restricted access Appendix 6
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1373 s4s4s4s4s4 a p p e n d i x 6 Foreword to the Twelfth Edition However great and sudden the events that have just been accomplished in a moment before our eyes may be, the author of the present work has the righttosaythathewasnotsurprisedbythem.Thisbookwaswritten,fifteen years ago, with the constant preoccupation of a single thought: the impending , irresistible, universal advent of democracy in the world. May it be reread. You will find on each page a solemn warning that reminds men that society is changing form; humanity, changing condition; and that new destinies are approaching. At the beginning these words were written: The gradual development of equality of conditions is a providential fact; it has the principal characteristics of one: it is universal, it is lasting, it escapes every day from human power; all events, like all men, serve its development. Would it be wise to believe that a social movement that comes from so far could be suspended by the efforts of a generation? Do you think that after having destroyed feudalism and vanquished kings, democracy will retreat before the bourgeois and the rich? Will it stop now that it has become so strong and its adversaries so weak? The man who, in the presence of a monarchy strengthened rather than weakened by the July Revolution, wrote these lines made prophetic by events, can again today call the attention of the public to his work without fear. You must allow him as well to add that current circumstances give his book a timely interest and a practical utility that it did not have when it appeared for the first time. Royalty existed then. Today it is destroyed. The institutions of America, which were only a subject of curiosity for monarchical France, must be a 1374 foreword to the twelfth edition subject of study for republican France. It is not force alone that establishes a new government; it is good laws. After the combatant, the legislator. The one has destroyed, the other establishes. Each has his work. If it is nolonger a matter of knowing if we will have royalty or the Republic in France, it remains for us to learn if we will have an agitated or a tranquil Republic, a regular or an irregular Republic, a liberal or an oppressive Republic, a Republic that threatens the sacred rights of property and of family or a Republic that acknowledges and consecrates them. A terrible problem, whose solution is important not only to France, but to the whole civilized world. If we save ourselves, we save at the same time all the peoples who are around us. If we are lost, all of them are lost with us, Depending on whether we will have democratic liberty or democratic tyranny, the destiny of the world will be different, and you can say that today it depends on us whether the Republic ends up being established everywhere or abolished everywhere. Now, this problem that we have only just posed, America resolved more than sixty years ago. For sixty years, the principle of sovereignty of the people that we enthroned yesterday among us, has reignedthereundivided. It is put into practice there in the most direct, the most unlimited, themost absolute manner. For sixty years the people who have made it the common source of all their laws, have grown constantly in population, in territory, in wealth, and note it well, they have found themselves tohavebeen,during this period, not only the most prosperous, but the most stable of all the peoples of the earth. While all the nations of Europe were ravaged by war or torn apart by civil discords, the American people alone in the civilized world remained at peace. Nearly all of Europe was turned upside down by revolutions; America did not even have riots; the Republic there was not disruptive, but conservative of all rights; individual property had more guarantees there than in any country in the world; anarchy remained as unknown as despotism. Where else could we find greater hopes and greater lessons? Let us not turnourattentiontowardAmericainordertocopyslavishlytheinstitutions that it has given itself, but in order to understand better those that are suitable for us, less to draw examples from America than instruction,toborrow foreword to the twelfth edition 1375 the principles rather than the details of its laws. The laws of the French Republic can and must, in many cases, be different from those that govern the United States, but the principles on which the American constitutions rest...