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The People Quotations

Alexander Hamilton Speech in the New York ratifying convention
Categories: The People
Date: June 17, 1788
Thomas Jefferson Letter to William Johnson
Categories: The People
Date: June 12, 1823
Date: 1835
The kind of oppression with which democratic peoples are threatened will resemble nothing that has preceded it in the world . . . . The thing is new, therefore I must try to define it, since I cannot name it. I want to imagine with what new features despotism could be produce in the world: I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who revolve on themselves without repose, procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls . . . . Above [the people] an immense tutelary power is elevated, which alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyments and watching over their fate. It is absolute, detailed, regular, far-seeing, and mild. It would resemble paternal power if like that, if it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances: can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? So it is that every day it renders the employment of the free will less useful and more rare. It does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.

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