Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tocqueville on the "two distinct kinds of centralization"

"I cannot conceive that a nation can live and prosper without a powerful centralization of government [(centralisation gouvernementale)].  But I am of the opinion that a centralized administration [(centralisation administrative)] is fit only to enervate the nations in which it exists, by incessantly diminishing their local spirit."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America V.ii.3 ("Political effects of decentralized administration in the United States"),  trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 1, p. 87).

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