“Let us attach ourselves firmly [to] civilization — justice, legality, publicity, Liberty; and let us never forget [that we] are under the eye of the world.”
“In modern Europe the diversity of the elements of social order, the incapability of any one to exclude the rest, gave birth to the liberty which now prevails.”
“Governments are warned by an invincible instinct that force is no title…and that, while they rest upon…violence, they are entirely destitute of right.”
“All the great elements of society were drawn within the feudal enclosure, so even the…most trifling circumstances of common life, became subject to feudalism.”
“The Church, indeed, taken as a whole, has been constantly changing—constantly advancing—her history is diversified and progressive.”
“There is in the very nature of religious society a powerful inclination to elevate the governors above the governed; to regard them as something distinct.”
“Modern Europe, indeed, is born of this struggle between the different classes of society.”
“They greatly diminished the number of petty fiefs, petty domains, and petty proprietors; they concentrated property and power in a smaller number of hands.”
Guizot surveys the variegated, complex, and indispensible history of monarchy in the creation of western civilization.
Guizot surveys the seemingly endless array of would-be, failed archons—the long list of kings, conquerors, emperors, popes, and tyrants seeking total power.
After a thousand years of failing centralized government in Europe, our author turns to the successful rise of nation-states.
Though plagued by their own illiberal aspects, the early Protestant churches succeeded in breaking the Roman monopoly on European spiritual life.
Following the Reformation’s successful division of spiritual authority, the English Civil Wars opened space for civil society to sharply disrupt absolutism.
Our author concludes with a sobering analysis of the French Revolution, and the declaration that all power is dangerous and demanding of limitation.
“Tocqueville saw in America that the “science of association is the mother of science,” that progress and civilization were dependent on it.”
Alexis de Toqueville was an important theorist of democratic society. He is best known as the author of Democracy in America.
The French satirist, agitator, writer, and politician Frédéric Bastiat was France’s foremost champion of liberty in the 19th century.