The Political Structure of Democracy....

....from de la Démocratie en Amérique (1835)

Written by Alexis de Tocqueville

It's that man again! ;)

Just a few paragraphs....


The Political Functions of Religion  

Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must nevertheless be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all the Americans have a sincere faith in their religion, for who can search the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indespensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but belongs to the whole nation, and to every rank of society.

The Political Functions of Education
Anyone who wants to judge the state of education among the Anglo-Americans must look at the one subject from two different points of view [footnote 1 by TA]. If he only singles out the learned, he will be astonished to find how rare they are; but if he counts the ignorant, the American people will appear to be the most enlightened community in the world. The whole population... is situated between these two extremes.
In New England, every citizen receives the the elementary notions of human knowledge [footnote 2 by TA]; he is moreover taught the doctrines and bases of his religion, the history of the country, and the leading features of its Constitution. In the States of Connecticut and Massachusetts, it is extremely rare to find a man imperfectly acquainted with all these things, and a person wholly ignorant of them is a sort of phenomenum.

[1] You should ask Julius Caesar that one de Tocqueville.

[2] Is that still true?