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Leçons de l'ançien régime

"The people, who are less easily fooled into being content with the mere appearance of freedom than is often imagined, ceased to take any interest in the affairs of the community, and lived at home as if they were in a foreign country... Almost all the rulers who have tried to destroy freedom have at the first attempted to preserve its forms. This has been seen from Augustus down to our own day. Rulers flatter themselves that they can combine the moral strength given by public consent with the advantages that only absolute power can give. Almost all have failed in the enterprise, and have soon discovered that it is impossible to make the appearance of freedom last where it is no longer a reality."

- Alexis de Tocquville, "L'Ançien régime et la Revolution", trans. Alan S. Kahan, eds. François Furet et Françoise Mélonio

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