Principium Volume I, Book 4, Quote 483, 485, 487


483. Every government seems to be afflicted by some evil which is inherent in its nature, and the genius of the legislator is shown in eluding its attacks. A State may survive the influence of a host of bad laws, and the mischief they cause is frequently exaggerated; but a law which encourages the growth of the canker within must prove fatal in the end, although its bad consequences may not be immediately perceived.

- Alexis de Toqueville – Democracy in America, 1835


485. The greatest proof of the ability of the American legislators is, that they clearly discerned this truth (that a real democracy – rule by the people as a group or mob – was bad)ATJ, and that they had the courage to act up to it. They conceived that a certain authority above the body of the people was necessary, which should enjoy a degree of independence, without, however, being entirely beyond the popular control; an authority which would be forced to comply with the permanent determinations of the majority, but which would be able to resist its caprices, and to refuse its most dangerous demands.

- Alexis de Toqueville – Democracy in America, 1835


487. The President, who exercises a limited power, may err without causing great mischief in the State. Congress may decide amiss without destroying the Union, because the electoral body in which Congress originates may cause it to retract its decision by changing its members. But if the Supreme Court is ever composed of imprudent men [or women]ATJ or bad citizens, the Union may be plunged into anarchy or civil war.

- Alexis de Toqueville – Democracy in America, 1835

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