Tag Archives: Tocqueville

Three classic quotes on perfection

“We are not to expect perfection in this world.” ~ George Washington

“Absolute perfection is almost never a feature of a system of laws.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

“I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man.” ~ Alexander Hamilton

Tocqueville on value of religion to society and government

“The reign of liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without beliefs.”

“Since religion has lost its sway over men’s soul, the most obvious boundary between good and evil has been overthrown; in the realm of morality, everything seems doubtful and uncertain: kings and nations go forward at random and no one can say where the natural limits of despotism and the boundaries of license are to be found.”

“When a nation’s religion is destroyed, doubt takes a grip upon the highest areas of intelligence, partially paralyzing all the others.  Each man gets used to having only confused and vacillating ideas on matters which have the greatest interest for himself and his fellows.  He puts up a poor defense of his opinions or abandons them and, as he despairs of ever resolving by himself the greatest problems presented by human destiny, he beats a cowardly retreat into not thinking at all.”

*Quotes from Tocqueville’s Democracy in America