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
The emperors had an immense and unchecked power, use the power to indulge any
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,
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
As men become more alike and more nearly equal, public mores becomes more humane
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