Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/12

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ard of comparison is more democratic than anything which we are acquainted with in England. Although the reasonableness of democracy is shown by the American States, where the activity of a trading population is dignified by the exercise of many civic virtues, and where the task of the legislator was not to change or to repair, but to organize and create, the perilous erection of a central power, such as now obtains in France, may check the confidence with which the hand of the many is raised against the errors of the few, and we may hesitate before we displace the time-honoured dispensers of social benefits, to make way for the more compact and less flexible novelties of the time. Those thinkers who are wont in politics to substitute principles of general utility for those of local interests, are like builders who should in all cases rely on the principle of gravity, to the exclusion of the law of cohesion. The gift of self-respect, which is the parent of the inward dignity of the citizen, is not derived from the