Textbook Notes (368,665)
Canada (162,054)
Sociology (1,513)
SOC101Y1 (470)
Bader Araj (17)

Tocqueville----What sort of Despotism Democratic Nations have to Fear.pdf

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Bader Araj

What sort of Despotism Democratic Nations have to Fear  US that a democratic state of society similar to that found there could lay itself peculiarly open to the establishment of despotism.  Return to Europe saw how far most of our princes had made use of the ideas, felling, and needs engendered by such a state of society to enlarge the sphere of their power.  Think that the nations of Christendom might perhaps in the end fall victims to the same sort of oppression as formerly lay heavy on several of the people of antiquity.  In past ages there had never been a sovereign so absolute and so powerful that he could by himself alone  No one had ever tried to subject all his people indiscriminately to the details of a uniform code, nor personally to prompt and lead every single on od his subject  The notion of such an undertaking never occurred to the human mind, inadequate education, imperfect administrative machinery, and above all the natural obstacles raised by unequal conditions would soon have put a stop to so grandiose a design.  When the power of the Roman emperors was at its height, the different people of the empire still preserved very various customs and mores.  Although they obeyed the same monarch, most provinces had a separate adm.  whole government of the empire was centered in the hands of the Emperor alone and he always remained  The emperors had an immense and unchecked power, use the power to indulge any strange caprice.  They often abused this power to deprive a man arbitrarily of life or property  Their tyranny was extremely onerous to the few, but it did not reach the many, violent, limited range  It would seem that if despotism were to be established among the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character. It would be more extensive and milder; it would degrade men without tormenting them.  In an age of instruction and equality like our own, sovereigns might more easily succeed in collecting all political power into their own hands and might interfere more habitually and decidedly with the circle of private interests than any sovereign of antiquity could ever do.  As men become more alike and more nearly equal, public mores becomes more humane and gentle.  When no member of the community has much power or much wealth, tyranny is without opportunities and a field of action.  As all fortunes are scanty, the passions of men are naturally circumscribed, their imagination limited, their pleasures simple. This
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