Home  »  Respectfully Quoted  »  Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59)

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59)
QUOTATION: I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers—and it was not there … in her fertile fields and boundless forests—and it was not there … in her rich mines and her vast world commerce—and it was not there … in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
ATTRIBUTION: Attributed to ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE by Dwight D. Eisenhower in his final campaign address in Boston, Massachusetts, November 3, 1952. Unverified.

The last two sentences are attributed to de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America by Sherwood Eddy, The Kingdom of God and the American Dream, chapter 1, p. 6 (1941). This appears with minor variations in A Third Treasury of the Familiar, ed. Ralph L. Woods, p. 347 (1970), as “attributed to de Tocqueville but not found in his works.”
SUBJECTS: Greatness