
from the bondage of prerogative, privilege, monopoly, authority."
It was, he said, "the gigantic heresy of an apostate generation" to
[T]here has come into the world during
this generation some new element which makes it necessary for us to
undo the work of emancipation, to retrace the steps men have taken
to limit the power of rulers, which compels us to believe that the
way of enlightenment in affairs is now to be found by intensifying
authority and enlarging its scope.
It is with Lippmann's warning in mind
that we should resume our attempt to understand the present
discontents in light of what we can learn from Montesquieu's
account of the English form of government, from Rousseau's account
of commercial society, but above all else, from Alexis de
Tocqueville, whose passing we commemorate today.
James Ceaser: There are,
generally speaking, two approaches that could be taken to studying
Tocqueville. One is to treat him as a political thinker or theorist
and make every effort to understand his work, perhaps subjecting it
to criticism. The other is to draw inspiration from him and
continue the enterprise he launched of introducing a "new political
science for a new era," a political science that asks how we can
maintain a functioning, liberal democracy that produces a society
of free men and women.
Tocqueville did that for his day; but,
of course, that was his day. The Tocquevillean project consists of
asking these same questions in our day. Just as he treated
institutions, religion, media, the arts, architecture, the
family--in short, almost everything we find in society--with a view
to how to maintain a free society, we must do the same within
political science for our time.
Paul Rahe's fine new book opens up
fruitful avenues for both approaches to the study of Alexis de
Tocqueville: for what he meant in his day as well as for what he
could mean today. We are doubly grateful to Paul for this
Tocqueville and American Conservatism: The First
My assignment this afternoon is to
comment on Tocqueville's relationship to conservatism. Tocqueville
himself could not have conceived his thought in this way, because
the term "conservative," if it had been invented, would only have
been invented recently, before he came to America. Edmund Burke,
for example, never uses the word "conservatism," although
Tocqueville was very much aware of Burke's thought.
As for America, Tocqueville knew and
met many thinkers associated with the American Whig Party who were
conservative in a new sense. They were conservative not in the way
Europeans were, but in a way that embraced free and popular
government. When we look back at Tocqueville and consider him in
context, it is clear that he was influenced by these thinkers.
These thinkers in turn helped to shape the Whig Party in the United
As for modern American conservatism,
which is a term that identifies a coalition of different bodies or
strains of thought that have been joined together under one word,
Tocqueville could have known nothing. Still, the truth is that if
you look today at the various conservative safe houses in
Washington, beginning here at Union Station and making your way
uptown via Massachusetts Avenue and then to the K Street corridor,
and perhaps all the way up to Georgetown University, you can find
many centers and institutions that would be proud to name Alexis de
Tocqueville a senior scholar, even a distinguished senior
When it comes to the notion that
Americans were once "Anglos" and religious before they ever
embraced natural rights philosophy, Tocqueville was Sam Huntington
before Sam Huntington. When it comes to the notion that a huge
central state with a massive centralized administrative bureaucracy
takes us down the road to serfdom, Tocqueville was, of course,
Friedrich Hayek before Friedrich Hayek.
When it comes to the idea that a robust
Biblical faith among the American people should have its place in
the public square, Tocqueville was Richard Neuhaus before Richard
Neuhaus. When it comes to the great cultural perspective that
modern democratic civilization can flatten, debase, and diminish
the human spirit, Tocqueville was Richard Weaver before Richard
Weaver. When it comes to the notion that secondary powers and
associations are the central elements of a pluralist society,
Tocqueville was Robert Nisbet before Robert Nisbet.
On this point, Tocqueville could even
be of help to the leader of the philanthropy project at Hudson,
Bill Shambra; and Tocqueville's book, which treated philosophy and
philanthropy on a level with Arthur Brooks's Who Really
Cares, could easily have qualified him to be president of the
American Enterprise Institute. Tocqueville was warning against the
tenpin long before Robert Putnam had become CEO of Bowling Alone,
Inc., at Harvard.
Finally, as for the idea of America as
a great world power and empire of democracy, roaming and policing
the world, Tocqueville was Bill Kristol before Bill Kristol.
Indeed, I observe that Tocqueville even wrote a recent editorial
for the Weekly Standard, for which I hope his estate
was properly remunerated.
There are obvious tensions among these
various strands of the conservative movement today, but they come
closer to being assembled into some kind of coherent whole in the
thought of Tocqueville than in anyone else's. Tocqueville's
connection with these different parts of conservatism is well
known, and it needs no further elaboration here.
Tocqueville and "Democratic Types"
I would like to try to add one other
perspective to viewing Tocqueville's work. I hope it can open up a
new avenue for conservatives' reflection on Tocqueville's
At the end of the day, as I think all
would agree, the final and most important criterion for analyzing
and assessing different regimes is the kind or kinds of human
beings that they tend to produce and promote. This is so even in
our modern understanding of society, where the role of the
political is limited primarily to protecting our rights and views
of happiness, as distinct from earlier societies, where political
responsibility went much farther, explicitly aiming to produce
specific ideas of virtue or right thinking.
Yet even today, under this modern
understanding, we keep our eye on the result of our arrangement,
and we would be dismayed if free societies promoted on balance
unworthy human beings. In fact, it is remarkable how much of public
policy discussion still connects directly or indirectly to the
question of the kinds of human beings that our society encourages.
This is true whether we are speaking of education policy, drug
laws, rules of marriage, or even the tax code. In the end, a
responsible social science cannot avoid the fundamental question of
the character of human beings.
Tocqueville helped to develop this way
of thinking about and judging modern societies. His approach to the
relationship between regimes and the character of human beings they
produce begins with a background conception of man, or human being
as such, who is fixed on a few consistent and constituent points.
This is the permanent or non-plastic part of the human character.
It includes, for example, some glimmer of a deep intimation that
prompts every man to ponder the reason for his own existence.
Then, on top of this idea of man as
such, Tocqueville proceeds to place a set of lenses that powerfully
shape humans into different types.
The first great set he employs derives
from the "social state" and the historic era. One lens comes from a
social state of hierarchy, and it gives us the general type called
"aristocratic man." The other lens derives from the social state of
equality, and it gives us the general type called "democratic man."
These two types are so dramatically different in so many important
ways that Tocqueville at some points describes them almost as
characters of a different kind or species.
This approach that connects an age or
era to a general type of human being was subsequently picked up and
radicalized by two of the greatest philosophers of the 19th and
20th centuries, respectively: Nietzsche and Heidegger. Each spoke
of what amounted to a unique type for our modern epoch: the herd,
or the modern European, in Nietzsche's case and das
Man--sometimes symbolized as the American--in Heidegger's case.
These types were of such low and dismal quality as to lead these
thinkers to suggest the need for a complete transformation of
society, radically blowing up the constitutions of the so-called
civilized societies of the time.
Tocqueville did not, of course, take
this step. The reason is not just that he was more moderate
politically (though he was) and not just that he had studied so
closely the ravaging impact of an effort, in the form of the French
Revolution, to tear up and remake society, which touched members of
his own family. It was, rather, that he was never as deterministic
or pessimistic as Nietzsche or Heidegger. The democratic man he
sketches in the end is still a broad type that contains a range of
possibilities or sub-types. Some of the sub-types are of defensible
quality; some are sad and dismal.
There is, in short, another set of
lenses that Tocqueville applies on top of democratic man. This
set yields different varieties of democratic man.
Most Tocqueville scholars have noticed
something like this. It is now time, I think, to take what is
implicit and make it explicit by giving names to each of these new
types and developing more concretely their characteristics. The
project should be to describe how Tocqueville envisions these
types, which ones are more or less worthy and how the worthy ones
would be encouraged and the dangerous ones averted. As a starting
point, I will designate a couple of the negative types.
I would mention, first, "Globo-Man."
The psychology of Globo-Man is distinguished by the fact that his
point of connection to others is not to any particular society, but
to everyone--to humanity as such. He is a practicing congregant of
the religion of humanity.
This disposition is an outgrowth of the
tendency of democratic man to move away from a connection to class
(in the aristocratic sense) and to the nation. Globo-Man has become
uneasy with notions of the nation and national honor; he looks
beyond the nation, to a negation of the nation, in the form of an
attachment to the world and to world citizenship.
It is clear that in their professions
of belief, many Europeans are closer to or have reached this point.
The issue also divides our own populace, with the fault line
falling somewhere between younger and older Americans. The cleavage
showed up in the last election. While many of the young respected
John McCain's biography, they did not find it nearly as appealing
or as worthy as Barack Obama's personal quest for identity, which
had a greater resonance with the notion of the religion of
There is no doubt that this vast
constituency of the religion of humanity strongly favored President
Obama, who was, so to speak, elected by the world and can be
counted as the first President of the World. Whether he flirts with
considering himself more in this light than as a mere local
politician (that is, President of the United States) has been a
matter of much speculation.
For Tocqueville, the stopping point of
effective attachment in our age should be the nation. It remains
the only unit that is still capable of great action and that can
uphold a meaningful standard of honor. In other words, if the
identification of man is humanity, the notion of greatness must
grow dimmer and dimmer.
The other democratic sub-type I will
mention is "Present-Day Man." The characteristic element of this
character is the identification of a time horizon with the now,
meaning "my life," the time in which I live. Present-Day Man has no
connection to a long past and only the vaguest connection to the
The advent of Present-Day Man is one of
the most notable traits of our time, perhaps more pronounced in
Europe than in the United States. It is likely the source of the
demographic collapse of large segments of modern liberal democratic
society. For without a serious horizon of the future coming from a
cause that will endure, be it a political or religious one, or
better still a combination of those two, there is no reason to
procreate for a time beyond our own.
I will stop at this point, urging only
that scholars today find the time and energy to study the different
sub-types of democratic man as part of Tocqueville's project to
create a new political science for a new era.
Tocqueville's picture of 1830s America is wonderful. We can still
learn from his insights on the importance of religion, the family,
local self-government, private associations, and much more. The
question is how useful Tocqueville is for us today.
In his book Soft Despotism,
Democracy's Drift, Paul Rahe argues that Tocqueville can
help us understand both what pushes democracy toward despotism and
what remedies can keep democracy from degenerating into tyranny. I
am in qualified agreement with Rahe's judgment. However, although
Tocqueville's book is unquestionably brilliant, I am not convinced
that it is as helpful as one might wish in diagnosing the despotic
drift that we are in the grip of.
Does Tocqueville Misunderstand the American
Today I will limit my remarks to
Tocqueville's misunderstanding of the American Founding and
therefore of America. The most striking sign of that
misunderstanding is that in a 700-page book on America, Tocqueville
never once mentions, let alone analyzes, the political theory of
the American Founding as articulated in the Declaration of
Independence and in many other founding documents.
The logic of Rahe's own analysis
points, I believe, to these defects in Tocqueville. Toward the end
of Soft Despotism, Rahe turns to today's political scene. He
describes the origins of today's despotic state in the ideas of
Progressive intellectuals who were active "in and after the 1870s
and 1880s." These men, says Rahe, "aimed at the foundation of a new
political regime." The Progressives dismissed "as outdated the
concern with individual, natural rights" that was shared by
Jefferson, Hamilton, and Lincoln.
Rahe implies that the origin of today's
problems is not, as Tocqueville had argued, the logic of the
people's democratic passions and ideas, arising from the equality
of conditions. The origin lies instead in the ideas of disgruntled
intellectuals who rejected the principles of the Founding and of
majority rule. For all their talk of the need to make America more
democratic, the Progressive and later liberal hostility to local
self-government reveals their true agenda. The demand for change
came from the top down, not from the bottom up; from
anti-democratic elites, not from the people.
A common complaint among Progressive
intellectuals a century ago was that the American people continued
to be stubbornly loyal to the Founders' ideas. In 1903, Charles
Merriam wrote that:
[The doctrines of] natural rights, the
social contract, the idea that the function of the government is
limited to the protection of person and property...are no longer
generally received [among political scientists].... Nevertheless,
it must be said that thus far the rejection of these doctrines is a
scientific tendency rather than a popular movement. Probably these
ideas continue to be articles of the popular creed.
That complaint continues to be echoed
Rahe's analysis raises this question:
If the Progressives and today's liberals feel the need to attack
the natural rights theory of the Founding, does that not imply that
the theory was and continues to be regarded as a significant
obstacle to the liberal refounding of America in the 20th and now
21st centuries? Does it not also imply that part of the remedy for
today's ills might be found in a revival of the natural rights
thinking that animated the Founding?
Rahe admits that Tocqueville did not
"do full justice to the American regime," because "[h]is aim was to
instruct his [French] compatriots in what they most needed to
know." Rahe says that Tocqueville was not "disdainful" of the
"principles...enshrined in the Declaration of Independence," but
that since "the French Revolution had impaired" local
self-government, he did not think that abstract doctrines of
equality and liberty were what the French needed to hear.
Tocqueville meant to remind the French of the blessings of "the
municipal liberties...that they themselves had once enjoyed."
But when Rahe says that Tocqueville
fails to "do full justice" to America, does he not imply that
Tocqueville may not be the best guide either to understanding
America or to analyzing the problem of the current movement in the
West toward despotism? It really does not matter whether, as Rahe
argues, Tocqueville tacitly agreed with the natural rights teaching
but concealed it from his French audience for pedagogical purposes
or whether, as I suspect, Tocqueville followed his mentor Rousseau
in rejecting the idea of natural law in the sense that Locke and
the Founders understood it. Either way, Tocqueville does not tell
us what America really was.
There is evidence of Tocqueville's
rejection of the idea of natural right. In the only chapter where
he affirms "the idea, so general but at the same time so
simple...of the equal right to freedom that each bears from
birth," he also says that all general ideas are
false. Thus, it should be no surprise when Tocqueville attributes
the teaching that all men are "naturally similar and equal" not to
philosophers, but to Christianity.
In another passage, Tocqueville speaks
of justice not as an eternal principle inherent in the natural
order, or discovered from an examination of the natural order, but
as a "law...that has been made or at least adopted...by the
majority of all men." In other words, it is authoritative not
because it is in accord with an eternal standard of right, as the
Founders said, but because all men accept it.
Tocqueville says he appeals here "from
the sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of the human
race." Mankind's general will, as it were, is
the source of justice. But Tocqueville unfortunately implies that
if the will of mankind should change, justice would be
Why Democracy Needs a Theory of Individual
Elsewhere, Tocqueville speaks of
democracy as providentially destined. If this claim is not a mere
rhetorical ploy, it means that whatever history points to is right
and good. This is not an affirmation of the eternal wrongness of
slavery and oppression. It is a confession of belief in Progress
and an affirmation of history, not nature, as the standard of
Tocqueville's blindness to, or silence
on, the Founders' political theory reminds me of a 1996 statement
of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In the question-and-answer
period after his speech, Scalia was asked whether democracy
requires protection of individual rights. Scalia responded: "The
whole theory of democracy, my dear fellow, is that the majority
rules, that is the whole theory of it. You protect minorities only
because the majority determines that there are certain minorities
or certain minority positions that deserve protection."
Tocqueville, in agreement with Scalia,
also presents "the whole theory of democracy" as being nothing more
than the rule of the majority. It has no internal source of
self-restraint. But if there is nothing in the theory of democracy
but majority rule, then the majority may do anything it wants
unless it is restrained by some principle or cause wholly external
to the "theory of democracy."
This is not the Founders' "theory of
democracy." Tocqueville never mentions the fact that the Founders
had insisted from the beginning that the right of the majority to
rule stems from the same law of nature that puts moral limits on
the majority. Jefferson explains in his First Inaugural
All, too, will bear in mind this sacred
principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to
prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the
minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect,
and to violate which would be oppression.
In the Founders' theory, all people are
born with equal natural rights, the violation of which is forbidden
by the law of nature--whether the will of the majority agrees or
Tocqueville rightly argues that
majority rule without any moral limit is a dangerous doctrine. He
sees that Americans in the 1830s did not actually believe that the
majority has a right to do whatever it wants. He concludes that
American democracy must have succeeded because of some historical
accident. Somehow, America became an amalgam of disparate elements,
some of which turned out to be very useful in restraining the
That historical accident, in
Tocqueville's analysis, was the presence in early America of the
legacy of the English aristocratic past. Three of these elements of
aristocratic provenance are the idea of individual rights, the
practice of local self-government, and the Christian religion.
Tocqueville writes that the Americans
"have taken from the English aristocracy the idea of individual
rights." The claim that individual rights are not
a democratic idea follows necessarily from Tocqueville's equation
of democracy with majority rule.
For Tocqueville, the real founding of
America was in Puritan Massachusetts, as he tells us in the second
chapter of his book. For that to be true, however, there would have
to be a basic continuity between early Puritanism and the Founding.
It is true that the Puritans had local self-government, but they
had no individual rights. Furthermore, the Puritan conception of
the purpose of government was very different from that of the
Founding. For the Puritans, to quote John Winthrop, "the end [of
political life] is...to serve the Lord and work out our salvation
under the power and purity of his holy ordinances."
The Founders, in contrast, started from
the idea that all men are born equally free and independent and
that they have equal natural rights to life, liberty, and property.
It follows that the only legitimate source of the rule of one
person over another must be consent. The idea of individual rights
and the idea of majority rule are two sides of the same coin. Far
from being an aristocratic heritage, individual rights are a
juridical expression of the equal natural liberty of each person.
Government derives its purpose from these basic ideas. Its purpose
is to secure the life and liberty which each person possesses by
nature but which are in danger from the violence of others.
Tocqueville never mentions this
fundamental difference between the Puritans and the Founders
concerning the purpose of government.
How American Democracy Is Improved: Historical Accidents
or Political Principles?
The Founders' theory of democracy was
articulated in a coherent theory that they conceived as a rational
whole. It was not an amalgam of disparate ideas and customs blended
together by blind historical forces originating in their colonial
and European past.
What, then, does Tocqueville think is
the basis of majority rule? Unlike the Founders, he has little to
say on this important question.
At one point, he makes this
observation: "In nations where the dogma of the sovereignty of the
people reigns, each individual is...supposed to be as enlightened,
as virtuous, as strong as any other of those like him."
Hardly anyone in the Founding era would have agreed with this
remark, for everyone was aware that human beings are unequal in
regard to virtue, intelligence, beauty, and so on. Jefferson,
Madison, and the other Founders justified periodic elections in
part on the ground that it would lead to greater competence in
government than would a democracy without elected
According to Tocqueville, religion is a
second beneficial accidental element in America, similar to
individual rights. Religion too, he writes, is a "precious
inheritance from aristocratic centuries." In other words, religion
has no necessary connection with the idea of majority rule, but by
a happy accident, America was able to blend the amoral spirit of
liberty (majority rule) with the moral spirit of religion
(Christianity). Thus, Tocqueville argues that democracy finds in
religion the moral guide that it would otherwise have lacked.
The actual relationship between
religion and democracy is more complicated. American statesmen have
long been appreciative of the support provided by religion for the
moral principles of American politics; but they made a distinction
between religious support for those principles and the principles
themselves, which were thought evident in human nature and
therefore inseparable from the theory of democracy.
Lincoln once remarked that the idea of
equality is "the father of all moral principle" in us. He
meant that the principles of the Founding are themselves moral
principles. If majority rule is right, slavery is wrong. For the
Founders and Lincoln, Christianity agrees with this truth, but the
moral truth in question can also be known by reason alone.
A third historical accident that made
American democracy successful, according to Tocqueville, was the
tradition of local self-government. One must agree with him that
this tradition was indeed important, but Tocqueville argues that
the logic of democratic ideas is hostile to local liberty.
Democratic peoples, he says, prefer centralized, uniform
government. Perhaps that is why, in a footnote criticizing my own
essay on Tocqueville, Rahe says that:
[West] rightly takes Tocqueville to
task for failing to emphasize the significance for Americans of the
Declaration of Independence but does so in so exaggerated a fashion
that one is left thinking that he believes that their colonial
heritage of self-government somehow ceased to matter to Americans
on 4 July 1776.
Rahe's remark seems to be based on a
tacit appeal to Tocqueville's view that the more people are devoted
to the idea of equality, the less they will care about local
But it was precisely the Founders'
devotion to individual natural rights that led at least some of
them to be enthusiastic advocates of local self-government.
What has destroyed liberty and the
rights of man in every government which has ever existed under
the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers
into one body.... [W]hen there shall not be a man in the State who
will not be a member of some one of its councils, great or small,
he will let the heart be torn out of his body sooner than his power
be wrested from him by a Caesar or a Bonaparte.
In agreement with Jefferson, John Adams
remarked, "The consequences of these institutions [of town
government] have been, that the inhabitants...acquired from their
infancy the habit of discussing, of deliberating, and of judging of
public affairs." This, says Adams, was one of the "principal
sources of that prudence in council" which "produced the American
Revolution, and which I hope will be sacredly preserved as the
foundations of the liberty, happiness, and prosperity of the
In sum: The Founders' America was not
an amalgam of "perfectly distinct" elements, as Tocqueville says,
but a regime and a way of life informed by a coherent theory of
democracy. Here is a powerful resource for advocates today of
limited government and responsible liberty--a resource about which
Tocqueville has nothing to say.
Paul Rahe: Let me respond
by pointing to a contradiction in Tom West's remarks. He said that
Tocqueville misunderstands the Founding, that he is silent on the
Declaration of Independence in a book on the American Founding.
Later, he agrees with me that Democracy in America is not a
book about America at all.
Ifitis a book about the American
Founding, if it is a book about America, then silence on the
Declaration of Independence would indeed be odd. But if it is a
book of political science about democracy focused mainly on France
with an eye to American institutions and American practices as they
might be useful to the French, then his silence on the Declaration
is utterly meaningless and of no significance whatsoever.
It is not that Tocqueville concealed
the natural rights founding, as Tom West suggested was a
possibility, or that he disagreed with the idea of natural rights;
it is that he did not need to talk about it.
In fact, Tocqueville takes the idea of
natural rights for granted, and he applies it in the case of
slavery. He is the man who is personally responsible for the
abolition of slavery in the French colonies, and the argument that
he makes during the Second Republic on behalf of abolition is an
appeal to natural rights. Moreover, when Tocqueville talks about
religion in Democracy in America, what he is interested in
is how people came to recognize that they have natural rights.
Both Tocqueville and the American
Founders look back to Montesquieu. Both emphasize mores and
manners, history and tradition. If you look at the opening pages of
The Federalist, you will see nearly all of the themes that
are supposed to make Tocqueville different from the Americans in
his orientation. In other words, in these opening pages one sees an
appreciation for the peculiar history that made this a very good
site for establishing a regime of natural rights and limited
government. Tocqueville, writing for the French, wants to talk
about that particular history.
If he were a scholar completely
detached from a political purpose, writing an account of the
American Founding, then there would be a point to his silence on
the subject of natural rights. But what he is trying to do is to
explain to the French why democracy works in America. I think all
of this reveals that Tocqueville looks to the same foundations that
the American Founders looked to.
James Ceaser: This
reading of Democracy in America, of course, would make the
book primarily for the French and not a book on democracy as such
that would speak fully to Americans. I know that Tom West made that
point: If it was written for the French, are we to accept it as a
book that is instructive for America as well?
One possibility is Paul Rahe's, which
is that the book is primarily for a European audience and not for
an American audience, and this explains Tocqueville's silence on
the Declaration. Another possibility would be that Tocqueville
intended the silence, more generally, also for America.
One strand of conservatives raises the
following question: Is it helpful in human affairs to proclaim
general doctrines of right as a way of achieving right in society?
Or is the inevitable effect of these doctrines, especially the
Lockean doctrine, to undermine liberty? Most doctrines of abstract
right, expressed in historical moments, have not done very well, as
the occasion of the French Revolution illustrates. On that
occasion, abstract doctrines of natural rights led to
centralization of power rather than a limitation of power. I am
only repeating the arguments of Burke, with whom Tocqueville was
much acquainted by the time he wrote his other classic, The Old
There is a deeper point, then, to
Tocqueville's silence. It is that there is a problem with abstract
proclamations of general rights; such doctrines are not the best or
the only way to understand how societies are formed, and they can
in fact be dangerous. So, taking nothing away from the Declaration,
how long can the American polity be set up simply on the basis of
ideas from the Declaration? This argument would be, I think, a
challenge Tocqueville posed to Americans. He intended his silence
about the Declaration to be instructive for Americans as well as
At the time of Tocqueville's writing,
perhaps Locke was understood incorrectly. This would be a
historical point, but there was an important movement against
Lockeanism at the time Tocqueville was writing. It included some of
the intellectuals whom he met with in the United States. On the
basis of the anthropology which all understood (or thought they
understood) to underlie Locke--namely, a fully materialist
understanding, which called into question religion, and a concern
for tradition (because, after all, if you can figure it out from
the state of nature, what do you need tradition for?)--many began
to reject Locke.
There is a deeper conservative argument
that Tocqueville is making. To what extent does Tocqueville want to
embrace the notion of founding, that societies are founded at a
single point in time? I think, as Tom West pointed out, that
Tocqueville's silence about the Declaration was meant to introduce
another understanding of founding. Instead of founding being that
which took place simply in 1776 and 1787, Tocqueville offers the
alternative idea of founding that emphasizes the growth and
evolution of institutions.
So the question could be this: Is it
good for free societies to be based on the idea of a pure founding,
which opens the way to rational administration and control, because
if you can found, why can you not found a rational state? I think
Tocqueville wanted to introduce this issue.
The final question would be whether
this teaching, once introduced (and I think there is something to
be said for it), needs some correction in its own right. That, I
think, has been Tom West's crusade over the years, and there is
much to be said for his correction, especially in light of our
tradition and history.
I would conclude by noting that
Tocqueville probably would have rewritten Democracy in
America in a different way after the Civil War. The Founding
would have reappeared in a more robust light, and the Declaration
might have appeared in a more prominent way.
Thomas West: I appreciate
these comments very much. Based on what we have just heard, I would
like to raise the question: What would be the advantages of an
appeal to abstract right?
Given the concerns that Tocqueville
implicitly and Jim Ceaser explicitly stated, it does seem to me
that, as Jim Ceaser implied at the end, the appeal to abstract
right can in fact be very useful in certain political
circumstances. Obviously, this appeal was a key element in
Lincoln's arsenal when he tried to rally the nation to oppose the
indefinite expansion of slavery because, as he saw it, the
principle on which that expansion was being defended was the idea
that the majority can do whatever it wants.
In other words, this abstract doctrine
seems to persuade people to believe more strongly in right and in
the rightness of their nation. I think it is especially difficult
for intellectuals to believe in democracy, since to be an
intellectual implies that you know more than most people. And one
of the useful features of the Lockean doctrine is that it appeals
to intellectuals as something they can figure out, but this means
that they also have to restrain themselves for the public good and
ultimately for their own good.
James Ceaser: The
difficulty lies in how most people interpret "rights." This is the
issue. If one looks at most judicial interpretations of "rights" in
the world, one sees the exact opposite of Lockeanism. Rights refer
to so-called second- and third-generation rights, which include a
right to housing, medical care, vacations, and an equal income, not
to mention a right to marry any unrelated individual regardless of
So this is the problem: If you claim
that an abstract doctrine can establish the one, correct theory of
government, you open yourself up to the wrong or false
interpretation of that doctrine, which is going to occur more often
Some efforts to establish governments
based on doctrines of natural rights have ended in disaster. In the
case of the French Revolution, for example, natural rights doctrine
was the source of tyranny, not of freedom. Because of this result,
some of those on the side of liberty, like Burke, opposed the
proclamation of abstract doctrines of rights for fear that they
created an opening for enlightened despotism, which is the marriage
of strong government to philosophy.
So how does one solve this problem of
when to make use of abstract doctrines and when not? I am not sure
that there is a simple theoretical solution. I think it is
something that must be resolved politically, meaning by prudence. I
think there is a statesmanlike understanding of when to use
doctrines of rights and when not to use them.
Tocqueville, I believe, made a judgment
of what was best for America at the time he wrote. I agree with Tom
West that Tocqueville's judgment would have been revised in light
of the failure of the Whigs to address the problem of slavery
because of their fear of abstract doctrines. The "re-introduction"
of an abstract principle was required to deal with this issue.
Furthermore, if you are going to rely
on tradition, how can you have a realistic tradition in the
post-Civil War United States that omits a central role for the
doctrine of natural rights in American politics? To do so would be
to create the utter absurdity of an American tradition that has
forgotten Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.
Paul Rahe: Let me add
something to this, because I think Jim Ceaser is probably right,
certainly with regard to France. Tocqueville and his family had
witnessed a rupture. His parents came within three days of being
executed under Robespierre; his grandparents and his great
grandparents were executed.
What is interesting is that when he
leads the campaign against slavery in France, he has recourse to
abstract natural rights. He returns to those themes because that is
the argument that is there to be made.
In that sense, it seems to me that he
is very close to Montesquieu who is, on prudential grounds,
suspicious of Lockeanism because he fears that it will lead to a
great rupture in France and to tyranny. But when Montesquieu comes
to talk about slavery, he also turns to the question of abstract
natural rights. So it is a kind of tempered Lockeanism that you
find in Montesquieu, tempered by the fear of the possible outcome
of such appeals, and I think the same thing is true with
Thomas West: If the idea
of abstract rights is tied to nature and natural law, which it was
in the Founding, that entails the obligation to ground rights in
moral duty and in nature, meaning to human nature. The rights you
have by nature are the things you possess by nature--your life and
If the doctrine of natural rights is
understood that way, it cannot be expanded into universal health
care and all the rest. But once you cut yourself off from nature,
and turn to history or "evolving concepts of human dignity," where
we are today, then of course the doctrine of rights will be
dangerous. So I would say that doctrines of rights which are tied
to human nature can be a stable foundation for a conservative
Paul Rahe: The trouble is
that in the French Revolution, those same doctrines led to horrible
consequences that no conservative can embrace. This demonstrates
the danger that conservatives perceive in such doctrines.
Paul Rahe is Charles O. Lee and
Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College.
He has authored several books including Soft
Despotism, Democracy's Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau,
Tocqueville and the Modern Prospect (New Haven, Conn.: Yale
University Press, 2009), from which this talk was adapted.
James Ceaser is Professor of Politics at the University of
Virginia, where he has taught since 1976, and has held visiting
professorships at the University of Florence, the University of
Basel, Oxford University, the University of Bordeaux, and the
University of Rennes. Thomas West is Professor of Politics at the
University of Dallas. He is the author of Vindicating the
Founders: Race, Sex, Class and Justice in the Origins of
America and is also a Senior Fellow at the Claremont
Here and elsewhere, the translation is my own.
Federalist No. 40, which quotes a brief passage from the
Declaration of Independence without ever mentioning the document
Walter Lippmann, An Inquiry into the Principles of the Good
Society (Boston: Little, Brown, 1937), pp. 3-6.
"Barack Obama's America: a timeless critique from
Tocqueville, by Alexis de Tocqueville," The Weekly
Standard, Vol. 14, Issue 24 (March 9, 2009), at http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/
000/016/202tgqya.asp. A note at the end of the article
says that it is taken"From Democracy in America, volume
two, part four, chapter six: 'What Kind of Despotism Democratic
Nations Have to Fear' (translated by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba
Rahe, Soft Despotism, pp. 244-245.
Charles Edward Merriam, A History of American Political
Theories (New York: Macmillan, 1903), p. 332-333.
Rahe, Soft Despotism, p. 223.
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in
America, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 413.
Thomas Jefferson, "First Inaugural Address," March 4, 1801.
Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. Mansfield, p.
Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. Mansfield, p.
Thomas West, "Misunderstanding the American Founding," in
Interpreting Tocqueville's Democracy in America, ed. Ken
Masugi (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1991), pp.
Rahe, Soft Despotism, p. 330, note 6.
Thomas Jefferson to Joseph C. Cabell, February 2, 1816. (Emphasis
John Adams to Abbe de Mably, 1782, in John Adams, The Works of
John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of
the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles
Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856), Vol. 5,