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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Fake Tocqueville in Alabama

Many posts have discussed the fake Tocqueville quotation, "America is great, because America is good. If America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."

At The Alabama Political Reporter, Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL) recalls a naturalization ceremony:
That morning at the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, I spoke of the American belief in self-government, that ‘we the people’ can govern ourselves. To successfully execute such a radical (at the time) idea, we had to found our nation on some basic values. From our adherence and loyalty to those values, our American character was created.
I quoted the words of the nineteenth century French observer of early America, Alexis De Tocqueville, written several decades after our nation’s founding. He said “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Tocqueville never wrote any such thing. The bogus line has been circulating for many years. There has been a good deal of work on its origin, but it is certain that it did not originate with Tocqueville.