479. How can a populace, unaccustomed to freedom in small concerns, learn to use it temporarily in great affairs? What resistance can be offered to tyranny in a country where every private individual is impotent, and where the citizens are united by no common tie? Those who dread the license of the mob, and those who fear absolute power, ought alike to desire the progressive growth of provincial (local)ATJ liberties.
- Alexis de Toqueville – Democracy in America, 1835
480. (Regarding the history of the Constitution)ATJ But it is a novelty in the history of society to see a great people turn a calm and scrutinizing eye upon itself, when apprised by the legislature that the wheels of government are stopped (as in the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation)ATJ; to see it carefully examine the extent of the evil, and patiently wait for two whole years until a remedy was discovered, which it voluntarily adopted without having wrung a tear or a drop of blood from mankind. At the time when the inadequacy of the first constitution was discovered America possessed the double advantage of that calm which had succeeded the effervescence of the revolution, and of those great men who had led the revolution to a successful issue. The assembly which accepted the task of composing the second constitution was small; but George Washington was its President, and it contained the choicest talents and the noblest hearts which had ever appeared in the New World. This national commission, after long and mature deliberation, offered to the acceptance of the people the body of general laws which still rules the Union.
Alexis de Toqueville – Democracy in America, 1835