Of the nature of military governments among democratic ideas


Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831

Appendix AA: Of the nature of military governments among democratic ideas


I have often asked myself what would happen if, amid the laxity of democratic customs, and as a consequence of the restless spirit of the army, a military government were ever to be established among any of the nations of our times. I think that such a government would not differ much from the outline I have drawn in the chapter to which this note refers, and that it would retain none of the fierce characteristics of a military oligarchy. I am persuaded that in such a case a sort of fusion would take place between the practices of civil officials and those of the military service. The administration would assume something of a military character, and the army some of the practices of the civil administration. The result would be a regular, clear, exact, and absolute system of government; the people would become the reflection of the army, and the community be regimented like a garrison.


Return to Table of Contents


The original copyright for Alexis de Tocqueville’s, “Democracy In America,” Translated by Henry Reeve, 1899, is held in the Public Domain because its copyright has expired. Formatting of this digital copy of Democracy In America Copyright © 2011 Steve Farrell and The Moral Liberal. Non-commercial, educational use of individual chapters is encouraged with a live link back to the original copy at The Moral Liberal and a courtesy note to the editors.