It seems a clever and a daring feat to set up models of our own; but it is in reality much easier than toiling after the old unapproachable models of our forefathers. The originality which dispenses so blithely with the past is powerless to give us a correct estimate of anything that we enjoy in the present. – Agnes Repplier
The motives of women are so inscrutable. You remember the woman at Margate whom I suspected for [sitting with her back to the light]. No powder on her nose – that proved to be the correct solution. How can you build on such a quicksand? Their most trivial action may mean volumes, or their most extraordinary conduct may depend upon a hairpin or a curling tongs. – Sherlock Holmes
In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United State of America, taking advantage of his trip to study American society. With his extensive experience of European culture, and also of the multitudinous French constitutions and revolutions that had agitated his home country for many years, he was able to bring a well-educated, insightful perspective to bear on the subject of democracy. Tocqueville’s goal was much broader than just describing American society; he set out to analyze it, figure out what was inherent in the democratic systems and what was peculiar to the Americans, and ultimately to lay bare the strengths and weaknesses of democracy as a form of government.
“America is… a free country, in which, lest anybody should be hurt by your remarks, you are not allowed to speak freely of private individuals, or of the State, of the citizens or of the authorities, of public or of private undertakings, or, in short, of anything at all, except it be of the climate and the soil; and even then Americans will be found ready to defend either the one or the other, as if they had been contrived by the inhabitants of the country.”