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Alexis de Tocqueville and 'Democracy in America'

Alexis de Tocqueville was born JULY 29, 1805. A French social scientist who traveled the United States in 1831, de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America: "Religion in America...must 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 it...This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation." De Tocqueville stated: "The sects that exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man. Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God...Moreover, all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same." De Tocqueville added: "There is no country in the whole world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence than in America...and nothing better demonstrates how useful it is to man, since the country where it now has the widest sway is both the most enlightened and the freest."

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