Pregnant with America
The most famous quote attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville is, “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
Strangely, Tocqueville never said it. He did, however, make a number of astounding pronouncements and predictions.
Alexis de Tocqueville, that 25 year-old Frenchman who authored Democracy in America, traveled for 9 months throughout the United States of 1831 with his friend, Gustave de Beaumont.
The pair traveled west to Michigan to see unspoiled wilderness, then down to New Orleans to hear the heartbeat of the South, but the majority of their time was spent in Boston, New York and Philadelphia where they arranged meetings with some of the most influential thinkers of the early 19th century.
Tocqueville interviewed presidents, lawyers, bankers and settlers and even met with Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. Democracy in America, the book that resulted from his beagle's journey, set the stage for discussions about democracy that are still being carried on today.
So what did Tocqueville say?
Allow book-reviewer Margaret Magnus to paraphrase: “America will face a great civil war,' Tocqueville predicted, 'and although they've chosen a bunch of numskulls for president before, don't be fooled. In time of great need, they will elect a great man. They just don't want busybodies in power unless they need them. I know America has only a small percent of the GNP and population of France, but keep a close eye on this one. In 100 years, its population will be around 200,000,000. And the world will be split between two great powers, Russia which will gain its preeminence by the sword and America which will gain it by the plowshare. Now I know Mexico just translated America's Constitution word for word into Spanish, and aspires to establish a society just like theirs. And I know their current populations are comparable. Still America will gain preeminence, but Mexico will not. And here's why… And I know the number of Negroes and the number of natives is about the same, and they are both subordinate to the whites. Still the natives will disappear as a powerful identifiable social and economic force, but the African will not. There will be a well defined and influential African subculture in 100 years, but the same will not hold of the natives. And here's why…'”
– from the Margaret Magnus amazon.com review of Democracy in America
The entire text of Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville is available online.
Was Tocqueville posing as a mystic seer, as did Nostradamus before him and Rasputin after? Or did he simply gather information and recognize patterns, as did Leonardo da Vinci, Buckminster Fuller and Genrich Altschuller?
Read what Tocqueville wrote and decide for yourself.
Roy H. Williams
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